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A few weeks ago I hired my sister to help with the research aspect of a media project I took on. We’d worked together in the past so we knew each other’s working style and quality of work. At the time we were both uber busy, so we had a couple of phone calls about the project, then shared details on payment and timeline via email.

We thought we had this on lock.

Flash forward a month or so later, both of us had forgotten the details of our deal (including payment details).

UGH! Rookie mistake!

We both went back through our emails, but it wasn’t clear on how much I was to pay her (as the project got more complex than initially anticipated).

So at the end of the day, I think I either sent her too much money, or she did not receive the full value of the work she did.

This is what I like to call a ‘side hustle fail.’ Luckily, we’re sisters and we’re not going to stop being sisters over this incident, but if we were friends or peers, the situation may not have ended favourably.

This wake-up call is what inspired these three very important tips for hiring friends and family!

Top 3 Tips:

1. After the negotiations, immediately create the contract.
Don’t wait. When the conversation is fresh in both of your minds write it down and both sign it. The contract doesn’t have to be an eighteen page behemoth that looks like your phone contract. Just be sure to have all the details down and have both parties sign.

2. Don’t accept family and friend discounts for important projects.
I’ve made this mistake in the past. Never again. It can be tempting to take the discount that a friend or family may offer you. Don’t do it. Pay them their proper wage if you expect their best work. If the person you’re working with is a busy entrepreneur they may start to resent the fact that you are paying them a fraction of what a regular client would pay.

3. Start with a temporary contract.
When working with friends and family, I suggest you test the waters before diving in on a huge project. You may love hanging out with that particular friend or family member, but it may not mean you love working with them. When I work with someone for the first time, I give them a smaller project as I want to ‘date’ before I ‘marry’ 😉

We would love to hear your stories and tips on how to work with friends and family members! As side hustling and entrepreneurship becomes much more popular, it’s so much more important to arm yourself with information before diving into a new business relationship.

– Gwen

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