Over the past 10 years, entrepreneurship has certainly become one of the most common practices by people in our society. Whether you work a full-time job or run your business full time, you are a single parent, or just looking for an additional stream of income, almost everyone now has a business or some sort of a "side hustle." As common as it may be, entrepreneurship is still not everyone's cup of tea. You might meet those folks that "talk the talk," but you won't catch them branching out or making any moves to possibly start a business. Or, no matter how much proof, or examples, they may be surrounded by, they still don't think it's something that's possible for them.
If you are one of these people that just COULDN'T see yourself starting a business, don't worry, it's okay! I've been an entrepreneur for over 6 years now, and some people just don't have what it takes. Don't get it twisted, it's okay to recognize and acknowledge these things about yourself. Trust me, you do yourself more of a favor when you are honest with yourself FIRST.
For you individuals that do have a business, currently running one, or in the process of starting one. Congrats! You are soooooo cool for that.
Running a business is a rewarding process, but also can be very stressful and discouraging at times. We don't always get the support or praise we feel we deserve. Every idea we may have doesn't always turn out to be a success. Our methods of doing things sometimes fail us. We have such big dreams, but sometimes don't even know where to start. These are some of the most common things I hear, but I've always heard this re-occurring conversation about support.
"No one supports my business and it just makes me wanna give up!"
"My family and friends just don't support me the way that I thought they would."
"I'm doing something so incredible, why isn't anyone supporting me?"
I could write a longer list, but I'm sure you get the point. Anytime a person pursues something, follows a dream, or does anything, it's natural for them to want to have the support and backing of people around them and the ones they love. Totally understandable, but is that always a guarantee? NO. When you have the audacity to follow a dream, or step out on faith to do anything, not everyone is mentally built to understand that. Lemme rewind that last part...NOT EVERYONE IS MENTALLY BUILT TO UNDERSTAND THAT. Lemme give you an example of what this means: you've decided you want to start a business! You go out for lunch with a friend and tell her you have some big news! You are starting a business! Whoooooo! But when you share your news, your friend doesn't quite give you the same excitement or exact response you were going for.
That friend may have given you that response for a number of reasons:
1. They don't care, or aren't happy for you. Which would then mean, they really aren't your friend.
2. Your success, in this case, ambition, reminds them of what they lack.
3. They don't really know what to do.
From my experience, a lot of the time it's the latter that is happening. People don't always know how to be happy for someone or support them. Sometimes when people hear you say, "I'm starting a business!" They may be excited, but they are feeling a number of other things for you that usually come out first. Fear, doubt, worry, concern, and any other emotion you could think of that's not happy. Just because they feel these things doesn't mean they don't support you, it's just they don't quite know how to do it. For some, they may feel like they are doing a disservice to you if they don't acknowledge these concerns, which is why these things may sometimes come out first, or come out at all. And please, don't fault yourself for the shortcomings of others. Because someone may not know how to support you, or may not be built to understand what you are doing, it doesn't mean you've done anything wrong!
Because you may have people in your life that don't know HOW to support you, it's important to ask yourself something. Do you support what you are doing? I think sometimes we get caught up in everyone else supporting us and forget about ourselves. Anytime you are doing anything, before you look for support, love, praise, from others, you should be supplying that to yourself first. In case you are wondering, this is one of those things that is super difficult about being an entrepreneur. You have to be all things to, and for, yourself, before anyone else will. Why would someone want to support your business, if you don't even support it? How can someone believe in you if you don't believe in yourself? If you don't support yourself, or don't know if you do, you may want to go back to the drawing board to remind yourself why you started a business, or pursued your dream, in the first place.
If you are someone that doesn't know how to support someone in your life that is pursuing a dream of theirs, here are some tips on how you can:
1. Listen to them: Entrepreneurs have a lot to say and a lot on their minds. It's helpful and healthy to have someone to let it all off to. When listening, give feedback, be responsive, don't just sit and stare.
2. Be patient: We aren't always the most available people all the time. Our businesses can sometimes give us unpredictable schedules and availability. We may not always be able to be there for you or when you want us to, but trust it's not intentional.
3. Be understanding: When we aren't always there, be understanding of the fact that we aren't!
4. Ask questions: The worst thing you can do for an entrepreneur or anyone is assumed. Take the time to ask questions shows that you care and want to know more.
5. Make time: If they are hosting an event, come out and support. Even if it is only for a few minutes, be there with them.