Hiring family

So how many of you break the one rule that you're told when starting a small business...not to hire family?

To be honest, I started my business to hire my daughter. She was laid off about a year ago and had moved back home to re-coupe and get back on her feet. For the last year I've heard about how she's been applying places and never hearing back from them. Now me growing up with a dad that booted you out the door when you graduated HS and gave you a good luck pat on the back, I've had a hard time swallowing that she's just not getting calls back. For some reason she's had a mental block that keeping her from calling and following up on the jobs that she had applied for or wasn't asking for help. So I realized that I needed to take time to work with her one on one and help her get past her own self defenses.

Now this hasn't been easy, but I've had to re-define my relationship with my daughter several times over the years and this time hasn't been any different. Having her work for us has been a challenge and even had to have her sit out a few events due to my mis-perceptions of her not being interested in the business. I came to realize that she needed to just be given more responsibility and ownership of the job she was being paid to do. So for the past few events I've been trying to step back and let her work with guests and be responsible for the few technical issues we've had.

I've also found that with my wife or I around she's less interactive with the guests. The event this past weekend I decided to hire my nephew to come help as well. After a couple of hours my wife and I decided to step away for some dinner and let the two of them run the booth. When I said they were in charge, I got the deer in the headlight look from my daughter; however, I reassured her that I knew what she was doing and we would only be a phone call away. We came back about an hour later and all was running smoothly, there had been a steady stream of guests through the booth the entire time.

As a bonus, my daughter had actually been talking to some of the guest, one of which was the director for the clients HR department. She had given my daughter her phone number and told her to give her a call as they had some openings available.

So, what is your experience with hiring family?


  • Mike
    I can say that I have honored this rule. But by the sounds of it your daughter may have fared quite from flexibility. Nothing wrong with that.
  • buzzkcphoto
    Well I'm fairly surprised that I'm the only one that has broken the rule here.

    @Mike I think her confidence is a lot stronger than it's been over the previous months. I've seen even with older folks that have gotten displaced back into the job market, after a few months they begin to question whether they can be viable to an employer. They begin to give up hope finding a new job as they feel they expend so much effort looking and getting so few returned calls or feedback in return. It's really not been much different with her, but given the additional responsibility and learning to deal with "unknown" situations she surprises herself and her confidence is boosted. We all know a confident person when we see one and they tend to shine.
  • carlrez
    <font size="2"><font face="Arial, Verdana" color="#666666"><i>grr...typed a bunch of stuff. when i submitted it, it appeared to have gotten double posted so i edited the 2nd one to add something i wanted to say. now it's gone. don't feel like retyping all that...here's a brief recap...</i></font></font><div><font size="2"><font face="Arial, Verdana">
    </font></font></div><div><span style="font-family: Arial, Verdana;font-size: small">i hired my brother to build my booth</span></div><div><font size="2"><font face="Arial, Verdana">
    </font></font></div><div><font size="2"><font face="Arial, Verdana">he's been having to go out of town a lot for work during the week limiting his time to work on the booth</font></font></div><div><font size="2"><font face="Arial, Verdana">
    </font></font></div><div><font size="2"><font face="Arial, Verdana">target completion date was june 1</font></font></div><div><font size="2"><font face="Arial, Verdana">
    </font></font></div><div><font size="2"><font face="Arial, Verdana">it's almost july 1 - booth still not done</font></font></div><div><font size="2"><font face="Arial, Verdana">
    </font></font></div><div><font size="2"><font face="Arial, Verdana">working with family definitely has its challenges.</font></font></div>
  • Mike
    Strange, I saw your post @carlrez but now it is indeed gone.
  • funfotostudioz
    I've hired both my sister and my niece to assist at events. They're college kids who need money so they're glad to work. Except for one time when one of them completely forgot we had a job one Sunday (even after several reminders), it's been pretty smooth sailing. My niece even started getting photo booth jobs on her own and she just rents my equipment from me.
  • buzzkcphoto
    @funfotostudioz One reason I did bring in my nephew is that he is interesting in photography. He worked all summer a few years back and bought himself a Canon 60D. Thought it might be good for him to see the booth and learn the business. If he's interested, I'd help him build one if he wanted to do it while going to school the next few years out in CO.
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