Working With Family…Good Idea or Bad?

There’s an old African proverb that says, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” That’s certainly food for thought when it comes to working with family or significant others. Before you start thinking about how great it would be to build your financial empire together here are a few questions both or all of you should address together.

  • Do you communicate effectively?
  • How will each of you practice a work/life balance?
  • What are your strengths and weaknesses?
  • Do the relationships have the right dynamic for the endeavor?
  • Can all of you handle constructive criticism?
  • Are there children?
  • If it’s just the two of you, what if there’s a breakup?

There are pros and cons you should consider before you tackle the challenges that working with family or a life partner can bring.

  • Couples that work together are better able to handle the stress that running a business can bring as opposed to those working alone
  • There’s a lower chance of burnout
  • You are more likely to be engaged in each other
  • You already understand each other’s priorities
  • You can offer more relevant insight and greater advice
  • You can share the commute, that depending on the distance can translate into big savings
  • You can celebrate success
  • Spend more time together
  • Women who work with family tend to be less assertive than those who pursue their own career
  • It can lead to relationship problems if there is a power struggle
  • You may bring work problems home
  • If your business fails, you fail together

So do you want to go fast or do you want to go far? Take the time to sit down with your family or partner and discuss at length your fears and expectations. If you do decide to give it a try remember to separate your home and work lives. Always be respectful of each other. Find ways to maintain your individuality and separate working spaces.

Remember your family, marriage or life partnership must come first. Your business can fail. You should already be keeping your personal and business finances separate so set rules on how your money is to be spent. Take the time for individual pursuits to maintain your individuality while still making time for each other. Working with family or a life partner is not without its challenges but it can be a rich and rewarding experience that strengthens your business and relationships for years to come.