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Is The Family Business Really Right For You?

By Kyle Danner - January 22, 2019

If you’re just starting your career, or if you’re done with the 9-to-5 grind, a job in the family business looks tempting. The lure of freedom, autonomy, and working with your loved ones is certainly attractive. I’ve shared the four reasons for working in the family business and what to do if the family business isn’t for you. But how do you tell if the family business is really right for you in the first place?

The family business is not right for everyone. Some individuals find that they thrive outside of the family business. Some families also function better when they don’t have the additional stress of working together. So before you jump in and take a prominent role in your family’s business, ask yourself these questions:

Does it fit your life?

If you don’t have a clear idea of what you want personally, STOP. Invest the time in some serious soul-searching. Try the Ideal Life exercise or anything that will help you clarify what you want for future. The very last thing you want to do is join the business and then realize it isn’t a fit because you didn’t think it through.

Is there a career path?

Many family businesses are small operations with less than 50 people. That means there may not be much in terms of a career path. It’s likely you’ll be a Jack or Jill of all trades, or you’ll be doing the same job for the near future. There’s nothing wrong with taking these paths, of course, provided that’s what you want and it fits your life (see the first question).

Do you want to own the business?

Mom and dad may be wondering if they should keep the business or sell it. Keeping it in the family may be an attractive option. It saves them the headache of choosing a business broker, completing a valuation, pulling all the documents together, and negotiating with potential buyers.

However, if you have no interest in ownership (which includes signing a personal guarantee with the bank), be clear with yourself and your family. Realize that if the business is sold, you will no longer be working with your family. Any perks or freedom, and potentially your job, will be gone when the new owners take over.

Is this the easy way out?

Joining the family business may be the easy answer. There’s the promise of a comfy lifestyle, a steady paycheck and you know who you’re working for. Perhaps the other jobs you’ve tried didn’t work out. Or, maybe you’re not sure what you want and you have bills to pay. Whatever the answer, get comfortable with being uncomfortable. Take a hard look in the mirror. The family business shouldn’t be the last resort for employment. There’s too much at stake for you, your family and the business.

Make The Best Choice For Your Family & Your Future


However you answer these questions, go in with your eyes open. A job in the family business offers a lot of perks, and I’m not just talking about the money. It offers autonomy and freedom, things that working for someone else may not. Plus, you’re part of something bigger than yourself because you’re building a legacy with your family.

Becoming a part of the family business comes with its challenges. You may feel like you have to prove yourself to your parents or find yourself caught in the middle of family drama. But, if you think leading the family business is right for you, the benefits will far exceed the challenges.

Ready to become a next-generation leader? Schedule a consultation, and let’s work together to position you and your business for success. As a former kid in the family business, I can help you learn how to maximize your strengths, minimize risk, and prove your place in the business.

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