I can’t shake a post I recently read from a fellow member of a business group I’m in that instantly became popular. She asked if anyone else has been asked by family and friends if they considered getting a “real” job. The comment feed lit up with support and stories from other women entrepreneurs having to, not only defend their choice of career, but also defend their marketing tactics, services, and prices to people who have nothing to do with these areas personally or professionally!
When we set out to start a business we need the support of our friends and family. I’m not talking about advice. We’re the experts in what we do and advice should come from a mentor or coach. What I’m talking about is a simple “like” and share of a Facebook page, an “I’m proud of you”, and a referral when appropriate. You know, genuine actions that show support. That show that you’re loved and respected.
Here’s the thing. You’re inevitably going to encounter people who don’t support you as you launch and grow your business. I can actually break them down into two different unsupportive types:
People who discourage your goals. Just as they would be if you decided to eat more healthy to lose weight, or go back to school, or move away to another country, or do anything outside of “their” comfort zone these are the people who are resistant to change no matter what you do. They’d have a hard time launching their own business because fear stops them in their own tracks. So they think it should for you too. They need affirmations from others to take the next step towards their own goals and seeing you do it on your own might be threatening in their eyes.
People who are nonchalant. These are the people in your life who talk about their own work but never ask you about yours (because what you’re doing isn’t really work, right?). They’re silent on social media when you provide updates about your business and they don’t call you up to offer a congratulations when you finish a big launch. These people are difficult because their lack of active support is obvious to you but they can easily manipulate things and say “I don’t know what you mean! Of course I support you!” Yeah, you and I know people like that.
It stings when family and friends don’t support you. But don’t let that get in the way of your achievements. Never live your life according to others’ expectations, insecurities, and personal viewpoints about you.
You know you, you know your business, you know your audience, and you know what you need to do to conquer your goals.
So, how can you react to friends and family who don’t support your business and entrepreneurial lifestyle? We’ve all wanted to simply say “stick it” like in this GoDaddy commercial but there are other ways you can handle it too.
- Focus on your clients and work. They’re the ones who count. Do a great job running your business and you’ll enjoy the praises that truly matter.
- Set meaningful goals and achieve them. There’s nothing more fulfilling than being able to say you’ve conquered what you’ve set out to do.
- Sit back and enjoy listening to your friends and family complain about bosses and coworkers or excuse yourself to go do something more meaningful. You can no longer relate and it’s wonderful.
- Surround yourself with people who do understand and support you as you build your business. Meet other business owners and form authentic relationships that will help remove you from the negative pull you may be experiencing in your personal life.
- Be empathetic. While the lack of support can be hurtful and frustrating, realize that there may be more to it than it seems. Jealousy or resentment is a personal reaction and has nothing to do with you. Understand this and you’ll have more compassion, love, and understanding which are all ingredients to leaping into success in a positive way.
If you’re not feeling supported as you launch and run your business, you don’t have to sit and wallow in self-pity. Another person’s insecurity or lack of interest has nothing to do with your abilities and certainly should never affect your goals and dreams. Take the reigns in your own hands and focus on building your business with or without the support of your friends and family. They may or may not come around but, in the end, this is your journey and you’ve got every right to pursue it.