Dear Aunty B,
I am hoping for your support. I come from a family of very successful professionals who assume I will follow in their footprints. But I want to finish my commerce degree and start a business.My mum says that “no- one in our extended family has an entrepreneurial bone in their body” while my dad says “you won’t have any idea what you are doing because you have no experience”. Even my Gran told me the other day that it is better to get a job because later on I can take time off to look after my children.
How do I convince them that I am not like them and I want to give my business idea a go?
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Why on earth would you bother! Now we love our families. And who would miss Christmas lunch bon-bons, bad jokes and paper hats? But while some nice families actually help fund a relative’s start-up, many families won’t give you encouragement for your entrepreneurial venture, especially if they have never been successful running their own enterprise.
Take my mum. After all these years she still asks me in a lowered voice, how my “thing” is going. I am sure she still pretends to her friends that I am gainfully employed by a big name company even though I point out that I create jobs while they destroy jobs.
What you have to do now is prove them all wrong! First, you must build a support group. These are the people you go to for advice – not your family. Insulate yourself from their insecurity by keeping away from the subject of business at family functions. If they ask, tell them things are going well and change the subject.
Otherwise at every hurdle that you encounter, they will encourage you to quit.
And don’t think for a second that your family’s lack of entrepreneurial experience will prevent you from being a success. A recent study of successful US entrepreneurs showed 52% were the first in their immediate family to start a business.
Remember family is family and business is business. Some clever folk pull it off and mix the two but in your case, don’t try.
Your Aunty B