I know, that sounds harsh. But I’ve had many people come to me and say, “My brother volunteered to make a website for me,” or, “My daughter in high school said she could make a website for me, because she’d like to learn how to do it.” And then, guess what? It didn’t quite go as planned.
If a relative is an option, try this little exercise: pretend this person is not your relative. Would you still hire him or her? If you’re not sure, just run through the process outlined in my book. If your relative really can jump though the hoops, then you can think about hiring him or her. In my experience, none of the casual “it sounds like fun and I want to learn how to do this” folks would pass the tests I have put forth.
Realistically, there is a good exception to this rule: if your family member is actually a professional web designer, it’s got a much better chance of working out. Even so, that’s not always the case.
One of my long-term clients has a brother who is a professional web designer with a long track record of accomplishments at larger high-tech companies. He designed her original website, but when he was constrained by demands from his “real” job, her website update requests were always put on the back burner.
In fact, I knew her brother and had even worked with him back in my corporate days. He’s an experienced and talented web designer—but when push comes to shove, his employer is going to pull rank on his baby sister. So eventually it made more business sense for her to pay me to get the job done. Free services from her brother were of little use if he did not have the bandwidth to provide them.