Photo taken at Alptitude USA by Haje

Friendmaking in Business

People always tell you never to go into business with friends or family. I’m lucky to be part of a team that has dispelled that myth.

I’ve known Carlos since I was 7 years old, when he arrived at my primary school as the cleverest kid in the class and annoyingly good at sports. In high school we became close friends and part of a gang of five — the Inbetweeners of our day – and all still close today (one, Canio, on the left in the picture below, sadly is no longer with us).

Carlos is the lucky one - he’s behind the camera

Little did Carlos and I know that we’d set up in business together years later.

We set up our first company, Spook Studio — a digital agency, in 2004, before closing it 10 years later when it was thriving.

The reason? We’d started The Happy Startup School on the side in 2012 and it had blown up from merely an idea to a growing community, popular blog and ever-more powerful events.

At Spook we had some great clients. But we also wasted too much time on some projects and businesses that didn’t seem to have much of a point to them.

I wanted us to spend more of our time building brands and companies that had a positive impact — becoming trailblazers for a new way of doing business, not build a slightly better web design agency.

And Carlos trusted me that this was the right way to go, even if I’m sure he had his doubts.

Since closing the agency in 2015 we’ve focused our work on creating experiences that empower a new breed of entrepreneur and leader to align their personal goals with their professional goals.

It’s taken us all around the world – from Costa Rica to India.

But despite the different people we meet, one thing comes back again and again.

That is, unless you know yourself – who you truly are and what it is that you want – you’ll never be truly happy with whatever success you have.

Choices, choices

We still come across far too many people (like this guy 👆) wasting their time on work that doesn’t fulfil them, chasing money or success and sacrificing their own wellbeing.

Only to make a positive change when life smacks them in the face.

The day we lost Canio to lymphoma I made a commitment to his legacy that I’d never take my life for granted and make the most of this one shot I have.

“Hard Choices, Easy Life. Easy Choices, Hard Life.” Jerzy Gregory

Taking the unconventional path isn’t easy.

Particularly one where money isn’t the measure of success.

But it would be a lot harder on my own, and without an incredible community of friends and collaborators from around the world that are sharing the highs and lows with us.

Most days we’re stuck in the thick of it, with doubts and challenges like everyone else. But today I feel lucky that me and Carlos have found our path and are working it all out together.

If you’re still seeking:

  • Start by making choices that feel right, even if they don’t make sense yet. This will nudge you in the right direction.
  • Search out kindred spirits that you can have fun with. This will make the journey as rewarding as the destination.
  • Feel the fear and do it anyway. What’s the worst that could happen? You’ll be older and wiser, and without regrets.

You never know where it might take you.

The Happy Startup School is a growing community of solopreneurs, founders and changemakers built on friendship