Entrepreneurship can be a tricky business (pun intended), especially when you’re trying to balance work and your family life. Many entrepreneurs lean on their families as a lifeline – family members fill positions in the company and even provide short-term loans or financial gifts.  “We know small business owners are inherent self-starters making significant personal sacrifices on behalf of their businesses, but what’s fascinating is this dimension of family, friends and community that they see as core to their success,” said Sharon Miller, head of Small Business, Bank of America. “As apprehension about the economy stalls plans for many to grow and hire, small business owners are forging ahead with a foundation of support from loved ones and local networks.”   So while your family can be a saving grace for your business, mixing your personal life with your business life can become too easy. Here are a few ways to get your family involved in your business without running the risk of “talking shop” 24/7: 

Be Deliberate In Your Positions

You should never give a family member a position out of sympathy or obligation. This is still your business, and you shouldn’t hire your 16-year-old nephew as an administrative assistant just because your sister expects you to. If you hire him, it’s because you trust he’ll be great for the job. 

Treat It Like A Business

This goes without saying, but we all know what a cliche it is when that 16-year-old nephew I mentioned slacks off, but the boss can’t fire him because “he’s family.”   Don’t be that boss. This business is your baby and deserves the best kind of employees, does it not?  

Be Fair

It’s difficult for employees to take their boss seriously when they favor their family over their other employees. Pay scales, promotions, work hours and anything else should be treated evenly for all your employees.   Treating your familial employees just as you treat your other employees will ensure employee satisfaction and respect for their management.  

Set Boundaries

When your family becomes your team of employees, it can be difficult to turn off business talk. Discuss with your family where you would like to draw the line with your company so you can maintain clear boundaries between your business life and your family life.   Your family can make all the difference during your entrepreneurship, but there’s a reason only one in three family businesses last longer than one generation. When you take the proper steps to involving your family in your business, they will be that lifeline for you.  

by: Emily Brady

Emily Brady received her Bachelors at Brigham Young University Idaho where she majored in Communication Sciences with an emphasis in journalism and professional management. She has written for Scroll News and Deseret Digital Media and is currently a freelance writer. In her free time she enjoys hiking, reading and swinging in her hammock.