Fresh Ideas: 10 Ways to Win Over an Unsupportive Family as a Young Entrepreneur
It's no secret that entrepreneurs often beget entrepreneurial children, but when entrepreneurs spring from employees, strife often develops.
Entrepreneurs understand how the business of working for yourself works -- and they've seen first-hand its benefits. But for people who've grown up living off a paycheck, entrepreneurship can often seem too risky to support.
In part, they're right: You put your own money in, borrow money from others and work like crazy -- all for the chance that you will be successful enough to make a living and pay your own paycheck. And since you're young, maybe they think you're going through another one of your phases -- like taking up the guitar or horseback riding.
No matter their reasons, the point is your loved ones simply may not understand what you're trying to do. So it's up to you to help them see things your way. Here are 10 ways to turn their apprehension into enthusiasm for your business idea:
1. Explain your plan.
They may need more than your elevator pitch to really understand that you know your stuff. That means you need to be even more prepared than the average founder. Offer budgets, strategic goals, potential customers, marketing plans and any other plans you've developed that will show that you've thought your business idea through.
2. Show them the research.
You didn't come up with this idea in a vacuum. Show them articles, statistics, demographics and market information which support the need for your business or back up your idea.
3. Provide examples.
They've probably seen stories of the failures, so show them comparable stories of successes. Talk about people they may know rather than big names like Steve Jobs. If possible, choose businesses that have similarities to yours so they can see the relationship.
4. Make connections.
Some people don't see small-business owners as entrepreneurs, but in reality they take similar risks, work long hours to build their businesses, commit savings and borrow to make their work a success. Your family may relate better to your online company, for instance, if you can compare it to Jack's Vacuum repair shop down the road.
5. Get them involved.
If you walk through your ideas and ask for advice, they may find it more and more interesting to explore the possibilities. From the style of a logo to finding an ideal target market for your product, you may be surprised at their suggestions.
6. Demonstrate a Plan B.
Set their minds at ease by having a back-up plan. Doing some contingency planning will not only reduce your risk, it shows that you're aware of the possibility of failure.
7. Accounting awareness.
You may not want to share your entire budget with your family. But laying out some of your money plans -- including ways to minimize investment until returns start to show up -- will reduce their concern that you're mortgaging your life for a dream. You may be doing that, but you can at least demonstrate that the money will be spent carefully and responsibly.
8. Show a small success.
An early success -- for instance, landing a first client or making even a small sale -- will go a long way toward assuaging your family's fears. Look for the low-hanging fruit in your business and go after it.
9. Bring in support.
Is Uncle Jimmy an entrepreneur? Does your father's best friend have his own business? Ask them to help discuss this with the rest of your family. That way you're not the only advocate for your plans.
10. Let it go.
If your family doesn't understand what you're doing and isn't sure it's a good idea, then let them feel that way. You have to make your own decisions. Listen to their advice, love them and then do what works for you. Your money, your career, your decision.
Adam Toren is an Award Winning Author, Serial Entrepreneur and Investor. He Co-Founded YoungEntrepreneur.com along with his brother Matthew. Adam is co-author of the newly released book: Small Business, Big Vision: "Lessons on How to Dominate Your Market from Self-Made Entrepreneurs Who Did it Right" and also co-author of Kidpreneurs.