If I had to work with my family, I think I’d fall off the grid. Move to the jungle and live off the land; fighting off poisonous critters and getting rained on all the time. I would be walking through mud that went up to my knees and possibly get stalked and eaten by a wildcat.
It says something that this is my preference to working the rest of my life with my family…
Don’t get me wrong, I love my family. They would just make terrible co-workers, subordinates, and/or bosses.
When deciding to start-up a new company, it is always wise to sit back and think about who to bring on board. It is not a simple decision or an easy answer. Just because you have a good relationship with your friends does not mean they will be great to work with. In fact, you have such great friends in your personal life because you don’t work with them! These are the people you cut up with and don’t want to offend, whereas your work friends have experience working with you and having difficult conversations. I’m a little scattered here, so let me break this down into segments that will make since and give a feeling of “order.”
Deciding to hire family is risky. It would be hard to discuss business matters with them because they will never see you as their boss or their co-worker. You will always hold your family role (i.e. brother, sister, mother, father, son, daughter, etc.) and that is how your employees will view you. This will make it difficult to have work related conversations with them, regarding big issues/decisions, and runs the risk of destroying the relationship. In my personal opinion, you would have to be really direct to get your point across and your family may take offense, thus destroying or damaging your relationship with that person.
The same concept applies to friends, but they will see you in a different light. To your friends, you will always be the person who passed out drunk and had obscene pictures drawn on your face, then went to Bojangles in the morning and couldn’t figure out what everyone was laughing about.
Hiring co-workers is a great idea because these folks know how to work with you already. You can build some great relationships with your co-workers. I have. And some of said relationships are just as strong as some I have with my personal friends. The difference here is that your friendship was built on professional situations, leading to trust that evolved from these work related situations.
Hiring strangers is the last dynamic I’d like to talk about. Strangers are better than friends and family, but not quite as good as work friends. These strangers have no idea how to work with you, nor you them. This can be a good or bad thing; it all depends on the value you place on that co-founder/employee.