Why you shouldn't EXPECT your friends to support your business

Let me get straight to it:  I don’t expect my friends to become my unpaid marketing team or to sustain my business by purchasing every product or service I may offer.  I don’t expect them to share every business related post on Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn.  I don’t expect them to buy or endorse my products.  I don’t expect them to attend my events.  They don’t ever have to push my services onto others in their extended circles. 

I just don’t expect it.  And you shouldn’t either.

It’s my opinion that in relationships we place too many expectations on the people in our lives.  No one person will ever be able to fill all of our voids.  Not. A. One.  The sooner we accept that simple fact and understand that no one owes us anything the better we can navigate life, and business.  Placing undue stress on your friendships by assuming that your “friends” (because, really, don’t you start to refer to them as “friends” when they don’t provide you with the support you want?) don’t support you; are hating and jealous of you; don’t want to see you succeed ALL because they didn’t share your freaking Facebook post?  Could it simply be that your product or service doesn’t resonate with them so they don’t feel compelled to share it? 

Let me explain that a bit more.  In the last two and half years, I’ve owned two businesses.  The first was an online jewelry store that carried statement pieces.  About 90% of the women in my life wear jewelry and they all equally pride themselves on being able to score unique, limited quantity pieces.  My store was perfect for them.  Without my probing, they bought jewelry, wore it, asked for cards to distribute, recommended my store to nearly every woman they know, took selfies and posted them on Facebook and Instagram with direct links to the store.  And they did all of that because the product resonated with them, and they were eager to share. 

I’ve since closed the jewelry store and started Prose & Pens, which provides writing services and monthly workshops for small businesses and entrepreneurs.  And while I know they support my efforts, there is a heck of a lot less post sharing and card distributing happening among my friends.  I’m not mad at them about it though. Prose & Pens doesn’t resonate as much with them.  With the exception of one, who is a small business owner herself and has genuinely needed to utilize my services on a regular basis, my friends are not my target audience.

Understand that while your family and friends may be among the first sales you acquire in your business, they should not become your lone source of business.  Or your marketers, unless you pay them to do so.  Stop wreaking havoc on your friendships because you expect your friends to care about your business as much as you do.  When people support you and your business, be grateful, not expectant of more.  Nobody owes you anything. 

Say it with me:  Nobody owes me anything!

Repeat it until you feel it and understand it.  You’ll be better off.  Your friendships will be better off.  And your business will be better off once you identify your real audience (hint:  it probably ain’t your friends) and start tapping into the market that is waiting to be served by you. Finding those people is your responsibility.  That may mean you’ll have to step away from Facebook or other social media sites for a day or two and hit the streets (i.e. local networking groups, professional organizations, etc.) and actually meet people.  Stop holding your friends responsible for doing the work you should be doing. 

Blog submitted by Dwaynia Wilkerson, CEO of Prose and Pens. Visit her site www.proseandpens.com for more business advice and services.





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How To Be Successful In Business?

How to be Successful in Business?  

Be Mentally Strong.

We have to network. Attend conferences and workshops.

We have to put aside our egos and ask for referrals and favors.  

But, we also have to be mentally strong. Unfortunately though, that's one of the major keys to success that often go unexplained, ignored, and unmentioned.  

So, what does it mean to be mentally strong and how does it translate to personal success?  Here's how:

  1. Being mentally strong means blocking out self-doubt and recognizing self-sabotage.  In the age of social media where everybody is an instant success, or at the very least everybody is crafting their social media feeds to look as if they are an instant success, it's very easy to doubt yourself.  You're putting in the work.  You're making the contacts.  You're even landing clients who lead you to more clients.  But the clients and the money aren't flowing as quickly or as easily as you've been led to expect.  So you doubt yourself and your efforts.  And very often you consider quitting altogether.  Don’t quit.  I firmly believe that entrepreneurs with a certain passion, and dedication for providing a quality product or service, will eventually succeed.  If they don't give up. You may have to give yourself a daily pep talk.  Sometimes you may need it twice or three times a day.  You've got to visualize yourself reaching your personal finish line.  Mentally strong people understand that they have to believe in themselves and their ideas more than anybody else (yes, even more than your mommy believes in you).  

  2. It also means removing yourself from people and/or situations that breed negativity. Before I go further, I have to mention that this does not mean you have to surround yourself with yes men and women.  We all need people who will call us out on our wrong doings or pull us back before we fall too deeply down the rabbit hole.  But none of us need people around who constantly criticize our every effort without offering some advice on how we can do it differently or better.  And that's how you know the difference between those who want to help you succeed and are willing to show you some tough love to help you get there versus those who would rather see you fail because they are absent of any aspirations or dreams of their own.  We will call them "dream killers".  Dream killers hate to see your moving forward because it reminds them that they're standing still. You'll notice that when you score big, they never clap.  But, when you miss the shot (and everyone misses a shot along the way) they are front and center with a hearty dose of "I told you so!"  Run away from those people as quickly as possible.  It doesn't matter if they are your best friends, or your closest cousins.  Leave them. You're better off alone than being surrounded by people whose only goal is to see you fail.  Sometimes it's hard to create the separation, but the ability to do so is one of the defining characteristics of someone who is mentally strong.  

  3. It definitely means letting go of bad habits and forming new habits conducive to personal and professional growth. To be successful in business, you have to form and stick to a particular set of habits. This starts with identifying your personal areas of weakness and creating habits that force those weaknesses to the background.  For example, I'm an introvert.  For me that means it's very easy for me to stay home, in my head, and worry myself to death about how I'll get things done.  That type of behavior is just about guarantees certain death to any business.  To circumvent that particular bad habit, I commit myself to seeking and attending two-three networking events per week; identifying and connecting with at least one person per event; and then following up with that person via email to invite him or her to coffee.  Make a list of the poor habits that are holding you back and devise an active plan for obliterating them.  That's what mentally strong people do.  

  4. Another characteristic of the mentally strong?  They follow their gut.  It's ok to seek advice; we should all seek and benefit from the wise counsel of those we trust.  But ultimately, we are responsible for our own decision-making.  Being mentally strong means knowing what’s best for your and your business and unapologetically making the choices that best align with your goals. I often find myself more confused when I ask for direction from too many people.  Decisions made amidst confusion are rarely going to be the best bet.  So before you call on your caldron of collaboratives, think about what you really want and how you really feel.  Following your gut is the mark of a mentally strong person.

Take some time to think about which of these characteristics you already possess and which you may need to sharpen as you move forward in your business or business aspiration. And remember that old saying: Only the strong survive.  It’s applicable in life, and especially in business.  

Dwaynia is the owner of Prose and Pens which provides writing, editing, content creation, and blogging services for small businesses and entrepreneurs.  
Follow her on IG: @proseandpens or visit www.proseandpens,com




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