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76: When to Say Goodbye: Ending a Partnership with Joe Fier

Joe Fier, host of Hustle & Flowchart podcast opens up publicly about how he and Matt Wolfe went their separate ways

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In this incredibly intimate and honest conversation with Joe Fier, co-host of the Hustle and Flowchart podcast, we delve deep into the personal and professional challenges of ending a thriving partnership.

We discuss the intricate dynamics of their partnership, how things began to unravel, and the impact it had on both of them personally and professionally.

We ask key questions like:

  • How do you know when a partnership isn’t working?
  • How do you communicate your doubts and concerns?
  • When do you know it’s time to end it?
  • How do you break up without damaging the business or your personal relationship?
  • How do you handle the public’s perception of a separation in a public business?
  • How do you prevent a messy breakup in a business partnership?
  • What makes a great partnership?

Let’s get stuck in!

Links & Resources

  • Hustle & Flowchart podcast:
  • Joe Fier on Twitter/X:
  • PodHacker course for podcasters:
  • Matt Wolfe on Twitter:
  • Matt’s AI Channel on YT:

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The Transcript

⚠️ NOTE: This is an automated transcript, so it might not always be 100% accurate!

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[00:00:00] Joe Fier, Hustle and Flowchart pod host: And this is, this was a decision I needed to make for myself, my family, and it was the right move. It was fucking hard, and this is like, I didn’t want to lose a friend, so. Or friends, but mainly Matt, because, you know, this is a long term friend. So that’s why I chose like, Hey, I need it to be very objective and I’m happy. I, I accomplished that. And then the next morning I woke up to both their messages and they completely agreed.

[00:00:31] Leanne: Hello and welcome to the truth life and workplace culture podcast brought to you by the HubSpot podcast network, the audio destination for business professionals. My name is Leanne. I’m a business psychologist.

[00:00:42] Al: My name is Al. I’m a business owner.

[00:00:44] Leanne: We are here to help you simplify the science of people and create amazing workplace cultures.

[00:00:48] Al: Yeah. Welcome back. Welcome back. As we always say, if you’re brand new, then let us know, jump on LinkedIn. We, we, well, Leanne’s on LinkedIn. I’m not, but go jump on LinkedIn, search for truth, lies and tell us you’re new. Tell us what you like about us. Tell you what you don’t like.

[00:01:01] Leanne: Yeah, let’s get in touch.

[00:01:02] Leanne: We’re not going to chat on too long today because we’ve got a really great story for you. We’re talking about breakups and talking about breakups. I think my body is trying to break up with its ability to birth a human or grow a human. I feel like crap. It might be time to get back in touch with, uh, Dr.

[00:01:18] Leanne: Kelly off of the women’s health episode, you know.

[00:01:20] Al: Oh, poor love. I think we do have it a little bit easy don’t we? Cause our, our part in the, uh, in the child. Production is relatively well in some cases, relatively short.

[00:01:32] Leanne: Some briefer than others.

[00:01:36] Al: Moving on. Moving on. Yes. Before I go and hide under a blanket with a chicken burger, let’s talk about our guest.

[00:01:43] Al: So it’s a special day for me because I got to interview one of my heroes. I’ve been listening to Joe and Matt for years and we’ll introduce them in a second, but I even bought some of their products. They’ve definitely shaped the way I’ve thought and built businesses. However, about two or three years ago, their show, which was called the hustle and flow chart kind of pivoted from a podcast about marketing with all of my marketing heroes.

[00:02:05] Al: You met, you think about a marketing hero. They’ve been on there to like a podcast about web three and crypto. And I had some crypto and I was slightly interested in web three. So I obviously continue to listen. And also it’s Matt and Joe’s, of course, you know, they’re my, they were my buds, but I found myself sort of forcing to listen a little bit and I gave it a break fast forward to January this year.

[00:02:25] Al: And not only have I seen Matt on YouTube go from zero to like, I think he’s on a half a million subscribers talking about AI on YouTube, but Joe also joined the HubSpot network, which is obviously the. business destination for business professional, the audio destination business professionals. So after a couple of whiskeys one night, I got the confidence to message him and ask him if he wanted to be a guest.

[00:02:46] Leanne: Yeah. I remember you being really nervous, but it turned out that Joe’s really cool. Isn’t it pretty down to earth?

[00:02:52] Al: Yeah. You will find out shortly just how honest and down to earth he is. Um, I’m currently exiting a partnership myself. So I wanted to find out the story behind Joe and Matt’s quite public.

[00:03:02] Al: breakup. Like did they fall out? Are they still mates? Did they have a fight in McDonald’s car park? All will be revealed over the next 30 to 40 minutes.

[00:03:11] Leanne: Yeah. Al’s asked me to pop in from time to time to just talk a little bit about the psychology of relationships or partnerships. Uh, but to be honest, Joe has a lot of the answers on this one.

[00:03:21] Leanne: So this is a perfect episode for you if you want to start a partnership, if you’re in a partnership, that’s a bit rocky, or if you’re thinking about ending a partnership.

[00:03:30] Al: Yep. We’re going to answer questions like why might you want to get into a partnership in the first place? Should you be friends? What makes a great partner?

[00:03:37] Al: Can you prevent a messing, a messy ending? Should it happen? So our guest today is the amazing Joe Fear, who has the podcast Hustle and Flowchart. If you’ve never heard of it and you’re into marketing or business growth or you’re an entrepreneur, this is definitely where you should be going to check out.

[00:03:52] Al: I asked him to tell us how he and Matt met.

[00:03:54] Joe Fier, Hustle and Flowchart pod host: It was about 15 ish years ago. My partner that you’re talking about previous, uh, business partner, still really good friends. So I just wanted to note that there is a Matt Wolf and we, we started working together at his parents company. They actually created these wooden shutters, interior shutters.

[00:04:13] Joe Fier, Hustle and Flowchart pod host: And it was a, so it was a manufacturing company and they needed some help in their office. That was the first time I was exposed to entrepreneurship and really seeing what’s possible to create something of your own. Outside of the corporate environment and someone else’s rules and playbooks. So that’s where Matt and I, you know, outside of the day job that was there at the shutter company, we started exploring blogs and really reading things like Ramit Sethi with, uh, I’ll teach you to be rich and Tim Ferriss.

[00:04:44] Joe Fier, Hustle and Flowchart pod host: That was when content marketing started for both of us. And for me. Primarily writing blogs, um, podcasting and videos. We started kind of tinkering around on the side doing that. Um, usually it was on the weekends after the work week with some Corona’s in his garage. For some reason we would record these videos of, it was kind of like us regurgitating and talking about what we learned in the marketing space, primarily in business.

[00:05:13] Joe Fier, Hustle and Flowchart pod host: Long story short, you know, Matt and I became partners and we took this thing full time. Um, But what’s interesting is that, you know, my buddy Matt and, and partner, we’re talking about relationships. He was there through it all. And still to this day, after we’ve split yet again, um, about a year and some change ago now, we’re still really good buddies.

[00:05:34] Joe Fier, Hustle and Flowchart pod host: Uh, we, we support each other. We don’t talk as much, but to be very honest, we’re both, we have very full lives in our own ways. And, um, Yeah, it’s pretty interesting to have someone like that that you started in the beginning and you kind of you’re always supporting each other, even if it’s a business relationship or not.

[00:05:53] Joe Fier, Hustle and Flowchart pod host: I think it’s very unique.

[00:05:54] Leanne: I wanted to know why Joe wanted a partner in the first place.

[00:05:57] Joe Fier, Hustle and Flowchart pod host: When I was starting out, I think it was definitely a confidence thing as well, figuring out like I didn’t, this was all new to me, the entrepreneurship thing. I didn’t honestly know where to start. And it was kind of given to me in a way in the form of that book, you know, Rich Dad Poor Dad.

[00:06:12] Joe Fier, Hustle and Flowchart pod host: So, because prior to that, you know, my parents were not entrepreneurs. My dad was, um, never really had a, um, a career, but he. Helped a lot, especially with the kids school and had some other, uh, jobs. My mom had a career, but it was very, you know, definitely not entrepreneurial. So that was foreign to me. So I think that was probably a big piece of it, Al, to begin with.

[00:06:36] Joe Fier, Hustle and Flowchart pod host: But then from there, I just realized like, wow, you can do a lot when you’re co creating and exchanging ideas. And I mean, it’s still to this day, I do a lot of stuff solo, but I still love to partner up with others and that’s why I love podcasting so much. There’s so many ways to extend. you know, this time here together, but then take that into something bigger.

[00:06:58] Joe Fier, Hustle and Flowchart pod host: I feel like there’s just way more power momentum that can be generated that way.

[00:07:02] Leanne: There is a lot of talk about the personality of entrepreneurs and I get asked about it quite a bit actually and for good reason. I mean it’s interesting and there’s also some Pretty interesting research. Hogan Assessment Systems is a really cool personality inventory publisher.

[00:07:19] Leanne: If you haven’t heard of them, go and check them out, but they’ve done some really cool research into the personality of a successful entrepreneur. So they found that successful entrepreneurs. Typically score highly on a trait called ambitious. So that includes being self confident, competitive, and very energetic.

[00:07:39] Leanne: They also score very highly on sociable. So that means that they’re typically quite extroverted, enjoy social situations, group meetings, parties, that type of thing might be why our extroverted leaders want to bring people back to the office, just saying. But Hogan also looked at a trait called prudence.

[00:07:56] Leanne: So high prudence means that individuals are conscientious, dependable, structured, rule following. They found that the entrepreneurial personality scores pretty low on prudence. They are risk takers. They also score low on interpersonal sensitivity, which means entrepreneurs aren’t typically very empathetic, warm, or trusting.

[00:08:17] Leanne: And in fact, there is a lot of commonality between the entrepreneur. And the organized criminal when it comes to personality, which might sound shocking, but isn’t that surprising if you consider the demise of some highly successful entrepreneurs like Elizabeth Holmes or Sam Bankman Fried, it also makes sense.

[00:08:36] Leanne: There are some classic partnerships between an entrepreneur and perhaps a more prudent leader. Think Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, a classic, classic example. So I wanted to know whether Joe Matt’s personality traits had a big impact on their combined success.

[00:08:52] Joe Fier, Hustle and Flowchart pod host: I think there’s a lot of discovery that happened when him and I were working together.

[00:08:56] Joe Fier, Hustle and Flowchart pod host: And when I think of discovery, I think of personality traits. I think of skill sets, you know, I’m, I’m big on the Colby and the, uh, you know, the disc assessments and understanding what are our strengths, our superpowers, and what are the things that you should not be doing? Like stay the hell away. I think the, um, there was always a tech side of him that I I had a little bit of, but he was a lot more technical in terms of, you know, like the building of websites or even the architecture of certain things in terms of like connecting and people that was, that’s always been my thing.

[00:09:29] Joe Fier, Hustle and Flowchart pod host: At least when we were working together, that’s how we ended up kind of aligning on things is, you know, we would share a vision. I felt confident enough to, uh, to do that myself. At the same time, I felt like it was just a power in the skill sets. And I think he saw that too, is if we can bounce ideas and get different perspectives.

[00:09:50] Joe Fier, Hustle and Flowchart pod host: I think that was the biggest thing is like we can kind of check each other’s work. We can brainstorm together. So there was always that hustle and flow chart, not to just drop the name of the podcast, but honestly it kind of was bred from that, those personalities and, and. That yin and yang in a way is, is what it kind of felt like.

[00:10:10] Al: So how would you know when things aren’t working in a partnership? I know for me, it was just that I didn’t have the interest or the energy I once had for the business that I was in partnership with. And just to be clear, I still love the guy who I’m in partnership with, but I came to the conclusion that we wanted to go in slightly different directions.

[00:10:27] Al: Joe’s story is quite similar.

[00:10:30] Joe Fier, Hustle and Flowchart pod host: There was always like One person would, you know, maybe express a little more in a certain scenario or a specific topic or with a specific person or whatever, and then the other person might not get fully that expression out. And I know I felt that. So it felt like I was almost holding back my thoughts, passions, perspectives, which may or may not have been true.

[00:10:56] Joe Fier, Hustle and Flowchart pod host: It’s like everybody wants to put their ideas out there and we’re all thinking differently and that’s okay. And at the same time, yeah, I felt like that was something that ultimately led to where. There was a divergence of where we wanted to take things in the future. And that’s kind of felt like a natural, uh, natural parting at a, at a point because we’re probably, I don’t know if it’s this internalization of these thoughts and expressions that we want to put out there.

[00:11:27] Joe Fier, Hustle and Flowchart pod host: And there’s a point in the breaking point that they just need to come out somehow. Yeah. I feel like that was, that was one of the big things in my mind that was always in there is like, I was holding back a part of me and. Yeah, I’m pretty sure he was feeling the same. That’s why he’s crushing it with AI and, you know, going down that path and helping a lot of people that way.

[00:11:49] Joe Fier, Hustle and Flowchart pod host: It was never like, uh, you know, Matt, let’s go to, let’s go to Duke’s, you know, let’s start. It was, it was always like, this ain’t working. We need to take a step back, take a break, reassess. And, and then, uh, figure out, you know, what was the best path from here on.

[00:12:05] Leanne: Okay, so you know, it isn’t working, but when do you actually know the partnership should end?

[00:12:10] Joe Fier, Hustle and Flowchart pod host: I think a lot of people thought that it’s, it’s We, we had a good thing going and I think we both would agree. And it’s like, we have these personalities. We knew, we kind of knew how each other thinks. So we complete each other’s sentences or just know exactly like, Oh, he’s going to say a few more things.

[00:12:27] Joe Fier, Hustle and Flowchart pod host: I’m just going to sit over here and shut up for a second because he’s going to do his math thing, or he’s going to do his Joe thing. And it was pretty cool, you know, to. It’s very difficult to get that rhythm and flow. And, uh, there was a point where, let’s see, it was around Podhacker actually, because you were going through Podhacker, right?

[00:12:47] Joe Fier, Hustle and Flowchart pod host: That course was teaching people how to start a podcast and scale it and monetize. And it, it was selling and did well, but I think it just wasn’t, it wasn’t moving the needle fast enough for, I wouldn’t, I don’t want to just pin it on Matt, but I think it was on for both of us. You know, it was like, We had a lot of stuff going as always there’s like with podcasts you have this like you have so many opportunities and things that can come your way and people with ideas and I think that the bigger vision just started to get fuzzy and we were losing touch uh in that like because we had the podcasting course was doing was doing well but then the There was also the podcast itself, you know, was, was on a pretty good trajectory.

[00:13:32] Joe Fier, Hustle and Flowchart pod host: It just felt like it was a little bit less flowy and more, there’s a lot more friction. I’ll just say like, and we kind of both had that feeling. Like it’s like, this isn’t working out as well as it used to. I’m like, we’re not really gaining a lot of momentum here. What’s going on? Like what’s really going on.

[00:13:49] Joe Fier, Hustle and Flowchart pod host: And. You know, in retrospect, it seemed like the vision, the North Star, we just weren’t aligned anymore. And yeah, it’s, even though we, we, we talked a lot, I feel like it was just missing the mark on like where we’re headed. So he lost a lot of interest. I think I got I felt frustrated because I actually really wanted to keep pushing the podcast stuff forward and I saw where it could in my mind on the partnership side with affiliates and working with people I could see how it was shaken out but just took time.

[00:14:22] Al: You know how some people think having a kid is going to save their marriage and Generally, it doesn’t. Well, Joe and Matt’s equivalent of having a kid together was a hard pivot into web three in crypto. So I asked him to explain exactly what happened and why they did this hard pivot.

[00:14:37] Joe Fier, Hustle and Flowchart pod host: Long story short, we did a whole, we basically said, you know what, let’s go try some stuff over there.

[00:14:43] Joe Fier, Hustle and Flowchart pod host: Let’s play with some of these friends of ours that are in that space that already had some media network. We saw it as an opportunity to discuss some. cutting edge things on our podcast, you know, almost like bridging this gap of like business owners to this new technology that it’s going to overtake the world.

[00:15:03] Joe Fier, Hustle and Flowchart pod host: And you know, everybody’s going to be using crypto in a couple months. I think there was a, it was interesting because we got the top people in the industry as guests really fast, like the founder of Twitch, Justin Kahn. Like we were able to get him as a guest and we hung out with him multiple times. We have like meetings and stuff with him too.

[00:15:23] Joe Fier, Hustle and Flowchart pod host: And, and then his partner, uh, David, he founded Google fonts and Google drive and like had him on the podcast. He actually ended up giving us some like business advice to later on, which is really cool, just on a separate meeting. I’m just like, this is wild, you know, and our first client in the space. Cause we naturally.

[00:15:43] Joe Fier, Hustle and Flowchart pod host: Started working with some of these crypto clients was Animoca Brands, which is like a 3 billion company or something. It’s like the biggest portfolio in the crypto space. And like, we’re just like, Oh, all right. Well, I guess that was a good pivot. Like we were starting to nail the, you know, the marks on all of these.

[00:16:00] Joe Fier, Hustle and Flowchart pod host: And I’ll be honest, like I kind of felt a little, a disconnect in me in that pivot though. Like I knew that for me internally, it didn’t feel totally right, but it was exciting and I saw we were riding a wave that felt like it was building. I’d say that Matt was much more. Again, technical, really interested.

[00:16:22] Joe Fier, Hustle and Flowchart pod host: He’s always been on the leading edge of stuff where I’m a little bit more of a laggard in that sense. And more like on the people side, you know, and obviously when you’re talking crypto and all that, it’s like very technical and, and, uh, forward thinking. So. There was a little bit of that disconnect. I think we started to kind of separate a little bit in terms of how we interacted in that space and what we understood.

[00:16:46] Joe Fier, Hustle and Flowchart pod host: It kind of started to sacrifice our existing brand and our, our listenership and people got very confused because, you know, we talked about marketing for like five and a half years or whatever. And now we’re all of a sudden went, you know, we’re talking about crypto and all these like NFTs and all these wallets and getting hacked and like, you know, how to, And people are just like, what the hell?

[00:17:07] Joe Fier, Hustle and Flowchart pod host: Why am I here now? So Uh, you know, at the same time, our podcast grew tremendously because there weren’t a lot of crypto shows, but at the same time, we sacrificed our existing audience and that really was always in my head and it honestly, like, felt like daggers in my gut for half the time, um, because I’m like, we kind of turned our back on people that were with us for years.

[00:17:34] Joe Fier, Hustle and Flowchart pod host: It wasn’t until, what was it? October, maybe end of September of 2022 that I realized for me, I was feeling like shit. I felt like it was, that was when the market started to kind of tank in the crypto space. And for me, I just internalized it. Very stressful, panic attack, feeling chest like. tight everything.

[00:18:02] Joe Fier, Hustle and Flowchart pod host: And, you know, this is, I had a, uh, what, two and a half year old, I think at the time she was maybe. And I’m just like, I don’t get to spend time with my daughter as much, you know, my wife. And We’re working, we had a different partner and we’re working in this house. And it was an awesome setup. It was like a big studio, basically all over the place.

[00:18:20] Joe Fier, Hustle and Flowchart pod host: Like different rooms in the house for just, uh, you know, a full green screen set up because we were doing all these live streams and stuff. And I’m like, and it was a fun place, you know, it was almost like you can do a little party, party mode. There’s a pool and then like do the work mode. And we, we had a cool routine, but then I realized I’m like.

[00:18:38] Joe Fier, Hustle and Flowchart pod host: We’re not making money here. You know, it’s, it’s super stressful for me because I feel like I’m, I’m very much, I’d love to be with my family and especially young daughter. I’m like, this is an age I want to be present and, and experience. And, um, yeah, I just felt very disconnected even with where I wanted to be, you know, with this crypto space back to the vision and back to even like before the pivot, I really saw more on the marketing side and this podcasting space and a way to connect with others.

[00:19:08] Joe Fier, Hustle and Flowchart pod host: It’s like, I feel like that’s more my thing, you know, not the, the tech crypto stuff that was kind of out of my wheelhouse a little bit. And it wasn’t until early October 2022 that I I was like, you know what? I can’t do this shit anymore. I just, it wasn’t aligning with me anymore. And I had to be real with the guys.

[00:19:28] Joe Fier, Hustle and Flowchart pod host: My communication wasn’t really as smooth with them. It was a little bit more I wouldn’t call it angry, but it was a lot more frustrated. You know, a lot shorter. And I noticed, I’m like, that’s not me. That’s not normal Joe. And All of these things got me to think, I’m like, okay, there’s a lot of things compiling.

[00:19:44] Leanne: So at this point, they both know that things aren’t right. I wanted to know how Joe told Matt exactly how did they break up?

[00:19:52] Joe Fier, Hustle and Flowchart pod host: Ended up writing something in discord for like, probably took me three hours to write. I chose to be very objective and know that I cannot. Do any personal, like it’s not a, I’m going to point fingers kind of thing.

[00:20:06] Joe Fier, Hustle and Flowchart pod host: It’s like, I’m going to line out the key things. You know, there’s a money thing. There’s a time thing. There’s a me away from, uh, my family thing. Like there were these like six or seven components that I lined out very objectively and said, I can’t do this anymore, guys. And I had to get super real with them, with me.

[00:20:25] Joe Fier, Hustle and Flowchart pod host: And, um, I probably proofread that thing like 20 times that night, even had my wife look at it. She’s an entrepreneur and she knows me well. And she definitely was like, what the hell are you doing? You know? So in terms of like the year prior, uh, and the message. Like when I finally hit send, it was probably like 1 a.

[00:20:45] Joe Fier, Hustle and Flowchart pod host: m. because it took me that long to just get it out of my head. And I immediately felt relief. Like a sumo wrestler lifted off my chest, took a bath and I was just like, I am not looking in the rear view mirror. And this is, this was a decision I needed to make for myself, my family, and it was the right move.

[00:21:06] Joe Fier, Hustle and Flowchart pod host: It was fucking hard and this is like I didn’t want to lose a friend so or friends but mainly Matt because you know, this is a long term friend. So that’s why I chose like hey, I needed to be very objective and I’m happy I I accomplished that. And then the next morning I woke up to both their messages and they completely agreed, like they, they thanked me for my honesty.

[00:21:28] Joe Fier, Hustle and Flowchart pod host: And, um, I, I don’t know if it’s true, but I think it helped them see some of the things that they might’ve been ignoring as well, like the numbers and like, It’s easy to get swept up in the momentum of things and the hype, especially when we’re like literally talking with the people who are founding these amazing ventures.

[00:21:47] Joe Fier, Hustle and Flowchart pod host: And yeah, I think that was like, there needed to be that moment of like, rip the bandaid off. Like someone needs to talk a little realness here, the truth, you know, and, um, and be objective. That was not my normal way to approach communication, but I’m happy I did it. And it got me to really focus in, get analytical and, and, uh, I think it helped free a lot of us to figure out like, what really should we be doing with our lives?

[00:22:12] Joe Fier, Hustle and Flowchart pod host: And, um, That, that’s like probably the biggest spectrum in the deepest I’ve gone, uh, probably ever talking about this.

[00:22:20] Al: One of the questions I asked Joe was, should they have ended it earlier? Does Joe regret even doing this pivot?

[00:22:27] Joe Fier, Hustle and Flowchart pod host: I’m going to be honest and like, say like, yeah, I should have been doing that for myself.

[00:22:32] Joe Fier, Hustle and Flowchart pod host: Like getting super real, very objective. I was getting swept up in the momentum all at the same time and kind of like what you pointed out like earlier. I, I was still feeling the partnership, you know, I’m like, Oh, Matt and I both are this duo, this team that, that are carrying on to the next thing now. And that’s how we saw each other because I think we both had this kind of this comfort knowing that like, okay, I got this other brain of mine, this friend, this person that I can trust and You know, I know how they think.

[00:23:04] Joe Fier, Hustle and Flowchart pod host: So I know if I have any kind of question or like a gap in my own so I can go to him and like probably get a good answer. And then we know our way. So yeah, man, I definitely think it could have and dare I say should have to maybe say save like a year or so and some stress. But honestly, I learned so much man over that year where we extended it in the crypto Web three space and Yeah, that got me to really align more with myself and get a lot more intuitive because like I said, my chest, like a lot of physical stuff was coming out for that year of stress.

[00:23:43] Joe Fier, Hustle and Flowchart pod host: And like, those were all signs to me being like, Ooh, buddy, you need to change, like there’s some things that you’re ignoring and you’re stuffing down for the sake of external. Things, stimulus, or people, and um, yeah, to this day, like now, I’m like very cognizant and very aware of that, and it wouldn’t have happened unless I did it, you know, for that year or so with him.

[00:24:06] Leanne: The breakup of a partnership or any kind of leadership exit will naturally have an impact on the whole team. It’s a significant change in the business that you work for as an employee. And any significant change triggers our threat response. It’s our fight and flight response. We become anxious. We don’t think as clearly.

[00:24:25] Leanne: We’ll make bold moves to protect ourselves, like maybe handing in our resignation, the loss of a co founder or a senior leader also signals the end of a chapter in the business. And while this change is. First, the psychological transition of the change is slow. So the Bridges model of change describes this as the ending stage.

[00:24:45] Leanne: There’s lots of resistance from people because they’re being forced to let go of something that they’re comfortable with or value. It’s likely that separating partners and their teams will experience fear. anger, denial, frustration, sadness, and even a sense of grief. So for effective, sustainable, and psychologically healthy change, this ending stage, this loss, it needs to be processed.

[00:25:09] Al: Lea, when you said bridges, is that like A term or is that a person or?

[00:25:14] Leanne: Psychologist called Bridges. Um, who created the model of change and psychological transition, which I’ve just described there. And that first stage is the ending stage. That makes sense. Thank you. Carry on. So yeah, so with Matt and Joe, it wasn’t just the reputation impact of their internal teams they had to consider.

[00:25:34] Leanne: It was quite a public separation.

[00:25:36] Joe Fier, Hustle and Flowchart pod host: I honestly, yeah. In retrospect, I see it like there was this one episode we put out there that we called it burning the ships. And I’m just like, looking back at it now, I’m like, man, we burn in the ships. Like that is such a putting it out there kind of thing. Like, all right, we’re done with you, you know, in terms of audience or people who led us up to this point and helped us out.

[00:25:59] Joe Fier, Hustle and Flowchart pod host: And yeah, the perception, it was in my mind, um, probably the whole time to be very honest is like, I really felt like we. left people behind. Um, we in terms of pivoting the show, because that was probably the biggest public part of it all is, um, the hustle and flow chart podcast where it pivoted from like all these marketing tactics and interviewing, you know, authors, people like Robert Cialdini and a whole bunch of different, you know, we had like NFL players, you know, professional athletes and just elite people championed Olympians.

[00:26:36] Joe Fier, Hustle and Flowchart pod host: And, and I’ve gone back to that since then, but there was definitely this. This gap, man, like we lost a lot of people and I, I knew like. Uh, we weren’t focusing on it, nor did we talk about it. And that was the weird thing in my mind. I’m like, we’re not really bringing up the elephant in the room that we just totally did like a whole 180, you know, and, and, uh, kind of left a lot of people and now they’re probably scratching their head wondering what the fuck are these guys talking about?

[00:27:05] Joe Fier, Hustle and Flowchart pod host: Like web three and games. Cause we went down the gaming route too. So it’s like, that wasn’t aligned with any of the people we had. Um, Yeah, I think that was partially that was what was irking me and literally like, I felt like we just turned our back on those people for like 18 months. That was a lot of the pain I would say for that year and a half or so was that feeling of, of just a complete disconnection from, from the people that were there.

[00:27:30] Al: I asked Joe that if he could go back in time and give advice to himself, what would he say to himself?

[00:27:35] Joe Fier, Hustle and Flowchart pod host: I was moving too quickly and making decisions very, um, very fast and not. Not, not listening to my gut, my intuition, uh, there, there are these signs and like for me, I, like I was mentioning these chest feeling this tightness and I remember driving home from the office we worked at or the house and the same street, it would just like triggers like right before I got home and just get really freaking tight.

[00:28:04] Joe Fier, Hustle and Flowchart pod host: I’d be like, you know, I’d be like, I can’t even take a full breath. I was like, what the hell is this? Is this a heart attack? I don’t know what it is. But for a while I just kept pushing it and just kept pushing, pushing. And, um, signs like, hey, communication. I wasn’t able to communicate exactly how I was feeling to the guys.

[00:28:27] Joe Fier, Hustle and Flowchart pod host: And I think I just kept, kept it going. You know, so looking back, I would definitely say, Slow down and focus on my intuition, like my body feeling and really know that that means something it’s there’s another brain in our gut for, you know, there’s what the microbiome and all that there’s all the stats out there that there’s more in there than any other part of our body.

[00:28:50] Joe Fier, Hustle and Flowchart pod host: It’s like there’s intelligence there that I wasn’t tapping into. I knew of that. I was just getting too caught up in the momentum and. Yeah, that’s, that’s something where it’s like, hold on, slow it down. And that’s honestly been my motto. Um, and also this feeling of enough. Uh, like when I restarted hustle and flow chart, beginning of 2023, the, the phrase or the thing that kept coming up was like, what’s my enough, what’s your enough and figuring out how hard do you really need to push?

[00:29:28] Joe Fier, Hustle and Flowchart pod host: Or like, do you really need to do that new thing? Or, you know, drastically pivot and go over here. And that would be the question I asked myself then it was like, what’s your enough, like, what do you, you really want with this? And then. Honing in on what’s my North Star, my vision. Not necessarily a shared vision, but what’s Joe’s vision?

[00:29:49] Leanne: Any partnership has multiple people, so is there a responsibility for others to shout out if they feel one person is struggling? Should Matt have said something to Joe?

[00:29:58] Joe Fier, Hustle and Flowchart pod host: I don’t think it was his job. I would never ever put anyone Like externally to be that person could, could, I mean, just like me, like, could we have sensed things were a little off?

[00:30:13] Joe Fier, Hustle and Flowchart pod host: Yes. And I think that comes to, uh, knowing each other, communication, getting real. I mean, I think we both were caught up in the momentum. I don’t think he would, he would, uh, argue with that at all. And at the same time, we had different ways of seeing where things can shape up in probably different ways that we can, uh, be useful in that scenario.

[00:30:33] Joe Fier, Hustle and Flowchart pod host: And I think, I think he was feeling a lot more satisfied in the work. I was not. And I think we both were feeling the financial pressure and also the market pressure of like the crypto space and the fact that we. basically turned off everything else in our business prior to that. So it was like an all or nothing is what we were doing.

[00:30:54] Joe Fier, Hustle and Flowchart pod host: And yeah, I mean, I looking back, I wish we communicated better both of us to each other. And we paused and, you know, took these moments like we did a year or two earlier to Hey, let’s like, let’s get real with ourselves here. Like, what is it that we want? Like, fuck all the other external stuff and what other people are saying, what the media is saying, all the, what could be, you know, we could be millionaires off of this, like this game that if we invest, yeah, there were all these scenarios that were playing out, but that’s external and.

[00:31:32] Joe Fier, Hustle and Flowchart pod host: Yeah, getting real with like, what is it inside that we’re feeling? But also let’s like, let’s get real with each other because there’s, there’s no one that’s going to judge, you know, at least with, especially with the two of us, like we got each other’s backs. We’re brothers from other mothers. And that’s why it’s always been kind of this, you know, the separation, but working parallel or living parallel.

[00:31:55] Joe Fier, Hustle and Flowchart pod host: And yeah, that was a moment where we’re just both kind of caught up. So I would never point any blame. at either of us, especially not him externally, but, uh, more like, Hey, probably should have listened to ourselves a little bit more. And then, you know, found a quiet time to maybe go on a walk outside of the environment, like get outside and, uh, go talk it out like bros.

[00:32:18] Al: Both Joe and Matt have had multiple different partnerships with other people. So I asked him what he thought makes a great partnership.

[00:32:24] Joe Fier, Hustle and Flowchart pod host: I think what makes a great partnership is, is this whole open communication and again, getting real and checking in. And that’s something that Matt and I did a lot of every single day is like, like we always had this kind of, when we’re meeting in person, that is this, like, Hey, let’s come together and just talk about and like unload and just like, I’m just going to be listening.

[00:32:47] Joe Fier, Hustle and Flowchart pod host: So fill, fill the basket up. I’m here to catch it, you know, and tell me all your, your thoughts, your crazy, crazy ideas, um, stressors and the stuff that’s keeping you up at night. We would do that a lot. And, um, I think that’s valuable with any partnership, relationship, you know, especially with the spouse partner, you know, romantic relationship as well.

[00:33:09] Joe Fier, Hustle and Flowchart pod host: It’s like, Hey, I’ll, I’ll, there’s a, there’s a sacred point right now where I’m going to listen to you and I want you to fill this basket up because I know it’s going to unload some stuff on your chest and brain. And, um, we’re probably going to learn some new things about each other. And, figure out the next best steps that are going to help both of us.

[00:33:25] Leanne: Al, you and your partner are best mates. Mmm, we are. Jerome and Matt are best mates. So both of those partnerships have ended. So is it a good thing to start a partnership with your mate?

[00:33:35] Joe Fier, Hustle and Flowchart pod host: Um, I would have said yes before. You know, like when I started, I think because I felt like everybody needed to be my friend for whatever weird reason that was in my brain and deep seated in me.

[00:33:53] Joe Fier, Hustle and Flowchart pod host: But now I’d say the answer is no, actually, hell no. Um, but there needs to be a, again, the shared vision of course. And then also respect. I think they’re neat respect is like the, you know, that the, the foundation or the bedrock of it all. And respect of, you know, why are we doing this thing in the first place?

[00:34:14] Joe Fier, Hustle and Flowchart pod host: Why do we connect and why do we go a little further and, you know, respect goes to all sorts of areas of life. It could be like the way that you live, how you live, your partnership, your relationship, kids or no kids, um, you know, your lifestyle. I feel like all of that, that plays into a business relationship or anything.

[00:34:34] Joe Fier, Hustle and Flowchart pod host: You know, I see this with my, my wife and her. Business partner. Um, we have a couple of business partners, but in one of these, these projects, like she lives a completely different life and. Would they be the best friends in life or even remotely? No. And that’s okay. And I think there was like a little of, uh, questioning that at first.

[00:34:56] Joe Fier, Hustle and Flowchart pod host: It’s like, wait, you know, like, and I feel like it’s a, it’s a realization that she, And not speaking for my wife, but you know, like there’s, there’s times like that where it’s like I could see that in motion now is like, Oh yeah, they don’t need to be friends. And maybe there was a time where they felt like they had to be as well on both ends.

[00:35:16] Joe Fier, Hustle and Flowchart pod host: Um, again, respect, I think is the big part. And then sharing the vision. I mean, I keep going to that. The vision is everything, because it’s gonna, it’s like the glue of the conversation or the focus of how you’re steering the ship. Yeah, I think that’s probably where a lesser of the friendship is needed, but it’s probably good to have that bond somewhere, some similar thing you can tap into.

[00:35:39] Leanne: Prenups, controversial. Let’s not say any more about that. Um, but you know, the logical scientist in me quite likes the idea of having a specific pre agreed way of ending a partnership. It kind of takes away some of the, the difficulty of it. So what can we do at the beginning to prevent a messy breakup in a business partnership?

[00:36:01] Joe Fier, Hustle and Flowchart pod host: I know it’s tough because yeah, you can have agreements till your eyes bLead. To be honest, you know, you can try to think of all these things. And yeah, of course you have NDAs, but all these other agreements, cause I’ve seen some friends, partnerships, uh, and the guy I’m particularly talking about and the guy that there’s an opportunity, I’ve seen a business partnership with him and his other partner go very South, very bad and going over this whole legal battle and.

[00:36:26] Joe Fier, Hustle and Flowchart pod host: it can get messy. Um, I think for me, I have a really good feeling of people. Uh, I know that doesn’t really help other people, but it’s like, I feel like there’s like this intuitive feeling of like, all right, so, and it’s not perfect at all, but the more you understand how they operate, I keep going to the vision, but like, it also, I feel like their words, their actions, knowing where they came from, you have a good sense of who this person is, especially if they’re a little older and have been doing the game for a little bit.

[00:36:59] Joe Fier, Hustle and Flowchart pod host: Um, I feel like do your homework is probably the better thing before you jump into things. It’s like do some research, understand maybe the circles they run in, talk to some of their friends, maybe network around that a little bit and understand What you’re getting into before you commit to maybe a full on business mode.

[00:37:19] Joe Fier, Hustle and Flowchart pod host: I mean, honestly, we can learn a lot about people just in the public space, just by searching online, social media, uh, maybe looking at some content they’ve published, see how they think. A friend of mine, uh, Dan Ryan, I’ll just shout him out. Cause he loves to get mentioned. Um, he, he basically is like, if he sees one red flag, he’s out.

[00:37:37] Joe Fier, Hustle and Flowchart pod host: Like he has a very like hardcore, you know, like one red flag rule.

[00:37:42] Al: Joe is a legend. I know that you’ll want to hear more from him and the best place to start is the podcast, but Joe’s got a deeper mission than just bringing you cool guests each week.

[00:37:50] Joe Fier, Hustle and Flowchart pod host: Hop over to the podcast. I it’s. It’s the piece that’s closest to my heart, to be very honest, and that’s Hustle and Flowchart.

[00:37:59] Joe Fier, Hustle and Flowchart pod host: You can find it at hustleandflowchart. com. It’s also on the HubSpot network as well. My mission is to, you know, I’ve been in some very stressful, I’ve lost a lot of friends, um, early. A dad to unfortunate circumstances, and I see that also happening to a lot of entrepreneurs and people who just honestly burn out or feel like it’s all or nothing.

[00:38:19] Joe Fier, Hustle and Flowchart pod host: And we put a lot of weight in our shoulders as entrepreneurs. So I want to take that weight off a little bit and share different stories from people who have, you know, who have that perspective of both the doing and the go go and also the being and like slow down. So just know that. It’s a place for entrepreneurs.

[00:38:36] Joe Fier, Hustle and Flowchart pod host: The hustle and flow chart is the place to go.

[00:38:38] Leanne: Such an honest conversation with Joe. He was willing to share so much of his very personal experiences, which isn’t easy. I mean, Al, listening to that, are there any things that resonated with you in what you’re going through at the minute?

[00:38:50] Al: Lots, lots. Um, I don’t regret just as the, these two guys don’t regret it.

[00:38:55] Al: Don’t regret for a second going into the partnership. Um, I don’t regret even having. You know, creating what the partnership would look like if it did ended that that will be insensible, but it’s still, that’s fine. I think what really resonated and also let’s be honest, this is like 30 minutes of an hour and 10 minute interview.

[00:39:12] Al: Um, so there’s so much in there. And what really did resonate was just how honest Joe was with me and also with himself. You know, he’s He wasn’t a lot of the temptation is to say, Oh, well, you know, it would have been fine, but my partner, you know, lost interest. And my business partner in the particular business I’m talking about could very well say, Oh, I’m just really annoyed because he’s just lost interest.

[00:39:33] Al: But he doesn’t. He’s my mate. And he’s like, okay, let’s work towards fixing this. And I think that may come, maybe something which comes with age. Um, it could be that the more mature you are, the less likely you are to try and blame someone. But it all boils down to the fact that there’s a massive amount of respect, both between Matt and Joe and between myself and my business partner, a huge amount of respect there and just respect.

[00:39:58] Al: Just genuine people. You just genuinely see the person do well. Um, and I think that shows why Matt and Joe will probably be in 20 years time. We’ll go back and do something together. Might do in 20 years, 20 months time. We don’t know, but it’s just really, really important to have that, that mutual respect and then probably the open lines of communication.

[00:40:17] Leanne: Yeah. I mean, it’s a really tough thing to, to go through. It is like any breakup. It really is. You know, it’s this practical and pragmatic parts and there’s, there’s emotional and traumatic parts. If you are going through something at the moment, get in touch, chat to Al. We also, we always leave links in the show notes as well for various mental health services, um, if you are struggling.

[00:40:37] Leanne: Um, so yeah, you’re, you’re clearly not alone in this. It is, it is experienced by many entrepreneurs. Um, so yeah, do reach out if you need any support at all. Speaking of great founders, we are back with another founder episode next week. We are talking to the incredible Danielle and Sophie Wood, co founders of Belonging Base.

[00:40:59] Al: Yep. You’re going to really want to come join us for that one because it’s such a great conversation. Again, I think about an hour and 20 minutes, but I’m gonna have to somehow filter down to, uh, to 30 minutes, but definitely join us. If you’re not subscribed and click that subscribe button, because it really does help us.

[00:41:14] Al: Oh God, I’ve turned into that person. I’m like, I think it’s time to go. Lea. Bye bye.

[00:41:28] Leanne: Hello, and welcome to the truth, lies and workplace culture podcast brought to you by the hope spot pod pod, pod pot pod pod. Pew pew pew pew pew

[00:41:35] Leanne: pew.

[00:41:37] Al: This was the 1800s when I grew up. All we had was a stick and a hoop.

[00:41:43] Leanne: It’s yours. Yeah.

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