Starting any form of venture is hard. Being an entrepreneur takes guts and a thick skin. During the ruff n’ tumble, it is just natural to tilt towards friends and family for support of your business. Be it any kind of support; mental, emotional, physical or financial. Sometimes, you as an entrepreneur can be lucky in getting the perfect support system from friends and family but most times, it’s never that way. What follows? A sense of betrayal. Some feeling this betrayal, would loosely resort to the word ‘hater’ and start thinking up and passing out passive aggressive statements why your friend or family ain’t being supportive.
Few weeks ago, I heard someone cry bitterly on that matter and she was shocked at my response. She expected the usual ‘hater compensation talk’ but I tried showing her an unbiased perspective, using myself as an example. Some few posts back in 2017, I mentioned the talk about feeling entitled to people’s love and support. Well, I’d say it again, NO ONE OWES YOU SH…AWARMA! Here are reasons you shouldn’t take ‘unsupportive friends and family’ to heart.
- Familiarity breeds Contempt: This title might be a bit harsh for what I want to say but it’s simple. Your friends and family are the most familiar to you. Some actually saw you in your diaper and can still envisage you in your diaper. They see you as that girl/boy they’ve always known. While you metamorphose to something bigger in terms of mental wealth, they might really not relate to it. So when you tell them you’ve got a big project you are about to launch, they find it hard to correlate the ordinary you that they are accustomed to and the big project you say you are handling. In other words, they see you as that ‘small girl/boy’. It will take the view of a total stranger who would appreciate your work better, to actually tell them how inspiring or effective you are. That’s just life. Even Jesus faced the same thing. While every other person was in awe of him, his fellow natives wondered what the big deal was about Jesus. Their words; “…Is it not the carpenter’s son they talk about?”. We saw Him as the Messiah, they saw Him as the Carpenter’s son. Get it?!
- Friends and Family might feel entitled to gaining things for free from you: If Beyonce sells a perfume, you’d rush out to buy. If Rihanna sells a lipstick, you hurry and get the stock while it lasts. If your cousin launches a book, you drag feet and want the book for a discount, if not free. We call it ‘friend’s price’. We’ve all been guilty of this, one way or the other. I have a friend who started her photography business years ago and when I need her to do a photo shoot, I’d be shocked when she’ll send me a fee. I would be bitter even though the fee was subsidized. I even felt our friendship was at stake. I felt entitled to having free photo shoots for all the shoulders I rendered her in down times. Lol. Not until I got into blogging and saw what goes into photography. That’s when I appreciated what she normally does. I never complained afterwards and I’d happily pay what was due. I can’t tell you how many times I get a proposal to blog something for free because of our relationship status. I don’t even complain because I know exactly where they are coming from. My policy is to do it free one time and the rest, you’d have to pay like any other client would. Family and friends feel entitled. They would be the least supportive. Only true friends would pay you a full fee of your service worth. That’s just how it is. They don’t necessarily wish you bad in business, they just feel entitled to a freebie from you….just because they know you. Only a few know the importance of paying for your time, service and product.
- That they are your friends and family, doesn’t mean they have to buy your every darn product: Always see them as individuals first before you see them as friends or family. You can’t expect your single male friend to go gaga over your baby products that you are pitching. He has no business with that. You can’t force your middle aged friend to buy a Nintendo game you are pitching for wild teenagers. So respect their individuality and preferences. That way you don’t tag them as ‘unsupportive’.
Who are more likely to be supportive?: Strangers! There is a mystery between you and a stranger especially when you have a well built brand. That mystery keeps you on a pedestal for them. All they see is you and your brand and not any history or friendship. Those are the ones who’d support you more. Never sulk or wallow in self-pity about unsupportive friends. They simply take for granted your worth because of the existing relationship, not necessarily hating on your business. Focus on those who are supportive and don’t hold it against friends when they don’t. The ‘hater’ syndrome can’t be ruled out completely but sometimes the word ‘hater’ has been overused.
If you are reading this, be that friend or family member who supports their own. You owe nobody anything but supporting your own friend or family is a big confident booster for the one looking to you for support.
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