The legal myth that we are busting today, is that you should never work with friends or family. That’s not really true is it? I hear it all the time and it’s not really true. I have to say that, because I work with my husband. He’s been my business partner for 15 years, so I have to say that’s not true.
But there is a kernel of truth to this, and what it relates to, is to make sure that you understand the working relationship. You have some kind of an agreement as to what would happen if things do go wrong. I find it so interesting that when people sit down and they start to detail, very often, they can work out whether they’re going to be a good working fit or not. I had a client once, who is an author and she was writing children books while her friend was illustrating them. Together they were creating these books and they were selling them, my client thought they would be working between 40 and 60 hours a week. Her friend thought they were gonna be working 10 hours a week.
If they had, right at the beginning, put down their expectations of each other, they would have known they were incompatible and not a good business fit. Unfortunately, they didn’t explore that, they didn’t explore expectations and they did not get anything in writing and so it ended in tears. The friendship broke up and then they were left with a mess. This is the thing that you need to think about when you’re collaborating with somebody, always talk about money.
Who’s going to get what, always talk about what input each person’s going to have, so is it the number of hours? In my clients case, was it the number of drawings that needed to be created? And most importantly, what happens if things go wrong? Because in that situation they hadn’t decided what was going to happen if things went wrong. Now the artist in the relationship wanted them to scrap all the books, just throw them away, while the author wanted to be able to sell them, because they had already had a whole lot printed. She also wanted to be able to print and sell more, eventually I got them to agree that each could print as many as they wanted and whatever each one sold, they would earn the income from that.
But it was nasty and unpleasant, so put it in writing, even just bullet points is a good starting point. You can always finalize it and firm it up later. It is a good idea for each of you to get independent legal advice, so you each have your own lawyer, just to make sure both parties’ rights are protected. It has been amazing busting legal myths with you, to protect your business and to give you the lifestyle that you deserve. My name is Cathryn Warburton, The Legal Lioness.If you want to see more legal myths being busted pop on to my website legallioness.com.