6 Reasons Your Family and Friends Don't Support Your Business
The other day I was chatting with one of my best friends and success partners. She was telling me about a challenge she was running into with a business venture. She was extremely disheartened because she’d turned to her family for support and one by one they all flat out turned her down or pulled out after committing. She just couldn’t understand how her flesh and blood could turn her down when she wasn’t asking for them to invest anything but their time.
This is such a familiar conversation. I’ve had it a million times. I myself have observed my family and friends sharing other coaches content, events and products on social media while not sharing mine. I’ve created campaigns and asked friends to share my posts or hashtag my events and received very little support. I used to get really upset about this, seemingly lack of respect, for me and my business until I stopped and really thought about why people don’t support their family and friend’s businesses. Here are the reasons that I came up with:
1· They don’t understand how to support you. Sometimes it’s not that your friends and family don’t WANT to help you, but they really don’t understand how. You haven’t clearly communicated what you need from them. It may seem completely simple to you, but your family and friends might not understand what you do or what they can do to support you other than say that they’re proud of you. It’s our job to supply our friends and family with the tools they need to support us.
When I left higher education I wrote a blog called 5 Ways to Support Me. I probably should share it more because awhile back I was in Ohio visiting my mom and she saw my business card and asked me if she could have one. Duh! How have I NEVER sent my mom my business cards? The person who is the most proud of me in the entire world? She said she liked my blog and asked me if I could “sign her up.” LOL Of course I did just that. Yep, she could have subscribed herself, but it’s my job to help my friends and family support me.
2. They have supported you in the past. When your friends and family only support you in theory… when it’s obligatory support, they are not invested. An obligatory purchase may not come with long term support because they have checked you off of their “to do” list. You may want them to do more, but there may not be “more” that they’re willing to do. Especially for us serial entrepreneurs. Your cousins have allowed you to organize their closets, sat through a painful sew-in and purchased your sugar skin scrub. They have purchased a waist trainer, Tupperware and those vitamins that you were selling that was supposed to grow their hair in 30 days, but 30 days later you were no longer selling the vitamins. Now they’re ready to tap out. I get it NOW you’ve found your thing, but they supported those other things…we can’t forget that.
3. They only trust celebrity or high-profile businesses. I admit this is a soft spot for me, but I get it. Andrea can have a vision board party and it’s Andrea having a vision board party, but when an Atlanta Housewife has a vision board party…even if she has no idea what she’s doing…there’s a possibility of being seen. There’s a big crowd. It’s at a nicer location. Bells…whistles…lights…I get it. Steve Harvey MUST be saying something right because she’s sold 9,000,000 books, but Kiesha is self-publishing and has sold 100 out of her house. Kiesha has a master degree in social work and a doctorate in clinical psychology, but you know Steve Harvey has learned from his mistakes so...
I’m I'm not hating on Steve Harvey. I think he’s done amazing things with his brand and his life, but I’m saying some people will only spend money with people that are already successful. Keep grinding. Your cousin will be asking for front row seats when the concerts start selling out.
4. There’s nothing in it for them. For a multitude of reasons ranging from selfishness to plain old limited time, some people will only give when they’re getting. They will only support when they see an immediate benefit. So don’t despair when you see your sister shouting out everyone else’s business on social media, but never mentioning yours. The best way to encourage some people to support you is through the hopes of getting something in return. Set up an affiliate or referral program. Develop a contest of sorts. It may not be that your family member supports other businesses more than yours. It might simply be that she supports himself more than your business.
5. They don’t want to see you be great. I think this is what most people assume first, but I honestly don’t think this is as common as we think it is. I think it’s highly more likely that they don’t know, don’t show or don’t care about…wait…I didn’t write that line. My bad! I meant to say I think it’s more likely that they don’t see how hard you’re working, they don’t know how to support you or you’ve already run up your tab of support. With that said…you will have a hater or two on your journey to success. There will be a person or two that simply does not want to see you win. We’ve all got that one cousin…she never really did like you…but then you’ve always known that. Why would she support your nail salon?
6. You’re not hot yet. Here’s a tough pill to swallow, but it’s worth tasting. Sometimes your family is not hanging your flyers or passing out your business cards because you haven’t impressed them yet. We all have to start somewhere and sometimes where you start and where you need to be to get public support have some distance between them. We all have to grow. Some people are very particular about who they endorse. I only publicly endorse those who I believe in. My word means that much to me. So I may not share your special on Instagram, but I may support you financially or with a free coaching session. If you’re not getting the public support that you want you may need to examine your product or service.
Thinking about the various reasons your family and friends don’t support you can be a humbling…even gut punching experience, but it helps put things into perspective. I think for me the most important thing to remember is that they don’t have to support you. Being blood or even liking your company does not obligate me to support you professionally. If you are constantly relying on your family to be your primary customers then you’re being lazy. All of us business owners need to do an assessment of our ideal customer base. We need to know their demographics, needs and wants and then we need a plan for pursuing that customer.