Author Topic: Friend wants to get in on my side gig...  (Read 3311 times)

TGod

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Friend wants to get in on my side gig...
« on: December 01, 2015, 05:06:19 PM »
I have a day job and do some side contracting work off and on. The extra work I do is good paying, I can work from home, in my jammies, at night when my kids are in bed. There isn't a lot of this work floating around as most companies like to do it in house, but that said there aren't many of us with that skill who don't charge an arm and a leg to do it. So I'm always happy to get some new stuff handed to me.

This weekend I received a text from a friend asking me how long I thought it would take her to learn how to do this type of work I do on the side. I said not too long, which is true for some aspects of it, but other parts, like understanding and editing xmls can take some time to figure out.  Then I didn't hear back from her right away. A little background on this person, she works for a good company but is being pushed to go back to work more days than she wants to as she has a 2 year old at home. She is pushing to keep the status quo but is thinking about quitting and doing contract work. She has a partner who makes killer money so she is free enough to pick and choose and wants free time to go on trips and hang with her kid. I on the other hand have a partner with a moderate income and have my eye on early-ish retirement so I want to make as much money as I can.

Meanwhile that same day I get a text from another friend who works for the same company as my  friend, letting me know that she recommended me for some contract work that they needed to get done.  I said, great, thanks...and then had that oh, crap moment and went and checked my text feed from my other friend where her last text said that she's thinking of quitting and pursuing contract work.

Essentially friend 1 knew that there was work coming up, is thinking of quitting and wanted me to train her so she could do this same type of side work. I said, hey we can talk about it and see if we can come up with an arrangement, depending on how much work there is and how busy I am.

I had a conversation with the contract manager this morning and my friend followed up with me to see if I had spoken with him, which I said yes, then I never heard back from her. I'm not sure if this is becoming an ackward situation or not.

 I think i'm basically being handed this contract assuming they want to pay me what I ask. But I'm having a bit of a conundrum. In some ways I feel like being the nice friend (cause I like her and we hang every now and again), and I get where she is coming from in terms of work life balance, so I think maybe I should share this with her.  But, on the other hand, and as my husband pointed out, there is limited work, do I really want to be training someone who is going to be my competition? I will be putting my time into bringing her up to a level that she could do the work, which frankly I'm not super into if I could just be doing the work and making money. Added to that we are on opposite sides of the spectrum where I want to make as much money as possible to not work as soon as possible, and she is wanting to work as little as possible to work as little as possible.

I feel a little like it appears that I am "stealing" work, although she is in no position to bid on the work right now as a) she doesn't know how to do it and b)she is currently working for them in a different capacity.

I'm not stealing work from her, but I have this niggly feeling that this is maybe how she is viewing it. But since we haven't discussed it, I am only speculating madly as I sit at my day job and my imagination kicks in.

Any advice, feedback?  You know, other than the logical, "talk to you friend"?


The_path_less_taken

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Re: Friend wants to get in on my side gig...
« Reply #1 on: December 01, 2015, 06:30:09 PM »
Everyone has different definitions of friend.

To me, there are varying degrees from "that guy who works at my company I smile at in the hall but don't know much about or hang with outside of work"....which is really not a friend.

And the friend I can call at 4am to help bury a body (in theory: have never had the need). But, I do feel I have two of those friends, and feel amazingly lucky to have them.

From one end of the spectrum to the other though, I, personally would have to be clear on this:

 "I like you, we're friends and all but this is a limited resource, I have limited time with the kids/family as it is and truthfully just don't have the time to train you to...essentially take some of the rare jobs that do come up. I can point you in the direction and tell you how I learned but...I don't want there to be bad blood between us over a perceived action or non-action. You are more than welcome to the basics but the little down time I have is currently spent chasing these oh-so-rare jobs, which I need."

But I'm a blunt bitch. Your mileage may vary.

Bearded Man

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Re: Friend wants to get in on my side gig...
« Reply #2 on: December 01, 2015, 06:57:28 PM »
Hmmmm...there could be opportunity here if you train her and get her to sign a non compete agreement. You can then bill her time out to customers and get paid for work that you don't even do. What do you think consulting companies do? The Accentures, GDIT's and other such companies pimp out resources and make money off their bodies/heads. Of course the day will come when she will be skilled enough to move on alone, but the non compete agreement would tie her down a bit...

Papa bear

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Re: Friend wants to get in on my side gig...
« Reply #3 on: December 01, 2015, 07:49:13 PM »

Hmmmm...there could be opportunity here if you train her and get her to sign a non compete agreement. You can then bill her time out to customers and get paid for work that you don't even do. What do you think consulting companies do? The Accentures, GDIT's and other such companies pimp out resources and make money off their bodies/heads. Of course the day will come when she will be skilled enough to move on alone, but the non compete agreement would tie her down a bit...

Yes. Could be an opportunity, but you will have to jump head first into that.  The candidate will be your w2 employee and you will need to make payroll, complete with all withholdings, including workers compensation, unemployment, etc.  As you're now a consulting firm, maybe sure you have general liability insurance and professional errors and omissions insurance.  You will need to cover payroll even when the company doesn't pay on time. Speaking of that, make sure you have a pretty solid contract stipulating liabilities, payments, non competes, indemnity, guarantees of service, etc.  you'll probably look at least a 100% markup on pay rate (classic temp) or 200% (guaranteeing full time as consultant) or more, depending how niche this is.   Once the project is complete, make sure you have more lined up, else your talent will go elsewhere. 

Yeah you can make a boatload of money doing this.  But you won't be working as a contractor anymore. Running the consulting firm is a full time gig. 

Ask me if you really want to do this, I'm doing similar now. 



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rmendpara

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Re: Friend wants to get in on my side gig...
« Reply #4 on: December 01, 2015, 09:17:39 PM »
Sounds like you're looking for a way to say "no" to your friend while saving face?

If there's more than enough work to go around, then sure, spend a little time to introduce your friend to the gig. If not, then there's no harm in saying "Hey, I'm actually trying to build myself a business here, and there isn't enough work to go around."

It really just sounds like you are too nice. If I wanted to climb Mt Everest and be the first to do it, would I get my friend into hiking if they told me they wanted to be the first to reach the top? ........ In a similar way here, I don't think it would be wrong at all to talk about what you do, and where she might be able to go to learn, but that you aren't going to be the trainer.

happy

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Re: Friend wants to get in on my side gig...
« Reply #5 on: December 02, 2015, 04:30:31 AM »
The problem is that sometimes friendship and business don't mix harmoniously.
You're not stealing her work, so banish that thought. If she is secretly harbouring that thought/some resentment, well really thats her problem. If you lose a friend over this, then she's not really the closest friend.
Personally I'd stop making your side gig look so attractive. Make it clear that there's a limited amount of work and you are always on the look out for your next job. Some parts are difficult to master, etc etc.
And I wouldn't bring it up with her again, wait for her to bring it up and be noncommittal. If she asks about you training her,  you could say you'd been thinking about it, but there's not enough work around for you anyway, so its probably not worth her time to learn since there would be limited opportunities for it to work out for her.

pbkmaine

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Re: Friend wants to get in on my side gig...
« Reply #6 on: December 02, 2015, 04:41:39 AM »
I would tell her that training others is not your thing, and then recommend a place she can go to get it.


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arebelspy

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Re: Friend wants to get in on my side gig...
« Reply #7 on: December 02, 2015, 07:59:29 AM »
I would choose the option that lets you look in the mirror best at yourself every day.

It's a tough situation.

Good luck!
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Freedom2016

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Re: Friend wants to get in on my side gig...
« Reply #8 on: December 02, 2015, 01:23:01 PM »
If some other friend were in your shoes, what would you advise her to do? Often we have great instincts about how to handle situations like this, but we get caught up in problems of "self-agency."

I agree with the others: You are not stealing work from someone who is currently unqualified to do said work. Period.

Beyond that, if the work you do truly has a limited market, with limited opportunities, I would do as others suggest and gently steer her to other resources - i.e. don't train up your competition! If she doesn't need the money but simply wants a diversion/hobby, she might start undercutting your pricing in order to get more of the work.

TGod

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Re: Friend wants to get in on my side gig...
« Reply #9 on: December 02, 2015, 01:24:48 PM »
Well I had a bit of a conversation with her yesterday, and I did my best to point out to her that there is a reason that there were a LOT of contractors who applied for the job that she currently has, because hunting for contracts gets tiring, especially when the cash difference between salary and contracting in this field isn't big.

She's in a bit of a funk I think, and is looking at contracting as being the holy grail, which it isn't. We are in a competitive field, lotsa hungry people after the same work.

I was a contractor up until a few years ago, when my biggest contract was approaching it's end and they were going to make it a low paying staff position. I went somewhere else and got a decent, albeit, boring day job and now just do some small contracting on the side.

She said she just wants to get training to enhance her resume. I will see where this goes. She'll know by the end of the week whether she is going to walk away from her current job, even though it appears that they are going to give her what she wants. I'm hard pressed to think that they would automatically switch her to a contractor when they could just hire someone new on staff.

I could do the employee thing, but at the end of the day, the companies don't want to pay enough to make it worthwhile for me to pay someone to do the work for me if I still have to take the time to train her and supervise. It's just not worth it. If she was 100% independent i'd consider it, but then she would just bid on the work herself.