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Going into business with your best friend can either be the worst thing you’ve ever done or the best decision you’ve ever made. Horror stories of the former are plentiful, so we’re always excited to hear about success stories of the latter like Fearless Fund co-founders and partners Arian Simone and Keshia Knight Pulliam.
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Keshia and Arian are the best friends you love to see. With more than 20 years of friendship and loads of experience as boss women in their own rights, the dynamic duo desired to create space and bridge the widening gaps for women of color-led businesses. Pulling from their own professional journeys, connections and know-how they created The Fearless Fund for women of color-led businesses seeking pre-seed, seed level, or Series A financing. Not only have Arian and Keshia helped businesses that otherwise might not have found their footing, they have cultivated a working relationship that prioritizes their bond over the business. And while that may seem counterintuitive, it’s the secret sauce that makes their friendship and business work.
“If you are having issues with your friendship outside of the business, then I don’t encourage that if you’re going into business as friends,” Simone told ESSENCE Unbossed podcast host Marquita Harris. “You have to know your friends.You should know and take serious consideration to [say], okay win or lose, what do we have after this?”
The pair works hard and sets boundaries to maintain time to simply be friends.
“We fill in the gaps for each other,” Knight-Pulliam says of her friendship with Simone. “So, it works.”
“Our business is important but, this is family,” she added. “This trumps any and everything. So you have to be very clear that this relationship is the priority over anything that happens in business. And if something happens, being able to have those conversations and discussions and express to one another and talk, communicate.”
To hear their full conversation on the latest episode of the UnBossed Podcast, take a listen below: