Many people interested in this opportunity are going to go at it alone, they will do their homework, pick their sponsor, read all the paperwork, sign up, get started and make a change in their lives on their own. But that’s only one way to do it. We have had many people ask us if we know anyone who has embarked on the LuLaRoe journey with a partner. The answer is that yes, we actually do, Saira and Minessa are partners, we have many friends who are partners, and some additional sister teams as well. A partnership can be a great way to go for this prospect, but when we are asked, “What should we be thinking about?” a whole host of things come to mind.
Who to Partner With
Some of you may come into this with an idea of who your partner may be. Perhaps its your sister, your best friend from school, your neighbor, or even a work colleague that you may not have known very well before you both started talking about the LuLaRoe opportunity. Regardless of their place in your lives, there are many things to consider when entering into a partnership with someone:
- Are your skillsets complimentary? Does one of you love doing the photos while the other thrives on numbers? This will make it easier to divide labor (more on that later)
- How do you each work/organize?
- Do you agree on who your sponsor should be? Or what you are looking for in a sponsor?
- Does each of you have a similar sense of urgency in your work? If one of you likes to go slow like a turtle in molasses, and another likes to move like your butt is on fire, there may end up being an issue.
- Have you discussed the reinvestment of funds, do you have a consensus on how much gets blocked off for reinvesting, spending, etc.?
- What about branding? Do you both agree on what it is that you are trying to sell (aside from clothes)? What is your message to your clients? Is it that you guys are all about sexy and fun? is it about empowerment, or being comfortable? Both partners need to be aligned in their vision for their business, because nothing will tear a business apart faster than sending mixed messages to its client base.
We have seen situations where the partners agreed that the opportunity was great, and they agreed on their workload distribution, but when the time came to pick a sponsor, one partner wanted to sign on under her friend’s, cousin’s, sister’s former roommate, while the other partner wanted to sign on under Saira & Minessa. They had figured everything else out except what they were looking for in a sponsor. They did not sign up together, because for them personally, as it turned out that their disagreement was insurmountable. This wont always be a deal breaker, but its important to know what your deal breakers are before you go into this as you would for any other business venture.
How will the workload be distributed?
You need to decide how you plan on organizing. Where will the clothes be delivered? How will they be presented? Will you use a mannequin or hangers? Are you going to use a fancy backdrop or a wall? These may all seem like small things, but they are big decisions that most consultants spend a LOT of time thinking about, and have enough trouble agreeing with themselves on the best way to do it without adding in a partner’s opinion as well. Do you both want to be the clothes folder and picture takers? Who is going to do the heavy lifting for parties? Whose responsibility is it to gather a customer base, and what message are you sending your customers. These are some of the questions to ask to determine if your work styles mesh.
Do you have a partnership agreement and work distribution arrangement?
I cannot stress enough how important this is. Aside from being sisters, we have been working together (Saira and Minessa) for over 20 years, have lived together and been best friends for much longer than that, and neither of us would even think about getting involved in a partnership with each other without having the appropriate documentation in place. Both of us know that, so when we decided to do this together, we said, ok, lets do it. There wasn’t even a question of, “Should we do it?” It’s just good business sense. Its important to remember that as the great Don Corlene said, its not personal, this is business. And regardless of who you get involved with in a business, you should have this information in place, in writing, signed and agreed upon. Even notarized or witnessed if necessary.
Will you incorporate?
You do not have to incorporate in order to join in a partnership, nor to get started in a partnership with LuLaRoe. If you intend to get a business account with a bank, you will need to complete this paperwork though. You can go to LegalZoom to get an LLC agreement. Either one will work, and you just fill out a form and it spits out your paperwork. You will need to submit that paperwork to your state to get your EIN, which will become your Tax ID. Once you receive your Tax ID, you can take that and the agreement to the bank and get your account set up. You can do all of this after you have already signed up, its not a requirement to join as partners.
What is each of you investing for the start up? Do you both believe it is equitable? How will the income be distributed?
Money is the root of all evil they say. I say it’s a great way to get a new Ana and some matching high heels, but that’s just me. Unless you have some sort of emotional arrangement where the two partners don’t care about money (which does happen, and is not a bad thing!), we would recommend making sure that each partner is investing equally in the startup costs. Nothing can damage a partnership faster than disagreeing about money. Once the initial startup costs are identified and allocated, then you will need to determine exactly how to distribute the money you make from selling (or leading a team). There is no right or wrong way to do this. You know you will need to consider some for taxes, some for reinvestment, and some will be left for you to spend. But what the percentage distribution is, that’s a personal decision, and you must agree on those numbers together. You also need to agree on WHEN. When will you buy new inventory and when will you take money out for your distributions? The sisters tend to be in agreement on this. We reinvest enough to keep our stock up plus some, put some aside for taxes, and leave the rest in our account. We don’t pull it out unless we need it for the moment. That’s our choice, we both agree, and its what works for us. Others may want to put money aside for taxes, restock, leave some in there for incidentals, and take out their distributions right away. Whatever the process and schedule, it needs to be something that both parties are happy with.
Entering into a partnership for any business is a HUGE step. You are essentially marrying this person in a business sense. Your finances with this venture are going to be entwined, and you will be spending a LOT of time together (I’m not kidding, I do mean A LOT) so you have to like being around each other, and truly enjoy each others company. We have had people come to us saying that they think they want to go into a partnership together, but aren’t really sure if they are right for each other, and kind of feel like its not the right step, but they want to do this so badly they are willing to overlook some of their disagreements. Our thoughts on that are that you wouldn’t marry someone if stance on religion, children, finances, and lifestyle were not the same as yours, so why would you enter into a business arrangement (marriage) with someone whose position on finances, distributions, business management, and design are not the same as or in line with yours?
Though it may sound very negative, but these are just things to consider and cautionary tales when considering this venture as a partnership. Some of you may look at this list and think, “Pfft, we talked about all this, we agree on everything, this is perfect, send me the paperwork.” We would LOVE that because a partnership can be very rewarding, in that you get to share the pressures, share the workload, and share in the joys, which makes it that much better. Our lives are greatly enhanced since we started doing this together, because we both feel every success and every bit of excitement together. Sure we have minor disagreements, but our fundamental worldview is the same, and our desire to do this together as sisters is stronger than any argument we may have. When you choose your partner, that’s what you should be thinking about, 1) do your perspectives align and 2) do you want to do this with each other enough that you are confident that the disagreements you may have will not overshadow the relationship.
If you have any additional questions, please ask them on the SAira’s Dreamers Facebook page, since it will benefit all of our members who may have questions about this opportunity and partnerships!