Plenty of people would say that getting into business with friends and family is a bad idea; but it's an arrangement that works out great for some people. How do you know if you're one of them?
What do you have to lose?
Part of the reason people are reluctant to work with those they know on a deep personal level is that they don't want to damage or lose valued relationships if something in the business deal/job/venture goes south.
Fair enough. But before getting too anxious about this unpleasant prospect, think about whether this reflects your experience: when you leave a job, do you tend to do so on good terms? When you make deals, do they usually go according to plan, with everyone feeling good about the outcomes?
What I'm getting at is that being a good team player who acts ethically in business is likely to create successful and satisfying professional relationships, whether you are dealing with people you've known personally for years or those you have only encountered in a work context.
If you have a good track record of being someone people enjoy working with, you're likely to continue that winning streak with your nearest and dearest!
How much caring is too much?
In fact, some of us may be more likely to thrive amongst relatives and close buds, for the simple reason that we care more about what these people think of us!
You are probably going to work harder to maintain a positive relationship with someone if your motivation goes beyond just looking out for your reputation or wanting to keep the peace in the office.
On the other hand, if you care too much what loved ones think, it could make workplace accountability challenging. Would you be able to tell them things they may not want to hear, and take their criticism of you in stride? Might you be tempted to let things slide that you wouldn't let others get away with?
When considering whether to work with people you have close ties with, it's important to be able to accurately gauge your ability to keep things professional.
So many me's!
A less commonly considered, but no less important, question that arises when working with people we care deeply about is the question of who we become around them.
We tend to think of ourselves as having stable, consistent personalities, but our history with people and the social spaces in which we usually encounter them actually condition our thought patterns and behaviors when we're together. In a certain sense, we become different people in different social contexts.
So things can get confusing when social worlds mesh and bleed into one another. We may feel trapped by a loved one's preexisting view about who we are and how we operate, and this can make it hard to flourish in a work setting, where different parts of our personalities emerge.
Of course, this isn't the case across the board. Many people feel extra-empowered by the presence of loved ones, like they can take on the world and any challenge that comes their way with their crew by their side! Which one sounds more like you?
Important qualities like reliability and integrity are things we often only get to learn about people once we're already tied to them by a contract.
In this sense there are undeniable advantages to working with those we know well, because we already know these kinds of things about them; we've seen them in good and bad spirits, and know how they handle challenges like disappointment and stress.
All told, it can be a powerful recipe for professional success—as long as the other ingredients are right. Only the special blend of personalities and relationship dynamics you have with your friends and family can really say whether this will be a piece of cake or a seriously bad move.
So don't rush into anything, but also, don't fret: if it feels right, it probably is!