Working with amily, husbands and close acquaintances

We’re publicists, but we are first, small business owners.  And we aren’t the first in our family.  In fact both of our immediate families are peppered with entrepreneurs, from scientists to manufacturers, beauty and fashion execs to farmers and builders.  There’s a little bit of everything, and with the number of people willing to “lend” us their advice once we announced our venture, everyone is an expert at something.

I know what you are thinking … But don’t come to any conclusions just yet.

We loved that advice.  We lapped it up.  Ran with it, got some fantastic contacts and ideas out of countless conversations with cousins, aunts, uncles, yes, even our parents.  But not soon after everyone got to work, we began to get a different type of calls; calls that haven’t yet begun to bother us, but have definitely churned up a few questions concerning entrepreneurship, building an empire and creating a family business or even including your family in your business.

So, what do you do when your family and close friends call you, looking to “work together” or maybe trying to find work?  Well, here’s a list of 5 things we’ve found that may help:

  1. Revel in the support but stay humble.

Don’t immediately think that people are asking for a hand out – get out of the negative.  In fact you should instead take these requests and proposals as a nod to your own hard work.  With the help of social media I am sure you are getting the word out about either your successes or your effort, so acknowledge that people are seeing your vision and want to jump on board.

  1. Don’t miss calls.

This should be number 1.5 – seriously, we’ve all gotten that one cousin that calls and you immediately roll your eyes.  Keeping up with your family and close friends is important, especially when they are passing their connects thru the

  1. Get to know who they really are, now.

They may be your “little cousins” or an “old uncle”, but they’ve had life experiences, education and ideas outside of their family circle.  Get to know their skills, really analyze their work ethic objectively, outside of any family history/stories/drama or hear-say.  Doing this will better help you work with them or decide not too, either way, be open-minded.

  1. Stay honest.

The moment you try to hide something from a partner in a business situation is the moment that trust is lost.  Same thing goes for your family.  Hiding goals, projected outcomes, profit margins and even profits are a no-go for any working team.  If you fear that your personal business information will be spread across your family ties, draft up an NDA to ensure confidentiality.  Honesty can come in the form of any binding contract, and contracts are very important to ensure all parties understand their tasks and metrics points, as well as the terms of your partnership.  If you family can’t respect that, then maybe they don’t belong in your business.

  1. Don’t take their work for granted.

Pay up and get paid.  That’s the motto for family in your business.  Never expect that anyone is going to do anything for you (or your business) for free.  Make sure you family states a clear and market-friendly price for their services – or you can make sure that you verbalize just how much you are willing to offer.  Blood may be thicker than tears, but they both can soak the hell out of a dollar bill.  The last thing you want is to be associated with the “user” tag, that’s a quick way to lose a ton of instant support and maybe take a hit to your reputation.


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