Truth, Lies, and Workplace Culture Podcast: When to Say Goodbye: Ending a Partnership with Joe Fier

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Today’s podcast is a very special episode of Hustle and Flowchart! We’re incredibly honored to be sharing an episode of  Truth, Lies, and Workplace Culture podcast with Leanne and Al Elliott where they interviewed our very own Joe Fier. Together, they delve into the difficult topic of ending a business partnership and the emotional and professional impact it can have. The Elliotts share their personal insights, while Joe candidly reflects on his own recent separation from his long-time business partner, Matt Wolfe. They discuss the importance of communication, honesty, and respecting the visions that drive entrepreneurs, as well as how to recognize when it’s time to part ways.

Introduction to Partnership Dynamics

The episode kicks off by dissecting the entrepreneurial spirit using insights from Hogan Assessment Systems, focusing on traits such as ambition and sociability, and their influence on business partnerships. Joe, Leanne, and Al discuss how these entrepreneurial traits form the foundation of many successful partnerships, while also potentially leading to challenges if not managed properly. They emphasize the need for complementary skill sets and share how Joe and his partner Matt were able to balance ideas and leverage their individual strengths to grow their business initially.

Recognizing When to End a Partnership

The discussion progresses to recognizing the red flags that indicate a partnership may be faltering. Joe shares personal experiences on how a loss of interest in the joint venture, differences in future vision, and an internalization of thoughts and feelings created fissures in his partnership with Matt. The guests also address how external factors, such as market pressures, can amplify existing issues within a partnership, making it crucial for entrepreneurs to stay attuned to the health of their collaboration.

Navigating the Emotional Landscape

Navigating the separation of a business partnership can be an emotional roller coaster. Joe openly talks about the gut-wrenching process of confronting the need for change, the stress involved in communicating the decision, and the relief that followed. This segment explores the intimate details of Joe’s message in Discord, the ensuing conversation with Matt, and how they managed to preserve their friendship despite the professional split.

Reflections on Regret and Resilience

Reflection is a core theme as Joe contemplates the timing of the breakup and whether it could have come sooner. He discusses the human tendency to get swept up in momentum and the lessons learned from not always following his intuition. Joe’s introspection shines a light on the importance of personal well-being in entrepreneurship and the courage needed to make tough but necessary decisions.

Advice for a Healthy Business Partnership

The final segment of the episode is dedicated to distilling the wisdom shared into actionable advice for entrepreneurs. Topics include the significance of clear and regular communication, the non-necessity of friendship in business (but the absolute necessity of respect and shared vision), and strategies for ensuring both partners are aligned and satisfied. Joe and the Elliotts suggest practical steps, such as conducting thorough research on potential partners and setting up regular check-ins, to help avert the complexities of a partnership breakdown.


The episode ends with Joe and the Elliotts summarizing the critical insights gained from their experiences. They underscore the notion that while ending a partnership can be challenging, doing so with integrity and transparency can mitigate negative impacts. Joe stresses the importance of following one’s intuition, consciously recognizing one’s limits, and maintaining honest communication as entrepreneurs continue to navigate the complex world of business relationships.

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Resources From Episode

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