Working for your friends & family (or not)

woman wearing white sleeveless top and black pencil skirt facing woman wearing pink sleeveless top and black pencil skirt leaning on wallDear Colleagues,

Do you plan/consult/coordinate events for your family and friends? Let’s discuss.

Most event professionals agree that they are often the number one resource for family and friends that need recommendations on where to go, what to eat, what to do, and how to do just about anything that has to do with entertaining. We also become the default event planner, on-site coordinator and even therapist throughout the process of planning major social functions.  It’s our job, it’s second nature to us. It should be easier and require less effort and time to respond to the people asking. Sometimes.

I love talking about fun things to do and places to see. I love the excitement of planning a great party. I love my family and friends (most of the time), and I am often willing to do more for them than I would a new client. It’s often more fun to work with them as well. There is a fine line, however when it comes to working for friends and family on a major project.

After much discussion with a number of others that work not only FOR their friends and family but WITH them running their business, here are some things to think about.

  1. It’s ok to decline. Consider your current relationship and how this project may impact it. Not only do you have to consider your professional candor, but emotions and family-politics are never easy to handle. Tell them you are honored to have been thought of, and offer your best professional recommendation to ensure everyone is well taken care of.
  2. Set ground rules. With a regular client, you spell out the services you’re willing to provide and for what cost. This partnership should not be any different. It’s your choice to consider a formal contract, any discounts and or freebies based on your relationship but everyone should know what is expected on each side. Make sure you’re both comfortable with the terms before you get too deep to avoid any hurt feelings down the road. Since you’re close, you will always be able to hold each other accountable and remember not to takeanything for granted.
  3. Have fun with itWorking with those you’re close to is often more fun and more productive. It can often seem less like “work” because you care so much more and are passed the formalities. Embrace it, enjoy it and be grateful you can share your talents with those you love.

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