Most people make their income by working at a job with a boss and a set hourly schedule. (I’m even one of them!)
Assuming that the majority of your friends and family are the same way, they may not identify with you when you want to talk about running your business. Not only that, but you may feel like they are not giving you the support that you thought they were going to when you first started out.
Here you are, making awesome handmade products, and those close to you aren’t even bothering to like your Facebook page, let alone tell other people about your stuff. What the heck, don’t they realize that you can use all of the help you can get?
The short answer is no, they don’t. I’m here to tell you that it’s not YOU, it’s them. Really.
Most people simply don’t understand the emotional investment that goes into selling creativity, or the amount of work it takes to actually try to make a decent living at it. Your friend Carol is totally there with you when you complain about your boss getting on your case for being 2 minutes late, but she’s only pretending to listen when you start to gripe about Etsy’s latest stance on collectives. You shouldn’t really blame her for it either, there is no common ground for her to reference.
When your closest relationships don’t seem to understand what you are going through, or don’t bother to offer you the help you thought they would, you may start to feel like you are completely on your own. That release you were once able to exercise when griping about the day’s stress at the office is no longer available to you when you want it for your business. Your friends and family aren’t lining up to help you with your craft fair booths or telling everyone they know about what great Christmas gifts your items would make. Be warned: probably the first you will hear any of them say is “oh, you can make money doing that? I should do that too!” and that’s it.
To prevent the loneliness that can stem from feeling like no else understands what you are going through, it’s important to establish relationships with other business owners going through the same thing. Look for some groups, forums, and teams that relate to your niche. Find some crafty blogs to follow. Join a local artisan club or entrepreneur group. Reach out and share your story with those who are more able to resonate with where you are coming from.
I can tell you right now that I am more likely to have someone I’ve met online recommend my products than one of the friends I’ve known since middle school. While it certainly doesn’t hurt for us to ask our friends and family to promote for us, we shouldn’t feel disappointed when they don’t comprehend how much we rely on that word-of-mouth marketing. If they don’t know the first thing about trying to run their own business, they won’t understand us the way our new cyber friends do. That’s okay, because there is a world of online support out there to make up for it.