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Episode #3: Help! Should I Hire Family & Friends?

Growing up in a family business was a mind-blowing experience. All those involved in the business lived in my home. My dad, mom, and sister. There was a time when my dad attempted to employ my uncle, an alcoholic, but it was a match made in hell since the family business was a liquor store. Oftentimes we think hiring a friend or family member when you have an opening in your business is a good thing, it’s not. Here are three not-so-great things that often happen when you employ friends or relatives.

Why you should not hire friends and family

My beliefs are not etched in stone, but remember, hiring your friends and family to help get your small business going can be a good thing. You will have to pay them however and they may not want to work for pennies. If you are just starting your business. Paying a family member a big wage could put you in the dog house.

Be realistic and don’t overestimate or over-deliver. Either your business fails because it’s not making enough money to pay the workers or the workers need to be paid more when it starts to show a profit.

What family and friends expect


When you hire friends and family they sometimes expect professional and personal freedoms that they would not expect in normal employee-boss relationships. Some of these freedoms include coming in late, taking time off, missing deadlines, leaving early, or even thinking they can boss folks around because they’re close to the boss. I’m not saying this always happens, of course, but it is more likely to happen. This is definitely a downfall and can lead to hurting your business and your bottom-line.

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Offer unwanted opinions

You’re the boss. How you run your business is totally up to you. Friends and family who are working for you may start offering unwanted advice and you will either take it or ignore it. Remember, however, this is your business. Just because they are friends and family does not mean you have to listen to or heed their advice, but you may need to quiet the storm.

If they were just an employee, would you put up with it? No. So you may have “force” yourself to start treating them like any other employee. Yes, that will be hard, but necessary. If you can’t, then you may need to end the working relationship. Is there bias in your company because of family members?

Business responsibilities are not taken seriously

Many times family and friends may not look at agreements, commitments, and deadlines as absolute. In fact, they often look at them more as suggestions. The end result? This will cost you clients, time and possibly money. Think of it as your teenager who leaves the lights on or isn’t as careful when he’s walking in the house and knocks over a glass table. Why? Because he doesn’t own the house. He doesn’t pay the bills and in most cases has no real vested interest.

Another Great Read:  Hiring Help

If your family/friend employees see you as a management authority, great! If not, that’s a problem. No matter how hard you try to convince them otherwise, often friends and family still see you as a friend or family first, not management authority. Make a decision on how to address this. Consider the good, the bad and the ugly.

It’s no secret, it’s hard to work with those who are personally close to you. Especially if they helped you get the business off the ground or helped you out in a tight spot every now and then. The goal is always to keep your company alive and your customers calling, and not be afraid to take a firm stance.