Starting a Business? How to Deal with Unsupportive Family and Friends

Entrepreneurs share how to deal when family and friends don't support your choice to become an entrepreneur.

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Well meaning people say the craziest things to entrepreneurs.

It’s hard enough when you face business obstacles, yet it’s even harder when friends and family are unsupportive of your entrepreneurship goals. Eleven entrepreneurs share how to deal when family and friends don’t support your choice to become an entrepreneur.

1. Follow your dreams.

“Do it anyway.  Do what makes you happy and if being an entrepreneur makes you happy live your life.”

– Derrick M. Guest, Co-Founder and CEO of Griot’s Roll Film Production & Services, Inc: @griotsroll

2. Tell them what you need.

“As a business owner and psychologist, this is an ongoing issue I encounter.  My primary tip is for entrepreneurs to tell people what they need.  Family and friends aren’t mind readers. If they don’t own a business, then they really don’t get it. It is important to tell them how to support you, because that support is crucial to success.”

– Laura Umfer, Owner and Psychologist of Laura Umfer, Psy.D., LLC: @lauraumfer

3. Don’t give up on your business.

“Starting a business is hard work, and it can be tough when your family does not support your passion, but you shouldn’t give up. Try to keep your business as separate from your family life as possible. Keep working towards your goals and hopefully they will see it was all worthwhile.”

– Tom Cumpsty, Managing Director of Sensible Internet: @cumpsty

4. Ride above opposition and use it to your advantage

“Among the qualities of successful entrepreneurs is the ability to rise above any form of opposition or negativity to achieve success with their dreams. It’s not the the time to give up. [Opposition] should become a catalyst and inspire you to strive to make it and become successful … because a successful business can be [indisputable] evidence.”

– Victor Kwegyir, Founder and CEO of Vike Invest: @vikek

5. Stop looking to your family for approval.

“This alone establishes you as an adult, and not that same kid or awkward teen they’ve been used to. If their support is really important to you, ask them to just accept what you are doing and cheer you on even if they don’t totally agree. That’s what families are for. Next, roll up your sleeves and get busy. Nothing rallies support like a little bit of success. You want respect? Go out and get it!”

– Hunter Phoenix, Lifestyle Expert and Small Business Mentor of Hunter Phoenix Coaching: @Hunter_Phoenix

6. Establish clear boundaries with family and friends.

“Understand that friends and family may love you, but they don’t always get it or have the same commitment to your goal as you do. Make sure that you have a clear plan and understand your purpose … Remember that their reasoning is based on their truth and that does not necessarily have to be your truth. Stay focused on [following] through with your plan, but set aside time that you can be with friends and family. When you are with them, set clear boundaries of acceptable communication and make it clear that discouragement about your pursuit is not acceptable. You may not be able to make them support you, but you will not allow them to deter or discourage you.”

– Judi Cineas, Therapist of Living the Dream, Inc.: @DrJudiC

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