Do you have family who are unsupportive of your business?
“When will you get a real job?”
“How's your hobby coming along?”
They don't understand it's your passion to make art.
They're not aware that there's a growing demand for handmade products in the market.
They don't have faith in you and they don't believe it's a viable and sustainable, long-term career path.
You may be fortunate to have family who've had exposure to owning their own business and completely support your every step. Entrepreneurship is the best thing ever.
But for some of us, our family has been earning college degrees, scoring corporate jobs and making steady monthly pay checks with benefits.
They've never experienced working for themselves.
Their upbringing and lifestyle makes it hard for them to understand why you'd ever choose to become a “starving artist”.
Here's what happened to me.
I spent 19 years in Malaysia, a third world country where the arts are oppressed and every kid was good at math and science.
My parents, from the 50's, never got a college education but lived a hard life to get where they are today.
They didn't want me to follow suit and lead a hard life, so they encouraged me to pursue a college degree that had high employment prospects.
So like the doting Asian daughter that I am, I got a degree in Actuarial Science (say what?)
I graduated with flying colors. But shortly after, I had to make a decision that would change my life.
My family expected me to get a “real” job working for an insurance company like Travelers or United Health.
They expected that I would complete all 10 professional exams required in my field of study.
But what did I want?
I wanted to work on my business making jewelry.
I struggled to come to a decision.
I struggled to tell my family and then boyfriend (now husband) who wouldn't stop harassing me with “did you get a job yet?”
I love my parents to death and am forever grateful to everything they've done.
I cried so much and I felt so guilty.
Eventually when I gained composure, here's what I did.
I crafted a carefully worded email proposal.
I knew that they were concerned that I would hit rock bottom with my plan, crash and burn.
So I addressed this objection head on with a caveat in my proposal: if I don't make a full time living by my 3rd year in business, I'll get a real job.
This seemed to make it easier for them to swallow.
Telling them was the hardest thing, but at least they acknowledged my decision.
It didn't get better right away.
There were constant reminders from them; implied comments of “you'll never make it”.
“I still don't get why you're doing this, you won't make as much money and I think you should still get a real job.”
A lot of it was painful and sometimes I wondered why they didn't have faith in me even if they loved me.
Perspective helped me
Sometimes it helps to put yourself in their shoes and empathize.
My family loved and cared about me and my future.
They didn't want to see me walking down the wrong road.
They only wanted what's best for me, and they're caring for me in the best way they know how.
How I broke the mold
It was Christmas time and in my first fourth quarter in business, I made more than twice the revenue I did for the rest of the year.
I didn't keep silent about my accomplishments.
I would tell my family about my milestones and keep them updated with my progress.
Slowly, in time, they started seeing the big picture I had always seen.
They started to believe in me.
How did I become successful without any support from my family?
As human beings, we crave and desire approval and acceptance.
The story I've just told might sound familiar.
It's unfortunate and it's sad.
But with a small change in your mindset, you can turn things around for yourself.
You can't hide from their disapproval unless you stopped speaking to them.
You can't make it go away.
But you believe in yourself and that's all that counts.
You know what kind of life you want to live.
You know what you want to be doing with your time.
Instead of letting unsupportive friends and family get you down, you can prove them wrong.
Allow the disapproval to become your motivation for achieving everything you want.
At the end of the day, you get to tell them a big, fat “I told you so!”
And it will feel mighty good.
It's going to be okay
I love my family to death and they are truly, very good people.
If you're like me in that way, just understand that their disapproval is just them trying to protect you.
Sometimes parents do hurtful things even if they believe it will help you. That's the curse of any parent.
If you're going through something similar, you'll find your way.
This was my way of coping with the lemons life threw at me, and it might be different for you.