I am an online freelance writer. My mother, an interior designer, recently requested me to contribute one article to her blog per day to help drive up traffic. Indeed the traffic has increased and there are a number of adverts on the blog. She has however, requested that I write more than one article per day but she is not talking of how she is going to pay for my efforts. Should I ask her to start paying me? Robin
The problem you are highlighting is common in many family businesses especially during start ups. When you agreed to write articles you expected her to read your mind and pay you, yet in her mind she assumed you will offer some kind of ‘payback’ for looking after you.
Informal relationships have in most cases led to disagreements in family businesses where relatives are expected to work without pay and perceived as being rude if they ask to be paid.
The owners of these businesses expect their relatives to provide free labour while on the other hand, the relatives feel exploited because they are not rewarded for their skills. This unfortunate situation has also greatly contributed to failure of many SMEs to graduate into fully fledged corporate entities because of the inability by the owners to separate family from business.
In such businesses, structures and roles are not clearly defined and professionalism is not recognised and rewarded. You should therefore advise your mother to set up structures and clearly define the roles and responsibilities of each individual employee and how they should be remunerated. Also advise her to run the business as a separate entity from the family and that is how you will have your skills rewarded without creating unnecessary animosity between you and your mother as an ungrateful child.
Head Human Resource
Monitor Publications Limited