When I tell people that I work with my sister and my husband, they usually say, “Oh a family business that must be fun!” Usually I reply, “It’s like anything else, it has its good and bad days.” Mostly it’s good because I love sharing what I do with my sister and my husband.
Still, mixing business and family hasn’t been trouble free, so if it’s something you’ve been considering here are a few helpful tips.
1. Don’t let it get personal.
I know, easier said than done. I’ve found myself itching to say just the wrong thing on more than one occasions, and I have to stop and ask “If this wasn’t my husband/sister, would I still be willing to say this?” If it has nothing to do with your business (like how the laundry is constantly piling up), it shouldn’t be a part of conversations you’re having as Designer and CEO. It may take some time, the first step is deciding that you’ll always give your family the same professional courtesy you’d extend any other co-worker.
2. Draw clear boundaries between work and your family.
It’s easy to get caught up in work 24/7 when you love what you do. It’s even easier when the people around you like to talk shop too. As much as possible, protect your family time. Boundaries are easier to blur when you set your own schedule so it’s important that everyone is on board with how you’ll draw those boundaries.
3. Communicate about everything.
If something isn’t working, speak up so you can fix it. For example, if you feel that monthly Family Day Out is constantly being cancelled, say something. Be sure to come from the perspective of finding a solution rather than placing blame and the problem is more likely to be addressed. This is true whether you are talking about protecting your family time or the issues you’ve been having with collecting client payments. If you’re focused on finding a solution, it will be easier to get everyone on board.
Of course, these tips can apply to working with pretty much anyone, but it’s even more important when you’re dealing with family. After all, it’s harder to avoid your co-workers when you go home to the same place. Take the time to set those boundaries and talk about what isn’t working, at some point you’ll create a system that works for you. You might find that mixing business and family gives you the best of both worlds.
Patricia Talavera is one half of the tech genius duo behind SYT Biz. She helps women entrepreneurs play in their zone of genius. She frees up their time by taking over the web design piece of their biz so they don’t have to stress over something they don’t know. This gives her clients the chance to finally implement those BIG ideas they’ve been dreaming about.
Patricia earned her Master’s Degree in Organizational Psychology, but decided to start a business so she could do the work she loves while having the flexibility to put her family first.