Did Friends and Family Ghost Your Business?
I think I am about to tell you a familiar story. One that I bet you will have more in common with than you think.
There once was a girl who got a nice camera as a gift. She was thrilled with this gift because it meant that she could now take really nice pictures of her adorable babies and post them on social media.
She immediately started taking thousands of pictures of her kids. She edited those images in photoshop and posted her favorites to social media. To her surprise her friends and family LOVED them. They raved about how good she was and someone said that she should start doing this for other people and she should get paid for it.
That idea sounded great so when she asked her friends and family about the idea they all said, “yes”, that sounds great, you should do it. They all lined up for free portfolio building sessions, they liked her page on social media, and even shared the images that she took of them on their personal accounts.
Things were going GREAT!!!
The girl thought she was onto something really incredible and she could see a booming business in her future. After all, how could she lose when all her friends and family were going to support her venture? They were her biggest cheerleaders and were going to stand by her side as she grew this business into something awesome!
As time went on she started marketing in her hometown, invested in education, and jumped feet first into the deep end of trying to run a photography business. But something interesting started to happen. . .
As she became more proficient as a photographer and business owner, her friends started pulling away. They didn’t hire her for sessions, they stopped sharing her work, they actually started going to other photographers, and they even started acting a bit resentful when she talked about her business. Gone were the days of her receiving that support and all of a sudden it seemed like she was not even on the list of being respected as a business owner in the community by the people she cared for the most.
What happened here? Why the shift in attitude toward her and her dream of running a business?
I mean, she started her business because they told her it was a good idea and they gave the impression that they were going to support her 100%. Now none of them would hire her, let alone, like a post on her Instagram page. What was up with that?
Things get interesting when you start a business.
- Many friends will support you 100% UNTIL things shift in a way that does not work in their favor.
- When you start asking for payment for something they used to get for free.
- When you start putting policies in place that work in your favor that they may not agree with.
- When they can no longer take advantage of your giving spirit.
- When they start giving you unsolicited advice on how to run your business.
- And this is a big one, when they start seeing that you are actually becoming successful in your field and are getting recognition that you previously didn’t get.
See things were great when you were one of them. Sitting around complaining because you were poor and broke. Commiserating about not being able to go on vacation or buy a new car. You were one of them. But how dare you take the initiative to make something better of yourself. To lift yourself to a higher level of personal development and business growth. Many people simply cannot be happy and encouraging of someone else who has taken the steps to better their circumstances. So they pull away and stop supporting you. They might even take steps subconsciously to try and hurt your progress.
The fact is that relying on friends to support your business is not a long term strategy for success. Friends want to support you and tell you all the awesome things you want to hear because they care about you. And that is great when people are first starting out. All the encouragement is wonderful and it can get you through some of the dark days of starting a business. BUT, that only goes so far. The true test of a sustainable business is if strangers BUY your stuff.
So many of us get caught up in the positive emotions that our friends and family throw our way as we start out and we believe that kind of encouragement is going to last forever. Little do we know that there usually is a firm expiration date for that positivity and unfortunately, we aren’t privy to when that will be. When that door suddenly shuts it can be a crushing blow to our confidence.
I’m here to tell you though that you don’t need them to run an awesome business. Yes, we ALL want the support of our family and friends but at some point, usually the point where we discover they aren’t going to hire us anymore, we need to decide that it is ok to just be friends, it is ok if they don’t hire us. Our business will be fine without them.
YOU will be fine without them.
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