The prospect of becoming an entrepreneur is exciting and motivating to budding business professionals. As you plan to share your dream of entrepreneurship with family and friends, you need to be prepared to receive a wide variety of responses. This is especially the case if you are the only person in your family who has considered becoming an entrepreneur. Below are five common reactions to entrepreneurship that you can expect to receive from family members when you share your entrepreneurship dream with them.

1) Shock.

Only 14% of Americans are entrepreneurs. The other 86% of Americans often do not understand why a loved one would want to leave the security of a good job to strike out on their own. Family members who are shocked when you share your dreams might respond with a surprised expression and may say very little after you announce your news. Do not despair if you receive this reaction. Instead, you may wish to share some of the specific reasons that you decided to become an entrepreneur.

2) Worry.

When some people think of entrepreneurship, they immediately begin to think of the negative aspects of starting a business. This can be disconcerting and upsetting to budding entrepreneurs seeking the support of their loved ones. Instead of focusing on the many positive aspects of starting a business, worriers are concerned that their loved ones may experience one or more of the following:

  • A loss of stable income
  • Regular exposure to business risks
  • Stress generated by long work hours
  • Sleepless nights and little time for recreation
  • A lack of health insurance or benefits
  • Overwhelming financial responsibilities

3) Encouragement.

In most cases, people who pursue entrepreneurship will have at least one family member who will immediately vocalize support and encouragement. Sometimes this support may arrive in the form of financial backing while other forms of support may include guidance and suggestions. Supportive family members are often a breath of fresh air to individuals who are considering entrepreneurship.

4) Excitement.

Many family members will react enthusiastically when you share your dreams about entrepreneurship with them. They will sense your own enthusiasm and respond in a way that mirrors your behaviors and emotions. Moreover, family members may respond with excitement due to one of the following reasons:

  • They think you will become an overnight success
  • They are delighted that you will now be your own boss
  • They (often mistakenly!) think you will have more time to spend with them
  • They believe you will immediately begin earning lots of money
  • They envision a future of fame and fortune for you

5) Envy.

Unfortunately, not all family members will respond with enthusiasm or genuine concern when you share your dreams. Many people who have thought about starting their own business choose not to pursue entrepreneurship because they lack the courage or drive to take the plunge. These individuals sometimes regret their decision to abandon their own entrepreneurial dreams and may be envious of friends or family members who have the courage to strike out on their own to pursue their dreams. Reactions tinged with envy are typically counterproductive and can derail your pursuit of your dreams if you give them too much weight.

The Bottom Line

Pursuing your entrepreneurship dream requires courage, motivation, and strategic planning. Sometimes sharing your dreams with your loved ones requires just as much courage as the pursuit of entrepreneurship. Ideally, your family members will ultimately provide support and guidance as you move forward on the path to starting your own business. Initially, however, you need to be prepared for a variety of reactions as you share your dreams with your loved ones. By understanding the five common reactions above, you can prepare yourself to handle your family’s response when you share your dreams.

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