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Key Secrets of a Powerful Partnership - Including The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly

Updated: Jan 24

Here we will share our stories, and some of yours. We will be real, honest, hopefully inspiring, and give you some epic food for thought!

Blog - Partnerships

by Julie Robbins

If you told me 10 years ago that I’d be writing a blog about the benefits of Partnerships, I’d think you were crazy!  What I would have told you back then was that partnerships suck and you should steer clear of them at all costs.  That was, until I met Nicole….

Not to burst your bubble....but the truth is Partnerships suck!

Well, that is, if you don’t DO IT RIGHT.  And, many people don’t do it right.

When I met Nicole, we were just two coaches sharing an office suite.  The space was rough and the arrangement was formative, but with some paint, new carpet and some magic we knew we could make it into something special :)  And we did.

During our time figuring out how to spruce up the place, we got talking…..and talking….and thinking....and talking. Something crazy was happening - it’s like we’d known each other for decades.

Not only that, we started sharing ideas and our vision for the future. Loooooong story, short - it started to take on a life of its own and a new business was born.  The first coworking company in New Paltz, NY and soon to be a staple community builder for the town.

I told Nicole right from the get go that I was very leery of partnerships as I’d seen so many of them go real bad, real fast.  

So, if we were going to do this I needed to know “the good, the bad, and the ugly” about her and she needed to know the same about me. 

We were going to need to share all the nitty gritty and not so pretty.

So we did.  We shared all the standard stuff…what we’re each good at, the things we struggle with…but we also shared things like…

  • Here’s what it looks like when I’m overwhelmed

  • I have ADD and here’s where it shows up…

  • Here’s what it looks like when I’m angry

  • Here’s a list of things that I should NOT be doing because I suck at it.

  • Here’s what it looks like when I’m not being completely open (with others or myself)

  • When I’m working on XYZ I don’t like to be disturbed or interrupted

  • I tend to go silent when something is bothering me

  • If I seem frustrated or easily aggravated, I either am not getting enough sleep or I’m keeping something bottled up

  • When I do ABC, it means XYZ

  • I leave coffee cups laying around and forget to do my dishes

  • I say fuck.... A LOT

And the list went on…

The more we shared, the more we wanted to share.  Because, honestly, it was liberating! 

People thinking about getting married should do this - it would save so much time and frustration.  It’s important to really know and understand the person who you plan on spending so much time with.  A business partner is no different.

It’s one of the reasons we decided to develop IMap (a personal Map that shows all parts of you and how to integrate this information into your business vision, structure, and roles & responsibilities of your company).  

Through this process we developed a set of shared core values that we track on a regular basis.  For example, one of our core values is “Raw Communication.”  Each week we rate how well we did with that - it keeps the lines of communication open and prevents anything from going “unsaid” - it’s the unsaid things that often lead to frustration, resentment, and a lack of cohesion.

In fact, HONEST and OPEN COMMUNICATION is probably the most important thing in having a successful partnership.  

Of course there are so many other essential factors involved - like having a very clear list of roles & responsibilities, DECISION RUBRICS, systems & policies in place that eliminate guess work, TRANSPARENCY & UNDERSTANDING of company finances - just to name a few.

Even with all the work involved, having a business partnership can be one of the most rewarding things.  We love working with business partners in our coaching practice.  We get to help business owners form a partnership that can stand the test of time and be very gratifying for each party. 


Because you don’t have to do it all alone AND if you choose the right partner, not only do you not have to do it alone, YOU DON'T HAVE TO DO THE THINGS YOU ARE NOT GOOD AT or DON'T LIKE DOING. 

This was a game changer for me! 

I’ve owned businesses before, but never have I had the support and freedom that I’ve had at EPIC.  For many years I worked to exhaustion, trying to be all the things I wasn’t.  Thinking that if I could just….fill in the blank (worked harder/longer, learn how to do the things I sucked at, do better, etc.) I could make it work.  And maybe it did “work” - the businesses were “successful” (my definition of that at the time was that I was making money and my clients were happy), but none of it felt successful to me.  I was constantly exhausted, I barely saw my family, and I felt like I was burning a thousand candles from both ends. 

If that’s success, no thanks. 

The bottom line…

It’s all about open, honest, and RAW communication without blame, shame, guilt or regret.


Put it all in writing so each party knows exactly:

  • What’s been agreed

  • Each partners expectations

  • Each of your roles and responsibilities

  • How to handle “what if” scenarios (ex: If one partner wants out, this is what we do)

  • How financials are being handled


Have consistent and regular meetings that are strategic and comprehensive! (that's a game changer!)

But first, you have to trust and respect the person you are going into business with. 

If you don’t, don’t do it.

It wasn’t until I met Nicole and we both put all we had learned about ourselves and how we work into creating a solid partnership that benefited both of us and was good for the company.

All of this is not to say that a business partnership is the answer to your business woes - but it could be. 

At the very least, really knowing yourself and honoring who you are and then incorporating that into your business is essential if you want true success. 

Once you’ve done that, you can decide how to get support to fill in the gaps (the things you shouldn’t be doing) - whether that’s a partner, employee, outside help (bookkeeper, accountant, virtual assistant, marketing person, etc.).

Don’t let your business own you. 

OWN YOURSELF, so you can own your business.  If you’ve done this and then decide a partnership is right for you, now you will know what and who you need!

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