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negative aspects
stuff envelopes
friends birthday
choice in the matter
coffee table
home based businesses
home based business
little time
Hiring Family - Positive And Negative Aspects Of Using Free Labor (Family)
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When starting a home-based business it is very tempting to turn it into a family project. Oh how many times I have heard this one. They promise all kinds of opportunities and learning experiences (kids hate it when you try to sell them on learning experiences) but just leads to resentment and a very dour experience at the dinner table (oh, sorry the dinner table is now being used for planning so you will have to eat at the coffee table. One of many compromises you can expect to face).

Participating in the business should be voluntary or at least given very distinct tasks in a very set time frame. Speaking as a child and as a spouse involved in these home-based businesses which took over everything I can tell you it would have been nice to have felt that I had choice in the matter but it was assumed I would sacrifice everything. Give your children and/or spouse the right to turn you down occasionally. It should never be expected of them to give more than you are willing to give up. I can't tell you how many times I would be left with some task to complete before I could go to bed both as a child and as a supposed adult. In most cases, I was more than willing to support these businesses, I just wish I had been given the chance to have a little time for the things I wanted to do.

A home-based business can bring a family together and build a tighter family unit if it is handled with a little respect for all those involved. Kids are going to fight and spouses are not always going to get along. When the tension escalates take a step back. If the business is your idea then take on the bulk of the responsibility at least at first until there are tangible rewards.

Nothing is more upsetting to a child than missing a friends birthday party, a dance or a recital because they had to stay home and stuff envelopes for mom or dads special project. Send the kids on these important functions, let them know that you would appreciate them helping out a little more to make up for the time lost. Remember, they are children first, free labor second. As for the spouse, they may have a job of their own so don't expect they will be enthusiastic about spending the little time with the kids helping with the venture before them. To turn this around a bit, consider including the entire family in major business decisions. It sounds trite and maybe a little unsettling but an invested partner is a willing partner. They will feel more involved and possibly willing to make more sacrifices. Being in charge is nice but having a successful business is nicer.

Given that a home-based business can also drive a family into the ground. Take one domineering adult, a repressed spouse and less than completely docile kids and through in the pressures of starting a business and you have the recipe for a disaster resulting in devastation and an already challenging prospect to build a successful business with the stresses of a family torn apart on top of it all. A family business as it were should never be a dictatorship. If that is your aim then leave the family out of it and hire proper employees who you can order around as usual.

The bottom line is no business is worth sacrificing your family. Give your family a voice or leave them out of the venture. It could be a great experience or the worst one imaginable. Trust me, I've seen it both as a child and as a spouse involved in "family" businesses. Give the children their childhood and let your spouse have their life as well. You will be much the happier for it.

Street Talk


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  about 7 years ago
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