Gaining Support While You’re Struggling Is Hard Work!
One of our followers reached out to our team in search of advice on how to gain support as an entrepreneur who’s just starting out. The question in itself made me think deeply so I felt it deserved an article as a response. The question he asked was as follows:
“How do you get your network to support your entrepreneurial endeavor? Many people want to support (show love) when you make it, but not while you’re struggling. How do successful people get support from the beginning?” –Wandy Peguero
Believe it or not, the fact of the matter is that strangers will support you more than the people you know. Unfortunately, the main reason is because some people have a tough time accepting that they come from the same place as you, and they still haven’t made any progress. Therefore, instead of supporting you, they will simply observe and criticize your every move. They will wait until you fail to condemn you, but ask for a handout once you make it. But by then, it will have already been too late.
My personal advice:Don’t expect external support when you're struggling because that support needs to come from withinClick To Tweet
In life, it’s very important to understand that the majority of people are selfish and only care about themselves. Take a second to look at the world around you, and notice that people are only focused on their own education, career, problems, goals, their own well-being, and their own life. That’s OK though. Who better to care about them than themselves, right?
For this reason, very few will even look at what you’re doing or take the time to try and understand what it is you’re trying to accomplish as an entrepreneur.People want to see you do well but nobody wants to see you do better than themClick To Tweet
Take this as time to filter out your friends and reflect on the quality versus the quantity. You will come to find that your true friends are the ones who support you 100% while everyone else gets demoted to an “associate”.
Unfortunately, in order to get your network to support your entrepreneurial endeavor there has to be something in it for them. As a struggling entrepreneur you may or may not have much support from your friends because they usually don’t care if they can’t benefit from it. Ask someone for help, and you’ll get a million excuses, but ask someone to go on an all expenses paid cruise to the Bahamas and you will get a million reasons why you should pick them over anyone else. Sad? Yes. True? Hell yes.
The majority of people (not all) are self-centered and only care about what’s in it for them. In order to gain their support or at the very least, their attention, offer them something for FREE in order to win them over. Even then, they’ll probably accept your handout and go about their routine. A well known entrepreneur by the name of Gary Vaynerchuk, is a huge advocate of offering people free VALUE before trying to sell them. Provide your network with something you can afford to give out for free that’ll help solve a problem or pain point in there lives. Here is a perfect example of free content that adds value to a given audience.
Additionally, how well you build relationships with people can reflect on how well you receive support from them. Time and time again we find ourselves complaining that people only contact us when they need something from us. We’re quick to point fingers, yet if we look at it from the outside in, we’re also guilty of this.
If you aren’t the type to support other people, what makes you believe people will support you? Give the same support you want to receive by building strong relationships with people going forward.
You also have to take into account the type of perception your friends about you. If you’re someone who lacks integrity, professionalism, consistency, and endurance, then you’re less likely to receive support because your not perceived as credible.
Prove yourself first with strangers who know nothing about you. Make that grand first impression to win new business with people who are unbiased towards you. Start fresh and acquire their support by demonstrating your TRUE entrepreneurial potential. Everyone else will follow as you continue to progress. When they see how serious you are, they’ll start to buy in.
Personally, I am fully aware of those who support me and those who just observe me. As I progress, I pay less attention to those who watch and criticize, and pay more attention to those who support me. I focus on the people who actually matter. These are the people who will form the foundation to your loyal fan-base. So, make it a point to appreciate, acknowledge and cater to them. Don’t waste 3 hours of your time trying to convince “friends” to support you when in reality they don’t even deserve 3 minutes of your time.
Very few people will support you in the beginning because you have yet to prove yourself worthy of supporting. However, really successful people use those same critiques, doubts and lack of support from others as fuel and motivation to prove them ALL wrong. Don’t let them stop you and seek the support of strangers and new networks.
You can and will make it happen.