What We Learned Buying a Business Together in 2018

December 20th, 2018

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Oh, what a year.

Raconteur experienced a changing of the guard in 2018, and here’s what we (Marissa & Olia, that is) learned in the process, as published by Little Black Book.

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In 2018, we held hands and jumped into the deep end. In spring, we took over Raconteur. Having worked alongside one another since 2012 (hired during the same week, fated for sure), we’ve spent our years growing Raconteur side by side, becoming close friends in the process.

When the opportunity to purchase the company from its founder arose, it was a decision we did not take lightly. What would this new chapter look like? What challenges and risks were we facing? How would our dynamic as friends and colleagues change?

We took the leap, bought the company, and began to evolve and diversify. As we discussed our hopes for the future, Marissa was reminded of a moving endurance performance piece, “Rest Energy” by the art icon Marina Abramović and her then-husband Ulay.

Standing across from one another in a leaned-back position, Marina holds a bow and Ulay holds the string. Looking each other in the eye, their two bodies forming a V, the arrow is pointed directly at Abramovic’s heart.

A dramatic comparison, yes, but “Rest Energy” is a pretty apt parallel for the extreme levels of trust, vulnerability, and endurance that come along with becoming business partners.

Being 50/50 in our livelihood, our future, one can’t let the other down without the whole thing falling apart; a wrong move and the synchronicity we hinge upon gets compromised. Taking our vows to be work wives, we became mutually invested in one another’s well being, much like a marriage. The surrender and trust is as weighty as shooting an arrow into one another’s heart.

Because of this, we’re lucky that we get to think as two. We learned there’s no room for self-interest in a partnership. We fostered a deep appreciation of our clients who are business owners, having become ones ourselves.

We are in this together, growing and learning with a newfound empathy and rhythm that only comes with being able to trust in the other. How all consuming living and breathing your business can be; it is not just ‘work’, it is your family, your heartbeat.