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Updated: Oct 27, 2023

This year particularly I have been approached by family members, teachers, pastors, old friends, current friends, college roommates and MORE about a variety of marketing services. To me this is a wonderful gift and makes me feel so good when I can work with people I know and love.

However, there are some things that make business hard when there aren't boundaries set in place to prevent tension or unneeded conflict.

Every business owner needs to decide for themselves if provided a service to family members is a good idea. This answer may vary depending on who it is as well as the relationship history. – Here are 5 tips for setting boundaries when doing business with family or friends.

Setting Boundaries #1: Business is Business, Personal is Personal.

My first recommendation is to separate your personal and business relationship. This means keeping things professional and productive in business - treating them as you would any other customer of yours. Personal disputes, conflicts, and/or experiences that happened outside of your business relationship needs to be talked about within your personal relationship not your business one. If you predict a conversation going into a more personal direction, you can easily maneuver the conversation back to business and saving the personal talks for personal calls.


Setting Boundaries #2: Don't Feel Obligated to give Discounts.

A lot of family/friend business relationships usually go awry when expectations that weren't priorly communicated are placed unknowingly on the business owner. One of the more common expectations is lower pricing or free service simply because they know you. Unfortunately this is really common, however here are things you can say to stand up for yourself and your pricing while also being respectful and kind: BE HELPFUL, NOT HURTFUL.

  1. After further review of the project, the scope of the service you are wanting entails _____xyz_____ . The pricing I have listed is the standard market price for this amount of work. If you would like to see a more detailed quote with itemized individual pricing, I'd be happy to send that over to you!

  2. Thank you for your interest! Unfortunately I am unable to offer you a discount, but, I would be more than happy to talk to you about this further on the phone and hopefully we can come to a better understanding about pricing before we move forward!

  3. I am honored to be considered for this project. Unfortunately I do not offer discounts, but I can put together a quote for you that is tailored to your service of interest in your price range that might be better suited for your budget!


Setting Boundaries #3: If You Need To Say No, Say NO.

Sometimes there are cases where theres miscommunication or a lack of understanding that may cause tension or unmet expectations. This happens! Here is the thing, as a business owner, you know your business better than anyone else. There are going to be things that your family/friend might ask of you that may go beyond your original agreement. If this happens, respectfully and nicely stand your ground while also being willing to come up with another solution to HELP. Remember, they are your client! Treat them as you would anyone else.

Here are some ideas you can use if you find yourself in this position:

  1. Unfortunately, doing __________ is not something that I included as part of our project scope in light of the original estimate. however, I would be able to do this additionally for an hourly wage of _______ , or I can do a similar action that will accommodate your current budget.

  2. ____________ is a great idea! Since this idea was not already taken into account when I had sent over the approved quote, I will have to charge additionally for this service. Let's schedule a phone call to talk about ___________ further so we both have a better understanding!

  3. Thank you for asking me about this! Allow me to take 24 hours to review this request and how it affects our current timeline and budget. I will get back to you on __________ regarding more specific details on this request.


I have had the best time working with close family and friends. I have had very few (if any) poor interactions while providing a service to someone that was close to me. I view it as an impeccable honor to even be considered for the job and it brings me even greater joy when I have the opportunity to establish a new side to the relationship and bond together through the experience.

Remember that regardless of your relationship or history, treat them as you would any other customer/client. As a business owner, your primary purpose is to HELP your customer/client reach their goals and accomplish their dreams.

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