Firstly, don’t expect too much from your friends. They likely do care, and you’re probably being a tiny bit sensitive because you’re so passionate about your business and it’s your baby and you’re thinking about ways to improve 24/7. You’re not entitled to their support, their support is a beautiful gift that should be cherished, and not demanded. Yes, you’re super excited about your business idea and you’re consumed by thoughts about it — but that doesn’t mean everyone who’s close to you has to share your excitement. Sure, it’s really nice when they do, and make sure you’re vocal with your appreciation for the special ones that do support you — but don’t take it personally if they’re not too into it or seem ambivalent.
Pick and choose who you surround yourself with and talk business with. If you’re sensitive to rejection, don’t talk to people who are lukewarm about your idea or just not interested in business. However, if someone who’s close to you knows all the details of what you’re doing, and they’re not excited about it — start to ask questions. It’ll likely be the best feedback you’ll receive, or you’ll learn more about what’s going on in your friends life — they might be feeling overwhelmed with something that they’re going through, or they have a nuanced view of your idea, or they have an idea of improvement, or something about the way you’re marketing doesn’t sit well with them. All feedback is good feedback, if the people closest to you have reservations about your idea — it’s time to ask questions. The people who have complaints are the people you have to focus on — and if they’re your friends and family, they’ll likely take the time to explain why. Friends who are honest and respectful are hard to come by, keep them close and use them as a sounding board for your ideas.
It’s also very important to take a step back and remember that your friends and family really care about you. They also probably want to help in some capacity, but they don’t know how to help or it seems like it’s out of their ability. Give people clear, specific instructions on how to help — same thing applies in relationships. If you want more traction with social media, give your friends a specific instruction: hey can you please retweet this photo with this caption? That would mean a lot to me. Or would you be able to donate just $5 to support this cause? You’ll get this prize in return, and your support will really make a difference. Specific, actionable requests are so much easier to follow, and if they say no, it’s not the end of the world. Again, it’s an opportunity to learn — more about them as a person, and about your marketing strategy if they refuse — it’s always going to be a win win, be comfortable asking for help and be grateful for the help that you do receive — and forget the small rejections along the way.
For example, I asked one of my friends to comment and share one of my business posts, I just wanted to bump the post in the feed so that it would be seen and get more traction. She said she felt uncomfortable being asked to do things that weren’t authentic, and was worried that I was being too concerned about my image. She was completely supportive of my idea, and stood her her ground for what she believed in — and I completely respect that. This is what you would call honest, respectful, healthy communication, and we were able to explain our ways of seeing things and respect and support each other — while still maintaining what feels right to both of us. I’m currently fundraising for Variety, the children’s charity and every time I post, although it may feel like spam to some, I get a new donation or a new person who reaches out to me to become more involved. That makes it all worth it to me, and I’m going to continue to spread the word about Variety — because it’s a really great charity that’s been helping Aussie families for over seventy years and they don’t have the recognition they deserve — but I need to brainstorm more ways for it to be cool to care, and incite passion amongst the people surrounding me. (Link is in bio for any generous souls who would like to donate!) Thanks to my honest friend, my mind was little stretched, and my communication skills were practised a bit more- and these are the friendships that I hold dear.
At the end of the day, it’s on you to make things happen. Don’t rely on other people. Your friends and family are (hopefully) great sources of support, people you can speak freely with, and people you hang out with — but don’t expect them to bend over backwards for you — especially if you haven’t been clear in how they can help.