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OMG, help! Friend wants partnership in business...

Posted by snookums (My Page) on
Tue, Apr 25, 06 at 14:23

I have this friend that has always been incredibly needy. Used to live across the street from me, moved a few years ago, and I purposely distanced myself just to maintain my sanity but stayed friends. She's very nice and has a big heart, but one of those friends that calls you 5x a day. The kind that stresses about everything.

So anyway, she just went through a divorce. She's now a single mom and is living 100% on alimony that will last for 4 years (gotta love CA divorce laws). She sold her big huge house and bought a nice townhome here in town. Told me a few weeks ago that she didn't want to go out and get a job, she wanted to be an entrepreneur (she used to own a successful housecleaning business pre-marriage). Never worked after she got married (aside from being a mom.) I mentioned that I was wanting to get out there and do something too (as you all know), didn't know what, we joked we should do something together. I didn't take it seriously, apparently she did.

So, shortly after that I started getting this pet sitting thing together. Mind you, I haven't yet gone on a single sit, but I have put in a bunch of money for purchasing contracts, supplies, business cards, insurance, association memberships, and so far, two ads - yellowpages.com and a local newspaper both of which will start running next month. And I've created a website and set policies and prices and started getting my client folders together and all that. It's been a lot of work and a significant amount of money and I haven't even started earning money yet.

So, this morning she calls me at 6:45 am (!!!!!!!) to ask if I wanted to buy her baby grand piano since she's moving to a smaller place. Figured I'd be up (I wasn't). Then calls again at 7:30 am to ask if I wanted the dining room table. Then again at 9 am to ask if I wanted the freestanding patio cover. This is all very nice of her but no, no, and politely no. Then, just now she calls and flat out asks if I wanted a partner in the pet sitting business. I say "but I thought you were allergic to cats?" (She is, severely) Her answer was "well, I can take the pink stuff (don't know what that is) and it's not like I'd be living there." So much for giving a kitty individual attention - I doubt she'd touch it.

As crazy as it sounds though, her son is in school from 9-5 and she'd be able to take the sits I couldn't. She's also a big dog person (used to own two rotties) and could go on those type of sits.

But on the other hand, my entire being is screaming its a bad idea. She has MS, has had gastric bypass surgery, and always seems to have something medically going on - either with that or she needs foot surgery or a boob lift or she's always sick or something. Same deal with her son -he's always sick. She's also not very organized or computer literate and that would translate into me doing allll the work.

On the other hand, I feel bad for her because she does need to work sooner or later and I feel like she feels that I went and did this and that as a friend, I should have given her an in from the beginning.

What do I want to do? I want to do this on my own. I don't even want to have employees right now and plus, that is clearly not what she wants.

I need a way to let her down verrrry easy and totally expect her still to take it hard. Help!


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: OMG, help! Friend wants partnership in business...

She will take it hard no matter what.

Bless your heart, you're wanting to start this business to make some money and make it eas(ier) on yourself and your family than if you went back to work full-time at something you dreaded.

If you were in with her, you've defeated your purpose before you started.

Listen to your women's intuition. This is your job, your new business, if she's not someone you'd hire anyway, don't do it because you feel sorry for her. Her 'issues' will leave you in a lurch and reflect poorly on your business.

That said, perhaps you could tell her that you are working best by yourself now, but WHEN she pulls together a resume, you'll be glad to keep your ears open for opportunities. My money is on her never making a resume.

You're between a rock and a hard place, aren't you? Bless your heart!


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RE: OMG, help! Friend wants partnership in business...

Friends do not always make for the best business partners, just as they do not always make for the best roommates. You would hate yourself and her if you ever went into business together. Maybe she can sell her stuff on CraigsList, and you can offer to help her brainstorm on a better entrepreneurial match for her in terms of health work-arounds. Editing? Maybe she or you could also organize a small/micro-business support group so she isn't completely dependent on you.

Partnerships are very tricky because the partners inevitably put different amounts of time or energy into the venture, or maybe one is simply more successful in her efforts than the other. Remind her that you want to maintain her friendship, and that a partnership is too much like a marriage, and that you want to remain single in this venture at least for now.

If this friendship is two-sided, she will understand. It will be a lot more fun if you start your thing, she starts hers, and then you compare notes. In the meantime, you can share with her what you learned about insurance, business card printers, advertising costs, etc.


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RE: OMG, help! Friend wants partnership in business...

It seems like you could just tell her you don't even have any business yet but you'll let her know if you get so busy you need a partner. Then leave it at that. If she asks further, just let her know you don't have enough business yet for a partner. It seems like it could be relatively simple if you don't make a big deal of it.


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RE: OMG, help! Friend wants partnership in business...

I like Gibby's approach. (She can ask, but it doesn't mean you have to ''rescue'' her!) Your neighbor reminds me of a similar situation I had with my neighbor across the street. Five years later and a whole lot of life, considering what I went through with her...well, I would run away screaming! I actually thought about calling her yesterday and stopped myself just in time. Sadly, what goes around doesn't always come back around in a positive way. ''Extremely needy'' is a description that never benfits the helper, only the helpee!


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RE: OMG, help! Friend wants partnership in business...

Yes, what Gibby said. That leaves it open for you to hire her (as an independent contractor) for an occasional dog sit when the business takes off.


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RE: OMG, help! Friend wants partnership in business...

Snookums:

It's obvious(to me)from your post that your making the right decision not to be business partners.

If you go into business with her and she's unreliable, co dependant and needy - the business will fail and you will end up never being friends again.

However, if you're honest with her, there's a much smaller risk of ruining your friendship.

I speak from my DH's experience. Eighteen years ago, my DH
went into business with his childhood best friend, a seemingly nice guy.

My DH had a wife, a mortgage, car loan and a baby on the way. The friend - 28 years old - lived with his parents, didn't pay rent and just needed money for car payment and pot habit! It was a trainwreck! My DH ended up working 16 hour days and had to hire other help.

My DH will never speak to this "friend" again!


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RE: OMG, help! Friend wants partnership in business...

snookums - just remember all the angst you have gone through to figure out how to earn some money without having to work a 9-5 job. Now that YOU have come up with a great plan YOU can be excited about (and have control of), don't even think of partnering with Debbie Downer or we will reach thru the computer and wring your neck! LOL!

Seriously, Gibby really hit the nail on the head. Make no big deal of it...you can't share money you haven't made. I would be very vague with her in the future about how things are going. I wish you all the best in your new venture :)


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RE: OMG, help! Friend wants partnership in business...

Partners? No, never, nada! It sounds like even on the best of days that you will be contributing much more than she will. Maybe down the road you can hire or contract out to her for a sitting here or there. So much better to see how she acts and what she does to your company before you even think "partners". IMO, she sounds like too much bad baggage to add to a new company, friend or not. Good luck.


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RE: OMG, help! Friend wants partnership in business...

Since your new business isn't really up and running yet, it seems obvious that you don't need a partner. You don't seem to like this person much anyway, and you're certainly not responsible for her employment.

Though I'm sure you're a nice person, it would be better to exclude thoughts and statements like the following from your decision. Without them, you have enough legitimate reasons for telling her no:

But on the other hand, my entire being is screaming its a bad idea. She has MS, has had gastric bypass surgery, and always seems to have something medically going on - either with that or she needs foot surgery or a boob lift or she's always sick or something. Same deal with her son -he's always sick.


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RE: OMG, help! Friend wants partnership in business...

Not No but H@## NO!!

Your words:
incredibly needy
I purposely distanced myself
stresses about everything
my entire being is screaming its a bad idea
always seems to have something medically going on
her son -he's always sick.
not very organized or computer literate and that would translate into me doing allll the work.

Definitely not partnership material. For that matter, not employee material either. How to let her down easy? Not sure that can be done - sounds like she'll be upset no matter what. But too bad, that's just the way it goes.

I like gibby's idea a lot! Basically, you feel this business is a one-person job. You don't need a partner now and really would have nothing for her to do. End of story. If she whines or insists, tell her the doorbell rang and you gotta go.

I have to say, I'm pretty selfish, but I could not ever put up with a person with this type of personality. You're already being nice remaining friends with her considering how you feel about her. Doing her any favors is going above and beyond. And this isn't a favor - it's a major imposition and begging for trouble.

Good luck!


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RE: OMG, help! Friend wants partnership in business...

This reminds me of how we define "friend". For me, a true friend is not needy and imposing. There have been such people in my life at times, and I find that it's easiest to hold them at arm's length, always cordial, but never encouraging their destructive behaviors. Friendly behavior is not the same thing as having a true friend.

I'm completely with Lowspark on this one. Yes, this person may not stay a 'friend' if you keep her at a distance and resist her attempts to worm her way into your life. But I wouldn't worry about it, if I were in your position. There is no way that you are responsible for her, her life or her job.

Keep her at arm's length.


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RE: OMG, help! Friend wants partnership in business...

Thank y'all. I'm pretty sure I know what I'm going to say now. Two things really - one, that since I haven't even yet started I don't even know if there is a enough business to occupy two people. Two, that I value our friendship too much to taint it with a business deal.

She is an incredibly nice person, would go to the end of the world for you if you asked, but very dependent on those around her. And because I have strategically distanced myself as I mentioned, she's not needy towards ME... She reserves that for people who tolerate her more than I do. Her ex-husband couldn't tolerate it though, which is one of the reasons why they are no longer married. To paint you a picture, her son is in preschool full-time yet she still employs a full-time nanny. While he is at school the nanny takes care of mom. Medical care? No... errands, cleaning, cooking, organizing, while she is out getting massages and her nails done and hair done and shopping and dr. appointments.

My dh said that her happiness is not my responsibility and he's right and so are all of you. She is going to eventually have to earn an income (or remarry another rich guy) eventually. Alimony is only for four years.

Anyway, I saw her Hummer down the street this morning at the our mutual friend's home that is her real estate agent (she's in escrow on both the place she sold and the place she bought). She knew I was home; my car was out front. She didn't stop by...I think she knew from my panicked reaction yesterday that the answer will be no. Probably mad at me. Oh well...it'll pass.


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Quote RE: OMG, help! Friend wants partnership in business...

"Though I'm sure you're a nice person, it would be better to exclude thoughts and statements like the following from your decision. Without them, you have enough legitimate reasons for telling her no:

"But on the other hand, my entire being is screaming its a bad idea. She has MS, has had gastric bypass surgery, and always seems to have something medically going on - either with that or she needs foot surgery or a boob lift or she's always sick or something. Same deal with her son -he's always sick."

Wooderlander - remember, she's not seeking employment, she is seeking a partnership in a business. Big difference.


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