The Key to Running a Business with Friends or Family
A lot of people say to never get in business with friends and family. It's hard to have those tough conversations; financial habits and goals don't always align; the work relationship will be compromised by the ties of friendship or family. These are things I've always considered, but I've never seen them as a barrier when I'm looking for help or support for my own creative businesses.
I actually see a lot of value in utilizing friends or family members for my business because I know their strengths and I know that I can trust them to get things done. I understand that their space and time is just that: their own. Besides, I'm not looking for employees or coworkers that abide by my rules and timeline anyway. I like that I can work with friends and family on their own terms, on their own schedule. That's how I've always done things, and that's how I'll continue to run this business.
Another benefit to working with someone you know really well is that you can be comfortable communicating with them. You know how they think, and you can be confident that they understand what you're saying. They've seen your passion for this business in personal discussions, and they're likely going to offer additional value by matching that passion with their own.
BUT. There is one thing in particular that I've found really comes into play to keep these relationships strong whether at work or play, and that's respect. You HAVE to respect your friends and family's time. You HAVE to respect their schedule, their personal space, their priorities, their own personal career goals, and their financial priorities. This is important whether you're working with your husband or your best friend. When I ran White Coast Creative with my husband, there was a certain learning curve that led to me understanding that I couldn't give him assignments and expect him to complete them on any given timeline without communicating deadlines and priorities. At first, I had a hard time with him not understanding that he needed to do certain tasks before I could do my part, and I'd get frustrated that I couldn't finish my responsibilities as soon as I wanted. I quickly learned how to efficiently delegate in a way that didn't inhibit my own work, and allowed Josh to feel creative fulfillment from his work without a nagging wife.
Also, I'm pretty nit-picky by nature. Working and collaborating with clients and friends has allowed me the opportunity to let things go and relinquish creative control. This has been rough at times, but I'm truly grateful for all the learning and growing I've done to get me to this point.
This rule extends beyond just work relationships, too. I promise that when you respect your friends and family's time and plans as much as you prioritize your own, you'll see your relationships with them grow even stronger. Make it to your social activities on time; your friends will appreciate your consideration. If you ask for a favor, always offer some kind of repayment. When you do make the transition to working with friends or family members, treat them with the respect you would a coworker (don't expect them to work outside of normal hours, be polite with your requests, and respect their ideas).
Following these standards has really helped me and contributed to any success I can claim. I wouldn't be where I am without the support of my friends and family! And those who have joined me on this journey and collaborated or contributed to my business have been such a monumental part of its growth. I'm so so grateful, and I hope you can see the same success in your own relationships with friends and family with whom you work.
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