Hey there, Lucky Bee!
Today’s post is for you if you’re constantly getting unsolicited business advice from friends and family. We’ve all been there, and it’s painful.
Have you ever just been having a really nice family dinner… and suddenly, the conversation moves to your business?
In just a few seconds, you’re doubting your latest offering and second-guessing your prices…
In fact, maybe you should just quit and get a day job after all?
That self-doubt can be seriously damaging for your business.
Here’s why unsolicited advice is such a problem, and three suggestions for dealing with it…
Prefer to listen? Click here.
Here’s the thing…
People love to give advice
Unsupportive comments and well-meaning “advice” from friends and family is one of the most common issues for newbie business owners. You totally know the comments I mean, right? Things like:
- Honey, are you SURE you can make a living doing that?
- My friend tried starting a business like yours, and he FAILED (and now lives under a bridge!)
- Don’t you need more qualifications before people will pay you for that?
Especially at the beginning of your business journey, you’re incredibly vulnerable to this kind of negativity. And it can feel nearly impossible tell people that you just don’t want to hear it.
It’s natural to want to share what you’re doing with your loved ones.
The problem is that well-meant advice can make you second-guess everything you’re doing in your business. Worse, it can make you feel like your friends and family aren’t really as supportive as they claim.
Your loved ones don’t mean to be negative
What makes this situation difficult is that most people don’t intend their comments to sound half as negative as they do. Friends and family offer advice because they care about you, and want (what they think is) the best for you.
And let’s be fair to your family for a minute. A few years ago, the businesses of most of the women in the Lucky Bee community didn’t even exist!
So it can be really hard for someone outside your industry to understand how making money through it is possible.
Just imagine what my family thinks: “Oh, Denise just talks to people on the internet about their money blocks.” WHAT?!
So yes. Your grandma probably thinks you’re doing something weird or dodgy. Your sister might well think that blogging is a made up thing. It’s not their fault!
Plus, OK, yes, sometimes they’re jealous or triggered by your success. And they probably want to feel important and knowledgeable too… but mainly, it’s because they care.
So they share their opinion, whether you want it or not.
Of course, the negativity is still damaging
I’ve said it before: the single most important factor in successful manifesting is your mindset.
Business can be tough, and before you can create anything, you first have to feel it and energetically be on your game. So anything that makes you doubt yourself can actively block your success.
Note: I’m NOT telling you to bury your head in the sand, or avoid dealing with practical stuff. What I’m saying is that once you’ve sorted that out, you need to keep your mindset and energy high.
And listening to negative comments from people you care about is one of the quickest ways to derail that positive energy.
Most of us have our own negative chatter going on inside our heads, so we really don’t need external negativity too.
If you’re on your own, you can use a pattern interrupter, like an elastic band on your wrist that you snap whenever you catch yourself being negative. But what do you do when you’re actually with other people at the time?
Here’s a question for you…
Are you actively inviting the comments?
Before you think about how to respond, it’s a good idea to check and see whether you’re actually inviting unwanted feedback. For example:
- Are you oversharing about your business? Yes, your business is important to you, and of course you want to talk about it. But be careful that you’re not secretly hoping for a gold star – or possibly even sympathy – when you choose what to share. Your friends and family just don’t need to hear the minute details of your business or problems with your clients. So don’t tell them everything, unless you’re prepared to hear potentially unwanted advice.
- Do you actively ask for people’s opinions? If so, ask yourself why. Are your friends and family successful entrepreneurs too? Do they study business as much as you do? Are they actively investing in themselves? If not, much of the context around what’s happening in your business will probably be lost on them. And unless your Uncle Bob is either an ideal client or an expert in your field, his thoughts on your pricing structure just don’t matter. Sorry Uncle Bob!
If you find yourself doing any of these things, take responsibility for cutting it out.
Three possible ways to respond
Once you’ve ensured that you’re not making it easy for people to be unsupportive, look at strategies to counter their negative comments.
Here are my top three favorites.
- Focus on the positive: if someone asks how your business is going, just smile and say, “It’s going great, thank you for asking!” You might also want to share specific wins; but again, realize that your family doesn’t need to hear everything.
- Turn the question around: if you need to head off a potentially negative comment, turn the question back on whoever you’re speaking to. Try something like, “Business is awesome, thank you! How’s everything in your job/life?”
- Completely change the subject: if you know someone’s likely to trigger you, change the subject before they can get started. Practice saying something like, “Everything’s going great, thanks. Where are you going for the summer holidays?”
Remember: it’s super important to have a safe place to share wins and to get feedback on challenges. That’s why I recommend having a mastermind of like-minded entrepreneurs or a well screened business coach to help you navigate the ups-and-downs of business.
Otherwise, your business is LITERALLY not other people’s business. Trust your own wisdom and experience: you’re in the business trenches every day, so you know what’s best for you.
Here’s a bonus tip. My family totally didn’t understand what I did until I wrote a book.
THAT they understood!
So, self-publish an ebook and then Grandma can tell her friends at Bingo that her granddaughter is an author, rather than some sort of weird illegal online porn thing they think you do now.
Now – I have a free resource for you.
I think that being in business is basically just a string of potentially awkward conversations.
How do you have boundary conversations with people? Whether it’s a client, a supplier or a friend who wants free advice, I’ve got some great scripts for you in a free ebook.
Download your free book at www.LuckyBitch.com/awkward
I can tell you that learning to set boundaries has absolutely changed my life and business.
If you need help to have some potentially awkward conversations, you just need to practice a few phrases and they work like magic.
It’s called “Boundaries for Business: Awkward Conversations Made Easy” and you can download it for free at www.LuckyBitch.com/awkward
Hope it’s been helpful today – and that your next interaction is way less awkward.
It’s your time and you’re ready for the next step!
Did you miss last week’s post? Read it here: How to Justify a Big Price Increase