Protect and hold your equity.
I recently had this conversation with my accountant. He advised I treat family investments as a long-term debt to be paid back with interest.
I have also gathered this same advice from several entrepreneurial-type books I've read. For example, the author of The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur states, "a fool and his equity are soon parted."
An excerpt from the aforementioned title in Chapter 10 - Keep Your Business To Yourself, reads:
If you have or plan to have a child, would you give a portion of your parental rights to your friend, your neighbor or the doctor at the local hospital? I hope you're thinking NO FREAKING WAY. It's your kid for God's sake! Your kid, Jeez!
A child requires a tremendous amount of your time to feed, nurture, train, and keep healthy so he'll stop puking on you. But watching your kid grow is MORE than worth it. Guess what, Chiefy? Your business is YOUR baby! While it doesn't look like much now you will be putting a tremendous amount of time, tears, and sweat into it. As with a baby, you will need to feed and nurture your business, keep it healthy, and teach it not to vomit on you. As your newborn business grows, it will slowly but surely turn into a strong, healthy young adult. It would be a shame for you to do all that grueling work only to be sharing the parental rights when the business starts hitting its stride. So don't do it - don't give your baby away.
If you give away chunks of your business every time someone writes you a check, you may soon be owned and lose control over your venture. It is the easy and low-cost option right now, but think about the long-term consequences.