The Gist Of This Episode: One of the hardest parts of entrepreneurship is dealing with unsupportive individuals. Come listen to my vulnerably shared struggles + tips to overcoming this. Hint: You’re not alone!
What you will learn:
Creating a well-thought out business plan to share
Why keeping your family involved can help them be more supportive of you
Hello. Welcome to today’s podcast. This is an episode talking about dealing with unsupportive people in your life. This is a really difficult topic to talk about and to identify how to really fix, so to speak, because, there’s so many things in life, there’s so many characteristics and people and relationships that there’s not always a formula of how to deal with these unsupportive individuals, whether deal with them directly or deal with it internally within yourself.
Sometimes, there’s not a clear-cut answer, but I want to share with you guys some of the ways that I have approached whenever it has felt like someone’s been unsupportive, or maybe they’re supportive but they’re skeptical. They’re not necessarily not a cheerleader, but they’re also trying to be more realistic. This definitely can come out in more a build-up stage of business, especially if you’re outlining a lot of cash and not bringing in a lot of cash, it can be a very difficult thing to keep people on-board, especially if it’s a spouse or significant other and you guys are trying to pay for a home. I don’t mean like just the physical home, I just mean like the way to live day to day, and maybe you have children that you’re trying to support.
Struggling with unsupportive friends and family, just know that you’re not alone. I think a lot of entrepreneurs go through this, and, if you start reaching out in your community and talk to other entrepreneurs or maybe just online, you’ll find out that this pops up quite frequently. Even if you have a very supportive significant other or parent, there will be times where they may have not necessarily doubts but they may present to you some concerns or questions, and you may feel like they’re being unsupportive. Just take all of these tips that I’m going to provide you guys. You can apply it to any of the situations that it is outlined. Again, this isn’t formulaic. People are people. There’s not a formula for everything. This is just sharing what I’ve learned on getting people on-board with your entrepreneurship.
The very first thing is sharing with them your business plan and maybe your financials. This is really important if you are in a committed relationship, spouse or significant other, especially if you’re sharing a life together on a serious level. If there’s children involved, if you have your finances intertwined together, it can be a very, very difficult situation when you’re explaining or trying to ask of your spouse, say, “Hey, can I have a portion of our budget in order to put into this business venture that I don’t know if it’s going to work or not?”
And they can be skeptical, especially if they aren’t entrepreneurs themselves or you guys may already be strapped for cash, and it’s okay. That is okay. That is showing that they care about the well-being of you and them together as a unit. Don’t look at it necessarily as a negative off the bat, but you can also advise them on exactly what you plan to do.
Show them that you have a business plan. Be very methodical and write out exactly what you’re going to do for your year one, three, and five. Maybe, even your first year, make it more of a micro-level, what you’re going to do each month, what your projected goals of how many clients or sales that you want to have. Again, this is kind of a little arbitrary when you’re just first starting out, and there may need to be some discussion and compromise if you are taking personal funds to invest in the business instead of going into business debt that you’re going to need to just show them that, “Hey, this is what I plan. This may not be what’s going to happen, but this is what I’m going to work towards.”
Then, when you do get to that you’re implementing the business plan and things are happening, showing them the financials of what’s going on, not that you necessarily have to, but it can help show them, especially in the build-up stages, that things are happening. You’re starting to grow. You’re starting to make money.
I know that was one of the personal things that I learned with my husband that, in the very beginning, he’s always been really supportive, but we were trying to support the home and the kids, and he was like, “I’m not seeing money coming back in, but you’re working all the time. What’s going on?” And I said, “Yes, money’s coming in, but it’s also having to be reinvested,” and he just kind of looked at me. I said, “Hey, let me show you.” That’s when the light bulb went off. When I showed him the financial reports that, “Hey, this is how much is coming in. This is how much I’m paying us back since we put our own personal money into this. This is how much is going into reinvesting in the business and is going out.” That has just been something that we’ve done since the very beginning, and it just kind of eases the mindset and makes the support be there a little bit more.
Now, there are times when finances go down that this can not necessarily seem like an encouraging thing to share, but it’s good because you can talk about the finances with your spouse or parent or whoever this other person is, and they can help to support you emotionally, because it’s very hard as entrepreneurs. We’re tied into our business, and, when things start to feel like they’re going south, that can impact us in a very personal and emotional way. By outlining all of this and saying, “Hey, this is what’s going on,” they’re able to provide not just the support of the cheerleader for the business that you’re trying to do but the support for you as an individual, which is really important for just maintaining a relationship overall.
My point with that is not just sharing the business plan and not just sharing the financials but keeping them involved with these things to the level that they would like to be involved. I’m not saying you necessarily have to get their permission or not get their permission. Everyone’s relationships are different, however you guys want to work that out for your own personal selves. But I know, for me, my husband likes to hear about the business. We talk about the important things, kind of like what I just outlined a second ago, and I try to keep him involved as much as possible.
Now, I will tell you that there is a tendency, especially if you’re a type A, excited individual like I am, to really get this burning passion and feeling and get obsessed with the business. It could not only just be the business, it could be a project within the business at a certain time, I have a launch coming up or I got a new client or something, and I can overtalk about it. This can actually push away family members, so they feel like they withdraw a little bit, and it makes them seem unsupportive, but they’re not, but they may not want to hear about it all the time.
It’s not necessarily because they don’t want to hear about it, but they may feel like that’s all you’re focused on is this business, and they may start to feel less important, which is really, completely smacks in the face of what we’re trying to do with entrepreneurship. Right? We’re doing this to fulfill ourselves, do something of our own, be able to have no ceiling on what we want to make and do with our lives, but it’s also so we can be around and with the ones that we love and hopefully the ones that are supportive and encouraging to us.
Try to balance and not necessarily overtalk all of the stuff in the business so that they feel like your time is taking away from them or they feel like they’re slipping down on a totem pole of priority, which I refer you guys to the episode called “Filling the Rocks,” which talks a little bit about the schedules of how you need to put your rocks out of your family and self first into your schedule and then fill in your business stuff. You guys can head over and listen to that episode, but it’s so great because that works with the balance thing that circles around to whenever you’re struggling with unsupportive friends and family.
One of the last things I want to share with you is, if you’ve done all of this or you’ve tried everything you feel like you can do and you just have someone in your life that just is unsupportive, they don’t understand what you’re doing, you feel like you constantly have to justify or it’s out the joy out of your entrepreneurship, re-evaluate a couple of things. What else may be going on in the relationship? What is it that I may be doing as the individual in the relationship? What could I be doing better to help the other person? Is this a relationship that I should even be in? Or is this a business pursuit that I should be even pursuing at this time of my life?
These are the kinds of questions that you want to ask yourself if you feel like nothing else is working. Perhaps now is not the time to be doing your business. That’s okay. Or perhaps you really don’t have someone that’s ever going to be encouraging. Or, maybe the middle ground, you guys just need to see and talk to someone that can help you guys find some common ground and some ways to support one another so there’s not so much struggle. I think one of the hardest things in business and life is dealing with people. People are people.
Like I said at the very beginning, you can’t formula everything out. You never know how someone may respond to a situation because their stress level may be high from their job or they have things going on, same for you, and so these items may not always work for you, but it’s something that you have to continually work at. Just like you have to work on your business all the time, you’ve got to work on your relationships all the time, and so, at one point, you have to intertwine them.
Again, the tips are to share your business plan as much as you can and share your financials and show them exactly how everything’s going; keep them involved, but don’t overtalk about it; make them feel important; and make sure that you’re filling the rocks on your calendar so that they are your rock, and they’re going into your days first, and everything else is coming in around them, but they are a priority, because, without your family and your friends, there’s really no point in doing this business thing.
I hope that helps you guys a little bit if you’re struggling with unsupportive friends and family. Remember, you don’t have to justify, but give respect to others of their feelings and importance as well as standing by your feelings and importance when it comes to running your business. I wish you luck and hope you guys have wonderful success this year.
Rachel Brenke is a lawyer, author and business consultant. She is currently helping professionals all over the world initiate, strategize and implement strategic business and marketing plans through various mediums of consulting resources and legal direction.
Hi, I’m Rachel Brenke
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