Transcript: Navigating True Friendships as an Entrepreneur

February 8, 2022

AMY PORTERFIELD: “Having a fight with a friend who's an employee, that's just a bad thing. So it's not always roses to be really close to somebody that you work with. But at the same time, we're human, and those relationships happen, and it is what it is. Thank God we were able to navigate through it all when she transitioned off the team into a contractor to work on special projects with me. It was the most beautiful transition, and we were open and honest and said everything we needed to say and assured each other that we were there for each other. It was such a beautiful transition, but it could have been really messy.” 

INTRO: I’m Amy Porterfield, ex-corporate girl turned CEO of a multi-seven-figure business. But it wasn't all that long ago that I lacked the confidence, the budget, and the time to focus on growing my small-but-mighty business. Fast forward past many failed attempts and lessons learned, and you'll see the business I have today, one that changes lives and gives me more freedom than I ever thought possible, one that used to only exist as a daydream. I created the Online Marketing Made Easy podcast to give you simple, actionable, step-by-step strategies to help you do the same. If you're an ambitious entrepreneur, or one in the making, who's looking to create a business that makes an impact and a life you love, you're in the right place, friend. Let's get started. 

AMY: If you know me, then you know that the Goal Digger Podcast, hosted by my friend Jenna Kutcher, who is also part of the HubSpot Network, is one of my favorite podcasts. What I love about Jenna's podcast is that she shares life and business tips, from productivity hacks and business strategies and mindset shifts to daily inspiration, and so much more. Episode 528. It's called “Surprise! I Wrote a Book!” It gave me all the feels because she shared the real raw story of what inspired her to write her very first book, and she shared her process. So good. Listen to the Goal Digger Podcast wherever you get your podcasts. And now, back to the show. 

Well, hey, there, friend. Welcome back to Online Marketing Made Easy. I wanted to check in and just see how you are doing. How are you feeling? How is this year going for you? If I were to check in, I’d say definitely going much better than how I felt about last year. I feel more grounded. I feel more energized. That's one of the words that I want to feel more and more throughout this year. I did a Shorty episode about five goals that I set for this year, five out of, I think, eight that I have total. And I talked about the way I want to feel this year, energized being one of them and courageous being another one. So I've been doing courageous things, making big moves, making big decisions. So I'm sticking with that. So if you haven't listened to that episode all about setting goals and how you want to feel in the new year, absolutely go listen to that. I kind of share what my goals look like and why I set those specific goals. So it was a fun episode.  

All right. So, have you shared this podcast yet? And if you haven’t, please do share it with a friend who you think would find value as they are also on their entrepreneurial journey. So if they're just starting out or they've been at it for a while, I feel like I could add a lot of value to their lives through the different things that we teach on the podcast. So if you’d be so kind to share it with a friend, I would greatly appreciate it.  

Okay. So, I am revealing a little bit about my relationships today in this episode, and more specifically, some lessons that I've learned through the years of being an entrepreneur, like learning when to leave a friendship that isn't serving you and when to lean into friendships that are supporting you.  

Now, I have to be honest. I actually don't have a ton of close friends, and I think that is really by design, and I am totally okay with it because I have some really high-quality friends, friends who understand what it's like to be an entrepreneur, and I feel very comfortable in those friendships. They're the type of people I know I can call up in the middle of the night. I can call or voice text them whenever I need to, and I don't feel like I ever need to hold back. And I know that they're there for me. And if they were to do the same, if they were to call me at any hour, I'd be there for them.  

But this hasn't always been the case. So I've had some friends that have definitely come and gone. And trust me, it's not easy to lose a friend or someone you cared deeply about. But what I've learned is that you really need to nourish and pour into your friendships with people who understand you and understand your priorities and have similar values, or at least are willing to learn and respect your values. So for me, I don't put a lot of effort and time into friendships with people who refuse to respect or understand the kind of work I do. So that's why I wanted to bring it up on this episode as it relates to growing your business. 

What I mean by that is that I’ve had some girlfriends specifically in the past who have nine-to-five jobs, which is completely fine. I respect any kind of job. But where I struggle is when I've had girlfriends with nine-to-five jobs who are always putting down my schedule. They say things like, “You're always so busy,” or “You're always thinking about or talking about your business or your work,” or they put down the kind of work I do or don't even care to understand what I do. And some of you are shaking your head. Like, you get it. And so that's when I put up a boundary or I don't put so much effort into that friendship. And at times, I have had to distance myself. I have a feeling a few of you can relate to this.  

So it's really important to identify those friends who aren't open to learning or understanding what you do. And instead, they make just little, subtle digs at you. And that's where I draw the line. This has happened to me so many times.  

And here's the thing. I want to be careful that if I get into a friendship, I'm not always talking about myself or I'm not always talking about my business. But when you're growing a business, it is your baby. Like, I don't want you to work away your life. Absolutely not. But there's no way around this. When you start a business and you put your heart and soul into it, you are very much attached to it. Very much. You think about it all the time. For those who will allow you to, you talk about it a lot, with, hopefully, not overtaking the conversation. But it's always top of mind. It’s always right there in the back of my mind or in the front of my mind.  

And so it's one thing for me to show up for a friend and be present for what they're about, what they're thinking. like, what's top of mind for them. But I don't like the subtle digs, like “You're always busy,” or “It's always about your work,” or “You never can do this because you're working,” or whatever. I just, I don't like that kind of stuff.  

So that's when I put up a boundary, like I said, and I'm not just going to put a lot of effort into those friendships. So it's important to identify those friends who aren't open to learning or understanding what you do. And again, just draw the line.  

Now, I've had friendships where decisions were made that I didn't agree with. Like, they did something or said something that I didn't agree with. And I feel like the part of being a good friend means talking it out with that person, getting them on the phone, being compassionate, making sure that you hear their side, being empathetic, but also being able to speak your mind and saying I don't agree with what you did. I think how you were showing up or what you said or what you did, I think it was— whatever—inappropriate or harsh or inconsiderate or whatever it might be. I just think it's important that you have friends that you can have those conversations with, and they won't be like, “Okay. I'm done with this,” and kind of bail.  

I think my biggest takeaway from experiences where I've had to have the hard conversations is that I think it's important that both parties are willing to have those hard conversations. And my experience is I’ve had friends where they weren’t willing to have those hard conversations, and so they’re not friends with me anymore, and it breaks my heart. 

Also, I think one of my biggest takeaways over the years with friendships is that your values have to align with theirs. And if they don't perfectly align, then you have to be willing to hear their side, and they have to be willing to hear your side. So I think that's part of the journey of growing. And this is something that you may experience as you grow, especially in your business. It's a valuable lesson in setting boundaries and sticking with them, but also being open to understanding where other people are coming from. And then you decide if you want to have a really meaningful relationship with that person or if you just want to be acquaintances. You know, you see each other when you see each other. You're really cordial to each other, either online or in person, but they're not your person, per se. And I think that's okay. At one time they might have been, and then we all know that there's friendships that just grow apart, right? I think you should make a conscious decision if that friendship is no longer serving you.  

Another type of friendship you may encounter, especially as an entrepreneur, is being close with someone you work with, someone on your team. So if you know me, then you know I am best friends with Chloe, who used to be my CMO for seven years almost, and now she is a contractor working on special projects, still within my business, thank God. Hallelujah. I'm in Chloe's wedding. That's how close we are. And we talk all the time, multiple times a week, even as she's transitioned out of the CMO role. But as she was the chief marketing officer, she was still my best friend. She was my best friend in the business, and she still is now, and we definitely had some challenges with that.  

So, I've never really talked about this ever on the podcast, but I think Chloe would agree with this as well, that it's hard to be really close friends with someone you work with. Now, in my case, really close friends with someone you manage. Like, I was Chloe's boss. That's weird, right? And so for me personally, I won't be speaking for Chloe here, but for me personally, sometimes I would think, is she just agreeing to this because I'm her boss or her friend? Or is the friendship kind of getting in the way sometimes?  

And for me, sometimes I got a little bit codependent with Chloe. And I never even understood what that term meant, but I went to this therapeutic retreat last year called Onsite, and they were explaining what codependency meant. And someone stood up to kind of explain their codependent relationship. And she said, “Well, with my friend, I’ll ask her,”—this is hypothetical. “I check her temperature to know what mine is.” I’m like, whoa. Sometimes, because I was so close to Chloe when she was in the role, I would just kind of check her vibe. Is she doing good? Are things good on her end? I mean, business wise. And if she's good, then I'm good. But if she wasn't good, I wasn't good. And I know that wasn't healthy, and I definitely—that was my own issue. Nothing to do with Chloe. It was my own fault. So I had to work on that. And sometimes there's a blurriness. It gets murky between friendship and then me being her boss.  

Now, here’s where it was super easy with Chloe. Chloe would be so much harder on herself than I would ever be when something didn't go as planned, when we didn't hit a goal, when something got messed up. I would never have to discipline her, whatever word you would use, like, as a boss, ever, because she would be beating herself up way more than she needed to, and I would probably have to pull her back out of that. So that part, she was very easy to manage. But I know it got gray sometimes.  

And then we would have some fights. We had a blowout fight one time when I lived in Carlsbad, California, and we did this one-day retreat thing, and it didn't end well. Like, she ended up with, like, twenty action items. It was very overwhelming. I didn't realize how overwhelmed she was. We got into a discussion about, like, what her problem was and what I was seeing, and it got heated really fast. And she was like, “I can't talk to you right now. I need to step away.” And I am like, “No, let's talk about it for five hours, till we hash it out and it's all good.” Like, I hate the feeling of unresolved issues, but she was right. She needed to step away, and I didn't want her to. She eventually did, of course, because she did what she needed to do. But it was horrible.  

So having a fight with a friend who's an employee, that's just a bad thing. So it's not always roses to be really close to somebody that you work with. But at the same time, we're human, and those relationships happen, and it is what it is. Thank God we were able to navigate through it all when she transitioned off the team into a contractor to work on special projects with me. It was the most beautiful transition, and we were open and honest and said everything we needed to say and assured each other that we were there for each other. It was such a beautiful transition, but it could have been really messy if we weren’t careful, right? So those get a little bit dicey. 

Okay. Another important place that I've had to learn to set boundaries with friends is around saying yes to them. Where are all my yes people? I'm raising my hand right now. So here's what I mean. As I've grown as an entrepreneur and even just personally, I've decided that I don't need to say yes to everything just because that person is a friend. And you may find this too, as you build friendships within the entrepreneurial community. So I really make it my mission to only say yes to things that really light me up and not just to do a friend a favor. But it is still very, very difficult for me. And I don't want to be scared to say no, because I tell myself if this person is a real friend, they will respect the no, but our friendship will still be intact. And so that's something that I've had to learn along the way as well.  

So, here's the thing. On this journey of entrepreneurship, you will have friends that will come and go. I had really, really close friends at the beginning of my entrepreneurial journey that I thought I'd be friends with for life, and we are not friends at all, whether we just grew apart or our views just became way too different or hard conversations were had and the person's like, I'm out. And so those things have happened to me, and they kind of hurt my stomach just even talking about them now. But it's going to happen. And I think as an entrepreneur, you need to, one, protect your heart and know that you don't need to be friends with everybody. But those friends that are, you know, the true-blue friends, you've got to show up for them just as much as they show up for you. So I'm always thinking, like, how can I be a better friend? I can't be a great friend to everybody. But there are specific people that I know I want to go all in with, so I'm going to show up come rain or shine.  

So I've had my fair share of issues with friends along the way, and I just wanted to have this quick conversation with you because as an entrepreneur, it gets kind of sticky in some places. So just something to think about. And, you know, just stay true to your heart and do what feels best for you. But I say double down on a few really core friendships that you can both add immense value to each other. 

All right. I hope you enjoyed this Shorty episode and found it valuable. Thanks for hanging out with me. And if you have a really good entrepreneurial friend, share this episode with them. I would be so very grateful.  

All right, my friend. I will see you on Thursday for more entrepreneurial goodness, same time, same place. Can't wait. 

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