Author Topic: Do my two businesses have a conflict of interest?  (Read 934 times)

Agent Rosenflower

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Do my two businesses have a conflict of interest?
« on: February 02, 2018, 01:44:28 PM »
I'm FIRE-ing this year from traditional employment, and I have two side hustles that I'll continue pursuing after I quit. I have an issue that I've been wrestling with for some time, but it's very, very possible that I'm over-thinking things. I keep thinking there's an inherent conflict of interest between the two businesses. I really don't want to choose one business or the other; in fact, I'd like to figure out how to synergize them into one business. The actual details of my business are pretty arcane, but here are some hypothetical examples that illustrate the potential COI.


Example 1: Let's say Stacy does freelance marketing for nail salons, handling their social media and online customer engagement. Stacy also has an Amazon FBA business where she mainly sells electronics, but sometimes sells nail polish.

Example 2: Let's say Jed is a museum consultant, advising on exhibit design and art preservation. Jed also has a booth at an antique mall where he sometimes sells art.


Note that in both of these cases, Stacy doesn't tell the nail salon clients what kind of nail polish to buy. And Jed doesn't tell the museums what art to buy. So there's no apparent self-dealing happening, but I still think Stacy and Jed both have a possible COI. Stacy and Jed's clients could be suspicious that they're giving bad advice or otherwise engaging in deceptive practices, so they can make more money on their nail polish and artwork.

I'd like thoughts on whether I'm  over-thinking and there's no COI; there could be a COI but I just need to disclose it to clients; or this is a huge red-flag COI that would make it hard for clients to trust me.

SC93

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Re: Do my two businesses have a conflict of interest?
« Reply #1 on: February 02, 2018, 04:14:07 PM »
Neither of these is called a conflict of interest. Rest at ease.

If you actually do something in the museum world send me a private message, we know people all over the world at lots of museums. The little woman is waiting on 21 crates to arrive via truck from a museum in Canada as I type this.

jan62

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Re: Do my two businesses have a conflict of interest?
« Reply #2 on: February 02, 2018, 04:25:35 PM »
I can't see any conflict of interest in either of these scenarios.

Kwill

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Re: Do my two businesses have a conflict of interest?
« Reply #3 on: February 02, 2018, 04:57:43 PM »
I think these are OK. If Stacy also ran her own nail salon while advertising for other people or if Jed bought art for museums but also sometimes bought art for himself to sell, then yes, those could be problems. In your examples, though, the one job would provide useful experience for the other. Stacy could show potential clients how successfully she ran an online business, and Jed could show potential clients how good he was at putting together displays in his antique booth.

Agent Rosenflower

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Re: Do my two businesses have a conflict of interest?
« Reply #4 on: February 02, 2018, 05:37:23 PM »
Thanks everyone! Nice to be assured Iím over-thinking things, as is my habit.

Smokystache

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Re: Do my two businesses have a conflict of interest?
« Reply #5 on: February 03, 2018, 11:49:47 AM »
I agree with the others - only chiming in to say that in many cases this could potentially be a benefit to your advising/consulting business. I'd much rather hire someone who says, "I'm selling in this business space all the time, so I keep up with it and have direct knowledge about what works and what doesn't. However, my other business isn't in direct competition with yours, so you don't need to worry about that."