Are Your Friends Assets or Liabilities?

A look into the balance between friends and business

When it comes to entrepreneurship, money and time are precious. This can be a challenging reality to balance with personal relationships. In friendships, in particular, you want the best for each other, but your timelines and goals may not be complimentary. 

Before you go cutting people off, here is a criteria you can use to gauge the effectiveness of your circle. 

Can they operate within your budget?

When you are building your business, you are probably pouring in more financially than you are getting out. In that case, money is a lot tighter and friendship is costly. Whether it’s gas, drinks, birthday events, or brunch, most hangouts require an expense. This isn’t a knock to friendship, but it is a reality check for your wallet. If you know you’re on a budget, it’s up to you to articulate your spending boundaries. You will learn very quickly whether your friend group is in sync with, or in opposition to, your goals. 

            Budget conversations can go a variety of ways. Friends can heed the budget, suggest an alternative meeting, or offer to cover you. The options and your acceptance of them will most likely depend on the dynamics of your friendship. If a push for you to splurge or “plan accordingly” is the response, you might want to reevaluate a few things starting with priorities. 

Do they respect your boundaries?  

Many friendships change when boundaries come into play. When people are used to interacting with you in a certain way, adjusting to the “new you” isn’t always easy. Boundaries, then, are a two-fold responsibility. On one hand, you have to uphold the guidelines you set for yourself. If you dedicated 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. as work time, put your phone on silent so that you aren’t tempted to respond. The same goes for making plans around times that you set aside for business. Those times are unavailable, so treat them like regular job hours. By respecting your own boundaries, you teach others to do the same.

            On the other hand, boundaries have to be respected once they are set. If you are “off” from work on Mondays because you dedicated that day to focus on your business, don’t entertain plans for that day. After you teach your friends to not view you as “free” on business work days, pay attention to how they navigate that boundary. It may take some getting used to, but if they continually disregard it, you have a choice to make or a conversation to have. 

How do they impact your energy?

This is an important one. When you begin finding like-minded people, you will feel the difference in energy. Certain groups of people will leave you energized, inspired, and ready to take on the world. Keep those people close. Time with them is an investment because their conversation produces results, creativity, and new ideas. 

            Simultaneously, your appetite for other conversations or activities may change. You may find yourself less interested in talking about the same romantic drama or the latest reality tv episode. That’s okay. Try finding common interests for your friend group like self-care nights or goal setting sessions. This way you can hang and be productive. If there’s nothing you all enjoy doing together, consider taking a step back. That doesn’t change your love for them. 

What support do they provide?

All friendships do not pour into you the same way. There are the friends you look up to, the ones who grind with you, and the others who look up to you. That said, the way your circle supports you will vary. Some friends will give you advice, others will be grinding by your side, and some may simply spread the word. Everything helps. The longer you show your commitment to your business, the more people come around. 

            Other people in your circle may have trouble supporting what they don’t understand. That’s fine also, as long as they don’t project their limiting beliefs or negativity on to you. Don’t worry about convincing them, just keep doing what you’re doing. 

Final Thought:  Because business growth is directly correlated to personal growth, you should expect change on your entrepreneurial journey. You will change, your interests will adjust, and your circle will shift. People who don’t share your vision aren’t your enemy, they are just in a different place, and it’s up to you to interact with them accordingly. It’s okay to distance yourself from people as you attract others. Liabilities are too costly to keep around. 

Written by Mizz Jasz

Jasmine “Mizz Jasz” Hawkins is a Philly-based educator, writer, and community organizer. Jasz serves as president and founder of the non-profit Urgent 365 Inc., author of Urgent Conversations: Race, Reality, and Responsiblity, and host of the Pecola Breedlove and the Freedom Party open mic. Her work and heart are grounded in the empowerment of women and the social climate of the Black community as a whole. When she isn’t working, Jasz loves watching romantic comedies, traveling, and working out.