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Do Family Members Make Good Business Partners?

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Working with family members: yes or no, and why?

The following answers are provided by the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world's most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, the YEC recently launched #StartupLab, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses via live video chats, an expert content library and email lessons.

A. No

2013-09-06-ericbahn.jpgMy wife has been my business partner at my startup for the past four years. I've been lucky enough to find a wonderful partner in her, both personally and professionally. However, I never advise working with family. It's too risky. Getting along with a family member personally is no indication of how you work together professionally. Money and business can damage your relationship. It's not worth it.
- Eric Bahn, Hustle Con Media

A. Yes

2013-09-06-DarrahBrustein.jpgMy twin brother is my partner in my oldest company, and it's great because we can be honest with one another, and I trust him significantly more than I've trusted partners in the past. It also just so happens that our skill sets are completely opposite and complementary. If you can share a womb, you can share a business!
- Darrah Brustein, Finance Whiz Kids | Equitable Payments

A. Yes

2013-09-06-LauraLand.jpgWe actually have 10 family members that work with us, and they are very loyal and always watch our backs. Although, I will say it is very important to define roles and boundaries with family immediately. They do tend to push the limits of what is acceptable if rules are not clearly defined.
- Laura Land, Accessory Export, LLC

A. Yes

2013-09-06-DerekCapo.pngMy immediate family members each work in the marketing, entertainment and retail industries, which is the complete opposite of my area of expertise (finance). They were able to give me constructive criticism when I ventured into their major areas of expertise, and their advice and help has allowed me to grow the business without having to pay for an expensive consultant.
- Derek Capo, Next Step China

A. Maybe

2013-09-06-DanPrice.jpgIt depends. If you put family first and sure you always will (and they do too), then it can create complications and risks. But if you're willing to accept those complications and risks, it could also enhance your relationship with your family.
- Dan Price, Gravity Payments

A. Yes

2013-09-06-Peterawad.jpg
We love hiring family at our companies. The upside is that you know you don't have to worry about trust issues. Having that out of the way is a huge plus. However, you must make it clear that business is business. This means not taking things personally and accepting criticism just as you would from any other co-worker.
- Peter Awad, GoodBlogs

A. No

2013-09-06-AaronSchwartz.jpgWhile I love my family, starting a business is a risky proposition. While it's nice to think about the upside of your family getting rich, I prefer to think about hedging risk. The downside of losing money -- and possibly a friend if there is contention -- is too great to ignore.
- Aaron Schwartz, Modify Watches

A. Maybe

2013-09-06-AdamCallinan.jpgWorking with family can be great, and it can be terrible. If you and your potential co-working family members have the ability to completely separate personal and business, it can work well. But if you can't, which is really difficult, it can be disastrous. If you do indeed take the plunge, it's important you understand that other workers will view your relationship as if there is special treatment.
- Adam Callinan, BottleCamo

A. No

2013-09-06-RonnieCastro.jpgEven if you're comfortable with it, other people in the company will always question how they got the job, whether promotions are deserved, etc.
- Ronnie Castro, Porch

A. No

2013-09-06-BrettFarmiloe.jpg
The people you know and love in the family room can be polar opposites of themselves when they're sitting in a conference room. People sometimes act differently in the workplace, and you might not like what you see or hear. If you value your family relationships, be prepared to experience another side of your family that you haven't seen. Depending on the person, this could be a good or bad thing.
- Brett Farmiloe, Digital Marketing Agency

A. Yes

2013-09-06-AndyKaruza.jpgFamily is the strongest bond that you will ever make in your life. Friends may come and go at their own convenience, but family will stick through the good and the bad, which naturally make good business partnerships. However, you need to set clear expectations up front to ensure that each family member involved understands what's expected of him or her.
- Andy Karuza, brandbuddee