Updated: Mar 2, 2021
Some people call their boss “Dad.” Or mom, brother, uncle, grandpa, or any other variant of those names.
I’m one of those people.
After graduation, I went to work for my family’s company doing marketing and social media management. Ironically, it isn’t something I had considered before. Going into the company was something I didn’t particularly want to do, but as I neared the end of my degree I realised I could work for my father and contribute to the family business while doing something I actually enjoyed by putting my communications degree to work. It also meant not having to job hunt, which saved me from interviews and struggling to prove my French worthy of hire. It further meant I could work from home and have a pretty fabulous boss.
All told, it seemed like a brilliant idea.
It made me wonder about some of my Unbound friends though. I knew a lot of others worked in family businesses too and so I was curious what the experience was like for them. Why did they go into their family’s business? What pros and cons did they notice? And what would they advise others debating a similar move?
So I asked. Nine to be precise. Their work responsibilities varied, ranging from farm work to lawn care to vet assisting to pool designing to web management to construction and more, and their experiences varied as well, making each interview fun, enlightening, and unique.
Introducing The Interviewees
Lexi and Keegan Kozler: Lexi is an alumna with an English degree and Keegan is nearly finished with his computer science degree. They work part-time for their parents’ printer and printer supplies company, Kingdom Cartridge.
Daniel Kunkel: He’s a marketing major and works full time from spring to fall running the family’s lawn care business, along with his father and brother.
Dillon Whitaker: He’s an entrepreneurship major and works part-time in his family’s three businesses. He works in customer service, web maintenance, and marketing for their jewellery business, Robison Jewellery , and their online women’s clothing company, Hannah Lise as well as doing maintenance at their rental property.
Ezra Friedel: He’s going for an Associates in Communications and works part-time in his father’s construction business, Barrier Free Designs.
Molly Brandt: She’s an alumna with an elementary education degree and worked part-time in her parents’ promotional printing company, Boost, and still helps out occasionally.
Rachel Palmer: She’s a communications major and grew up working at her parents’ vet clinic with her siblings doing everything from cleaning kennels to helping with surgery.
Nathan Schwebach: He’s studying for a data networking and security degree and worked on his family’s farm for over a decade.
Jordyn McGuire: She’s an alumna with a degree in liberal arts and works for her father’s pool design and construction company, California Pools. She does everything from office management to the actual designing.
How They Got Started
Just as their lines of business vary, so too did their entries into them. In the Kunkel family, the lawn care business passes from son to son. It was started by Daniel’s older brother and he’ll pass it on to the next brother whom he currently employs. Jordyn, similarly to me, wasn’t planning on entering her father’s business but changed her mind after graduating. In the Schwebach family, working the farm was just a natural part of family life. For Rachel, she and her siblings had to help out because the clinic couldn’t yet afford to pay employees. In the Whitaker family, the children are trained in the businesses from a young age and as the oldest, Dillon has been particularly involved. With Molly, her parents needed help and she saw it as an opportunity to give back. Ezra worked only very part-time with his father for years until he became an employee. The Kozlers were given the option to join the business and see if it was something they’d be interested in pursuing further. Like Molly and othe