I have long held up the standard of Don’t Go Into Business With Friends Or Family. I’m considering dropping that flag in favor of a better one. DGIBWFOF doesn’t reflect today’s small business reality, when a solidly built network of friends and family can make the difference between a wildly successful Kickstarter campaign and a lead weighted flop.
It doesn’t take into account vending at a science fiction or other genre convention, where friends willing to step in to cover your table for an hour or two here and there can make the difference between a great time and a screaming meltdown of missed opportunities and no damn sleep at ALL.
It doesn’t fully factor in friendly collaborations that allow for carpooling, hotel room sharing, and cross-promotional efforts.
And it sure as hell doesn’t cover having your spouse volunteer to handle the sales table for the majority of the weekend while you’re sick in the damn hotel room. There ain’t no paycheck makes up for THAT, no benefits package neither (yeah, you over there, you just keep that dirty thought to yourself, we’re being serious here).
The reality is, most of us entrepreneurs, small business owners, artsy creative inventor types RELY on friends and family being all up in the business side of our world. Without them backing us, we have zippity piss all chance of succeeding (unless we’re directly related to Donald Trump or something equally unfair). So, accepting the inevitability of crossing business and friendship, how do you manage to keep the one from destroying the other? How do you avoid a screeching divorce after two years of one partner over or under supporting the other’s ventures? How about the care and feeding of friends who work like dogs to help you succeed? How do you keep the whole complicated, occasionally fractalized mess balanced? I mean, we’re always hearing memes about the care and feeding of authors, but what about that of our support networks?
I think it’s time we turned an eye to that side of the table….don’t you?
So I’m going to start asking my friends and family on the circuit to stand up (so to speak) for interviews on this topic, and I’m inviting YOU, right here and now, to offer up your own experiences and methods of madness management.
Speak on, I’m listening….
[EDIT AS OF 11/24/15: Since I’ve had to rebuild the site from scratch, I’m pasting in the original comment to the above post:
From Widdershins: It has to be a complimentary partnership of the ‘I scratch your back and you scratch mine’ variety. Not both at the same time, but an energy that flows from one to the other over time. Works in intimate relationships (It wasn’t a dirty thought, it was a toe-curling sort of one) and all the other sorts of engagements we have with the ‘oomins surrounding us.
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