When you’re impassioned to start a business, you naturally want your friends, family and professional connections to feel excited and show you support. Some will. But a few will seem to defy all logic with their apathetic – or even outright discouraging – response to your endeavor.
I’m a member of a 4-person mastermind group, and during our monthly Skype call last week, we talked briefly about how our circles of friends have changed since we started our businesses. Not all of our pre-business friends have left our side, but all in all the people we hang out with and share the most with these days are also small business owners or like-minded professionals.
I suppose the shift is rather natural. They understand us. We understand them.
It makes sense that as time goes by your social circles will develop and change. But that doesn’t mean it’s not difficult when people you’ve been around for years suddenly become a source of negativity or part ways with you.
A few reasons why friends and family members might dis you and your small business:
Where does it all go wrong? What makes people drift away after you begin your journey into self-employment? Here are a few reasons why you might not get words of encouragement or moral support from some people…
- Lack of understanding – If you haven’t shared what’s involved in starting and running your own business with those closest to you, they won’t know what they can expect from you. You’ll be working long hours, you’ll need to spend time networking, you may need to take care of administrative tasks on the weekend, you might need to cut back on the money you spend doing things like dining out and going to the movies, etc. The list continues. People might resent those changes if you haven’t prepared them.
- Fear – Starting a business comes with risk. The people around you might feel scared at what will happen to you (and to them) financially and emotionally if things don’t go well in your new business. They care about you, but they might not encourage you because they don’t want to be a party to your demise.
- Jealousy – Sadly, some people don’t like to see other people succeed. Their own lack of self-confidence and low self-esteem makes them interpret your success as their failure. How great it would be if they could be happy for you, but alas, they’d rather put their time and energy into being a naysayer. Is that type of person a true friend to begin with? That’s up to you to decide.
As you evolve, communicating openly, asking people to have patience and an open mind, and telling them you really need their encouragement can help maintain meaningful relationships. But realize you’ll likely lose a few in the process. Some friendships last a lifetime through the good and the bad and through the easy and the difficult times. Some are meant to come and go. Try not to doubt yourself or hold your business at fault.
By Dawn Mentzer
Another Insatiable Solopreneur™ post
Image courtesy of Ambro / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
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