Working with in-laws. Should it be outlawed?
People think I’m crazy going into business with my in-laws, but there are many advantages.
I’m a corporate escapee
When a new business idea starts kicking around in your head, you naturally talk about it with friends, colleagues and of course, family. Sharing your crazy idea and having these conversations is often how a joint venture starts.
When I quit my job in the corporate world and moved to the country to start a new online business, the goal was to have a successful work-life balance and a better lifestyle for my family.
Joining forces with my in-laws
Being close to my wife’s family meant we had more support nearby and could spend more time with each other. I also chose to join forces with my father-in-law who had a great deal of business skills and knew the market well.
Working with in-laws may seem strange, and many people would never dream of it. Yet I’ve found the partnership to be personally and professionally fulfilling.
"Put aside the fact that you are related, and treat each other as you would any other business colleague."
The number one question is, “Will working with a close friend or family member jeopardise the relationship?” In our case it hasn’t. But my advice is to think carefully about working with a close friend or relative. Weigh up the pros and cons and decide if you’ll work well together before making it official.
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Tips to ensure the arrangement works
- Treat the new business relationship as a partnership, showing mutual respect for each other’s different opinions and ideas.
- Identify the different skills and qualities that each person brings to the table and then take full advantage of them.
- Avoid hierarchies and share responsibility for decision making.
- Put aside the fact that you are related, and treat each other as you would any other business colleague.
- Just because everyone is familiar with each other doesn’t mean you should adopt a blasé approach to business. Set goals, KPIs, arrange meetings, schedule important discussions and create structure in your day.
Working with family, especially in-laws, is not for everyone. But should it be outlawed? No way. In our case, everyone’s a winner.
Would you ever work with your in-laws or other family members?