When Friends Become Business Partners

We are no experts, and truly are still learning each day, however we do believe that over the past year and a half, we’ve acquired some good tips about how to run a small business you love, while still being present in other aspects of your life.  So, what are our inside secrets to running a business with a friend?


1) Divide & Conquer

Figure out each other’s strengths (or weaknesses!) as soon as possible to be efficient.  By setting up the main roles of each partner early on, we eliminated a lot of questions of who takes on the big, ongoing tasks that need to be addressed on top of the immediate needs (taxes, budget, annual goals, inventory, etc).

We meet at the beginning of the week and split up current pipeline items based on our weekly personal schedules and client timeline.  Each week isn’t necessarily the same and changes based on busy seasons.


2) Pick a Partner That Compliments You

We are a perfect complement to one another. Remember those best friend necklaces? That’s us. Our backgrounds (Katie in Corporate Finance + Jen as an Early Childhood Educator) really have shaped us over the past 10 years and helped how we divide & conquer (see #1 above).  Some weeks or months one of us may have to carry a larger burden than normal, but that’s the beauty of running the business with someone- if one of us needs to step away periodically, the show keeps going.  It truly is a blessing!

Photo credit: instagram.com/givegifted

3) Don’t Be Afraid to Fail

We are JUST getting to the point after over a year in business that we are comfortable saying “no” to jobs and opportunities that don’t fit into our big picture goals. We have tried every opportunity that’s come our way and taken many risks. You never know what’s out there in this world unless you give it your all and try.  There were a handful of things we did early on that we cringe about now, but if we wouldn’t have tried them, we wouldn’t know they didn’t work for us.  Our failures have made us better at what we do and truly served a good purpose in building our brand.


4) Find a Tribe of other Small Business Owners

There’s a space and a need for everyone in this world.  We are so lucky to have found many small business owners who we love, trust, and look up to. We’ve found collaboration over competition is an excellent moto. Our close-knit tribe grows each day and we are so grateful for all the amazing ‘friendors’ we’ve made so far.


5) Have Fun

Like, really, have so much fun! Socialize, go to events, network, enjoy each day – AND don’t take yourselves too seriously! We love meeting new clients and having our recurring clients turn into friends. We’ve enjoyed every minute of this new venture and can’t wait to see what the future holds for Give Gifted.

Photo credit: Joy Lewis Photography


About Jennifer and Katie and their company, Give Gifted

We are wives, moms to beautiful girls, and creative best friends with a gift giving vision. We know we are not the only ones who play several roles day-to-day, which is why our mission is to make the art of gift giving easier for our clients.  Family comes first in our busy lives and friends are a close second. We are involved at school, with Katie’s non-profit, Forever My Baby You’ll Be and in the community (we live about a mile apart!). We love being able to run our small business, stay home with our kids, a comfy dress with converse, and coffee!

The idea of Give Gifted was born while stuffing gift bags for a Forever My Baby You’ll Be Mother’s Day tea at Cornerstone of Hope. After stepping back and seeing the finished product, we realized we wanted to show the love we put into making our gifts to everyone. We soon found out that (yep!) packaging thoughtful curated gifts CAN be a business. A hobby that we did during the Bachelorette with our favorite wine quickly exploded over night into a much-needed business vision.

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Katie Burns

Katie Burns is the Co-Founder of Forever My Baby You'll Be, which was founded after her oldest daughter, Emma, was stillborn in 2014. In addition to running the non-profit, she is also the Co-Owner of Give Gifted, a custom gift giving company in Cleveland. Her favorite job title by far, is Ava's mom, and you can find her most days running around town with her little sidekick nearby! Passionate about her family, pure barre & chocolate, the little things in life really do give her the most happiness!

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