Being an entrepreneur is more than a battle against our own selves, it can often also be a battle with others in our lives as well. As a person with a wild or innovative startup idea, you can be sure that there will be some in your circles that are skeptical, if not outright rude or discouraging.
One of the first things you will have to learn as an entrepreneur is that no one else’s opinions matter. Just ignore the naysayers and keep doing what you’re doing.
In the face of the questions and criticisms you’re bound to hear every day from well-meaning friends, family, and co-workers, there are a few questions that are going to crop up again and again. It’s best to have a few responses at the ready so that you can be assertive and confident in your replies. Use their discouraging or belittling questions to fuel the fire of your startup enterprise.
Here are a few questions and statements that entrepreneurs hear every day and some ideas of how to respond in kindness and reframe your perspective to combat the comments.
Oh how’s that little project going?
Nothing is more belittling than a statement like this.
In only six words a catty friend, family member, or co-worker can undermine a heap of confidence by sneering at the time and effort that you’re throwing into your startup.
If you’re like most entrepreneurs, your project takes up most of your time. If you’re fully invested it takes up all of your regular work hours and your spare time! It’s not a “little” project at all – it’s become your passion and life.
The best way to respond this this kind of snide comment is to remind them that it is not just a side project or hobby, it’s a serious startup business that you are working hard at. Let them know it’s going well and share how hard you’ve been working at it.
You’re so lucky you can work in your pajamas.
While we do like to be comfy while we work from home, the life of an entrepreneur is far from easy. Especially for parents who aim to multitask throughout the day and take care of household chores or childcare in addition to running a blooming business.
The most efficient and dedicated entrepreneurs stick to a regimented system of work and many still get dressed to impress even when they work from home. A psychological phenomenon known as “enclothed cognition” actually shows that we perform tasks better when we’re dressed in clothes that we feel are synonymous with power, intelligence, or prestige – like a dress suit or lab coat.
Getting dressed in the morning as part of a daily routine actually helps the most successful entrepreneurs work easier and smarter.
You’re so lucky, you can work whenever you want.
While it’s true that entrepreneurs set their own hours, what most people don’t see or understand are the countless late nights, early mornings, and weekends dedicated to the hustle. Entrepreneurs actually spend an average of around 52 hours a week on their startups – that’s 63 percent more time at work than the average nine to fiver.
How do you plan to make money with that?
This is another snide remark that almost defies being worthy of a sincere and honest response.
Mostly when people say this they are incredulous, others are curious.
If you sense that the person is genuine, you may want to go into some of the detail. Otherwise a simple shrug and wink and a furtive “it’s a proprietary secret” may shut them down.
It’s already been done.
This is a tricky one because there may be similar ideas that are worthy in their own right that already have prototypes out there, or even other successful companies.
If you sense that the naysayer is just trying to cut down your idea, there is no reason to bother explaining your unique selling point or value proposition that you’re offering your potential clients and customers.
If you’ve done your competitor research, you’ll already know who you’re up against. If the questioner is sincerely pointing out what they think is a flaw in your plan, this is a great time to jump in and let them know that you’ve done your homework. Explain what you see as your competitions faults or drawbacks and where your product is going to improve on other business models.
To counteract this cutting statement you’ll want to be able to come back with a response that shows you know your strengths of your new business. Show them why your online women’s clothing boutique is better than the competition, or explain what your app idea has that other apps don’t. Always be ready to share your strengths, this will help you refine your pitch and clarify your business vision.
Keeping your head up in the face of Negative Nancys
Above all, remember your reasons behind your startup enterprise. Keep your passion alive by reminding yourself why you’re sacrificing your time and energy to do what you’re doing. We all have a drive for crafting our new products and services, and it’s important to focus on the deeper why then get bogged down in the details of the daily struggle.
With some self-love and patience you’ll be sure to keep working towards your start up that everyone was advising against – not to prove them wrong, but to prove yourself right.