Should you hire a member of your family?

should you hire a member of your family - work your way

should you hire a member of your family - work your way

Family feuds are common enough, and people fall out at work all the time.  But what happens if you work with a family member?

Well, you have the potential for disaster.  Disputes such as between celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay and his father-in-law, which are by now, well documented.

But frankly, you don’t have to be a high-profile celebrity to face the possibility of encountering problems similar to theirs.

Even the humblest of business owners, one-man-bands like you and me, face deadlines all the time, and if you’re just starting out, chances are you’re running your business on a tight budget.  In which case, you’re more than likely going to turn to your nearest and dearest for help.

Is it a good idea though?


Your business, your way

If you outsource to hired help, they will (usually) do as you ask.  Will your dad?  Or will he treat you like his little five-year-old princess?

What happens if your partner messes up an order.  How will they feel if you have to point out a major blooper?  And what if it’s an expensive one?

I once employed a member of my extended family to help look after a shop I had at the time.  It was for only one day each week and on a quiet day of the week.

The idea was that I could take a day off, and all she had to do was dust the furniture and serve the odd customer who wandered in.

I didn’t expect to hear at a later family wedding, that everyone thought our business was doing badly, as it was so ‘quiet’!

That rumour could only have come from one person – and yes I did sack her, but I had to do it in a way that she didn’t think it was because we couldn’t afford to pay her, or the rumours would have persisted.

Just as you’ve carefully planned your business when first started out, you need to plan whatever tasks you need outsourced, which includes how you’ll communicate those tasks.

So don’t shy away from taking all the usual precautions, such as drawing up a contract with all the usual terms such as pay, hours, length of contract and job description.

In general, having family support you in the early days, gives you the strength you need to carry on when those inevitable problems arise.

They know you well, so they know how to buoy you up when the going gets tough.  When you experience cash flow problems, they’re more likely to understand and won’t expect to be paid during those early months and years.

I happen to think that the pro’s of working with a family member, outdo the cons.

Go ahead, enjoy their support, as well as the skills they can bring to your business.

What do you think? Would you hire a member of your family?

Elaine Everest


I’m Mary Cummings, a ghostwriter, collaborator and all round word doctor. I help business owners write and publish business books; I'm also passionate about helping creative freelancers find work that they love - their work sweet spot with work on their terms, projects they love and clients who are a dream to work for.

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