What's Your Experience Taking On Friends as Clients?

by Arlolo
35 replies
Anybody has taken on friends as clients? Any experiences.. Is it a good or bad idea?
#clients #experience #friends #taking
  • Profile picture of the author Tony Marriott
    My personal view.. Never do it. It has no upsides.

    I tend to "help" friends and family. That way I am not committed and the wrong expectations are not set.

    Of course it may depend on your level of friendship, type of personality, service you are supplying, how important the results are to the client/friend etc.

    As soon as you include money in the equation it changes the relationship. Unless both of you are superhuman in your emotions and very very focused then yout friendship will effect your delivery and your client contract can effect your frienship if everything does not go 100% as planned.

    One thing that might work (if it's possible) is to agree to do something for free but have them be a case study and refeernce for aother clients/promotions.
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  • Profile picture of the author AnniePot
    Twice over the past few years, I've made the mistake of doing work for my sister-in-law. Both times creating a business website.

    The first time I listened carefully to what she wanted. She pointed me towards the website of one of her rivals and said she wanted something similar. I used the same theme, but of course didn't copy graphics, pictures, etc. When I showed her what I'd done, she was not pleased.' It's nothing like what I wanted.'

    So, she decided to 'do it herself' and set up a site on Weebly. She purchased several graphics from Weebly and it didn't look too bad, but then she got into a dispute with them because she wanted to do something that was unachievable with the programming options they offered.

    She contacted me and asked me if I could do what she wanted. I tried, but it wasn't possible. Like an idiot, I told her it could be done on a regular, self-hosted Wordpress site.

    She begged me to copy what she'd done on Weebly into a new Wordpress site, including the programming feature she wanted.

    Well, I did it. When I sent her a link to view the result, she wrote back:

    "Well, I'm disappointed. It's nothing special is it?"

    I walked away and we haven't spoken since. I won't make the mistake a third time.
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  • Profile picture of the author Kay King
    I won't work (for pay) for friends or for family.

    I will give my time to do some writing, editing or site work for them to help them out - but I'm more likely to refer them to freelancers I trust.

    I don't feel right taking money from friends and I've told a couple people "the friendship is too valuable to risk it working together"...they laugh but they also understand.

    kay
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  • Profile picture of the author salegurus
    Without going into a long story very similar experiences to Kay and Annie so not much more to add, i'm sure you get the point...
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  • Profile picture of the author ChrisBa
    Originally Posted by Arlolo View Post

    Anybody has taken on friends as clients? Any experiences.. Is it a good or bad idea?
    I stay away from working with friends and family.
    I have done this in the past and although things could have been worse, I found it caused more bad than good
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  • Profile picture of the author gabrielrala
    It is really hard to work with family most of the time for the reason that,there are things that you are afraid to say,or push them to their limit of potential something, because that might awfully hurt them, and affects your relationship, better to work with someone that has no special connection, or relationship. just saying
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  • Profile picture of the author Brent Stangel
    Banned
    I do (mostly) pro bono work for a friend who directs a non-profit. She is so happy to have access to a professional that doesn't charge an exorbitant fee that we don't have any problems.

    I built this website for them - Remnica House | Every child deserves a lifetime of peace and family harmony

    It depends on who the person is as an individual and the relationship you have with them.

    As a rule of thumb, I would advise against it.
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  • Profile picture of the author nicheblogger75
    I have tried helping out a few of my friends to start an online business and it always ended in failure.

    All 3 times I tried it it was because they had lost their jobs or needed extra money and they practically begged me to help them to "do what I do,"

    Well, what "I do" looks easy to outsiders. All they see is that I am making money without going to a regular job every day. They immediately begin to think that it must be very easy to do and that they can start doing it today and be making money by tomorrow. Well, we all know it simply does not work that way.

    Every time I have been asked I have always tried to persuade them not to try it, and I have always tried to tell them how much work it was and how long it took before I started making any substantial money. Well, it always seems to go in one ear and out the other.

    In the end I give in and agree to help them, and after the first day they quickly begin to understand that this is very difficult and just because it may look easy that doesn't mean it is.

    One of them quit after the first day, one quit after the second day, and I had one friend who actually stuck it out for a few months and did start to make some money, but then decided not to listen to me when I told him he should be investing at least 50% of his profits back into building his list. He had his list built up to around 3500 subscribers and was making around $40-$50 a day at this point and he thought he was some kind of Internet Marketing god. He decided he didn't need my help anymore and he decided that he was not going to take my advice and keep building a relationship with them.

    Instead he decided to go the other way and start bombing his list with several offers every day. While I disagree with the "churn and burn" list building strategy, I guess it works for people but the thing is is that you have to constantly add lots of new subscribers to your list. Personally, I prefer to add quality subscribers to my list and then nurture them by delivering value peppered with promos, but that's a different discussion.

    Anyway, I told him if he was going to employ this strategy that he better be adding at least twice as many new subscribers than he lost every day to his list. He ignored me completely. He decided to immediately withdraw and blow every single dollar he made, even though I told him that if he does not constantly add new subscribers to his list then it will eventually grow stale, even with repeat business. I also tried to explain to him the dangers of running that type of a business and that it was not a good long term business strategy.

    He continued to ignore me until about 6 months into it he would send his list a broadcast and get just a few clicks and no sales. His list had shrunk to around 2,000 subscribers by this point, and he was starting to get lots of complaints.

    All of a sudden one day he calls me and gets mad at me and tells me that he is quitting Internet Marketing because "it doesn't work."

    I asked him about all of the sales he had made when he was doing what I told him and investing 50% of his profits back into the business, and he decided to ignore that and continued to berate me and tell me how "I wasted 6 months of his life and gave him false hope."

    It was at this point in time that I decided that I would NEVER coach any friends or family again.

    How can you help someone who refuses to listen to your advice?

    Not to mention the fact that we are not really friends anymore, and that is most definitely the cause.
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    • Profile picture of the author Winning34
      Originally Posted by nicheblogger75 View Post


      Well, what "I do" looks easy to outsiders. All they see is that I am making money without going to a regular job every day. They immediately begin to think that it must be very easy to do and that they can start doing it today and be making money by tomorrow. Well, we all know it simply does not work that way.
      Great post.

      I have a YouTube channel with over 100,000 subscribers and millions of views and from the outside it looks easy. People see me uploading a 15 minute video every week and think that I only work 15 minutes per week to earn $$$ - What they don't realise is it took me 2 years to get to my level and each 15 minute video is in fact about 20 hours work and making videos is only a small part of running a successful YouTube channel.

      Trying to help friends and family in this business always ends in tears. Even helping strangers rarely works out either. They always seem to think it's not real work.
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  • Profile picture of the author TrickyDick
    I've had only bad experiences.....

    What I've learned.....

    Don't do free or paid work for friends or family...

    I much rather refer them to someone I know and trust.... and get a referral fee. :-)
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  • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
    Back when I was actively working with clients, whether I worked for friends depended on which relationship came first, business or friendship.

    I had good experiences with clients who became friends, but never the other way around.

    FWIW
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  • Profile picture of the author Randall Magwood
    Originally Posted by Arlolo View Post

    Anybody has taken on friends as clients? Any experiences.. Is it a good or bad idea?
    Good idea.

    Treat them just like a regular client, and tell them not to take it personal, but strictly business. Charge them your normal fee, layout your marketing blueprint to them, collect the money, then get to work helping them out. They'll have more respect for you at the end of the day if you don't give them any discounts, and if you collect the money first.
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  • Profile picture of the author George Schwab
    as clients: Never

    as partners: Of course, it works, because 1+ 1 = 3

    or in other words, you go much faster having equal partners
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  • Profile picture of the author gingerninjas
    Originally Posted by Arlolo View Post

    Anybody has taken on friends as clients? Any experiences.. Is it a good or bad idea?
    I would avoid it if you don't know them very well, however there are a few exceptions.

    I have a few friends that I work with and we are very clear about the relationship ahead of starting.

    Some people just don't go well with business and I avoid working with them at all cost, some of my friends that are in professional services and are very stringent in their work I can easily work with and it is very clearly defined when we are in business mode and when we are in social mode.

    I make it a clear rule to never talk about work with these people unless we are in an office environment or if they are calling during work hours to discuss business. We can easily turn this off and on and we have a light banter however it is very clear when we are working and when it is social.

    Likewise, I can work with one particular family member and get her to take care of admin for me as we have a very clear and defined arrangement. However this is quite unique and we have worked in the past together and understand how to structure it.

    As a rule, it has it's challenges and to be honest, if you don't know the person super well I would avoid it. That said, if you are after a long term arrangement I would be very clear from the start what you expect, what they expect and be just as clear with them as you would be with anyone else you are working with.

    Guidelines need to be set, briefs need to be provided and don't even bother with the buddy buddy stuff, it's business and as long as everyone is aware of this it can work fine.
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  • Profile picture of the author BradVert2013
    I've had friends as clients in the past. I was lucky because everything worked out good on both ends. So there was no drama over the work being done, payments, etc.

    I probably wouldn't do it again, though. Just too much risk.
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  • Profile picture of the author GetPLRhere
    It might not be a bad idea. Some of the richest people started as friends in the college dorm rooms and went on to build billion dollar business together. Of course, there have been other founders who ended up feuding with each other as well, or experience some kind of falling out.

    Some of the more successful partnerships were Yahoo founders, Jerry Yang and David Filo and the Google Guys, Larry Page and Sergey Brin. I've never heard of them feuding with each other.
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  • Profile picture of the author scribeforhire
    Originally Posted by Arlolo View Post

    Anybody has taken on friends as clients? Any experiences.. Is it a good or bad idea?
    Everyone says "Don't do it," but I've found a way around the negative part. When family members ask my help with website copy, doing their taxes (I'm a retired accountant), writing speeches or anything I do for pay, here's my strategy: I refer them out to one of my professional acquaintances. These acquaintances do the same for me when their family asks them to do jobs. Massage therapists have been using this system successfully for decades. It works, and in the long run you pick up a few new clients. It is also one of the advantages of networking with your "competitors."
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  • Profile picture of the author gurutard
    If your friend understands that you run a business and they are willing to pay for your services, then it's not a problem.
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  • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
    Originally Posted by GetPLRhere View Post

    It might not be a bad idea. Some of the richest people started as friends in the college dorm rooms and went on to build billion dollar business together. Of course, there have been other founders who ended up feuding with each other as well, or experience some kind of falling out.

    Some of the more successful partnerships were Yahoo founders, Jerry Yang and David Filo and the Google Guys, Larry Page and Sergey Brin. I've never heard of them feuding with each other.
    There's a very significant difference between a partnership and a client/contractor relationship. Often, friends and family members go back and forth between "c'mon, we're family" and "you're working for me, bub"; they want the best of both worlds.

    For those for whom this has worked out, I'm happy for you. Keep your fingers crossed and your rabbit's foot polished...
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  • Profile picture of the author kazimuhith
    Beware! Keep away from working for friends !! I have seen some disputes develop when one of my friends started to work for another friend. It did not last long ...
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  • Profile picture of the author vikash_kumar
    If I remember correctly, this question has been asked few times in the past as well and every time people have shared the same (negative) experiences.

    I do agree with the majority here as well, Will recommend you to avoid as well.
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  • Profile picture of the author Ernie Lo
    Im my experience it's been hell. It's not the family members that are the issue, its' when they get other people involved, and it ends up being a nightmare.
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  • Profile picture of the author nicheblogger75
    Another problem I faced when helping out a former friend who begged me to teach him "the Internet thing" that I "do" was the negativity from his family who constantly told him he should get a "real" job and that I was just "one of those Amway people" who was going to take all of his money. Funny thing is he had NO money and that was why he was begging me to teach him "the Internet thing" in the first place.

    Even after he started to make money every day they continued to try and convince him that it was some kind of scam and it wouldn't last. Well, it didn't last, but not because it was a scam, but because when he started to make a little money every day he decided to completely ignore my advice and instead of investing the money into growing his list he withdrew it all and spent every last dime on stupid crap he didn't need. Of course his list eventually dried up and became unresponsive because he thought bombing them with 5 different offers a day would make him more money when in fact it just killed his list just like I told him it would.

    When he finally stopped making sales his family then swoops in with the big "I told you so" and lays the entire blame on me!

    Maybe it's not so much about coaching friends as it's about coaching immature kids who aren't ready to have access to money every day.
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  • Originally Posted by Arlolo View Post

    Anybody has taken on friends as clients? Any experiences.. Is it a good or bad idea?
    In my view, we should not do this. One can make clients to other people, Always aloof yourself from one's Friends & Family member. Thanks for your advance.
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  • Profile picture of the author EAllen@FinEdPro
    I would say it depends on the individual but I would advice against it because your relationship becomes dependent on how you perform whatever tasks it is for that friend. In my experience, it is not worth the risk.
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  • Profile picture of the author BellaZee
    Taking friends and family on as clients? Not a good idea. The moment you mix money and friendship, something is going to go wrong somewhere at some point in time, even if it’s not right away. It will be sunshine and roses for a little while and then the manure will hit the fan.

    It’s even worse if the work you do is online, because like Nicheblogger75’s story shows, there are still oodles and oodles of people out there who think that running a business online has to be some form of scam. Or that working from home means you’re a slacker and aren’t actually doing anything all day, or something along those lines.

    I’ve found that the problem with taking friends on as clients is that they have this expectation, among other things, that you’ll give them preferential prices (and we’re talking a million percent discount so basically do the work for free) and that you’ll also give them preferential service, as in putting them ahead of every other client you have. And that has happened to me on occasion even when I offered to help for free.

    I’ve also found the reverse is just as problematic, aka hiring a friend or family member. In some cases, it definitely can work out with family, especially if you’re close, but with friends it’s really difficult. Most people have a hard time putting aside friendship mode and you end up with someone who’s always asking for time off, or for more money or coming up with a gazillion excuses as to why the job hasn’t been done and you’re expected to accept all these excuses because otherwise you’re not a good friend.

    Partnerships are something completely different because then you both have something to lose or to gain but a client – vendor or boss – employee relationship will only lead to tears and a lost friendship.
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  • Profile picture of the author gurutard
    I have never had a bad experience taking on friends as clients. In fact, when I try to cut them a deal they insist on paying full price for my work. This is because they respect me and my time, and they tell me I'm worth every penny.

    I had one give me 25% over my normal fee for a service I provided for him. He told me to consider it a tip because I did a good job.

    Idk what kind of friends you people have, but I'm glad mine don't give me problems when I do work for them.
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  • If your are proffesional there is no problem. Besure you defide private and business.
    But if you can help your friend as a client that could benefityou to.

    Mila
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  • Profile picture of the author Joe Benjamin
    I read nichebloggers comment.

    Damn.

    I'll say this.

    I'm EXTREMELY picky about who I teach "what I
    do."

    I have one buddy who inspired me to care for
    my body, workout and eat healthy.

    Well, with a lot of trial and error I learned
    how to trade successfully on the side.

    Wanting to repay him for what he did for me,
    I decided I was going to take my time and teach
    him for 'free'.

    He sat and watched as I made money on the spot.

    He never heard of trading. Never did it. Never
    thought about it. But he sat in 'silence' as I
    told him exactly what to do, how to do it, and
    what to look for.

    After an hour or so, he said, "Okay. I'm doing
    it".

    There was no second guessing or hesitation. I
    was just running my lips. I showed him what I
    was doing every day.

    He deposited $100 bucks, made $1000 by the end
    of the week.

    But I wasn't surprised.

    His work ethic, attention to detail and ability
    to concentrate is why he succeeds in bodybuilding.

    So I expected nothing less.

    My satisfaction was knowing I was able to give
    value in his life the way he did for my own.

    He taught me something I didn't know (weight train)
    and boosted my quality of life.

    I did the same in return in the financial area.

    It was mutual and respectful.

    I don't mind helping friends/family, but it really
    depends on their work ethic, history and energy.

    I can pick up success on people and those are
    usually the ones who are doers, not talkers and
    go on to achieve greater success when shown the
    right way.

    For the most part, you have to have a mindset for
    entrepreneurship and frankly very FEW people got it.
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  • Profile picture of the author Ivana Adnium
    Bad idea. I would also be hesitant to work with friends of friends. Best to just hire strangers or someone you or someone close to you doesn't have close ties with.
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  • Profile picture of the author assadok
    help a few things can with friends and relatives

    but if business ... no hard feeling bro ...just business

    if normally we got paid $1000

    with them ...sometimes $100 only bro .. and that is considered expensive enough for 'creating a web site'
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  • Originally Posted by Arlolo View Post

    Anybody has taken on friends as clients? Any experiences.. Is it a good or bad idea?
    I don't approve of this to make a customer who is my friends. Of course it is not a good job. Friend is always friend. Thanks
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  • Profile picture of the author Junaid khawaja
    My experience: Bad. Friends look for favors. In fact, they expect great discounts just because they think "working from home" is an easy job. I remember one of my friends who was a google ad words specialist. He got to know about my copywriting skills and viola he asked for some tweaks for his portfolio website (naturally assuming that I will do it for free).
    Well, I found a way around to tackle it.

    However, at other instance, taking one of my cousin as a client resulted in some verbal tussle later in the project. My verdict: Before taking any friend as a client. MAKE IT CLEAR THAT ITS A BUSINESS RELATION.
    Thanks
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  • Profile picture of the author AronParker
    Very bad idea, they'll bitch about you all the time because they're jealous lol
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  • Profile picture of the author Andrewsfm
    They will always want cheap prices, more for what they pay, you know mates rates?

    Can't be bothered with that!
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