DEAR HARRIETTE: My uncle has asked me to join his business as a consultant, and I am a bit hesitant with the idea because I am afraid that he would not be able to pay me what I am worth. Every time I talk to him, he always finds a way to squeeze in a question or two about his business and his marketing plans, and I become sick from talking to him. I love my uncle, but I need to tell him my true feelings about working with him without hurting him in the process. -- Family Business, Chicago
DEAR FAMILY BUSINESS: Step back for a moment and consider your uncle's proposal from a business perspective. As a consultant, what would you charge as an hourly or weekly wage? Outline in writing the services that you would be willing to offer to your uncle with a menu of prices for them. Indicate how much time you can dedicate to working with him. And be clear on work time versus family time. Tell your uncle that the only way that you will feel comfortable working with him is if the relationship is approached professionally.
Make it clear to him that you love and respect him, but that you are a little reluctant about working with him unless you can map out a professional plan that will honor both of you.