In starting a business, entrepreneurs often find themselves having to rely on their families -- for everything from start-up capital to moral support. And while parents and loved ones often do this gladly, it can be an undeniably tough call. After all, most businesses fail -- and giving a young son or daughter cash to start up a business can require a whole different level of trust than simply shelling out for a pair of Air Jordans.
When my brother Matthew and I purchased a bar and pool hall in Vancouver at just 20 and 19 years old respectively, not getting our mom's approval wouldn't have stopped us, but having it sure made everything easier. Mom pitched in and helped. She would often stop at our local warehouse store to pick up supplies for our place. Though she might have preferred us to spend our time studying to tending bar, she looked at the positives: It was better for us to run a bar than to waste time hanging around in one. I think she knew we'd be too busy to get into too much trouble.
While that kind of trust is not easily won among anyone's parents, alleviating my mother's worries at the outset proved to be beyond helpful for us -- and it may just help your start-up chances too. Here are six ways that my brother and I helped make our careers as young entrepreneurs more palatable to our mom:
- We assured her that we were following our passion. Mom learned early on that this was the direction for both of us. We had some failures but more successes. As we got older she ended up being the one to encourage our entrepreneurial endeavors.
- We maintained consistency toward achieving our goals. Mom could see that we planned our enterprises and stayed focused on what we needed to do to succeed. That sense of commitment built her confidence in our capabilities.
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- We showed enthusiasm in the face of adversity. Whether we succeeded or failed, we were ready to charge ahead. We saw setbacks as temporary, and, no matter what, we had fun.
- We stayed positive. When you work for yourself, you're only as good as your reputation. Matthew and I both took pride in the people side of the business. Whether we were dealing with suppliers or customers, we wanted everyone to be glad to be involved with us and our businesses.
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- We valued teamwork. We both quickly learned each others' skill sets and we stuck to what we each did best. Matthew and I know how lucky we are that we're both brothers and great partners.
- We were successful. After selling our first business after just one year for a handsome profit, it all became much clearer and, of course, more palatable. There's no denying that it's a lot easier to convince a parent that you're headed in the right direction when you start succeeding. Yes, we were lucky as young entrepreneurs, but we also had years of experience working together on smaller enterprises as kids, and we did our homework before buying that business.
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This mother's day we want to let our mom know how much we appreciate everything she did for us, as her sons, as well as budding entrepreneurs. We wouldn't be where we are today without her. Thanks mom!