Being an entrepreneur is not always easy. It’s risky, challenging, unconventional, and sometimes it’s downright scary. Let’s be honest, people are not always SUPER comfortable with their friends and family members opting to give up a stable career to become self employed.

So many different personality types can become entrepreneurs. I remember hearing many times as I attempted to grow my career in the 9-5 world that I was destined for a “support role” and that my personality was best suited for an administrative position.

I was the opposite of a dominant, confident, assertive leader like so many corporate giants we see dominating the entrepreneurial space.

I want to be brutally honest here. Of course we all feel our parents, siblings, spouses and best friends are incredibly supportive. It seems taboo to imply they aren’t. But your dream is yours alone! It’s difficult for someone else to completely understand all the decisions you make and support everything you do to reach your goals. there is bound to be criticism and questions along the way and sometimes that can feel a little lonely.

I’ve needed support on my journey both financially and emotionally. I believed so strongly in my dream that I’ve gone into debt to support it. I TOTALLY understand how some people can think I’m crazy! Especially the people that love and support me. I had a really important conversation with one of my family members over lunch that was the inspiration for this post.

I remember we sat at a restaurant and she said “my friend’s daughter is a Paralegal. She has great benefits and works in a smaller office where they just love her”.

My dream before becoming an entrepreneur was to go to Law school and become a Lawyer.  Once upon a time, this would have been my dream job! A comfortable office with benefits, job security, and the conventional 9am-5pm hours. My family member continued the conversation by actually offering to pay for my college degree at law school which was an attempt to push me into a real career and kick this entrepreneurial thing I had been doing.  I said to her “that sounds great, but I want MORE”.

For the entrepreneurs out there, you will understand what I meant by that comment. I don’t mean I want more material things and more money. I mean I want more of what I value: autonomy, creation, innovation and freedom. I want to build something amazing.

Then she said to me, “well, I’m just saying, you have to start somewhere!”.

I found this comment really confusing because, as far as I’m concerned, I HAVE started! In fact, I’m well on my way becoming the successful entrepreneur I want to be.

Suddenly, it occurred to me: she hasn’t seen everything I’ve done to grow my business both online and in real estate investment.

She doesn’t know about all the nights I didn’t sleep or the fears I had or the sacrifices I have made. All she saw is that I don’t have a steady paycheque coming in, I don’t have an official job title, and I don’t have a career ladder to climb, which are all things she has been very successful with her entire life.

This conversation was not isolated. I continually have conversations with friends, family or even strangers who don’t believe in my dream! They either tell me I’m crazy or try and convince me to get a “real job”.

From these conversations, I learned some really important lessons. As Oprah used to always say, I had some crucial “A-HA” moments that help me through the rough times.

1. Not everyone needs to understand you

Some people will just not get it. Just like you may not understand another person’s journey, they may not understand yours.

And that’s OK.

Don’t ever let someone else’s confusion make you question your own confidence. Whether you’re an entrepreneur or the opposite- you’re someone who loves your office job being condemned by a “self starter”, realize that how you feel is OK and only YOU can decide your path.

Be confident in what you’re doing and remember if you can’t seem to stay confident in yourself, maybe it’s time to re-evaluate how you’re feeling. There is nothing wrong with trial-and-error when it comes to self discovery!

2. Embrace the difference in values

I realized in my conversation over lunch that my family member wanted to see me in a secure, stable job where I would be taken care of it. She values security very highly. But what she didn’t understand is that I value autonomy more.

This isn’t true of everybody, but I have consistently sacrificed my stability to gain control and autonomy over my life (and I would do it again!). These differences in values are what makes us unique! There is no right or wrong way to be, it’s just important to remember that everyone is different and not everyone sees things through the same filter as you.

3. Learn to take criticism as challenge then learn to have fun with that challenge!

This was SUPER hard for me. Like many people, I struggle with criticism and it can erode my confidence pretty easily. That is, until I found my passion. I started to view criticism as a healthy challenge- a way I can check in with myself and make sure I’m on the right path.

You don’t have to LOVE it when someone criticizes what you’re doing or tries to point out flaws in your plan, but you should tune into that and really consider what people are telling you.

Also, pay attention to how you feel when someone tries to rattle your dreams.

Do you feel deflated? Do you lose confidence? Or do you feel stronger in your resolve and proud to talk about your path? Learn to look at criticism as a way to teach someone about your journey and boost your own confidence.

Nothing made me feel more confident as an entrepreneur than going before a “firing squad” and coming out unscathed. I promise, the more you start to welcome criticism into your life and your business, the clearer your path will become!

4. Check in with yourself regularly

If you want to learn more about yourself, start a business. Wow, the stress, fear, and confusion will have you quickly learning your limitations and coping skills. It’s HARD to feel like a newbie all the time.

Everyone wants to feel the confidence that comes from mastering something, but it’s impossible to feel that all the time. You always have to start somewhere; whether it’s at a 9-5 job or a new internet based business.

Stay in tune with how you’re feeling. Are you overwhelmed? Confident? Confused? Motivated? Burning out? There is no better compass for your journey. If you’re feeling unsure about your path, you will be shaken much more easily by someone questioning your dream. So don’t be afraid to check in and change direction if you need to.

5. Define success for YOU

We admire so many mega-successful entrepreneurs and business owners that sometimes it can feel overwhelming. You don’t have to be a Richard Branson or Mark Zuckerberg to be successful.

There are so many incredible internet marketers, bloggers, and small business owners who don’t make millions of dollars but are still incredibly successful. What is success to you? Maybe success is being happy? Maybe it’s the idea of feeling creative and free? Or maybe success is simply providing a good life for your family.

Only you know your own definition of success so don’t let other peoples’ perceptions make you feel like you’re not enough!

How do you deal with someone not believing in your dream? Leave your comments below!

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