5 Lessons From Walking Away from a Million Dollar Partnership

Damien GoldenYeah, you read that right. Just slap me!

Okay, I’m alright now, but wait until you hear the story, revised of course because it is two years long.

For the past couple of years we (I say we because my husband and I work our advertising business, iKANDE Advertising full time together) have been planning a business venture with a friend who has an amazing skill set. It is different from ours, but we complement each other in a beautiful way when it comes to business. We’ve done a number of projects in the past and they’ve all gone very well, so we started working on a huge possible partnership worth over million dollars over the course of 5-10 years.

This business needed a store front and stellar location and that is why it took nearly two years to come to a head. So we found the perfect location and it was time to finalize the business plan, financials and all that good stuff (interject sarcasm because full out business plans can look like 5 inch thick law documents that can put insomniacs into a deep sleep). Then the smoke cleared and clarity set in.

You know that feeling you get in your gut when something doesn’t sit right. It doesn’t matter the situation, but the knot feels the same way – icky, unnerving and maybe a bit nauseating. Then, marry that with the spoken concern from 3 people we regard highly in the business community and personally. All of a sudden the million dollar partnership, which we had been working on for months, was dissolving.

Time is an amazing thing, it helps you see clearly if a client or partner is appropriate for you and your goals. It is important not to rush into things. If it is a perfect match for you, it will still be a perfect match the next day.

Luke Mysse talks about working with only clients that he likes because it transcends into the caliber of work he produces. If you don’t really like a client or your morals aren’t aligned, it is hard to service the client to your utmost ability.

Sure we all need money to eat. And the prospect of having everything your heart has ever desired is a huge driving force, but if you are going to be stressed out, miserable or possibly lose everything you’ve worked for in life, love and business – is it really worth it?

Whether it is a new client or new partnership you are faced with, treat it as though it is a million dollar decision because it just may be over the coming years.

5 lessons I learned that may help you too:

  1. Sometimes going into business with a friend may not be a good idea.
  2. After all the glitz and bling are gone, what is left may be stinky.
  3. If a partnership doesn’t coincide with your moral fabric, you need to walk away.
  4. Time reveals all things.
  5. Heed the warnings of your mentor(s) or those that care about you and your success.

Hopefully sharing this experience helps you in your endeavors. Have a business adventure story to share? I’d love to hear about it!

Anybody have a similar story and lessons to go along with it?

3 thoughts on “5 Lessons From Walking Away from a Million Dollar Partnership

  1. Deidre

    Wow, Damien. Wow. Thanks for sharing this. I think it’s so brave that you laid all the groundwork for this business venture, and then even braver that you trusted your instincts and walked away. What you said really resonates with me:

    “Sure we all need money to eat. And the prospect of having everything your heart has ever desired is a huge driving force, but if you are going to be stressed out, miserable or possibly lose everything you’ve worked for in life, love and business – is it really worth it?”

    Every now and then doubt creeps in. I wonder if I should be bigger, be making more money, be more conventional or have more things. But then I remember how much better my whole life is since I became self-employed. I don’t think it’s ever worth trading your happiness, even for a MILLION dollars.

    See you at CFC!

    -Deidre

  2. Brett

    Thanks for sharing, Damien. Kudos to you and Ron for knowing that walking away was your best option. As is so often the case, the right decision isn’t always the easy one. See you in SF.

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