Admit it…we probably all have that person in our lives. You know the one who constantly asks when you’re going to “Get a Job” (ummmmm I have a job?) or the one who calls or drops by in the middle of the day and can’t understand that you’re actually working and too busy for a chat? Have you got that gal pal, parent, buddy, sibling, hubby or kid who just doesn’t ‘get’ your Virtual Assistance Business? When those closest to us aren’t supportive of our career choice, it can feel like they have no faith in our abilities or that they don’t-give-a-crap about our big dreams!
So what’s a Brainy Gal to do when it comes to getting friends and family on board with your biz?
- First – cut them some slack. Sometimes those who are closest to us who have the hardest time accepting what we do for good reason: They love us. A Virtual Assistant is probably something they’ve never even heard of. Perhaps they are just worried that you’ll never have a steady income, benefits or job security? I’m sure there some of my relatives think I’ve gone cray-cray but the truth is: They’re probably a little bit right! You have to be somewhat wack-a-doo and a little bit of a risk-taker to forge your own path as an entrepreneur! So take pride in your rarity but forgive your family for worrying about you. It may help ease their fears if you can share your business plan, explain your goals and re-assure them that you have the finances to ‘not go hungry’ while you’re building your biz.
- Recognize that sometimes it’s envy. Occassionally when friends or relatives are ‘hating on your business’, it’s out of jealousy. Most of the world is utterly terrified to quit their ‘jobs’. But not you. You are a daringly unique trail-blazer raking in the dough from home – you’re living the life that everyone else wishes for! So be kind to those acquaintances who may be feeling green with envy. It’s totally cool to be proud of your accomplishments – but always avoid sounding braggy. And when Jealous Judy pops by it’s super important not to get defensive or let her remarks discourage you.
- Ask them for help and opinions. It could be that your friends and family are afraid of losing you. Are you spending all your time working alone? Your gang may not understand online marketing, technology or social media and probably don’t have a clue how you could ever make money using them – but they are often more than willing to help you out in other ways. Ask them to share their opinions on your branding choices, or help you brainstorm ideas. The more your peeps feel involved in your life and business, the more supportive they will be.
- Share your success. Nothing will make your friends and family happier than showing them you are having success in your business. Next time you sign a new client or take a BIG step in building your business, why not invite them to celebrate with you over dinner? Seeing your small successes will ease help to ease their fears – and begin to get them as excited about your biz as you are.
Choosing to work for yourself, as a Virtual Assistant, can be an exciting, precarious and sometimes bumpy road. And by choosing that path you are, in many ways, taking your friends and family right along with you. Take time to listen to them. Share your ginormous vision and carefully thought-out plans with them. Celebrate with them. You may find that those same friends and family who “just don’t get it” will quickly become your biggest cheerleaders.