13 Advantages and Disadvantages to Hiring Family


Working with family can either sound fantastic or like an unholy nightmare. Rarely does somebody’s opinion land in the middle. To aid you in that journey, we’re going to be showing you the good, and the bad. No matter how challenging a family member in the business can be, it’s up to you to decide if it’s worth it.

Let’s get started.



Advantage: Building trust is easier.


- Your family is typically going to be more trustworthy than just about anybody else. When you own a small business, having a reliable team you can count on is paramount. You won’t always be available to make sure someone is doing their work, so having a family member you can trust can go a long way.


Disadvantage: They’re harder to fire.


- What I just said is true, you should be able to trust them. But that doesn’t mean they won’t fail. And if somebody you’ve hired isn’t cutting it, they need to be let go for someone who can get it done. Firing family members puts you in an awkward position that blurs the already thin line between family and work. You just know they’re going to talk to someone in the family about this.


Advantage: They understand your thinking.


- Your team needs to know how you tick. This is your business, and they need to know that you are #1. The big decision-maker. Having someone who can understand the way you think, and process information is a big advantage.


Disadvantage: They may not respect your authority.


- Sometimes it’s hard to take orders from a cousin seriously. It’s not that they don’t respect you as a person or admire you. It’s just that they may have a hard time thinking of you as “boss” rather than “cousin”, “aunt/uncle”, or “sibling”. And because of it, they might go against what you say because they aren’t worried about the consequences.


Advantage: They can give you blunt honesty.


- You won’t always be right. And the easiest way to spiral downwards is to surround yourself with people who can’t tell you no. Having somebody there who is comfortable enough to tell you that what you’re thinking is wrong can be the difference between avoiding a major mistake and barreling towards it at full speed.


Disadvantage: Collateral damage.


- Hiring a family member can be risky. Risky for your business if they aren’t qualified. And risky for the family if you too. Inevitably, there will be conflict, as we mentioned earlier. And when that conflict boils over, it will impact your family. Because no matter what claims of neutrality are made, people will pick a side.


Advantage: Nice to have a familiar face.


- Working as an entrepreneur can feel lonely. You try to build up a team that is easy to work with and aligns with your business’ philosophy. But you can’t help but shake that feeling of distance between you and the team. Having a family member there can help you relax and not be so uptight.


Disadvantage: Familiarity breeds contempt.


- Being around someone every day from the time you clock in to the time you leave can lead to unintended consequences. Those funny quirks can turn into annoying habits. A rough morning can turn into a simmering feud. It’s great to be around others, but you can’t be around them too much.


Advantage: A chance to mentor or be mentored.


- Depending on who you hire, this can be a great opportunity to grow your leadership skills. If you hire someone older who you respect very much, they can be someone you go to for advice because they’ve been there. Or, you could have someone younger than you that you can help mold and shape.


Disadvantage: Accusations of nepotism.


- It’s just going to happen. You could hire someone from the family, others will assume it’s only because of that. They could be the most qualified, hard-working person on the team. Still won’t change the mind of some people.


Advantage: They believe in what you’re doing.


- Most small businesses will fail. It’s just a fact of life. And people know that your average small business is going to go out of business. So, when somebody in the family looks at you and your business and says: “Yes! I want to join that.” You know that they believe in what you’re doing. That fires you up and gives validation to what you are doing.


Disadvantage: They might think they have special privileges.


- That family dynamic comes at a certain cost. Because you and your family member are so close, they’ll believe they can get away with more. Calling in “sick” more, shirking your authority, going against your wishes, etc. It’s tough to walk that fine line of authority and family.


Advantage: They can give great advice.


- Family members genuinely want to help you succeed. So if they see a major way to benefit the business, they’ll tell you! So be sure to listen when they suggest a way to make the business better. The next big difference maker could be right around the corner.


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