As a freelancer and entrepreneur, I can say with absolute certainty that launching a business is essentially an exercise in emotional growth. You will learn about all of your self-doubts, fears, and emotional blocks as you push yourself to new levels.
When you’re in this vulnerable place, it is absolutely imperative to surround yourself with a supportive tribe, and unfortunately, that may not include all of your friends or family members. Here are a few types to watch out for.
Launching a business is always a risk. Even if you’re putting up very little money or are starting a small side hustle, it’s a gamble. There are no guarantees, and this takes a certain level of faith. You need faith in yourself and faith in the process to get through the uncertainty.
As you start sharing what you’re working on, you may start noticing that you’re receiving some unsolicited advice from the “realists” in your life. These well-meaning friends are afraid of risk and truly want to keep you safe. They may question your business or even your ability to try something new. Launching a business is not 100% safe, so they’re always going to find fault with it.
The key with these friends is being very aware of your own emotions. Perhaps this friend will raise some helpful questions about issues that you need to address. However, if you notice yourself doubting your own abilities when you’re together, it may be time to take a temporary break or decide to not discuss your business right now.
When I started my writing business, it was during late nights and early mornings when I wasn’t at work or with our new baby. I wore every hat, and it was exhausting. I often found myself unable to move forward, because I was overwhelmed by the tiny details. I didn’t like the font on my website or I couldn’t get my Instagram feed looking the way I wanted. By choosing to focus on the little stuff, I held myself back from making real progress.
It’s important to be detail-oriented, but when the perfectionism keeps you from moving forward, it’s time to make a change. If you have a perfectionist friend, she may be give great feedback on your website or offerings, but remember that at some point, you have to decide to launch — whether or not it’s ‘just right.’
We all have that friend who tends to make everything about her. You love her, but you’re very aware that when you FaceTime her, you won’t be sharing much about your own life. Everything you share somehow reminds her of this funny story where she was incredibly charming and quick-witted.
The beginning phases of your business takes such focus. It’s a time of giving high levels of time and energy without seeing the payoff yet. It’s a time when you need to commit to yourself, and that may mean focusing on your own journey more than you’re used to. If you just don’t have the energy to politely listen to your friend’s same stories, that’s okay. Take a break or share with her that you’re going through an intense time and just need someone to listen. She may surprise you!
The Debbie Downer
You know that friend who is always focused on the negative? If she walks into a coffee shop and is handed a free drink, she’ll find something wrong with it. It won’t be the right flavor or temperature. She’ll probably insist that she’s just unlucky and nothing goes right for her.
Even if you’ve always had a positive outlook, putting yourself out there with a new business is going to test you. You will have many moments of self-doubt, and if you have a friend telling you that it’s probably not going to work out, that may be too much for you. This is a friend who may just need to wait until you have some small wins under your belt. That way you’ll have the confidence to withstand any doubts or digs.
The Childhood Friend
If you’re lucky enough to have friends from your childhood, you know what a gift they are. Being able to watch each other go from school to first jobs to owning homes, getting married, excelling at work, and having babies is rare. However, sometimes when you’re ready to make a big change, it can scare your childhood friends.
Maybe you were always the shy one in school, and now you’re ready to step into your greatness and do live videos everyday. Having a friend who constantly reminds you how quiet you were in middle school is not going to help you get over the initial fear of doing something new.
Change is hard and messy. If your friend isn’t ready for it, she may try to hold you back without even realizing what she is doing. Share with her that you’re ready to make a change and would love her support. If she’s not ready to support you stepping into this new phase, don’t worry. She’ll get there — but for now, it’s your time to go bigger.
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