When you’re in the throws of being soooo excited about your shiny new business and the new life you’re creating for yourself it’s easy to assume that your friends and loved ones will be super happy for you and super supportive.
But what if they’re not?
Sometimes the reality can be very different.
In fact, a lot of the time it’s different, it’s a really common issue for people and it can really start to hold you back. It can make you feel ‘wrong’ in some way and question what you’re doing.
You’ll want to talk to your closest friends about your new venture but they seem completely disinterested in it…but also very frustrated when you don’t have time to meet them, or you have a deadline to hit and you have to get it done at the weekend and they just don’t ‘get it when you can’t come out to play’. It can feel REALLY disheartening.
We expect our closest people to be our biggest supporters so it’s unsurprising that it feels really rubbish when that doesn’t happen.
Thing is…your business just may not be their ‘thing’ and that’s ok, just because they love us doesn’t mean they’re obligated to promote us, use our products or even ask us about it!
You will gain and lose so many friends throughout the process of starting your own business and it can be a sad thing but it can also be a great thing!
It doesn’t necessarily mean those people aren’t going to be your friends anymore, either.
But you can find supportive biz besties that really have your back no matter what, people who will promote you, support you, celebrate with you and help you through the tough bits. You find them through people you work with, going to networking events, facebook groups, coaches…they’re all out there waiting!
When I had my jewellery business people would ask me how it was going all the time, and I actually really didn’t even like talking about it because I was in the throws of full on imposter syndrome and self doubt and I didn’t want to make a big deal out of it incase I failed.
Which I didn’t…I quit long before that ha! And I quit just after a close friend said to me. ‘Fran, you really should just get a proper job’. Ouch! But i understand now that it didn’t come from a bad place and we just have different outlooks on life and that’s all good.
With service based businesses it can be very different too. It can be something people don’t want to ask you about because they don’t understand, or to be honest they just aren’t interested!
Which is totally fine but you can’t take it personally.
Most of the friends I’ve had for years barely ask me a thing…seriously, pretty much never! They don’t read my content or listen to my podcast or interact in my group and help me out with the pesky algorithms. UNLESS it’s something they’re interested in. So I only talk to those friends about it and they are HUGELY supportive. It doesn’t mean those people love me any more than the others.
Just because YOU’RE hugely passionate about business, social media marketing or life coaching, doesn’t mean your friends are.
It’s the same when you have a job, you’ll get the polite, ‘how’s work?’ but you never really go in depth unless it’s people you’ve worked with before or who are in the same industry as you and are genuinely interested about what you do. It just hurts a little more when it’s something you’ve created yourself.
I mean I love my accounting friends but before I owned a business would I ask them questions about tax returns?…err…nope!
You need to pick and choose who you listen to, ask yourself if their opinion is really as valid as you’re making it. Do they know what they’re talking about or are they coming from a place of ‘jobs are safer’ because it’s what they know?
Some people are just not as ‘brave’ as you, they wouldn’t back themselves to go all in on their own.
And that’s fine, there’s nothing wrong with that but you’re different. You have this thing calling you to do and be more. You know there’s more to life than wishing your life away and living for the weekend. They’re happy just going through the motions. You want to do something you absolutely love! Let me be clear, there’s nothing wrong with either option, I just strongly believe that you have one life and you should be happy living it. It’s too short for anything else.
Have a think about what ‘unsupportive’ is to you.
Is it people actively trying to stop you through fear (usually from a good place), or telling you you’re ideas are rubbish and never going to work (sometimes from a not so great place but often sensible) or just not bothering to ask anything at all (the hurt is through the general not botheredness in this one…ouch!)?
There are so many different reasons behind all of these 3 scenarios.
But It’s usually about them, not you!
Sometimes it’s insecurity, sometimes it’s jealousy, sometimes it’s lack of understanding or fearing the unknown but it’s nearly always about them and their own issues, thoughts, fears, beliefs and insecurities than anything to do with you.
Sometimes people might subconsciously even secretly want you to fail…when you suspect that’s what’s happening you can either call it out or cut them out but it’s toxic energy to be around so you need to minimise that pronto!
Sometimes it’s their fear for you and it comes from a good place, it can just be unhelpful so in this instance it’s up to you to educate them more on your plan, your ‘why’, show them how much you’ve thought it through…and decide if they’re the right people to speak to.
If you have financial obligations then that’s another story and you need to have your sensible hat on there but that REALLY isn’t anything to stop you as long as you have it all worked out.
You can get a part time income, you can build it alongside your full time income, there is always another way and often it’s turning that ‘you can’t do this’ to ‘how can I make it happen.’
Look for the opportunities not the obstacles.
The thing is, you WILL have people who are close to you that don’t support you and it is disappointing but you don’t need to dwell on it and turn it into something that’s bigger than it needs to be, but the people that will support you are all out there.
The hardest part was when I felt I couldn’t really talk to anyone about the ins and outs of starting my business.
BUT, I went out of my way to find my people. The people who ‘got it’, who were in the same place as me and those friends are now my biggest supporters!
I went to events, I joined facebook groups, I worked with coaches and other business owners and now I have some incredible friends who all have my back and I don’t ‘need’ my friends to support my business.
My old friends are still my friends, we just don’t really talk about the business side of my life unless they bring it up. To them it’s like talking about a job, it’s boring ha!
Remember, when someone is giving you an opinion on something that really they don’t understand, does their opinion REALLY matter?
If you’ve done your market research, you have the evidence that it can work and you’re not putting yourself in a precarious financial situation…then you’re good to go.
Choose whose opinion matters, find YOUR people, YOUR cheerleaders, people in the same place that lift you up rather than try to keep you stuck.
Don’t worry about people who aren’t asking you how it’s going, or sharing your content, that’s fine, you don’t need to take it personally because often it’s not personal at all! They aren’t your ideal client anyway.
The people who are actively discouraging you, ask yourself where you think it’s coming from, ask THEM where it’s coming from and decide who your people are…and who they’re not!
It doesn’t mean the end of your friendships in most cases, it is just a case of adjusting your expectations and choosing who your people are when it comes to supporting you in your business.
If you want to explore this further, have any questions or want some new biz besties of your own then come join me in my private community below or book in a free discovery call here to see if we’re a good fit to work together!!
Fran Excell, Subconscious Success Mentor – Helping Business Owners Overcome Self Sabotage & Get More Done In Less Time at www.franexcell.com
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© 2023 Fran Excell. Success mindset mentor for entrepreneurs & executives.
Thanks for this Fran. I get frustrated when people close to me make out I’m being difficult or precious about trying to focus on work/do work for my clients. A certain family member loves to call during the day (because, I’m at home I think she assumes she’s not disturbing me). That same person also told me to “be careful not to get too successful”, because I wouldn’t be able to manage to look after my home, family and business – yes, I nearly threw the phone across the room.
I know it’s misguided care, and will have a re-read of this post next time I’m feeling irritated by unsupportive friends / family.
Glad it was useful Laura! Sounds like there needs to be a few boundaries put in place 😉 And when it comes to the ‘too successful’…you best hire a cleaner…maybe even a private chef 😉 Definitely re-read when you’re feeling your blood boil! Fx
There are 2 sides to every story. I sell professional haircare products from my home. I do not EXPECT any of my friends to support my business. If they do, its a nice added bonus. If they don’t, I do not hold it against them. My friendships are not based on wether my friends support my buisness or not. & It never should be!!!
Now that being said… I have a friend who started selling a home based product. This friend does not buy professional haircare products from me. But is demanding and basing our friendship, on wether or not I buy solely from her. Infact she even called me a wishy washy friend, because I have bought from her, but I also buy brand new items, for dicounted prices, from other consultants, or at garage sales, or going out of business sales, trade shows, etc. Plus, for the last 10 years, I also already had a consultant that sells this product. My friend becoming a consultant, demanding I buy only from her, and judging my loyalty on wether i buy from only her, has caused a huge burden, strife, drift, weight, on our friendship. Remember she expects me to solely support her business, but does not return the favor. What she is doing and demanding, is NOT right!!
You should never start a buisness EXPECTING, DEMANDING, that your friends support you. & You should NEVER base your friendships on wether or not your friends support your business. Why?? Because when you do that, you are putting a BURDEN on your friends, and You are not being the good friend. Never Burden or Judge your friendships on wethere a friend supports your business or not. Especially if you are not supporting their business.
[…] This subject also leads very nicely on from one of my most popular posts on how to deal with an unsupportive partner or friends. […]
or many they’re a type of friend who’s jealous or insecure to your achievement.
Thank you for giving me a new insight on this. Yes, can be disheartening when friends not only NOT “support” us in the ways we wish they could…but sometimes even campaigning for a competitor. But hey, that’s business! In times like that, I don’t want to waste the opportunity to LEARN if there’s something lacking in my service and also where I can improve on. Cheers! 🙂
Thanks so much for sharing! Everything is an opportunity to learn, from all sides of the coin 😉
I like this article and MANY people starting their own home business, especially a business that involves skincare products, beauty products, or haircare products. People are quick to get upset because their friends and/or family do not purchase or post what they are selling. They are quick to call people jealous or haters because they do not buy or post, which is absolutely disgusting to me. Just because I have go to products that I love to buy does not mean I am hating on your business. Just because I read what is in your products as I do with others and choose others, does not mean I want you to fail. Just how I bypass hundreds of products that I am NOT interested, I am bypassing what you are selling because it’s not what I want. People cannot be mad at friends and family for not buying from them. Then they say “you haven’t tried it yet.” Well there are hundreds or thousands of products I haven’t tried because it didn’t interest me. Some people buy their products from other companies and resell in their online store and be upset that you don’t want it. Then the posting is like I read somewhere here and elsewhere, it’s not authentic so who wants to do that? It is absolutely not hating or jealousy. I can have supporting conversations with these very “friends” and be proud and mention it and just push them but that isn’t the support they want. Some people want something cheaper than what they friends have and that’s hating lol, my goodness the list goes on. I will purchase from a friend if the items they are selling are really something I want, like really! If they made something from scratch, and it’s interesting and I want to try it, yes I will buy it if it is something useful for me. I think more of these home base business folks need to understand this! Supporting is not buying and posting! I buy from unknown home based businesses and if it’s a really great product and does what it says, I’m telling the world. I’m not reviewing something that does nothing for me.
I am so happy I found this podcast. I have been going through a really hard time because of how hard I’ve worked to build a brand and start a boutique and I have had ZERO support from those who I thought were the closest people in my life. They make me promises and never EVER keep them. Simply about just telling people about my shop or even as SIMPLE as a just a follow on social media and it has hurt me to my core. My own mother makes fun of me with the same jokes everytime. It feels lonely. I am going for my dreams because I have to. This is a time where I know I can do this but it does feel lonely. This podcast has given me a new perspective and I know I can succeed, I just need to find my people and it is very hard. Thank you, Fran!
This article was very helpful, it’s true those that are close to me do not halfto support my business. I’ts very hurtful and I am trying to keep myself focused on the people that are my customers. When I sent my friends family and coworkers the introduction to my business, some didn’t bother to say congrats, nothing. Knowing it had been a labor of love. Like you said it has everything to do with them.
This is exactly what I needed to ready today! I am a designer/product maker and have a lot of friends who support random businesses on Etsy instead of me, when I can create and produce the same things! I’ve never understood it and it sucks! I’ve been friends with them for 8 years and I swear they still don’t know what I actually do within work/my business. The kicker is, all I hear about is their work at every catch up which I’m happy to listen to (to a point but on average they go on for a few hours) but c’mon.. when will it be my turn? It has made me realise one thing though.. I don’t have the financial security but I can easily say I’m the only one out of my friendship group who is passionate about my work and loves my job!