Do i really need a partner to start a business?

My dear earthlings, I’m writing to you about a topic that has been truly crucial for me: choosing a business partner. At the beginning of my entrepreneurial journey, I had the idea that I needed a partner to bring my project to life. You might be wondering, “Why?” The answer is that I have no idea, I think I had been heavily influenced by marketing and the stories in movies where there’s always an unbeatable duo that conquers the world.

In my mind, I thought I needed my “partner in crime” with whom we would form a great partnership, navigate the sea of uncertainty and all our projects would reach solid ground. What’s worse is that I not only thought about it, I truly believed it and I dedicated myself to trying out projects and ideas with different partners with whom I never got very far, not because they were bad, I actually think they were brilliant minds, but we weren’t the right “match.”

One day, a therapist and a good friend told me that there were people who didn’t need partners to start their business projects, that there were people who could start from scratch, alone, with a clear idea and a lot of determination. She told me that I seemed to be one of those people. I don’t know how, but from that day on, I embarked on the journey and decided to navigate on my own. However, I no longer wanted a ship that would sail the waves and stay afloat; I wanted to dive in like a dolphin, become part of the ecosystem and learn to dive without drowning.

Throughout this time, I’ve been alone on my entrepreneurial journey, doing things my way because, to be honest, I’m not very good at taking orders. I prefer to be the one who decides what needs to be done and take responsibility for my decisions (that’s not my fault; I blame it on my stubborn grandmother, she really knew how to give orders). And today, I have a couple of partners with whom I’m building new lines of business, with whom I’m expanding horizons. It took me quite some time to reach that level of trust, so I want to share some points I consider important if you’re thinking about bringing someone into your project and, like me, find it a bit (or a lot) hard to let go of control:

Money is important, but not the only thing:
One of the things I’ve learned is that while money plays an important role in a company’s growth and development, it’s not the only thing and you shouldn’t choose someone as a partner solely for the financial capital or financial stability they can bring to your company. It may be nice to have that peace of mind and not have to worry about how you’ll pay the next month’s bills, but you should ask yourself, how much influencewill that person have on the crucial decisions of your company? Do they share your values and the values of your project? Do they have a shared vision for the future? What is their stance regarding the team?

Before making a decision, ask yourself these questions and carefully analyze your answers. You don’t want to be “bound” in a partnership where you end up doing everything according to someone else’s decisions just because they have a majority stake in the company’s articles of incorporation.

The balance: your partner doesn’t have to be just like you:
There should definitely be polarity for things to be in balance. In my case, I’m very adventurous, I’m not afraid of change and I believe in taking action and then figuring out how to overcome obstacles. My partners, on the other hand, are more reserved and analytical. They help me see things from different perspectives, present scenarios where we might not come out as well, and this allows us to reach a consensus to make the best decision for the business, not just for us as individuals. It’s in our differences where our greatest strength lies.

True communication:
The previous point is closely linked to this one. It’s of no use to come up with ideas if we can’t communicate bidirectionally. It sounds simple, but in practice, it’s often easier to talk than to listen.
As a partner, you need to have the ability to understand that there may be disagreements, that we won’t necessarily think the same way, but there should always be an open line for dialogue. Imagine a relationship with your partner or prospective partner where you want to express yourself or ask for a reason for their actions and they respond with, “Just because.” In my case, at that moment, you become ineligible. We need to work on tolerance and emotional intelligence, not giving in to momentary tantrums.

Sharing the dream and the “driving force”:
I can’t count on my fingers and toes the number of people who have approached me at some point and said, “We should do something,” “We should start a business,” “What do we do? I have this idea”… and it never goes beyond that. The same goes for when I pitch ideas to people who I see potential in and they don’t take action. They say yes, but then later, or they’re too busy now and they wait for me to follow up and in the end, I end up getting things done with people who immediately say, “Yes, let’s do it!” and at that precise moment, they’re making calls or putting the ideas into a plan.

That’s the driving force, the inner fire to make things happen, to seek the “How Yes.” I highly recommend staying away from people who only dream of making it big but don’t invest any time or effort in pursuing the dream.

Your trusted people:
While your partners don’t necessarily have to be your friends or vice versa, whether friends or not, the most important thing is that your partner is someone who trusts you and in whom you can trust. They are there to support each other, to grow as professionals and as people. There should be an openness to speak candidly and discuss what we like and what we don’t like without it leading to a business relationship’s downfall. For me, this is the most important point; in the end, a partnership is like a relationship, based on mutual trust.

To conclude this writing and answer the initial question: “Do I really need a partner to start a business?” My answer would be NO, you don’t need a partner to start a business, but I highly recommend partnering if you want to grow your business because the union of other minds with different skills than yours strengthens and gives structure to an organization.

Plus, at some point, you stop feeling alone against the world; there are more shoulders to lean on and, consequently, more ideas to explore. You start swimming in open waters with your pack and that’s where the magic happens.

I greet you from my Libra existence and we’ll meet again in the next one.

Jess Rojas.

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