How to Follow Your Dreams When Your Family Doesn’t Support You

Jackie Lam
on February 15, 2017
Read in 3 min

Taking the plunge into entrepreneurship can be exhilarating… not to mention a little scary.

Whether you’re an aspiring entrepreneur or you’re scaling up a small business, you’re probably feeling a mix of emotions, like excitement and power— perhaps alongside fear, anxiety and doubt.

To add to that, you may have some concerned family members who aren’t comfortable with the idea.

You know that following your heart is the right thing to do, but you can’t help but wonder what to do when your own family doesn’t support your dreams.

You’re only human, after all!

That being said, you shouldn’t let critical thoughts and self-doubt (whether they originate from you or from others) hold you back from following your entrepreneurial dreams.

Here’s how to manage emotions and nagging feelings of self-doubt while dealing with nay-saying family members:

1. Everyone’s a Critic: Learn to Use Criticism To Your Advantage

When parents don’t support your dreams, turn it into a positive by making it a goal to prove them wrong.

Don’t harbor their doubts about what you’re doing as your own; instead, sublimate any negative feedback into energy to fuel your efforts.

If critical comments get excessive, you may even be dealing with toxic parents it would serve you well to communicate and set boundaries.

Worst case scenario, you may feel the need to take a step back and have a temporary break in contact with a particular family member.

Sometimes, a break is the best thing for a relationship.

2. Back It Up With a Business Plan

There’s little you can do or say to change your family, but this is one concrete exercise that will help one way or the other.

Show how serious you are and back up all your talk of opportunity with a solid business plan including:

  • An Executive Summary
  • Company Description
  • Market Validation
  • Business Model &
  • Marketing Plan

After all, you’ll need a business plan like this to seek investors or request a loan.

Plus, if unsupportive family members ask questions about your business, you’ll be ready to fire back with impressive answers.

RELATED:  A Complete List of Business Funding Lingo

3. Go Where You’re Celebrated 

Your family may be objecting to your startup dreams, but you can choose to focus instead on those who support you.

These are the people who understand your vision and are genuinely in your corner.

How to expand your support network:

Seek support from friends, fellow entrepreneurs and small business owners.

Expand your reach via conferences, networking events, and professional groups on LinkedIn and Facebook.

4. Start Out as a Side Business

If you’re hesitant to leap into intrepid waters right away, starting out with a side business is not a bad idea either.

Treat it as a full-time business and plan accordingly.

While this is certainly no easy feat, you’ll be better prepared when it’s time to make the transition to full-time.

By starting out as a side business, you’ll learn to manage feelings of insecurity that are associated with building a business, and your family will feel better knowing you still have time to pursue other work and education opportunities.

Another way to manage emotions in the startup phase is to map out checkpoints:

What kind of progress needs to be made (by when) to show that your business has legs?

Having this mapped out ahead of time will help you stay focused and prevent doubt from getting in your way.

5. Have Your Financial Ducks in a Row

Being financially prepared will help ease mounting feelings of anxiety.

Do you have a safety cushion available if your business fails?

Problems with your family may be stemming from their concerns about your financial stability–

After all, they probably don’t want to be responsible for you if you go broke!

Having business funds available when you’re preparing to follow your dreams of starting a business will help you feel more secure and confident. 

RELATED: 5 Genius Tactics to Fund Your Business

6. When Should You Quit Your Job?

It may be obvious: the side business you’ve been working on for years has grown so much that not putting in all your resources would be a serious mistake.

Some entrepreneurs knew it was time to quit when their phone was ringing all day long from receiving notifications for sales.

Others saw the earning potential and knew if they didn’t grab the opportunity now, they’d be missing out.

It’s generally recommended that you’re earning at least half of what you make from your day job before leaping into full-time entrepreneurship.

For some, getting laid off can be the perfect sign to follow your heart and go into business for yourself– though this can be a risky impulse.

RELATED: 5 Advertising Tools to Help Your Small Business Grow

All things considered, building a business is no easy feat:

It takes massive gusto, grit, and bravery to go after what you want.

Your family may protest, but only you can decide whether starting a business is right for you.

Jackie Lam LendGenius Staff

Jackie Lam is a personal finance writer and and blogs at Cheapsters, which helps freelancers and artists get creative with their money.

Her work has appeared in Investopedia, Business Insider, Huffington Post, and Acorns’ Grow Magazine.

When not writing about money she enjoys roller derby, volunteering, and writing fiction.

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