I’m a strong advocate for keeping your work life and personal life separate. But sometimes those worlds collide and you have to make things work. Friends becoming clients happens quite often in our line of work. Friends and old coworkers will come to Roundpeg for our marketing expertise and we are happy to help them out. If things go well, working with a friend can be really beneficial. If things go sour, it can be your worst nightmare. Here’s how to successfully keep that friend/client relationship intact.

Shoot the breeze when you’re off the clock

When working with a friend it can be hard not to get sidetracked and waste hours chatting about your family, your pets or whatever, but you have got to stay focused. You want this partnership to be beneficial for both parties so don’t waste your time gabbing about your social life. Treat this relationship as you would any other client relationship. Use your time and their time wisely. If you want to catch up with each other be sure to plan a time to get lunch or drinks when you’re off the clock.

Treat your friend like any other client

This seems sort of obvious doesn’t it? Just because you are working with a friend doesn’t mean they get special treatment. They still need to pay their invoices on time just like everyone else. But the same goes for you. You can’t just push your friend’s project to the back burner because they’re your friend and they’ll understand that you’re busy. It doesn’t work like that. Keep your business hat on. Don’t cut any corners. You don’t want your friend to think you aren’t professional. Pay extra attention to them if you can. Show them that they made the right choice choosing to work with you instead of someone else.

The customer is always right, even when it’s your friend

There are times when clients don’t choose to go with the logo we like best, or veto the image we selected for the homepage on their website, but we have to respect their decisions. You might be able to be more opinionated with your friend because you have a personal relationship, but you still need to respect their choices. Just because you don’t like their final decision doesn’t give you the right to rip them a new one. You can try to gently push them in a specific direction, but at the end of the day it’s not your business, it’s theirs.

Working with a friend can be hard. You want what’s best for them, but you don’t want to step on any toes in the process. As long as you treat them like any other client, respect their opinions and stick to a schedule you will be fine. If you find that you just can’t seem to agree on anything and the project is going no where, cut ties before it gets ugly. You don’t want to ruin a lengthy friendship over something silly. If you’re not comfortable with the idea of invoicing a friend, you should probably refer them to another company.