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.