So you’re looking to start an online business, or maybe you already have… or maybe you’re freelancing. Whatever it is, as an entrepreneur it can be tricky to know how to tell your family about your business.
Dealing with an unsupportive family can cause your web design business or creative business to struggle. Here are 6 tips for starting a business and how to talk about your new online business. Hint: Mindset is everything!
My first year as an online business owner was a whirlwind but I still remember working on my first web design project ever – it’s clear as day. I hadn’t given myself a realistic amount of time to finish the project. I was overambitious and told my client that I could have it done way sooner than I should have. Beginners’ mistake!
If you struggle with how to talk about your new online business then you are not alone! I hadn’t told anyone that I had started freelancing because I was afraid of what they would say.
Here were my fears: I thought my family would think I needed money for some reason or that I couldn’t pay my bills. I thought they would think I was crazy because I had never built a website before in my life and had basically zero skills that “qualified” me as a web designer. I thought they would tell me it was a waste of my time and would get in the way of my real career.
I definitely underestimated my family’s ability to be understanding. When they asked what I was doing, I told them I was building some lady halfway around the world a website. And when they asked if I knew what I was doing, I said, “Nope! But I’m going to figure it out.”
And they were surprisingly cool with that. But they were also surprised that someone was paying me to do it. Which I understood because I felt that way too at times.
I went through all these fears and thoughts again when I decided to forgo freelancing and start my own business. Would they think I was crazy for wanting to quit a “stable” good-paying job? Would they think I was going to fail? Would they think I was throwing my life away?
But my biggest fear was whether they would try to talk me out of it or support me. That, I wouldn’t have been able to handle because I knew deep down inside that starting my own business and becoming an entrepreneur was the right move for my emotional wellbeing and my personality.
I had these same fears when it came to sharing the news with my friends. I was afraid they would think I was crazy for quitting a job that paid well when they were severely underpaid.
Here’s what happened when I told my friends and family I was going from freelancing to full-time business owner and quitting my 9-5.
My mom tried to talk me out of it. And I understood why. No one wants to see their child throw something “stable” away for the unknown. From a non-entrepreneurs point of view, freelancing and starting your own business is super risky.
So, I understood her fears… was still slightly annoyed but decided I was going for it anyway. (My mom has since come around.)
My friend’s reactions surprised me the most though. Instead of trying to talk me out of it, I immediately got bombarded with “I wish I could do that…” and “That sounds awesome!” (I literally wanted to scream at them, “You can!”) Their support felt really good.
Now I know I was lucky. I know not everyone is supported by their friends and family in this way. If you’ve told your friends and family that you’re freelancing or starting a new business and you feel comfortable sharing their reaction in the comments below, please do! Good or bad, I’m here to support you.
If there’s one thing I know, it’s that keeping it in that you’re starting your own business isn’t possible in the long run if you want to become visible, easily land clients, and reach that upper 5-figure or 6-figure business owner level.
Tips for Talking to Your Friends and Family About Your New Online Business
Tip One: Ease your friends and family into the idea of you owning your own business
If you’ve been quietly working on a side hustle for a while and then one day is like “hey, by the way, I started a business and I’m quitting my job” it could come as quite a shock to some people in your life.
The fact that I shared with my family that I was freelancing first to learn new skills and figure things out, made it easier to tell them I was turning it into a business. It wasn’t such a shock to them because they already had a certain level of awareness.
Tip Two: Have your answers to these questions ready
If you’ve been holding off on telling anyone about your business because you’re fearful of what they may say, I have an exercise for you.
I want you to pull out a piece of paper and write down 4 things. The first I want you to write down is your why. Get super clear on why you’re starting your own business and why you want to leave your current job if you have one.
The second thing I want you to write down is the services you’re going to offer and how much you’re going to charge. The third thing I want you to write down is where you’re going to find clients.
And the fourth thing I want you to write down is what goal you need to hit in order to quit your full-time job and dive full-time into your business.
These four questions are going to be the most asked questions by your family and friends. Why are you doing this? Well… let me tell you! What type of business will it be? What are you going to sell?
Well… here are the services I’m offering and how much I’m going to charge! Where will you even find clients? I’ll find clients in these places by doing X, Y, and Z. How long do you think you’ll be able to balance your current job and a side business? Well… once I hit this goal, I’m quitting my job and diving into my business headfirst.
Having the answers to these questions will make it so much easier to talk to your friends and family about your plans of quitting your business. Not having an answer to one of these questions isn’t the end-all-be-all but it does make it really easy for someone to say something like, “See, it’s not going to work.
You have no idea what you’re doing.” But if you have the answers, they’ll see you’ve put thought into starting your own business and quitting your job and that you’re determined to make it happen.
Tip Three: Don’t tell your friends and family if you’ve just had really good news
Maybe you’ve landed that last client you needed to quit your job. You’re super excited and on top of the world. You want to jump and shout and share the news with everyone!
If you know your family or friends will react well, then yes! Share the news and have them join in on the celebration with you.
If you know or are thinking your family or friends won’t react well, keep the good news to yourself for a bit. You don’t want to ruin your good news, ruin that amazing moment by sharing it with someone who is going to turn something positive into something negative.
You deserve to be excited and proud and to celebrate at that time. Do that, soak it in and enjoy it for a day, a week, whatever feels right, and then tell your friends and family.
Tip Four: Give real-life examples of other people who have made your business idea (or a similar one) work
Do you know a web designer that has gone from freelancing to a successful full-time business owner? Share that with the people you think won’t approve. Giving examples of people who are like you, that have made it work, will help your family or friends see that it really is possible to be a successful web designer or business owner with your background and experience.
Tip Five: Have a biz bestie you can rely on or a mentor to look up to
If sharing the news with your family or friends doesn’t go well, it’s important that you have someone to talk to and lean on. Schedule a Zoom meeting with your biz bestie so they can be your virtual shoulder to lean on. They most likely know what you’re going through and may have been there before, too.
Or reach out to your mentor so you can get a pep talk from someone who has been there, done that, and totally shattered the barriers that were in their way to success.
Even if your friends and family are supportive of your decision, I still highly recommend you get yourself a biz bestie and/or mentor. Non-entrepreneurs, non-business owners don’t typically know how to relate to entrepreneurs.
It’s nice to have someone who gets what you’re doing, gets what you’re talking about and that’s where a biz bestie and/or mentor comes into play.
Personally, I have two biz besties. One is a VA and VA educator and the other is a web designer and template designer. Having them to shoot messages to or chat with on a virtual call is always a sure-fire way to boost my energy and make me feel better about my business whenever I get in my head.
Tip Six: Don’t care what anyone else thinks
Literally, don’t give a rat’s ass about what other people think. You are starting a business and that takes guts and strength and confidence and determination. You’re trying to better your life by taking control of it. That’s something most people are dying to do but are too afraid to.
What other people say is more a reflection of themselves and their own fears and less about what you’re doing.
If someone tells you you’re crazy to start your own business because most small businesses fail… maybe they tried to start their own business and failed. They’re projecting their fears on you. But remember, you’re not them. Just because they failed, doesn’t mean you will.
Or maybe someone tells you that you aren’t skilled enough to start your own business. Maybe they had a dream of starting their own business, but they let their parents talk them out of it.
Maybe they were told they weren’t skilled enough to start their own business and have these crazy ideas around what type of person can run a business. That says more about their lack of confidence in themselves than their lack of confidence in you.
You know what’s in your heart. You know what type of life you want to live in. And you know what it takes to make it happen. Don’t let what other people say, talk you out of your dream.
If someone starts to tell you something you don’t want to hear, tune them out. And if they’re unable to accept that you’re starting your own business or starting to freelance, then don’t speak directly to them about your business.
Sometimes you have to accept the fact that not everyone will be accepting of you, your life, and your dreams. Some people will be jealous or envious and the way they show that will be in a nasty way.
Protect yourself, your dreams, your self-esteem by not sharing too much with them. You can and you will find people who accept your dream – remember a biz bestie!
So don’t worry too much, if at all, about what other people say or think. You do you! I’ll support you and I know tons of other women inside this community will support you too!