By Princess Jones
Entrepreneurship is tough. There are long hours and hard decisions to be made. Most of us couldn’t do it without a healthy support system made up of family and friends.
But what if your support system suddenly goes silent when it’s time to show your business some love? No one is lining up to order. No one is sharing your Facebook page. You feel like you’re going it alone.
Before you start sending out passive aggressive tweets about loyalty, take a moment to consider why your friends and family don’t support your business.
1. This is just the last business in a long line of businesses you’ve started.
A long time ago, I was an insurance agent for a very large national brand. My mentor immediately warned me that selling family and friends was going to be a lot harder than selling strangers.
“They remember when you were selling cars that time,” he said. “They remember when you were selling makeup. They remember when you were selling insurance for that other company. So, you’re going to have to work harder to win them over this time. That’s just the way it goes.”
No one is saying that you can only do one thing in life. In fact, serial entrepreneurship can be really satisfying. But don’t hold it against anyone if they feel more comfortable waiting until they know this new business has legs.
2. They don’t have any money.
Some of your family and friends may have limited funds to spread around. Instead of making them feel terrible for not supporting your business, come up with some non-monetary ways they can contribute. Liking your business page or signing up to amplify a message with Thunderclap could also be a sign of support. If they’ve got more time than money, coming over to pack products could be helpful.
3. They don’t want your product.
There is no amount of loyalty and good intentions in the world that could get me to buy a pogo stick. I’m not in the market for a pogo stick. I have no idea what I’d do with a pogo stick. So, if you have gone into the pogo stick business, it does not matter if I love you so much I would give you a kidney: I am just not going to buy a pogo stick from you. You are going to have to accept this. I am not a bad friend because I won’t buy something I don’t need from you.
4. You make it obvious that you think they owe it to you.
No one owes you a business. You may know this, but you’re not acting like it with the barrage of texts about why they won’t drive three hours for your pop-up shop. You may be disappointed that they don’t want to join you on your entrepreneurship journey, but then again, they aren’t really required to, either.
But if you have a product you believe in, the sense to position great people around you, and the will to do the work it takes to build a business, you’ll be fine. Actually, you’ll be more than fine. You’ll be successful. And by then, whether your second cousin donated to your crowdfunding campaign will be a moot point.