Friendship vs. Business: Nine Compelling Reasons to Avoid Hiring Friends


One of the greatest challenges for many entrepreneurs is to hire staff. Wouldn’t it be great if as entrepreneurs we could be auto clone ourselves and everything that we hate doing is done for us?


Make Your Hire Strategy your HIGHEST Strategy

Without question, team management is one of the most challenging aspects for all types of entrepreneurs. Finding great hired help is the number one challenge of every entrepreneur that I know of, especially black entrepreneurs and hiring “friends” is by far one of the biggest mistakes I’ve made myself, in the past. You MUST look at your business as your child and raise it accordingly and protect it from bullies, naysayers, and people who are looking out for themselves only no matter the cost to your business.

If I can be as blunt as possible, the bigger idea is to BUILD your business not STIFLE your growth. Your levels of strategy for running the business should not include being the mother, father, friend, aunt, uncle, caregiver, bank, boyfriend, girlfriend, psychiatrist, doctor, or counselor to the people that you hire, and when you hire friends you may end up playing all those roles and it’s difficult to have the mental toughness to separate work from friendship. Especially if you want to maintain that friendship.

Do the DUE and the Dilegence TOO!

One thing that I have learned the hard way over the years is people are REALLY good at selling themselves then delivering a truckload of boiling hot BS. Many times we are in a hurry to bring someone on board and we don’t check their backgrounds and references thoroughly (especially entrepreneurs) DO IT! It’s better to spend two hours digging for information than two hours digging your own grave because you make the wrong choice.

Think twice about hiring friends to help you with your business. The biggest reason is that you need to be able to have a guilt-free approach when it comes to disciplining someone who is not doing the tasks assigned to them and it’s very difficult to do that with people you have previously befriended.

I have learned in the 25 years that I have been in business that there is an expectation, a level of disrespect, and an extremely uncomfortable price to pay when we neglect to remember or RESPECT the “bigger idea” which is to GROW the business.

Every few months, I strongly suggest you get a pad and a pen and WRITE OUT your goals for the business and read it daily when you wake up. There is something incredibly powerful about writing out your plans and reviewing it, you release that energy and request to the universe. Don’t type it out WRITE it out and you may want to put in on your vision board.

Here are the reasons that you should always reconsider before making the mistake of hiring friends or unqualified people

1. Emotions Lead to Poor Management

You are trying to help them but are they trying to help themselves the most. If your reason for hiring a friend is to help them financially instead of loaning them money you may never get back, you are making a mistake. Just GIVE them the money and kill two birds with one stone. You will avoid having to deal with their negative state and energy seeping into your business and they will avoid you because they owe you money. In essence, it’s better to pay to get RID of them than to pay to KEEP them. Truth be told you are probably going to lose them as a friend either way. Pick the best option. 

2. Compassion and Sympathy are Great Tools But Also the Characteristics of Entrepreneurship Exacerbate Poor Management

Friends know you and your weaknesses. Your options are very limited when it comes to being your friends’ boss AND their friend at the same time. We rarely can have it both ways. We’ve all had the friend who is down on their luck or between jobs or side gigs and in need of some extra cash but is your business a black-owned bank or a black-owned brand? Your friend has let you know they need money NOT a job and they would certainly prefer the cash over the work. Which one do you think will be their first priority? Which one should be yours?

Before you offer up the health of your BUSINESS to help out a friend, know not to use your black-owned business to kill two birds with one stone. Your job as a black entrepreneur is not also Superman or Superwoman and you can’t save the world. Your friends know your triggers, your strengths, and your weaknesses and the other people that work for you don’t need to be in on that too. 

3. Friends Make you Feel Obligated

You put yourself in a poor position when you hire a friend MOSTLY because of this… They will use the friendship as a bargaining chip because it’s all they have but YOU have a LOT more to lose including their friendship so you will tolerate things out of the ordinary. This will take your attention away from the BIGGER IDEA of growing your business and having control over your team. While they may need money to pay the rent, you need clients to grow your brand. Just give them the money.

4. YOU make YOU feel Obligated

As I said earlier the characteristics of entrepreneurship often involve finding a way to help solve a problem but there are times when we take that too far. Lord knows I have been guilty of this and it should never affect your business or your levels of strategy to grow. Keep your eyes on the prize, not the homeless shelter.

Your intentions are good but you soon realize you’ve made a mistake and now you have to pay more either in money, time, or stress to fix it. Their problem may now become YOUR problem.

My suggestion is that before you make a mistake like this, change your hire strategy to a HIGHER Strategy and bring in people who can do the job instead of just collecting the check. Know that the BUSINESS is the FIRST PRIORITY and you need people on board who can complete the tasks assigned with no drama or you may end up having to pay them to GO.

Either way, you will be the bad guy but your peace of mind and health is worth a HELLUVA lot more than a stroke, aneurysm, heart attack, or a combo platter of all three because of stress.

5. You Hesitate to Express Dismay

You may have a lot to say about what your friend is doing wrong but in an effort to spare the friendship you may remain silent. This will absolutely lead to stress. This will affect you in every way including your creativity and innovative strategies. You put yourself in this position and now you have to crawl your way out of it.

6. You Sacrifice Time and Money for your Business Because You Don’t Want To Lose the Friendship

This could have all been avoided is you looked at the situation in perspective. You have bitten off more than you can chew but at this point, it’s too late. You have to find a way to get out of the mess that you put yourself in.

7. Your Inability to Control Your the Friend or Poor Hire will affect your Performance

If your employees see this, it will certainly cause dissension and strife which could end up being a much bigger problem for you. You have heard the powerful statement about cancer in your organization but I prefer to say the rotten fruit. When it’s too close to the healthy fruit it will destroy it too. 

8. Friends and Poor Hires Will Overlook the Tasks Assigned to Them

They are only concerned about their own situation and it makes sense when their survival is paramount to them at this time what you are secondary.

9. Other Employees Will Witness Your Poor Management

After all, you knew they were having financial problems so what’s YOUR problem?

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