A few weeks back, I wrote an article entitled An Introspective Look At How Fear Has Guided My Life. And in the process of writing that post and reading all of the comments, I started thinking about my entrepreneurial journey and all of the challenges that I’ve faced over the years.
It’s funny because looking back, getting our business off the ground was not the hard part. Getting our website up and attracting customers was not that hard either.
The hardest part about running our online store was overcoming the loneliness of the entire process.
Early on, we just didn’t have a good entrepreneurial support group for our online business. While we did have a few close friends help us along the way, most of the time my wife and I felt like we were completely alone.
And despite the success of our online businesses, I still have some lingering memories that I wanted to share with you along with some lessons that I’ve learned over the years.
Your Friends May Not Necessarily Support You
First off, I just want to say that I have really great friends that have provided me with tremendous support over the years. But when my wife and I first started our online store, I always secretly felt that no one really believed in our idea.
Quite honestly, I don’t blame them. Selling wedding linens kind of sounds like a dumb idea. After all, how could you ever sell enough of these to make a decent living? But not believing in someone’s idea and not supporting someone’s idea are 2 completely different things.
Let’s take a look at the MyWifeQuitHerJob.com Facebook fan page as an example. Of the few thousand likes that I currently have, only a paltry 25 come from friends that I’ve known for a long time. What’s even sadder is that of these 25, probably 10 or so are from virtual people that I’ve never even met. (BTW, now’s your chance to like my page below:))
If you ever plan on starting your own business, especially a dumb one like selling wedding linens online, you may not get the level of support that you might expect. In fact, your friends may secretly doubt your business idea and some may even secretly hope that you fail.
People Tend To Stay Within Their Own Comfort Zone
What’s important to realize when you start your own business is that people tend to stick within their comfort zone. So if all of your friends have steady jobs and plan on working the rest of their lives, it’s only human nature for them to secretly doubt you. After all if you end up failing, it just validates that they have chosen the right path.
Of course, I’m generalizing here a little bit but quite honestly, I’m guilty of having these feelings in the past as well. It’s human nature to doubt what is foreign to you. Nobody wants to think that they are missing out on an opportunity and we all have a need to believe that we are making the right choices in life.
So if you plan on diverging from the typical patterns of your social group, I wouldn’t necessarily plan on getting their full support. Here’s a quote from a fellow entrepreneur who left a great comment on an older post.
I’ll tell you one of the things that caught me off guard with our venture was the lack of support we received from a lot of people I was certain would be enthusiastic and supportive of our project.
In all honesty (excluding several members of our immediate family) some of the most supportive people we’ve encountered were complete strangers we’ve met online.
You Might Need To Make New Friends
Every business needs some amount of outside support. And the best way to fill the void is by making new friends that believe in your same ideals and share similar goals. For our ecommerce store, I made many new friends by posting on various business forums. For my blog, I made countless new friends through various social media sites like Stumble Upon and Twitter.
In fact, I could never have gotten to the point where I am today without these people and I’m sincerely thankful to have have met them all. And even though 90% of these relationships have been just virtual, I consider many of them to be good friends. Someday, I plan on traveling the world to meet them all in person but until then, I’m quite happy with a live chat/email based relationship.
Don’t Associate Yourself With The Doubters
If you ever find that you aren’t getting an adequate level of support from the people you hang out with, it’s probably an indication that you need to find a new social group that falls inline with your goals. Your good friends will always be your good friends but constant negativity will gradually seep into your veins and cause you to doubt your current path.
Let’s face it. It’s hard enough as it is to start a business in the first place. You need to be optimistic. You need to be upbeat and you need to have confidence. Because what is ultimately going to get you through it all is persistence.
Once you find the right people, you will know right away. Because all of a sudden, you’ll feel pumped up. You’ll feel energized and you’ll have someone to consult when things don’t go as planned. Find the right support group and you’ll improve your chances of success!
In any case, I just wanted to end this post by thanking my friends(real and virtual) for being there for me. I wouldn’t be where I am today without your support.
BTW, If you are interested in hanging out with other like minded entrepreneurs, you can join hundreds of other students in my Create A Profitable Online Store course. You can listen to other peoples’ experiences on the forums and share your ideas, successes and failures!
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