A few months ago, my sister came up with an amazing idea for a business and I was immediately on board. I jumped in right away and for the past 5 months I've been working to get it up and running. I still think it's a great idea and I want to continue with it, however, I'm concerned because my sister and I are very different and have different goals career-wise. I'm afraid to attach myself to her too much and abandon my career path and what I want to do, even though I'm really passionate about this business. My sister is a nurse and she does not like it at all. She sees herself completely leaving the nursing field and doing this business 100%. I however, like my career and I want to do both. I'm 24 and my sister is 31. We are at different stages in our lives. I still want to have my own professional identity. What should I do?
Be honest with her.
Tell her your concerns now, and ask that she give you the same courtesy.
The unique skills that you each bring to the table and the passion you both have is what can make the business successful - but only if you can communicate.
If you aren't willing to commit 100% right now, then tell her what you are willing to give - I'm sure she'll appreciate whatever you can give her, including your support.
First of all, congratulations on being able to be honest with yourself. I study Family Business dynamics and the challenge with them is the larger they get, the smaller and more stifled one feels - a bit of a paradox.
As you may know, vision is everything for a business. One person may have wanted to persist with Apple as a Computer company, but now they are a technology company. Two entirely different realities.
This makes our first choice clear:
we do not want a major role in this business.
That takes us to our second choice - would we let it go completely? This depends on the following:
How likely is our individual success?
What would happen after we left?
Would the business survive?
What would happen to our relationship with our sibling?
If you'd like a further discussion on a call, we can talk about the a) validity of your personal career choice b) the line of conversation to have with your sister and c) the exact role you should carve out within the joint business for yourself.
Can you do both? That seems like the key question for you.
Based on my own experience, I would say: Yes. You can do both. You can set SMART goals for your business and your career and have both. Entrepreneurship has transformed my career and gives me the vision that my corp colleagues don't have.
The next question would be: are you biz goals in alignment with your sister's? An authentic communication will take you to mutual understanding and you might reach an agreement that suits you both.
Good luck and call if you want to talk more.
My mom gave me some sage advice when I was young that still holds true in every part of my life: Start out the way you plan on holding out. I didn't fully understand it at the time, but the older I get, the more it rings true. You must come to the table as you are from the start.
Support your sister's vision but not at the expense of your own. That's the only way you'll remain motivated and joyful throughout this transition. I would suggest you and your sister have a heart to heart where you negotiate the level of support you feel comfortable with. What I know is that the excitement you feel at the idea of the business will transition into the realities of running it. If you start out of the gate with the realities, you'll be the better at the end.
I would love to have a consultation with you, free of charge to help you navigate the ambivalence that you feel and to help you get more clarity. I truly believe you can approach this in a way that both she and you can get excited about. Contact me.