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Ask Dave

A Partnership Mess

Sally says her husband is a photographer. His friend wants to create a partnership with him. Sally says they've already signed the lease. Dave thinks they've made a terrible mistake.

QUESTION: Sally in Illinois says her husband is a photographer. He has as a couple of friends who he’s considering going into business with. Her husband’s friend wants to create a partnership instead of having individual businesses. Sally says they’ve already signed the lease. Dave thinks this is a horrible idea, and they’ve made a terrible mistake.

ANSWER: I think it’s a horrible idea. I think it’s really sad that they did this before they thought it through.

This is a really bad idea. It’s a really bad idea to be in business with them. It’s a really bad idea to be in the studio with them. The reason it’s a bad idea is that what they do and how they do it is not consistent with how you and your husband live your lives. You’re uncomfortable with that. I guess your husband’s uncomfortable, but he just held his nose because he wanted to get a studio.

You’re absolutely a liability and an obstacle. You’re an obstacle that should not have been overcome. This guy is a twit, and you guys need to get away from him as fast as you can. That’s the way I see it. If someone tells my wife she’s a liability and an obstacle, they’re going to have a lot of problems doing anything that involves me. Tell your husband to suck it up and grow a backbone.

I think he can have his own business the way he’s doing it in a garage. The first thing you’ve got to do is get out of this lease. Go to the landlord and ask him if you pay out of your pocket for one month or two months if he’ll give you a document releasing your husband from any further liability on the lease and leave the other guys with the lease. And just tell the couple your husband is not going to be in business with them because no one talks to his wife that way.

How does your husband go into business? He’s in sports photography. He doesn’t need a studio. His studio is the world where sports are played. Teams don’t come to a studio to have their baseball pictures made. You go to the baseball field. They don’t pose with their bats swinging around in your studio. You stand beside home plate and take a picture. His studio is the world. It’s the ice hockey rink, the baseball field, the soccer field. If he needs a little bit of a studio at home to edit and do some other stuff, then convert the garage over time with the money he makes doing this. I missed why he needs a studio.

Close the door and make the family behave so that he gets his quiet place. Put a heater in the garage. I worked out of my house, and part of me working out of the house was my wife had to control the kids so I could get my work done. That’s part of the deal until I made enough to get me a little office. He can get a little office once he’s taking pictures and selling them. But right now, it’s all theory. He doesn’t need to be in it with Twit Boy and his girlfriend. That’s a bad deal there. That’s got a bad vibe all over it. The biggest part of the bad vibe is he’s going against his wife. One of the most valuable things I learned when I went broke was if you are married to a virtuous wife, just because you don’t like what she’s saying doesn’t mean you’re not getting good counsel.