Matthew Harrison, Project Manager at MediCopy and brother to Elliott Noble-Holt, shares his best advice on the ups and downs when working with your family.
Sometimes the entrepreneurial spirit runs in the family. For brothers Matthew Harrison and Elliott Noble-Holt, that’s certainly true — and the passion for ideas led them to work together at Medicopy.
But, to have success in both their professional and personal lives, Harrison and Noble-Holt had to learn how to balance brotherhood and business. Through open communication and healthy boundaries, the two were able to have success with family — and financially.
In this episode, Matthew Harrison and Elliott Noble-Holt break down the stereotypes of being in business with family and reveal the realities. They talk through their family history of hustling, work expectations, and how they handle important family discussions.
Hiring for the Right Reasons
When you employ a family member, people may question the hire. You may have to field skepticism about why they got the position — so make sure they’re right for the job.
“Some are just put in those positions just because. Do they even have the qualifications? Who knows?” said Harrison.
Put your intimate knowledge of your family member’s skill set to good use. Ask yourself what they can bring to the table — and make the decision based on the value they can add to the company.
“I think you have to bring value to it,” said Harrison. “Sometimes people work for a company and they’re just there. I have ridden people’s waves, their successes, and I don’t have any apprehensions about that because I know I have to bring value for that company or it’s all for nothing.”
Setting Up Boundaries
Once you’ve decided that your family member is the right fit for the job, you need to establish a new working relationship. One that’s entirely separate from the one you have at home.
“There are expectations that I am being treated differently, and that’s really not the case,” said Harrison.
The way to dispel this notion is to make sure your family member is evaluated and treated the same way as the rest of your team. As the head of the company, it’s important that your expectations are the same for each employee.
“You weren’t special just because you were a family member. You had to come in and earn your keep and work your ass off to get to where you’re going,” said Noble-Holt.
Ensure your protocol is the same for everyone, despite your familial connection. When it comes to communication, it’s vital to establish a chain of command and to follow it closely.
“I follow the chain of command. I can count on my hand — in the past ten years that I’ve worked for you off and on — that I’ve gone to you instead of your COO,” said Harrison to Noble-Holt.
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