Someone asked a great question today on our ACA LinkedIn group:
Q. I am curious to know how you handle naysayers. When I tell people that I am starting a business I get all sorts of reactions, but when people tell me that it can be “daunting” or “difficult” I start to doubt my own intentions. I know I am on the younger side with less than 10 years experience and a newlywed looking to start a family in the next two years. But I do have a lot of experience if not in years but in quality. I also feel that this is something I really want to do. Please let me know how you hand this, I’m interested in your feedback. Thank you again. —MA
I don’t know if there is any solution to this, really. If there is, I sure never found it, lol.
To this day and in the face of all that I’ve achieved including the money and the lifestyle, I STILL get no respect from my dad.
His generation seems to think anyone “working from home” is just playing around on the computer or that they’re running some kind of Internet scam.
He literally never asks about my business. I take him to the nicest places and he never has to pay a dime. You’d think he’d be at least somewhat interested in and happy about the success of his daughter. In nearly 20 years, I’ve gotten exactly ONE attagirl from him. ONE!
And my significant other who had the patience of a saint would also go back and forth between being very supportive (as long as things seemed to be moving along) to “maybe it’s time to give up on this and get a real job” (when it was tough-going).
He met me right when I was getting really serious about my business and there was no way in hell I was walking away from it. I was prepared to lose the relationship rather than do that and told him as much. I HAD to make it happen.
So, what I learned is to just not talk about business with family. They just don’t get it and they are the WORST with the naysaying.
I’ve found friends to be much more supportive. Heck, they wish THEY could do what I do and live the way I live.
But even they don’t really get it.
Although I do have an extremely flexibile and freedom-filled lifestyle (because I worked my ass off for many years engineering my business to have it like that), you still always have family and friends who think just because you’re home, they can pop in and interrupt any ol’ time they please to gab. They just don’t see it as a “real” business in many ways.
And there are some family and friends who are going to be jealous (consciously or subconsciously) and will want to pee in your cornflakes at every turn. Who are you to better your life and take chances when they are stuck toiling a 9-5 every day, is how they think.
What I can tell you is that starting this business was the best thing I ever did, despite all the hard work, the time, the set-backs and all the rest.
This journey of self-actualization, self-determination and personal growth and discovery never stops. It’s rewarding and exhilarating every day, and now in the years when I am really reaping the fruits of my labor, I am so proud of myself and pinch myself every day in gratitude at how lucky I am to have this life and lifestyle.
When it comes down to it, you have to believe in yourself, and have the determination to stick with it and the ability to tune out and ignore the Debbie Downers. Don’t ask them for their opinions and don’t talk about your business with them if you know they’re just going to try to discourage you.
So how about you? What kind of naysayers do you have in your life and how do you handle it? Does it daunt you or make you more determined than ever? What advice do you have to share about dealing with the naysayers?
Danielle – getting your family “on board” with your “Work from Home” biz is difficult to say the least. I have a great network of friends and a family that supports me and my ideas. Although I am in the beginning stages of creating my business, I still get the support I need which really makes all the difference in the world for me. I do, once in a while have some people that think I am “just playing around on the computer”. I just don’t listen to them and makes me more determined to be successful.
You take the good with the bad and if you really want to have your business be successful you will march the extra mile.
Take care –
Hoo-boy! This particular subject tweeked so many of my “buttons” that I just had to comment!
Unlike “MA,” I am pushing 60 and have at least 30 years of accumulated expertise and experience to back up what I claim I can do. Despite this, however, I have also been bombarded with those “helpful” comments suggesting I am simply “playing” with the idea of a home-based business because I “cannot get hired by anyone else.” Seriously?!!
Like “MA,” I will admit that I did let some of that negative-talk get under my skin and I thought about throwing in the towel and looking for a “real job” on quite a few occasions. Then I took a good hard look at where I had been and where I am today, but I had to do this from an objective perspective — sort of like “stepping out of myself” to look at that path as a casual observer.
When I did this, I saw a person that was extremely hard working; that could pick up any new task and master it quicker than most; and someone who was trustworthy, loyal, and dependable, sometimes to point of working herself to the bone! If I saw this person as a prospective employee, I had to wonder why in the world she was out there floundering around. Good grief! Why had someone not snatched her up?!
Once I realized “that girl” was me, I also realized I had something pretty awesome to offer, but prospective employers either saw me as “too old” or “overqualified.” Again,… Seriously?!
So, my decision to strike out on my own was the result of realizing I do have a lot to offer and, if those other employers could not see it, then maybe I needed to go about using my talents another way. If they did not want to utilize my skills, then I would!
This is what I tuck away in my back pocket for those inevitable “naysayer” encounters. It reminds me that their negative perspective, however well-intentioned they think it might be, is not coming from a view of the full-picture, and I’ve got the missing information they need to gain that full-picture viewpoint.
Instead of questioning my abilities, I find this approach makes me better equipped to “educate” them, and if they still cannot get on my band-wagon, then they are entitled to their opinions. Either way, I KNOW where I am going, and they can either join me, follow behind me, or get out of the way, because I am forging ahead!
Your situation sounds a lot like mine. My parents are somewhat supportive because they know I’ve always wanted to own my own business. When I was 20 years old and my mother was still working at Blue Cross Blue Shield and my father still had his small business which was a shoe repair store, I was preparing and helping them full-time with setting up and running a business which they name after me (middle name), so they are supportive that I’m serious about my business even though my mother may ask more than my father. And my significant other is use to the 9-5 job. He is supportive and wants me to be happy but just today I did notice when I was on my hosting account to print out statements of payment to prepare for tax season next year, asked me how much I was paying for my website every month and I told him and he made a remark that didn’t sit well with me. Sometimes I feel he doesn’t understand just how serious I am about my business or he doesn’t know how being a business owner can have its good days and bad days. The people I mainly talk to are people that are business owners and entrepreneurs and can understand where I’m coming from and give good advice and resources because at the end of the day it’s not easy owning a business and you have to learn how to tough it out through the storm and still believe in yourself and continue on.
What a great topic. My version is a dear hubby who is truly retired and thus has trouble accepting that I am still working, albeit at home most of the time. I am very happy that he is retired and out of the grind since he hated his working jobs. But I really like life much better being self-employed, even though I’m so behind in really getting my business where it should be. I need to spend more time on it, but have to live with distractions constantly from hubby who needs a hobby! When I’m really busy or working hard for long hours he can sometimes do the naysaying or try to guilt trip me for leaving him “alone.” Or “when are we going on vacation”? Grrrrrrrr.
Linda, LaToya, Catherine and of course Danielle, thanks for sharing your stories.
Wow! Today must be “naysayer” theme day! This subject keeps coming up! I’ve been having the same problem with friends and family. Friends pop over all the time and expect me to entertain them.
In addition, my mother lives with me and was forced to retire this year. She doesn’t have a “hobby” so is constantly bugging me to come watch tv with her. I keep telling her to go join a quilting club and find some friends so she’ll leave me alone, LOL!
The questions and comments I receive are… “do you ever get clients”, “when do you sleep”? “You should go get a real job”. I live in a small town in the foothills, “real jobs” are few and far between! That’s one of the reasons for the business!
Anyway, thanks for the article Diane! Glad to see I’m not the only one dealing with this. You hit the nail on the head!
I’m not sure who Diane is, but thanks for adding to the conversation. 😉