How many times we have heard or been told that we should avoid working with a friend as it could jeopardize our friendship or it’s not efficient and may end in a disaster? Well, it doesn’t have to be that way.
Here’s my little adventure…
My website has been a work in progress for the past few years. I even made attempts to build it by myself. Thankfully, I realized quickly that building a website on my own was not my cup of tea. I had a clear concept, but I lack the skills and patience needed to take it to fruition. I engaged a few professional website designers, but it never moved forward. Perhaps my briefing was not clear, and my website remained in construction mode. I started to convince myself that in the age of apps, websites are old-fashioned and a thing of the past, and therefore I do not need one. My mission almost got aborted.
Then on one of the random chats with my coach friend, I was asked how my website was coming along. I tried my best to ignore the question until he said that he might be able to help me. I became interested in hearing more and in less than a week I was sitting and briefing his teenage daughter on my website. I remember wearing my favorite color to elicit the color scheme for the website and within a week or so, I was presented with the first design. Within a few months, I could see the structure coming along and it was starting to look like what I had envisioned. This engagement did not complete the website though, it was nevertheless useful as it moved to a new milestone – having a structure.
I had totally underestimated the work involved in creating a website. While the structure was there I was struggling to fill the gaps, and organize the content in a meaningful way that reflects my purpose and my work. In other words, in reflecting on who I am.
In February this year, as I was preparing to get on the airplane for the first time in two years, suddenly, I was reminded of my friend and an ex-colleague who was a digital marketing and branding expert from my days at HP. I immediately contacted my friend and asked her if she would be willing to work on my website and the rest is a beautiful story that I’m going to narrate below:
There was a briefing call set up by my friend, where she asked me a million questions. After the call, I received a summary of our call with a ‘homework’ for me and a few more clarifying questions. It was so refreshing to be able to work with a professional who knows her subject well and above all, who knows how to draw out inputs from the client. Knowing how professional she is, I just trusted her to do the job and let go off wanting to control the process.
During my seven-hour flight, I spent my time working my brains just to write two lines about myself. That was my only homework and not an easy one. How many of you can relate to that? I’m creatively challenged when it comes to writing about myself. Period.
COVID did try to derail the project, but it wasn’t strong enough in comparison to the commitment and creativity of my highly talented friend. As much as I’m delighted to launch my website, I’m prouder to introduce the branding expert Rocio Minguez, who made it look effortless to put all the pieces together of the brand – Doramontie Nelleman.
Indeed, it looked effortless, but both of us know how much work has gone into it. I’m borrowing her metaphor here, to describe Rocio’s style and approach to work. “It’s a bit like a floating swan that glides on the water, and you admire from above how gentle it looks but unless you look underwater you don’t how hard they paddle. It takes a lot more work to make it look so natural”.
I commend her work ethic, talent, eye for detail and design, and her ability to understand and grasp complex concepts and simplify them. She’ll always ask me, ‘will a non-coach understand the language you are using here?’, whenever it sounded like a coaching jargon. She wanted to be clear about ‘the nautical concept’ I had in mind. Once she understood, that as a coach I’m like a vessel that clients board on to discover and move forward in their journey, she was able to bring in together all the parts that make that vessel in a meaningful way. My mindful movement yoga practice and my ceramic art are parts of the vessel too, which together with coaching and mentoring make the vessel what it is: robust and fit to explore for the clients, especially in the turbulent times that we are going through now.
So, yes, working with friends can be successful if we are professional and intentional. The massive advantage of working with a friend is that a lot of times you do not need to explain yourself because the other person knows you well. Knowing the person saves a lot of work guessing and going back and forth. Also, the fact that you already respect and admire each other sets up the tone for fair collaboration.
I will recommend Rocio to anyone who is looking for premium end-to-end marketing services. She’s a trusted partner who guides the client through ‘doing the thinking’, asks questions, does the research, and executes the job to completion.
You can find her here
More on the tech-savvy teenage talent in my next blog. Keep watching this space!
My key learnings from this project:
1) The importance of work ethic
2) Set and establish a clear agreement from the start and revisit it midway
3) Be purpose-driven
4) Be professional
5) Keep it fun
6) Be human
Magic happens when there’s psychological safety.