Love (and Business Partners) at First Sight image

Love (and Business Partners) at First Sight

The importance of good partners in life and business

Many years ago, when I was living in Honolulu, I met my friend, Karen, at TGI Fridays after a workout, in the middle of planning to make a big move to New York City. We grabbed two seats at the bar, and she spotted her friend Robert who was there with his buddies. Robert and I said a brief hello, and that was it…or so I thought.

Robert kept reappearing, however, and he asked me out for almost six months! I kept saying no. I explained that I was moving to New York City, and I couldn’t think of the possibility of a new relationship. To thicken the plot, it turns out that Karen was an old girlfriend of Robert’s from about eight years earlier.

The Pursuit

But Robert didn’t want to accept no for an answer. After my continual rebuffs, he phoned my friend Karen and said, “Karen, I know that you and Kim are best friends. Would you do me a big favor?”

“I know you’re up to something,” Karen said. “What do you want?”

Robert, being the salesman that he is, said, “I want a referral!”

Sure enough Karen began telling me what a wonderful guy Robert was. The problem was she did such a great job of selling that I was convinced that Karen still liked Robert—and being very loyal to my friends, I wasn’t about to go out with someone she had strong feelings for.

Another two months passed and I was still working my plan to move to NYC, but by this time Karen had convinced me that she was not interested in Robert romantically. Over the months that Robert was in hot pursuit, he sent me flowers, postcards from his travels, cards with personal notes, and more flowers. One afternoon Robert called me at work and asked me out again. I was intrigued and loved the attention, so I said, “How about tonight?”

The Hard Sell

One thing I discovered about Robert was his great salesmanship skills. From the many fact-finding calls Robert had with Karen, he discovered my two favorite things: good champagne and walks on the beach. That was all he needed to put his plan in place for our first evening together.

We had reservations at Michel’s, one of the finest restaurants in all of Honolulu, right on the beach. When we walked in, the maître d’ approached and said, “Mr. Kiyosaki, I have your table ready looking out on the beach, and your champagne is chilling.”

I was impressed. As the champagne was poured, the maître d’ reappeared and suggested, “If you’d like, why don’t you take your champagne with you and go for a walk along the water.”

I was sold, and we’ve been together ever since.

Business Partners… At First Sight

We stayed up talking until 3:00 a.m. on that first date. I still remember the key question Robert asked me that night.

“What do you want to do with your life?” he asked.

Immediately out of my mouth came the words, “I want my own business. I’m not very good at taking orders, and I love business, so it seems the solution for me is to have my own business.”

“I can help you with that,” he said, a twinkle in his eye.

Within one month we began our first business venture together. Along with being life partners since that first date, we’ve also been business partners.

The CASHFLOW® Quadrant

That first date night, Robert explained the business model his rich dad had taught him. He drew a quadrant on a napkin and called it the CASHFLOW quadrant.

“It represents the four types of people found in the world of business,” he explained. “‘E’ stands for employee.’ S’ stands for self-employed. ‘B’ stands for business owner, and ‘I’ stands for investor.”

He explained that a self-employed person might be a doctor, accountant, mechanic, or beautician. She owns the business, and she works in the business. ‘S’s are often the sole income producers in their businesses. A business owner depends on other people working in the business and operates the business with very good systems. Microsoft, Harley Davidson, and Starbucks are examples of ‘B’s.

He went on: “Here is the difference between the two: If an ‘S takes a one-month vacation, then her income stops for one month. When she takes a break, her income takes a break. If a ‘B’ takes a one-month or a one-year vacation, when she returns her business will be running as well if not better without her. The key to the ‘I’ or investor quadrant is to have your money working hard for you so that you don’t have to work hard for money.”

Choose your partners wisely

I love my husband. Together, we have created a wonderful life. Robert has taught me much about business, but he has always inspired me to find my own financial freedom. This, I believe, is true love.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned in life, it’s that partners—and how you choose them—are extremely important. Great partners want the best for you. They help you to be better. You learn from them. And you enjoy being around them. It’s been that way with Robert and me, in both marriage and business.

Whether it’s marriage or business, or anything else for that matter, the partners you surround yourself with will determine the quality of your life. Choose them wisely and you won’t regret it. Choose them poorly, and you’ll be miserable. So, how are you choosing your partners?

What's your experience with finding good partners in business - and life? Join our free, financial education community here to leave comments below.

Original publish date: June 27, 2013

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