The saying goes “don’t work with children or animals” but I’m wanting to add friends and family to that list.
It’s difficult; when you start a business, you usually take on all the work you can to build yourself up. Even if this means friends and family coming to you to support you. However, dealing with friends and family as clients can be tricky.
To begin with, they tend to want something for nothing. I’m all for doing people favours, I ask for plenty from my friends too, but when it’s your job, it’s often difficult to see past the lower price you’re charging or freebie they’re asking for. Sometimes free isn’t entirely possible because there is supplies or equipment to buy or maintain. Pricing yourself is how to cover not only your mortgage payments, it’s how you pay for insurance, office space, electricity! When someone wants you to do work which will essentially cost you to do it, it’s hard to say yes.
It’s difficult when they don’t pay on time either. When a friend is involved it makes things trickier. Regardless of if you know the client on a personal level or not, invoices need to be paid on time, people have bills to pay and if the work has been done, they shouldn’t have to wait longer than the agreed payment terms for the money. You often feel like you can’t send that email about it as they’re your friend and you want to maintain the friendship. Sometimes they don’t themselves in your shoes. If they didn’t get paid on the last day of the month, how would they feel? If they had to wait an extra 2 weeks or have to chase their accounts department to pay, what would their mortgage company do when the payment hasn’t gone through? I had an issue like this a while back. I sent the email, it was a little bit awkward but I got paid that same day.
Once I’ve done with work for the day, I want to relax with friends and family. Not go to the pub knowing that someone owes me money but hasn’t settled an invoice but is quite happy to buy a round of drinks. Or have them potentially looking at me thinking that I don’t need to money due to buying myself an extra pint.
I think it comes down to respect.
I work to live and provide. I don’t need the added stress so I’ve eliminated it. I’ve decided to not work with friends and family on areas of my business which pay the everyday bills. I’m more than happy to offer advice or do odd things here and there to help out, but this will be after I’ve done my proper paid work.
How do you find working with friends and family? Let me know in the comments.