One of the big problems for new entrepreneurs is that they’re fighting against two powerful tides. One is their own fear and concern about taking the financial leap, leaving the security of a corporate job, or the loss of whatever they’re giving up to take up the entrepreneurial flag.
The other tide that’s against them is their own friends and famliies, who may support them emotionally (as best they can) but also have fears for the new entrepreneur. Those might be fears about bankruptcy, or personal or professional loss of stature, or fear of the entrepreneur’s being able to get a job if she fails in her venture. Who’s fearful? Well, our moms and dads for starters; our kids, if they’re old enough to know what’s going on; our friends, our siblings, our neighbors, and our workmates back at the corporate ranch….
So early-stage entrepreneurs need to gird their loins, because they’ll hear a lot about what a mistake they’re making. They’ll see a lot of hand-wringing among their relatives, and if they stand near closed doors they may overhear some whispered “What is she doing? She had a great job with Allstate! What a mistake!” opinions.
You have to decide whom you need in your corner. Your sister may get your new business idea and your grandmother may not. And you just can’t bank on having a huge cheering section, as nice as that would be. There may be people who are close to you who need to hear “Thanks for your concern, but I’m very committed to this idea. I need your support, and if the best you can do is to not try and talk me out of it, I’ll take it. I just can’t keep defending my plan, and I’m not willing to. If you can’t be more supportive, let’s not talk about my business at all.”
That’s a tough thing, but it’s real for every entrepreneur I know. There’s a reason the whole population isn’t out there starting businesses right now – we’re just not all risk-takers.
So ask yourself: who really needs to believe? Well, my husband or partner had better be on board, since I used to bring home a nice paycheck and it might be awhile before I do that again. On top of that, I live with the man, so I’d like to have him in my corner. It would be nice if my parents believed, but it doesn’t look like that’s going to happen. I need my customers to believe. I need my banker on my side, and my lawyer.
You won’t convince the whole world that you’re the next big thing. But you don’t need all of them. Spend time reassuring the people whose support is critical to you, and wish the rest of them well: as you accomplish your goals, they’ll come around. And then, you’ll have to endure their endless repetitions of “I always believed!” That’s okay; they’re talking themselves into it.