When you start out as your own boss it’s tempting to take it all on your shoulders. However, the best thing you can do for yourself and for your business is to find a Work BFF (WBFF for short).
A WBFF is the saving grace of many a newbie entrepreneur. Having someone who understands what your vision is, and the challenges you face to get there, is essential to your own mental wellbeing and also your chances of success.
Without a sounding board for important decisions, you risk going headlong into business choices that may not be well researched. A WBFF is there to make sure you don’t do anything stupid.
Or, they’re there with you when you do decide to do something stupid.
Here are a few reasons why you need a WBFF as an entrepreneur – and a few tips on finding them, too.
1. A Work BFF Will Champion You No Matter The Time Of Day
When ideas strike at 1am, or when you’re working the side hustle at stupid o’clock to get your business off the ground, the WBFF will be there. OK, they might not answer right away, but they won’t get mad at your frantic emails sent at any time of day.
They also won’t call you crazy or a workaholic, which your friends and family will all do at some point. Your WBFF understands the need to work on your new business whenever you can in order to give it a good grounding for launch. They’ll be the one ordering takeaway at midnight while you finish your first client pitch.
2. A Work BFF Will Tell You When You’re Being An Idiot
Whether you’re making illogical colour choices for your branding, or trying to wing a client pitch with no planning, your WBFF is there to talk sense into your decisions.
They are straight up honest with you, and that’s why you’re (W)BFFs. You might find their honesty a tad annoying at times, but you know deep down that it is always coming from a place of shared visions of success.
3. A Work BFF Will Have Skills That You Don’t
You could be really disorganised, but your WBFF has a series of planners and diaries for all aspects of their life. Maybe you’re great at numbers but hate writing persuasive copy, but your WBFF has a degree in English.
Your WBFF is the perfect person to compliment your skills and boost your business where otherwise you might struggle. Finding a WBFF with skills that match your weaknesses is the holy grail of business success: you’ll have every base covered and be able to balance the workload far more evenly.
4. Your WBFF Will Tell You When To Go Home
It might only come out when they need to take time off themselves, but your WBFF will be a sanity check on your stance in reality. When was the last time you spoke to your parents? When did you catch up with your other, non-work, besties? Did you see your child in their school play? When did you last go to the gym?
A WBFF might encourage you to work all hours of the day and night to make your business a success, but they’ll also be your balance. They’ll recognise when you’re reaching burnout and tell you when to take some time off.
Your WBFF gets to know you in ways your family and friends never will: they understand your business drive. They ‘get’ that your business is your baby, that it needs nurturing and constant attention.
They will also, however, know what it’s like to sacrifice life events (as well as normal daily living, like doing the laundry) in order to find success. Your WBFF will be able to reality check you, tell you go to and shower, visit your MeeMaw, and take even just the afternoon off for a break.
5. Your WBFF Won’t Take Decisions Personally
Whether you’re tetchy because a supplier is being unreliable, or your customers are being difficult, your WBFF understands your frustrations.
This does not give you free licence to shout at your WBFF whenever you feel like it. However, it does mean you can freely express your frustrations to them and they will know that you’re not taking it out on them. They’ll understand where you’re coming from, because they’ll share the same frustrations, and then they’ll help you to find a solution.
How To Find Your WBFF
You may already have a friend that wants to go into business with you. That’s great! Just make sure they don’t start to flake when you mention contracts and finances.
That is when it all gets very ‘real’ and it’s a commitment only very good friends can successfully make together. Arguments about who owns what shares, how people will be paid in the startup months, and how to run the company, will all happen – it’s guaranteed. Can your friendship survive this?
If you don’t want to go into business with your friends, that’s cool too. You’ll be able to find other like-minded entrepreneurs ready to take the leap into a new business at plenty of networking events. Try your local freelancers network as a starting point: these people have experience of running a business, but are often ready to take the next step into expanding as a full organisation.
You can also try finding a business mentor, whether a paid counsel or someone found through a local authority program, there are plenty of opportunities to find someone with experience who can guide you through the startup days.
Business networking events run by local groups, LinkedIn groups, or your local Chamber of Commerce, are all good places to find business mentors, too. Remember, when you go to any event where you could meet someone in person, take along your business cards so that you can pass your details on and start finding that WBFF you’re after!