Natasha Poliszczuk knows better than most how important boundaries can be – both professional and personal. She co-founded Wear & Where with her fellow journalist and friend Alex Gorton, quickly learning that when there’s just two of you running the show, five things would be key to making it work.
Here Natasha shares her top tips on working with a friend.
“So,” I email Alex, “Legology have asked me to write about what it’s like working with a friend. Anything you want to say?” And right there you have just one of the (many) brilliant things about working with a friend: two brains instead of one.
When we started out on our W&W journey (we were both new mums, juggling babies and cups of coffee in chilly London parks) there was the inevitable naysaying. Be careful, they warned, mixing friendship and business is rarely a good idea. What if you fall out?
But what if you don’t? What if, in fact, the differences are a major part of your successes and your friendship is strengthened by the experience?
Lesson 1: Your differences can be one of your great strengths. Play to them.
One of the great things about working with Alex is that whilst we have so much in common (our love of coffee, Gail’s cinnamon buns, stripes and leopard print for starters) we also have different strengths. For instance: doing more meetings with clients/PRs because you live in town (me); being a tech whiz so you get the maze that is the back end of the site (Alex); mastering SEO (me); coming up with creative content when the other is swamped with work/family (both).
Lesson 2: You don’t have to both do all the work, all the time
Providing, of course, you take your turn. What I mean by this is that you don’t both have to be perpetually on fire. Since W&W’s inception, we have both taken maternity leaves/been ill/been on deadline with our day jobs; ergo, the other one stepped-up. (Obviously, this only works if both of you pick up the slack on occasion.)
Lesson 3: But do you have both take it seriously – and have your eye on the same prize
We started W&W as a creative outlet. A year or so in, we realised that a. it had grown pretty nicely in an organic fashion, but b. took a lot of (unpaid) time, and c. could really take off if we sharpened out focus. What if we treated it like a business, not a hobby? We re-designed the site, scheduled posts, pursued collaborative opportunities, networked, upped our Instagram game. Thus far – touch wood – it’s working.
Lesson 4: You have an in-house cheerleader
We all have those days when everything seems overwhelming. This is when working with a friend is the best decision you ever made. They know you. They are invested in your business. They care on every front – so are perfectly placed to talk you out of your blue state.
Lesson 5: It’s good to share
The highs are higher. The lows are more bearable. The shoots more hilarious. The meetings more fun. One of the things I miss about working on staff at a magazine is the team camaraderie. Working with a friend gives you just that.
Catch up with Natasha and Alex at Wear & Where, or on Instagram at @wearandwhere