Content Type, Developing your Skills | October 3, 2014
Dominik Loncar, Futurpreneur Canada Entrepreneur-in-Residence, firstname.lastname@example.org
Many first time entrepreneurs believe doing it alone is the key to success. They forget that their emotions, to a large extent, are elevated or squashed by people they associate with. This will have a direct bearing on how they feel about themselves and their confidence to continue.
Ask for support
Let family and friends know that you are starting a business and that this is a long term goal, and let them know that you may need constructive feedback at times. Ultimately, you may not take all their advice, but you respect their concern and willingness to help. Significant others, friends and family may have the best intentions but they simply may not have the expertise or experience. Often times I see entrepreneurs get excited because their cousin/brother/best friend etc. said their business idea was a great idea. Other times entrepreneurs get discouraged because they said it wouldn’t work. In both scenarios you will need further feedback. Emotional support or discouragement should be supported with sound business advice.
Tell yourself and everyone else you’re serious
Your family and friends may call you and assume because you are your own boss they can talk to you anytime. In starting a business you will need to be a time hawk – especially during key productive business hours. The best way to deal with family and friends who call you up to chat during productive times is simply to say, “I’m in the midst of a project. Can I call you back at ______ (insert a more suitable time)?” No need to tell what that project is. This is a time to be training your family and friends that you are serious about starting a business. If you take yourself seriously so will others.
Tyler Cowen, the American writer and economist, makes this point, “Do the most important things first in the day and don’t let anybody stop you. Don’t make exceptions. The hours from 7 to 12 are your time to build for the future before the world descends on you.”
When they don’t get it
If family or friends are not supportive of your idea (i.e. you should get a real job etc.) minimize talking business with them but at key times let them know how important pursuing this venture is for you. Keep in mind that if you talk about it constantly but don’t take any action steps you will only re-enforce why they shouldn’t support you.
One thing to avoid is showing resentment because they “don’t get it.” Remember they may not support you out of fear; fear that it may not work, fear that they wanted to do something and it didn’t work out for them, or simply that they value financial stability over uncertainty. If you show persistency, composure and take action, time and time again, you will win them over (or part ways).
The toughest conversations are usually with your significant other. This requires special attention. You simply need their support. It is best to lay out a financial scenario – what you will need to cut, minimize and do within a reasonable timeframe. If there are very little results over a period of time and you feel you’ll hit it big, just as soon as your video goes viral, you may be deluding yourself. A cumulative day-to-day plan works best. Small gains, consistently over time, are what will win the day.
Seek like-minded individuals
Our partners, family or friends are usually set. You will have more opportunities if you get out there and connect with people who you admire, or who have the same aspirations as you do. In our social media era there can be too much reliance to connect online through Facebook and LinkedIn. Although social media can be useful at times, nothing beats meeting people face–to-face and deepening the relationship. It also gets you out of your home or office. True empowerment comes from individuals who are going through or have gone through what you are going through; they support your wish for something better but challenge you on how to make it happen.
Don’t be too hard on yourself
We can be our own worst enemies. When you’re down (and there will be those times) don’t deny that you are feeling down. Denial is never a good strategy. But don’t stay down either. Dwelling, over-analyzing, excessive worrying are not going to help. A long walk, a great workout or heart-to-heart chat with a close friend can help move you forward.
We forget how much our emotions come into play when we start a business. Some planning and coping strategies, will help deal with the emotional rollercoaster ride that awaits you. Enjoy the ride.