One of the things that surprised me most when I launched brandiD was how lonely the journey of building a business can be.
As I was about to launch brandiD in 2007, I reached out to a former business partner and friend named Thoma to see if he wanted to go into this new business together. His response shocked me. He said, “You can do it on your own—you don’t need me.”
Thoma is a highly trained graphic designer, visual brand strategist and filmmaker. I felt like I needed him to have any merit as an agency owner. He stayed firm on his decision, however, because he was in the process of launching a business of his own in the film industry.
Admittedly, his advice petrified me but I forged ahead, enrolling in an intense personal brand certification program and staying focused on the upside: the freedom and flexibility to set my own schedule, the unlimited potential of what I could earn, and the ability to be my own boss, especially since I was about to give birth to my second daughter just a month before my launch date.
But after being in business for a few months, I realized how many challenges, questions, and doubts (plus some amazing wins, of course!) I had on an almost daily basis.
The biggest problem? There was no one to share them with.
I couldn’t just swivel around in my office chair and ask my co-worker how they would handle the pickle I was in or get a high five for winning a new client.
It was just me, and it didn’t take long to feel a little lonely.
Since I’d known Thoma for over a decade at this point, I reached back out to him. We’d worked really well together in the internet incubator we co-founded when living in New York City. We also had a lot in common: our dads both grew up in the same part of Greece under the same circumstances, and we both share the same faith and love of family.
I knew Thoma understood me on a deep level. He was also super smart and creative, with an entrepreneurial essence in his DNA. I knew he would do great things for my budding business, even if we didn’t partner. So, I hired him to be my designer, and he was with me in that capacity for the first few years of brandiD. Fun fact — he even designed brandiD’s logo!
What I ended up getting, though, was so much more than a designer and a team member. I got a confidant who was always encouraging me, helping me brainstorm challenges in my business, and holding me accountable to keep working toward my goals. He pushed me to be better, and because of that, I was.
It didn’t take long for Thoma to become my business bestie. Having that partnership made a world of difference in how I felt about my business and also how I acted in my business. And all these years later, Thoma is still my go-to person when I’m stuck personally or professionally.
Do you have a business bestie?
Your business bestie might be a team member, a friend you met in a networking group or mastermind, or even just a friend or colleague who shares similar goals and values.
No matter who they are, the encouragement, listening ear, and (sometimes!) swift kick in the butt they’re not afraid to give you is all it takes to get you moving in the right direction again.
If nothing else, your business bestie provides the connection and camaraderie that’s so needed on the often bumpy and lonely path of entrepreneurship. With them by your side, the lows don’t feel as low and the wins are that much sweeter.