The Perils of Friend-ployees

By Stacy Zemon, Publisher & Chief Scribe

When starting a mobile entertainment business, it can feel like you are living in the office. Having a team you trust is important, but with long hours and close working conditions, its easy to let the line between employee and friend blur.

Here are some tips to prevent crossing the line between being a boss and a buddy:

Lead by Example

1. Set a professional tone. The way you conduct yourself in the workplace is how employees will react to you.

2. Beware of the “overshare.” With so many hours in the workplace, it’s tough not to veer into personal territory during everyday discussions. However, when employees begin to have personal trouble, the boss shouldn’t get involved.

3. Make corrections. It’s possible that, despite your best efforts, employees may become too informal or share too much information about their personal lives. When that happens, kindly but firmly make a correction.

4. Get a (personal) life. It’s fine to take employees out for a meal or have an impromptu birthday cake to celebrate someone’s big day. But if you’re out partying with employees on the weekends and then trying to get them to toe the professional line at work, you might have trouble. Develop friendships outside the workplace to keep your social life and your professional life separate.

Empower Your Employees

Autonomy is one of our fundamental human needs – an essential component of a healthy workplace. It fills our need for personal interest and enjoyment.

Consider these three tips to give employees independence without giving up control:

1. Specify the goal, not the means. As you grow, you don’t want your DJ service to be so hierarchical that it can’t be adaptive.

To encourage creativity, give clear guidelines for a project’s quality, deadline, and purpose, but leave the rest up to your employees. Your team may not execute the project exactly as you would have, but their strategy may be just as good or better.

2. Set up checks and balances. As a business owner, you need to be passionate about your ideas, but that enthusiasm can become a liability when there’s no room for second opinions.

3. Know yourself. As you allow others more freedom and responsibility, understanding yourself can help ease the transition.

It’s important to understand your own feelings and have a sense of what others are experiencing around you, which is referred to as emotional intelligence. You can then identify what motivates each of your employees and empower them in ways they’ll find fulfilling.


  • Stacy Zemon is the Founder, Former Publisher and Former Chief Scribe of She is a veteran DJ Entertainer who is widely considered an authority on the DJ business, and has become a distinguished industry leader over the course of her illustrious 30+ year career. Stacy’s mission is to provide educational resources for DJs that support their professional growth and financial prosperity. She is a longtime writer for DJ Times magazine, and author of the world’s best-selling DJ books: The Mobile DJ Handbook, The DJ Sales & Marketing Handbook and The Mobile DJ MBA. Stacy is a self-described serial entrepreneur (Equal parts creativity and business). From her efforts, she has spawned more professional disc jockey business owners than any other person in the mobile DJ industry!

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