View Full Version : Partnering with online acquaintances?

01-19-2007, 07:48 PM
I see people in forums ask for business partners from time to time. Does this ever work out? I know it's hard enough to get something going locally, but to do it online seems like it would be pretty hard.

I think money is always a primary factor. People (often) don't work if they're not being directly rewarded for extra effort. So in theory a partnership would be a good idea. However, when money comes into play, it often seems that people argue about who gets what; in other words, people always want a bigger piece of the pie.

How do you folks manage it? I'm guessing that few of you have partners, that you're mostly (or even entirely) the people calling the shots.

01-19-2007, 08:08 PM
I've never done it because of the PITA of trying to legally define it. Half the time usually someone wants to partner with me for my help but do not bring anything to the table themselves (or grossly overestimate the value they bring).

01-19-2007, 08:18 PM
Yeah, that's actually the kind of offer I receive all the time. I've begun to be pretty blunt in my responses, too. Some VC-funded company contacted me a couple of months ago with the typical puffed-up language about forging alliances and whatnot. Annoying.

I ask because I've always wanted to start a small business website, and I think I have a good domain name and the knowledge to make it viable.

01-19-2007, 08:31 PM
I've purchased a large website online with an individual I've known for a few years -- never met, though. But, it definitely isn't an "online business." We had an attorney make a several-dozen page LLC agreement, shared business account, etc.

It's worked out very well. Just make sure you do everything according to the laws on the books.

01-19-2007, 11:34 PM
Here is my suggestion:

-- someone offers you to join their partnership for xx% of ownership, no

-- you partner with someone you already know on an idea you think will work best with two of you, yes

Right now I have multiple business partners, all seperate projects. The best ones are those who can specifically do something that you can't, and vice versa. Or, have strengths in areas you don't.

The bad reason is because one of the partners is broke and doesn't really know much about the business but doesn't want to put in the time to learn. In any serious partnership on a "big" idea, both partners should have access to tens of thousands of dollars to invest if needed minimum, in my opinion.

I also recommend starting with small, minor projects and gradually building it up to bigger and bigger things.

01-20-2007, 06:55 AM
What I prefer is something more like a promotional partnership.

Erin has an idea for a small business site. I know Peter T Davis has a small business forum (unless he sold it). They could partner, market the sites together, but each retaining ownership and profits of their individual sites. A lot easier, a lot less messy.

It may not work for a big project, but it isn't worth it doing all the legal junk for a small project.

01-20-2007, 07:10 AM
I met Bob Pankala (known as 'pank') online MANY years ago (late 1990's) when designsbymark.com was actually a good place to hang out and learn web design. We hung out on the same boards and even on his own, at the time. Then he created TeamPhotoshop and I moved over to that board.

In 2003 he started eXtremepixels and later in that year he started looking for a phpBB developer for the skins (he does the vB skins) and I threw my name in there. I got the 'job' and we have worked together ever since.

In Sept. 2005 I finally drove up there and stayed for the weekend. First time we had met in all those years.

I don't keep online acquaintances long, months usually. Rarely do they become a friend online or even offline, but Bob is definetely a friend and the only person I've ever known this long that I met online.

I'm pretty sure it's worked so well since we had known each other so long, but working with someone you meet online can work. Just have to eventually run across the right person. And he's of course the 'higher up' since he started it. But he always asks my advice/opinion and we always give it to either straight with no BS.

Todd W
01-20-2007, 09:20 AM
I think partnering with an acquantance online is similiar to starting a business witha friend "offline". Don't go into biz. with your friends! You try to start it then hire them to do the other work you can't do if you really want to work with them.

If you think your idea is that awesome you should try to get $ from everyone you know, your credit cards, etc to really "START UP". I know many people don't agree with this but if you don't believe in your idea why should someone else?

01-20-2007, 11:54 AM
I only partner on small projects.

01-20-2007, 01:46 PM
I wouldn't mind partnering with someone on some of my ideas as if it goes smoothly the site could potentially be online in half the time, plus you've got double the promotion power, but most of my sites aren't really that huge of projects that I can't do them myself, so I feel like if they are sites I can get done myself, why should I partner and have to share in the profits?

01-20-2007, 02:33 PM
In 2003 he started eXtremepixels and later in that year he started looking for a phpBB developer for the skins (he does the vB skins) and I threw my name in there. I got the 'job' and we have worked together ever since.

Now that is a good person to work with, what a quality designer that guy is. Ever since I first saw his Photoshop site I've loved his work. Have to say though, I preferred his photoshop site with all of the entry pages. Anyway, I'll get back on topic... :)

01-20-2007, 03:24 PM
Yeah, he sold TeamPS a year or so ago. It was going downhill and has really gone downhill since he sold it.

We've worked very well together, and he goes out of his way to make sure I stay with him. We've been through several IPB guys, I've been the only phpBB guy since 2003/2004.

01-20-2007, 04:13 PM
I think it really depends on the people. I partnered in a business with someone I met online and we seem to do pretty well together. We have met in person several times since then, but are able to continue working online. I think it really depends on the two (or more) people involved. Neither of us invested in the business financially, only with our time and that has worked for us.