I’m sure you’ve all heard the rule about not mixing business and pleasure or not hiring your friends. So have I, and I did it anyway…3 times. I have 2 employees and a Virtual Assistant and they were all my friends before they started in the business.
Now I know why people say it is a bad idea and I do understand that there is a risk, to both the business and the friendship but I still did it. Why? A few reasons I suppose:
I wanted to. We spend a lot of our time working and I wanted to spend that time with people whose company I enjoy.
Honesty is extremely important to me. By hiring friends I have hired people who I know I can be myself with and that we can be honest with each other. When my staff can say “Tara that sentence is really nerdy and I think you should re-word it” then I’m happy! I know our clients will get the absolute best because no-one is afraid to tell anyone else on our team that they could improve their work in some way. It is good for the business and good for all of our happiness.
Business is a risk, no matter what, but I refuse to spend my business life not trusting anyone. I know for certain that I could have hired a VA from the Philippines for a mere fraction of what I pay my wonderful Pingelly-based VA. But when my head is spinning and I don’t have the brain power or time to change something on my website or I can’t figure out some technical issue with G Suite, I call my VA, my friend. She logs in using the password, because yes (shock, horror), she has access. This is a risk I would not take with someone I did not trust. Of course it could go wrong but I choose to trust my friend and back myself in my ability to read people and my ability to pick up any pieces should the worst happen.
Being a business owner and a boss is new to me so I needed people I could count on to support me. In my time working in government I ‘managed’ people, but it is very different from being the owner of the company, with the ultimate decision-making responsibility around staffing and company direction. Hiring my friends to come along on this journey with me has allowed me to lean on them when I needed. I’ve been able to ask their advice, to rant about something in a way that I wouldn’t with a ‘colleague’ or to ask for their help.
I wanted to share what I had found. Working remotely and working flexible hours with a boss whose focus is on output and not on how many hours you spend warming a seat is AMAZING! It has completely changed my life and I love it, so I wanted to share it with the people I care about. I am a huge advocate for our regional areas and the need for governments and businesses to enable remote, flexible working so that people can live where they choose, attend their kids’ school events or pursue whatever passion they have. Growing my business is allowing me to provide this opportunity to a few friends, which just makes me love my job even more.
Now I am not saying that I will only hire friends as that is not sustainable or the best course of action for the business. Nor am I saying that things will always be wonderful in our little team. But for me, hiring my friends has been a great decision so far; it’s created a happy and effective team that I rely on and of which I enjoy being a part.