Corbett Barr

Lifestyle Business Weekly

3 Ways to Make Business 1000% More Fun (Part 2)

In part one of this little three-part series, I shared the “stop doing list” as a simple way to make business more fun, both in the short-term and long-term.

Now let’s talk about something too many people overlook.

2. Make friends.

They say “don’t mix business with pleasure,” but I think that’s about the dumbest business advice I’ve ever heard.

What fun is anything in life without friends? If you don’t have real friends in business, how can you expect to have fun at what you do?

I’ve always tried to have friends at work, and it has made a huge difference, especially in situations that would have been unbearable otherwise. Some of those friendships are very meaningful to me still today, even after 5, 10 or even 15 years (yes, I’m getting old).

When you work for yourself or when you become the boss, the importance of having friends in business can easily be forgotten. Instead of looking to co-workers to fill this role, you have to work harder and look to other people you do business with (peers, partners, other entrepreneurs, advisors).

There’s no big secret to making friends. You have to put yourself in situations where you can meet people. Get a little uncomfortable and introduce yourself. Don’t network, just be a real person and say hello. Get to know people for who they are, not for what they can do to help your business.

This can happen either in-person or online.

You can really get to know people pretty well over a video chat, although in-person forms stronger bonds (you can try sharing a beer over Skype, but it’s not as effective).

You’ll naturally connect with some of the people you meet, and you won’t with others. Don’t force the relationships, just let them happen as they will. The trick is to meet lots of people so you can find the compatible ones faster.

I just returned from BlogWorld in LA over the weekend. Honestly, it didn’t feel like a business trip because I’ve been lucky to make so many friends in the blogging community over the past few years. We had a ridiculously great time, and I really look forward to these in-person events instead of dreading them like you might a normal business conference.

Your Homework

Having friends in business is a must if you want to make it fun. Start by emailing 10 people in businesses similar to yours and ask them if they’d like to Skype or get together for coffee.

Don’t worry about the ones who don’t get back to you. Like I said, you’ll connect with some people and not with others. That’s life. Don’t worry about the people you don’t click with.

Have you made many real friends in business? What tips can you share for meeting new and interesting people? Have you found it difficult to form strong bonds because of your work situation?

Let’s chat about it in the comments.

Corbett Barr

A weekly curated email of useful links for people interested in lifestyle businesses and independent entrepreneurship.


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  1. Hi Corbett,

    Would you like to get together for a coffee next week? (hehehe)

  2. i was going to ask the same question… well. just Skype call. check your inbox. :)

  3. Making friends is KEY! I’m currently working for a business where making friends with other employees is discouraged. They say it’s because you and the other employee could have a falling out which would result in an awkward working environment. YIKES!

  4. Ash

    I’m currently looking at how better to connect with other music makers in Japan. Most people I know here are in tech, which is awesome, but am challenged by finding places to meet likeminded musicians.

    Then I woke up this morning and a friend shared this on my Facebook wall:
    Osaka beatmakers getting together for some bring-your-own-beats nights. Lucky :)

  5. great point about networking. Everyone hates that little twerp who comes up to you at a networking event, dishes you a business card, tells you what he does, and then moves on to the next victim.

    It’s about a forging a personal relationship with someone new. Always ask yourself, how can you help this person? not the other way around….Karma baby!

    • “then moves on to the next victim”. Too funny!

      I’m reaching out to other parents / single parents for MDBP, but struggling to figure out how I can help them. Advice, suggestions welcome.


  6. Corbett — Well said. And it’s a very American phenomenon to try to distill work from fun from life — in other cultures, work and friends IS life. Business and friendships matter. I always find a bit of water cooler chat can make even the toughest business projects go a bit smoother when I know the guy that’s next to me behind the drawing board has a family to go home to, that we are both interested in going for a run after work; that we love the process but we’re not completely inhuman!

    Some tips for making friends — people love being asked for advice, and to tell the story of who they are. I learn a tremendous amount by asking questions about what people like doing. A quick email or question that says, “Hey, do you have time for coffee? I’d love to hear about the work you’re doing and maybe some advice you might have for someone new in this field” — is usually a really great way to reach out to someone. Most people like helping each other. Worst case? You either get no response, or you have a mediocre coffee and pick up a few tips. Best case? You have a new mentor and a new friend. It’s all winning.

    And, it gets WAY easier with practice. Believe it or not, I’m a trained extrovert.. I’m naturally more of an introvert. I used to be much more painfully shy and would embarrass easily. I know you won’t believe that …

    • Corbett

      Awesome tips Sarah. Making friends seems so hard if you haven’t practiced it actively very much. But you’re right: it does get MUCH easier with practice. It’s definitely a little uncomfortable to ask people out to coffee / lunch, but every relationship has to start somewhere.

  7. Ask them if they would like to Skype… hmmmmmmmm… man I’m not sure about this one…

    Not even because I’m shy but… oh well I don’t know, that would definitely be VERY out of my comfort zone.

    Might try it someday although I’m pretty sure it would be weird anyway LOL


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