Sometimes well-meaning friends and family do bad, bad things...
We often think our biggest fear is that of the haters, the keyboard warriors, and trolls or competitors. It might not be stranger danger for you. It might not be that random weirdo typing out hateful reviews who is creating doubt in your mind and paralysing you from taking action.
Maybe you have an insider who is a quiet assassin. A partner who says "when are you getting a real job?" or "how much is this business costing us?". It might be a friend who asks unhelpful questions like "do you really think people will spend $x on that?" or a family member who asks "how is your little business going?" (this one has happened to me).
Our friends and family should be our biggest cheerleaders, but sometimes they can be the voice in our heads that says "no one thinks you can do this" despite the fact those words have never left their lips.
Here are some of the most common. Do you recognise any of these?
Hey, nice hobby!
Got a creative streak? Your business will no doubt be in the firing line of the hobby comments. Got kiddies at home? Oh, then it has to be a hobby right? NO!
Friends and family who refer to a business as “just a hobby” can take something you could see real promise in and turn it into nothing more than a bit of fun on the side. So you finally convince everyone that this isn’t a hobby, it is a legitimate business. Then this happens…
Friends and family who assume you will provide your product or service at a hugely discounted rate or worse, for free. If you provide a service the expectation of freebies can be really bad because in their minds it isn’t “costing” you anything.
So your friends and family decide to help out by referring people they know…
My sister-in-law’s neighbours work mates cousin…
I always warn my clients to be careful about where referrals come from. You want referrals from your most valued customers. The ones that don’t expect discounts or freebies.
When you get recommendations and referrals from friends and family they can also come with the assumption that full price won’t be paid. Now instead of a few profit suckers, you have many and you don’t even know most of these people!
Amateur Hour Advisors
One of my favourite business quotes of all time is Brene Brown’s comment “Don’t take advice from people who haven’t been in the ring”. People love to give advice. Lots of people love to give advice on stuff they know nothing about.
It can be uncomfortable to have to sit through random ideas that you know are crazy and often just confuse your path to your vision.
Fixers just want to make it better for you. They want to give you a solution and truly want to make your dreams come true. The problem is their solutions aren’t always aligned with what you want to achieve. You’re the one that (hopefully) holds the vision and it is you’re ‘why’ that should be driving you forward.
Be wary of the fixer, they have only the best intentions so it is tempting to run with their ideas. You are often the one that let them in the door by voicing your business frustrations in the first place. Be mindful of what you say and who you say it to.
Those little snide comments often thinly veiled as concern can bring your confidence crashing down fast. They don’t say them directly to your face which makes them difficult to detect. They’re passing or side comments that on the surface aren’t that bad, go a little deeper and you will find the sting.
The worst aspect of s(n)ide commenters is that they’re born from fears and self-imposed limitations that belong to someone else. Those comments often have nothing to do with you or your abilities and everything to do with the commenter.
Not everyone likes to dream big. I wasn’t taught to dream big, I wasn’t taught to dream at all. I grew up surrounded by Dream Killers. I remember distinctly a kid in my Grade 7 class saying he wanted to be an architect when asked by a teacher. The teacher laughed and said “good luck with that”. Even as a little girl my heart broke for a boy who grew up like me. No money, a dad that was “sometimes” around and a mum who did her best in a bad situation.
When I was in high school we all had to meet with the Guidance Counsellor to talk about University entry. Wow, my dreams along with my self-esteem were crushed into tiny fragments that day. He said I should “just look for a job in a shop, or answering phones or something…” It had nothing to do with my grades, they were high. It was because of my background.
Dream Killers are all around us. They want to crap all over your ideas and make you feel small. They will point out every negative they can. They’re not like the S(n)ide Commenters who can be less obvious. The Dream Killers are out and proud and they’re loud!
p.s I would really like to junk punch those teacher on behalf of all kids they crushed and I DID graduate from University with a Science Degree all on my own!
Ever been on a diet and had someone constantly pushing your favourite treat in front of your face? “Go on… just one piece of cake won’t hurt”.
The cake pushers aren’t evil people, they’re not intentionally being saboteurs, they just don’t like change. They don’t want to change and they don’t want you to change. They value the status quo and unfortunately, that means putting the reins on you.
Often Cake Pushers are the ones that show up announced during your workday or expect you to drop everything to help them because “you’re not busy anyway”. Cake Pushers need boundaries and you are the one who needs to set them.
Lastly, we have the person who is simply jealous. They suck. If you have friends like this then you might need to question what they offer in value to your relationship. Sounds rough, but it is the reality.
Family fitting the description above are obviously not so easy to ditch. You’re probably going to be stuck with them. It is up to you to learn the art of filter and release. Filter out what isn’t helpful and release it back to the person who sent it your way.
Jealous Nelly is often the one that attempts to replicate your business and positions themselves as your competitor. Not nice!
- Put your big girl pants on and create a vision backed by a solid plan so you know where you're heading
- Understand your bsuiness from every angle; pricing, marketing, goals, funnels, profit... all the things!
- Know your business milestones and when you expect to reach them so you can see your progress
- Find the right group of people (other women in business who are on the same journey) to share your fears, frustrations and concerns with
- Stop talking smack about yourself and your business. You can't expect others to show respect when you don't
- Don't feed the fears with negative self-talk around people who jump at the chance to join in
- Set boundaries around your pricing and your time so you're prepared for Profit Suckers and Cake Pushers
Back yourself! Invest in your biggest asset; YOU. Take this gig seriously by putting some skin in the game and filling your gaps in knowledge. Give it everything you can so you know you’re doing everything you can.
If you don’t believe this will work no one else will.