Sunday, January 16, 2011

business + friends: how do they mix?

A few days ago I posted some pictures on Facebook of five paintings I'm trying to sell. (Oh, hey. I'm selling some paintings! Want one?) I sold one the first day, to a girl I used to work with and am friendly with. Then, tonight, another friend approached me to purchase a different painting. I immediately felt awkward, and told him, "Oh, no! I couldn't let you pay for it!" And he made me an offer, of which I felt was too much and said so. He joking told me that I was "haggling the wrong way."
He made a second offer, and I eventually accepted.

Later in the evening I started thinking about the relationship of friends and business. Where do we draw the line? Do we even draw one? I wouldn't exactly say I'm a business woman or anything. I'm just curious, and when I do eventually, possibly start something'd be nice to know peoples' thoughts.

Do those of you who run a business or sell your works ever feel awkward when it comes to friends and family?
Do you or do you not charge friends and family?
Why or why not?

Maybe I am the only one who feels awkward in this situation...?


  1. i too have this problem. if there's a piece my friends want i'll usually wait til their bday or xmas and just give it to them. or we'll do a print swap and that way we each get something. but that's a lot easier w/ photos. and most of my friends are photographers. i think what it comes down to is realizung your worth. you deserve ppl to purchase your paintings. a lot of hard work, time, energy, supplies, etc. goes into art. it's taken me a long time to accept this too. but hey i gotta pay the bills too. i think it's a little easier too if you have an online shop you can promote. i use big cartel which is free for 5 items, but is so easy to switch out. anywho, this is of course just my 2 cents. :]

  2. its easy to feel this way.
    i'm an entreprenuer myself (i do blog design for people, i also do hair and photography) and i've always had a hard time charging people. after a few years though, when i realized i wasn't going to make any money by giving everyone deals, i drew the line. i now only give freebie cuts and colors to my immediate family and my aunts family who constantly came in to support me while i was IN hairschool. other then that, i offer slightly discounted prices for my close friends and such, but i don't do anything for free.

    look at it this way, if your friend had been the one selling the paintings, would you have allowed him to give it to you for free? or would you have offered payment?

    it is a sticky situation, but i think you should always charge unless its a special case. a very special case.

    congrats on selling your work though! that's awesome!

  3. i struggle with this, and from what i can tell, it's not uncommon! i have a hard time taking money from close friends and family, even though it took time and money to make the item, and i even start to feel awkward when i have a repeat customer shop in my store, even though they're a stranger! i don't know what to tell you on this one because i haven't even figured it out myself!

  4. It can be very awkward. My husband fixes or builds computers as a side job. This was weird for a while until he just decided to have a friend discount. It is actually half his normal rate. I think that each person just has to choose what is right for them but use the same discount for all friends so one friend doesn't feel like they got special treatment over another. We also tell these friends that if they refer someone to him it would not be the same rate they got.
    Maybe in your case a percentage off might work better.

  5. I paint too and I totally suffer from this. There is just something embarrassing about it all for me. I think part of it stems from the fact that I feel like they wouldn't want the painting if I wasn't their friend so it's really just my own self doubt driving me crazy! haha

    ps. found your blog through little chief honeybee. It's lovely! :)


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