I’ve been trying to grow my graphic design business on the side of my full-time teaching job for the last 2 years but haven’t gotten consistent income or clients. I know that if I keep going, I’ll be successful, but my husband doesn’t seem to understand. I mean, he tries to be supportive but still makes comments like “Why don’t you just focus on your actual job?” I try talking to my friends who aren’t entrepreneurs, but they don’t understand either. How can I get support from people I love and want to support me, but don’t necessarily know how?
Welcome to the crazy world of entrepreneurship! You’re a weirdo. Remember that people don’t normally have the courage, persistence, or creativity to pursue a venture like yourself. When you do something different, expect people to not understand, project their own insecurities on you, or sit on the sidelines and critique you while they watch you do your thing.
BUT you’re reaching out to talk about getting support from those who you love, and love you most. If you’re feeling lonely, know that you don’t have to. It may be a matter of communicating it to people what you need for they can be supportive.
So let’s look at this situation in terms of being a leader and CEO of your business.
1. Start with your vision. Own your belief in your own success.
As a leader, especially an entrepreneurial one, you have a God-given vision that you know is your responsibility to bring into the world. There WILL be a lot of stepping into the unknown and trying things to see what works and what doesn’t. It’s important to OWN your belief in your own success, which it already sounds like you’re doing when you say “I KNOW I will successful if I can just keep going."
2. Communicate clearly the what and why you’re doing and HOW it will get you closer to your goals. Remember that if people don’t understand what we do, it’s up to us to educate them. People typically have great intentions, they mean well, and are just curious about the ins and outs of running a business, so we if can communicate with confidence (with the purpose of educating, instead of defending) then it can change the tone of the conversation.
For example, try using this simple script.
Question: Hey Amy! How’s business?
Answer: Business is [honest answer here]. I’m excited about [share a win/accomplishment/good news]. I’m currently working on [area of growth here], by trying to [share the the focus/strategy/project you’re using]. It’s been quite the journey but I’m grateful for the opportunity to [share gratitude statement and the purpose of your business.]
Supportive Person: How’s business?
You: I’m learning and growing so much! I’m proud of my progress of designing for 4 different corporate clients and streamlining my design process, and am working on getting consistent clients. I’m excited to see how goal here plays out. It’s been a wild ride, but I’m thankful for the journey and the opportunity to pursue something that I love, and make more of an income and an impact.
See? Communicating what you’re doing, how you’re working towards your vision, and being open to seeing what works and doesn’t work will open up a conversation rather than feeling like you’re defending yourself.
3. If you need help, ask for it! Get specific about your needs. If it’s feeling like you need help around the house so you have time to rest or work on your business, ask for it. If you need help with your business, consider working with a coach or joining a Mastermind. If you need an assistant, consider hiring one. Support can be in many different forms, so be clear on what will help you to thrive in life and business, and then go get it!
Your action steps to get the support you need.
- Check yourself — are you clear and confident with what you’re doing? If so, it’ll be much easier to communicate that to others.
- Practice your version of the script. Share it when the opportunity arises.
- Get clear on the type of support you need, then go get it!
If you found this letter helpful, please share it with your friends. If you’d like more insight into turning your ideas into action so you can create a successful business and intentional life, then subscribe to the “Letters For Leaders” and receive your free “Vision Into Action” workbook.