Entrepreneurs, Do You Feel Like No One Gets You?
Wow, the past year has been a whirlwind. I went from stay-at-home mom to founder of a successful consulting business. But while this year brought a lot of big wins, it was also really hard sometimes because I didn’t feel a ton of support as I started my new venture.
Let me take a step back
For various reasons, I decided to completely go for it with my freelance writing business that had quietly chugged along for 7 years. I had been working about 10 hours a month (no, not a week) and with two little kids at home, that was about all I could handle. Until I realized I wanted more.
That’s when I went from 0 to 100. Literally. Like many entrepreneurs, I worked hard to launch my business and was suddenly working ‘round the clock, meeting my clients’ needs by day and developing my brand by night.
Some days I felt pressure, stress, resentment and guilt about working so much. But other days I felt super motivated and like a total momboss badass. I set really aggressive earning goals because I had made some new really aggressive financial goals. I swear, that’s what allowed me to have so much success. (I see a post about goal setting in my future!)
New biz + relationships
But I felt isolated. If you’ve thought no one really understands what you’re doing or what you’re going through when starting your business, I totally get it, because that was me.
First off, starting a new business is really stressful. You’re putting yourself out there, possible investing your savings or taking on debt, changing your lifestyle, and working all hours to push your business forward.
No matter what, it’s tough. Having a lot of customers is great, but the work falls on you. Having few customers is not at all great, and you feel like you’re spinning your wheels, getting nowhere.
And it can seem like people don’t understand what you’re going through or why you’re even doing it in the first place. Am I right? The life and drive of an entrepreneur is certainly different.
Some of my personal relationships feel as though they took a hit as a result of me starting my business, and I’m still working to repair them. As time passes, I’ve gotten more perspective and wish I had handled things differently. Hopefully what I learned from my own missteps can help you avoid making the same:
1. No one but you needs to ‘get’ your vision. As an entrepreneur, of course a lot of support is welcome and appreciated, but it shouldn’t make or break you. It’s your vision, your goals, and your future success. If they don’t get it, it’s fine. With every day that passes, they’ll see what you’re building and understand more.
2. They don’t know what you don’t tell them. It’s on you to explain your business and your goals. I made the mistake of feeling like people should ask me about my business. But it was my job to start the conversations and spread the word. When people ask you how it’s going, tell them! Let them in. If they don’t ask, tell them anyway!
3. Make them your brand ambassadors. Let friends and family feel like a part of your business. Having them spread the word as brand ambassadors will do just that. Be specific by asking them to share your posts on Facebook, follow (and engage!) on social media, host a small launch party or simply tell everyone they know what you’re up to.
4. Accept and ask for help. Some people asked how they could help me, knowing I was taking a ton on and still had two little kids to care for. I didn’t accept help much, and I wish I had. I thought I should be doing it all. Now I realize there are a lot things friends and family can do when you first start a business, like babysitting, running errands or carpooling. If you’re like me, it’s really hard to accept help, especially when you already feel like you’re slacking in areas other than your business.
5. Take yourself seriously! I saved the best for last. Take yourself and your business seriously. Don’t ever brush off questions or be modest about your business just because you just started it, it’s small or you haven’t made money yet. If you don’t take it seriously, no one will.
And one thing I actually did right?
Lean on a few people for extra support. Ok, this I totally did. My husband and a couple of my close girlfriends were there for me every step of the way, and let me vent, cry and celebrate through every high and low. This is really important.
Bottom line, it’s really tough when you feel like people don’t understand what you’re doing or why you’re doing it. Your business is a huge part of you. Know that it’s up to you to communicate your vision and bring others in. The more you do, the more they can be there for you and support both you personally as well as your business goals.