Getting Friends and Family on Your Side as You Start a Business

You know the old saying: “Many hands make light work.”

Any task is better when you have people with you, right?

This is especially true when starting a business. Now, your friends and family won’t volunteer for free labor! But their encouragement and support can be critical to your success.

If the going gets tough, you want your friends and family to be your cheerleaders. They are the ones who can remind you that this journey is worth it and you can do it.

Which brings us to the important question: how can I bring my friends and family along for the journey? You’re excited about the new possibilities that come with launching a new business—but how do you bring others in?

First: know why you’re going into this

Before you can bring others in, you need a clear sense of why you’re in. Ready for a career change? Want the freedom of being your own boss? Do you see the clear opportunity to make a profit in a growing industry?

For Main Street business owner Hardin Hawes, the “why” was simple: he grew tired of sitting behind a desk. He wanted to build something for himself. He wanted more time for his family.

Whatever it is for you, be clear on why you want to start your business.

Second: start with the people who count on you

When you take the plunge, who will jump in with you? Who counts on you for either financial or emotional support? It could be a spouse, a partner, your kids, your parents, or even all of the above! Start with them.

Start by telling them your why. Tell them everything that has led to this decision. Tell them about your plans and your dreams.

Then, stop and let them ask questions. This step is important. Remember all the doubts you had as you considered this move? Chances are, your loved ones will have doubts, too. They will only begin to get on board when they know you’re stopping to listen to their concerns.

Finally, you get a chance to sell them on your dream. Show them the profit margins you expect to make; tell them about the free time you expect to gain; ask them for encouragement in the challenges you may face.

This may be a long conversation. However, over time, they will want to take the plunge with you. They will become your biggest cheerleaders.

Third: bring in friends and family

Once you get your key people on board, begin getting the word out to your extended circles. This part gets a little tricky because you don’t want your friends and family to feel like you’re trying to monetize your relationship.

These two words of wisdom should help you out:

  • Keep it personal. Your friends and family want to know about your major life changes, and launching a new business certainly qualifies. As you tell them, avoid giving a sales pitch. Instead, focus on communicating your excitement about your new journey.
  • Keep it brief. Although they want to hear about your life, even your friends will not be as excited about your new business as you. That’s ok. That’s why you’re starting this business and they aren’t. Keep it brief and they’ll engage you more as they are interested.

Why are these principles important?

Consider a painting business. Most of your friends and family don’t currently need their house painted (although many people need it, but don’t realize it yet!). If you try a hard sell on them before they feel like they need it, then you may end up pushing them away.

If instead you personally and briefly let them know about your new business, they will remember you. Although they don’t need your services immediately, they might know someone who does! And the day will come when they, too, will want a fresh coat of paint on their house.

Remember: before you need customers, you need the support of your friends and family. Invite them into what you’re doing.

Finally: some sample conversations

What should all of the above look like? Your options are endless. You can share about your business in personal conversation, post on social media, create a blog and website, you can even send out some good old-fashioned letters.

For notifying friends and family of your new business, the easiest wins are personal conversations and a social media post or email.

We’ll end this with a sample of each to help you understand the principles above. Take a few moments to read over the samples. Focus on the tone. Once you get it, go out and prepare your own messages.

Sample conversation:

“Hey, have I told you I’m leaving my job? I’m going to start a painting business named ________ here in _________. I’m excited for the opportunity to build something for myself, set my own hours, and be my own boss. I know it will be a tough journey, but at the end of the day, I’m looking forward to building a future for my family. Let me know if we can ever do anything for you!”

Sample social media post/email:

The moment I’ve been looking forward to for months has finally come: I’m launching a painting company, _____________. My spouse and I have been weighing this decision for what feels like ages, but now is the right time to start this new adventure!

Our mission is to make your home beautiful. I’ve personally seen how professional painting services can raise the beauty and value of a home, so I’m excited to be helping others do this.

If you’re interested in seeing more about what we’re up to, or if we can help you out with your home in any way, check out our website below.

Friends and family: your biggest support system

You don’t have to venture out into entrepreneurship all by yourself. If you will spend some time communicating your vision to friends and family, you gain something more than customers. You gain a support system. 

Remember: everything is better when you have people with you!