There will come a point in your life where you will find yourself mixing friends and business.
The line between work and play will be blurred, crossed, and could put you in a tricky situation.
I personally have crossed this line on more than one occasion.
And no, its not always ended in disaster.
Here are some different scenarios and, as always, some tips on how to deal with mixing friends and business:
Mixing business with pleasure?
I’ve never hid the fact that I started mixing business with pleasure little over 5 years ago.
I met John in Dubai and we started working together. And yes, we ended up getting married.
The outcome could have been very different. We could have been badly burned and had to walk away from a lot of hard work, time and investment.
Tip: If you do find yourself mixing business with pleasure you need to be aware of the potential outcomes:
- If it all goes belly up you will lose both your relationship AND your project/business.
- If it goes fabulously well, you could end up in the South of France, with a ring on your finger, a new last name, and a kid.
- Be aware that just because you get on really well on a personal level does not mean you are going to work well professionally. Working with your partner/spouse is seriously challenging (and isn’t for everyone!)
Mixing friends as colleagues and suppliers
We all have friends who are amazing at something. That “something” could be really useful to your business.
For example, I have a few amazingly talented designer friends who could work magic for both my business and my clients.
I have in the past outsourced work to a friend and it almost cost us the friendship. Why?
Well, to my friend, I was just a friend and the project wasn’t taken seriously. Deadlines were missed, communication was informal and unclear, and I got into sh*t countless times with my manager over a tiny project.
Tip: If you find yourself wanting to hire a friend to work with you, you need to consider the following:
- Is your relationship worth sacrificing?
- Does this friend understand this is business and have the capacity to be professional with you?
- Understand that you are probably a different person professionally, and your friend could be the same.
- Outline your expectations clearly from the start and manage them throughout.
- Schedule meetings and make sure they are in a professional setting.
- Keep all communication related to work professional. Keep the chit chat for another email or call.
- Consider hiring someone you don’t have a personal relationship with in order to preserve your sanity.
Giving away your trade to friends: The Tipping Point
I know that a few people have come to me over the years for advice about marketing their business and about life as an entrepreneur in general.
Usually I am happy to give away some pointers, some thoughts and suggestions but there comes a tipping point.
The tipping point is when you actually become a FREE consultant. And, we all know what I think about all things FREE!
You shouldn’t work for free. Ever.
How often do you go to a restaurant and see the owner giving their friends lunch for free every week?
Tip: If you have a friend who is picking your brain and you are getting nothing in return this has to stop. Now.
- Explain that this is your trade. This is how you make money. If they want more they need to pay.
- Realise that you are devaluing your expertise by giving things away for free.
- If you are helping them MAKE money then you should be sharing in that!
- Understand that business is business – and businesses make money (or at least they should).
- If you friend doesn’t get it, well they aren’t a friend, they are a user.
- Helping a friend in your free time is one thing but it’s a slippery slope.
- Be aware that you may have already created this problem by giving too much away and not defining the boundaries.
Mixing friends and business is a tricky situation.
There is no one size fits all solution but I’ve outlined the possible scenarios.
Remember, if they are making money using your advice, expertise or trade, then you should too.
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