Tips for dealing with family & friends who are less than thrilled about your new home business.
Provide Your Research to Them
Many times your family just cares about you so much that they simply want to protect you. They don’t understand exactly how what you are doing works. If you are in direct sales or network marketing, most likely they have heard about the MLM’s and Ponzi schemes and scams and are worried you are going to get caught up in something like that. But, if you show them the research that you’ve done, they may quickly realize that you’ve done your homework, and that you’re not going to get scammed. A few positive things you can share include: how low the investment is to get started & how easy it would be to leave if you decided it wasn’t for you, how long the company has been in business, information from your company’s website about their business growth, earnings, ethics and mission and even the high quality products you’ll be marketing. (Sidenote, MLM is NOT THE SAME as direct sales or network marketing. The business model and structures are very different. I don’t personally promote or encourage joining a MLM.)
If your home business is something else like being a virtual assistant, freelancer, blogger, graphic designer, coach, trainer, course creator, online marketer, etc… Take some time to explain what you are doing, how you are making an income, show them a business plan, your weekly work schedule, share some client testimonials with them. Show them your website, the products or services you are selling so that they can see that this is a legitimate business and not some crazy scheme.
I find this is helpful especially for anyone in your family who may not be very tech savvy or understand the internet and online marketing.
Give Examples of Others Doing It Successfully
More than likely, at this point you have a circle of influence that includes work-at-home success stories. Let your family & friends in on the fact by talking about how so-and-so is making x dollars and all from working from home. Explain what they do, and show them the possibilities and potential. This is also where it’s helpful to attend team meetings and webinars or in person networking events or conferences and training events so your family sees that there are other people out there building a successful business doing this through your pictures and real life, in person activities too.
Write Out a Business Plan
Banks want business plans to ensure that you’ve looked at all aspects of the business you plan to run. They want to see the numbers, and how you plan to make more money in the short term and the long term. Your family will feel better seeing these numbers and a work schedule, too. It will show them that you are serious about your business, that it’s more than just a hobby. Having a plan and schedule to work your business and reach your goals is going to be essential for your success, regardless of whether your family & friends are supportive of you. (Direct sellers, be sure to check out my Direct Sales Success System Planner + Toolkit to help you with scheduling, working smarter & implementing important systems for success)
Give it some time for everyone to adjust
Don’t expect everyone to be on board from day one. The idea takes time to sink in for some people. Mostly out of concern for you, but sometimes also from fear. People fear what they don’t understand and not everyone is entrepreneurial or likes taking what they see as risks. Even though telecommuting & working online has been around a while, it’s still different enough, especially people who may be a generation behind you that they don’t understand it.
Show them the Money
Sometimes it will take them seeing you actually bringing an income in and earning prizes and being recognized for your efforts before they realize it’s an actual business. People think differently about many things when they see the cash. If you have a spouse or family like that, you can work around their schedules doing something to earn money and then show them by paying for something fun, like a family vacation. I don’t think my Dad really came on board until I earned my free convertible (2 1/2 years in) and he saw me driving it. 🙂
As I mentioned earlier, sometimes it’s not really even about the money or amount of money. Some people simply won’t like that you are doing something so different, something they don’t understand, can’t give you input on or be a part of. I could be making billions of dollars a year and there are some of my extended family who still would think I would be better off in a traditional job where I went in from 8-5 and came home and had a “normal” rest of my life.
Explain to your Family about “Work” Time
If you have children, you’re going to have to talk to your kids a lot about work time. You might even have to with your spouse. It’s going to be very difficult to be productive working n chaos and constant interruption. You need a place you can work, and that your family sees you working in and knows it’s work time for you when you are there. You can use a sign on the door, timers, and other incentives to get everyone on board and understanding. As for family that live outside your home, don’t answer the phone or door when you’re working or if they do call let them know you have a project to finish and will call them back in 1 hour or 2 hours. Set the boundaries and treat it like a business and they will also see that it is a business too.
Make Your Family into Partners
As they start to get on board with the idea of your working from home and your new business, make them part of your business. You can hire family members and spouses on a contracting basis and pay them, and deduct if from your business taxes. Plus, they will start making money too and that will make them really get on board. Children can file, spouses can sometimes do what you’re doing or offer technical help.
Involve your family and kids as much as you can. There are lots of office tasks they can help with so they feel part of the business and you can spend quality time with them. My mom still helps me at least 1 day a week or every other week with office tasks and things around the house. It’s fun to spend time with her and she enjoys making a little extra spending money for herself by helping me too.
Make sure to set aside family time and have a work schedule so you don’t sacrifice or let your business cut into your family time too. This will help your spouse and kids also be more on board in supporting your business.
Choose Your Friends Wisely
While you may have to work harder to get your family on board, supportive & understanding because they are family, friendships can be a different matter. Remind your friends that you are simply looking for support and to share the exciting things going on in your life, that you are not asking them to spend money or buy things they don’t need. If they aren’t interested in buying that’s fine, but you would still love their support.
It can be helpful for you to let your friends know you are not just trying to get them buy something from you. Their support doesn’t have to include them making a purchase if they aren’t interested. They can simply be encouraging, kind and celebrate your success with you.
Also be sure you are not being spammy on your social media or in person and don’t use any tricky marketing with them. Be upfront, honest and authentic & respectful. Read this article on how to keep your friendships strong and market your business the right way to learn how to best share your business with your friends.
When I transitioned to a full-time career in direct sales, I lost several “friends” and very few of my “friends before direct sales” have been supportive of my business, bought from me or even referred anyone else to me in nearly 10 years I was in direct sales. I realized that they did not have the same desires to improve their mindset, change their struggling lifestyle or make a difference like I was working to achieve.
It can be the same no matter what type of business you are in that is home or online based and non-traditional. Even as a coach / mentor now, I have very few non-self-employed friends who get what I do and why I do it. I had to bless and release a lot of people, but that just gave me room to allow more people into my life who were supportive and had similar goals as I did.
If you have friends who just refuse to be supportive, express frustration on Facebook when you post about your business or even make fun of what you do, I encourage you to not let it get to you. Remember they either don’t understand, are concerned for you or are jealous that you are doing something positive for yourself & your family! You need to surround yourself with people who love you, respect you, uplift, empower & encourage you. You will find an immense amount of support from your new direct sales team, upline, company & online communities.
Keep the Lines of Communication Open
The most important aspect of talking to your family & friends about working from home is to keep the lines of communication open at all times. You want to be honest with them, let them know how they can best support you, why this is important to you and what you are trying to achieve. You’ll be surprised at how much your family is on your side with the goal of your working from home & bringing in an extra income if you can continue to communicate and work through their concerns and your goals together.
Family & friends can sometimes be a hard sell, but it’s not because they don’t love you. It’s because they do love you. Also, sometimes it’s just because they’re ignorant of what working at home means or how a direct sales or blogging or coaching or any type of online business works. It took my family a while but now they are so amazingly supportive. When I was doing direct sales, they would all chip in and help me prepare for events, give out my business cards to all their friends. Now that I’m no longer in direct sales, they still express support and are excited for me when I hit new goals. My mom helps me still a few times each month with office work.
Most importantly, don’t give up on your dreams and goals just because there is some initial resistance from family or friends OR if they continue to come off as not being supportive of your online business. Keep showing them how important your business is to you, treat it like a business, include them and I am sure they will come around, not only support you but help you grow your business too! If they don’t then you may need to set up some boundaries and not allow them to have as much say or influence in your life. It’s your life and your business after all and if they want to be miserable about it, it doesn’t mean you have to quit doing what makes you happy.
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