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With the holidays coming up, there are going to be a lot of family functions and festivities, right? Of course, that means that you’re going to have to talk to your family about your business. It’s natural for them to ask about your life, but their responses aren’t always the most supportive or what we’re hoping for.

Before you talk to your family about your business, I want you start with this. Center yourself. Focus on your why. Remind yourself that everything they say means absolutely nothing in relation to your success or your business.

Now that you’re centered, tune into this episode to fully prepare for the onslaught of feelings that come when you talk to your family about your business.


What Happens When You Talk About Your Business with Family

Those awkward questions about your business are bound to come up:

So, how’s business?
Tell me what you do again?
Can you actually make money doing that?
Is that a real job?

Family members are super fun sometimes aren’t they?

Now, let me just say, I have yet to meet any woman- friend, collegue or client who has started her own business and was supported 100% by every member of her family.

There’s always one or two that just don’t play nice… so this year, I want to make sure you’re prepared for if and when this happens.

Side note, this applies to anyone with a business! But it’s especially applicable to new entrepreneurs who haven’t dealt with this family push back yet. Not being prepared to deal with these situations can reek havoc on our mindset! And in severe cases can beat the confidence right out of someone. It is so important to build the strength to deal with this kind of negativity as early on as possible.

So if you have a friend or biz bestie that’s just getting started, do her a favor and forward this episode to her.

Ok, so now let’s get to it…What do you do when a family member just doesn’t “get” what you do?

Dumb it Down For Them

Use examples or stories that you can relate. If your family doesn’t get entrepreneurship or online business and you’re an online entrepreneur you’re basically speaking martian to them! Here’s an example of how to dumb it down.

If you specialize in social media marketing ads and someone who works a normal 9-5 and spends very little time online asks what you’re business is about and you reply with “I’m a social media marketing strategist.” They’ll either:

  • ask more inquisitive questions to learn what that actually means or
  • smile, nod and pretend they know what that means, or
  • they’ll change the subject because they feel stupid that they don’t know what that means or
  • they’ll feel challenged by their ignorance and, as a defense, find something snide and rude to say.

Has that happened to you?

Instead, break it down like this.

“You know how when big businesses like Nike, Chevy or Coca Cola rent commercial space for the superbowl? I help small businesses do that only with commercials on Facebook so they can make money just like those big companies.”

Notice that in that example I didn’t even bring up your ability to market on Instagram, Youtube or anywhere else?

Giving too much detail feels more like a resume and can sound egotistical. By keeping it simple and easy to understand, you’re purposely finding common ground

BONUS TIP: You’re making it super easy for them to turn around and tell other people what you do! So when cousin Susie is at the beauty salon next week and her hairdresser is telling her about how they need to do more advertising to bring in more clients, Susie will immediately relate back to YOU and the Superbowl analogy, and say, “Hey, I know someone! Let me tell you what she does!”

Some Will Never Get It

My MIL, even thought I’ve explained it many times, has a block around truly understanding what I do. And that’s okay. I have a good friend who’s a financial advisor – I still have no idea what he does. I have another friend who’s some kind of robots engineer. When he explains what he does, I tune out. It’s over my head and boring. Like that subject in high school that was never really your thing. You show up, memorize enough to pass and then, forget everything you just learned. Your brain doesn’t have enough motivation to “learn” it so it labels it as unimportant.

Have a Plan

Ok, now let’s get super real. Some family members just don’t approve of what you’re doing.

Here’s the thing that really going on:
You’re threatening them and their own identity.

We all dream of freedom of time and financial independence. And we’ve all imagined how magical life would be if we didn’t have to answer to anyone. And when that thought surfaces, what happens? Our inner critic speaks up, right? Starts giving us a million reasons why it won’t work. It’s a battle.

But if you look closer, you’ll realize it’s a battle they feel they’ve lost and it pains them to see that you’re winning.

They gave up on their dream. So to see you live yours is painful for them. Not because they don’t want to be happy for you, but because you remind them of what they could have. But they’re afraid of the battle they’ll have to have with themselves and the fear that will surface.

Know that if you encounter resistance or a bad attitude, it has nothing at all to do with you and everything to do with their own feelings.

You Can Choose How You React

You know your family best. If they’re asking “How’s business” out of polite small talk and you feel that the energy around the question is bad, politely answer and change the subject by asking a question that redirects them to a new train of thought.

But you might have a family member that is all negative nelly. This is where you decide where to draw the line. Do boundaries need to be set? Is their behavior and criticism chronic? Are these family members you only see a few times a year- can you ignore and deflect or does something need to be said?

When people feel threatened, and they aren’t willing to see a more positive angle or take on a supportive role, the best case scenario might be to ask them to keep their mouth shut. In a nice way, of course.

Don’t directly point blame, but bring it up as a story that you created in your head. This approach helps to keep them from getting defensive and you take responsibility for your own interpretation. Because after all, only you can determine how you feel. An emotion isn’t a real emotion in the body until we’ve created it with our thoughts. So even if someone says some crappy stuff about your business, it’s up to you to let that crappy comment affect you.

But that doesn’t excuse disrespectful behavior. So this approach sheds light onto the unwanted behavior in a polite way and let’s them know you feel about it. It’s a soft, subtle way of creating a boundary.

This Resistance is Mostly Temporary

What I’ve experienced is that this resistance from family members is temporary.

These suggestions will be helpful for you during the transition period when your family is getting used to your new business. After a few years, though, it will be old news, everyone will be comfortable once again and you’ll have nothing to stress about anymore.

You might even inspire a few family members to follow your footsteps – after all, once you prove it can be done without dying – they might just feel confident enough to step out of their comfort zone and start a business of their own!

Let’s Chat More

Head on over to the Facebook Group and let us know how you deal with your family asking questions like this about your business.

How do you talk to your family about business, especially when they seem unsupportive? Click To Tweet


  • 3:11 Sometimes their reactions really do come from a place of fear. What happens is this: You going after your dreams is showing them that it is possible. You’re really holding up a mirror. They look at you and they think to themselves, “She’s doing it. She’s taking a chance. She’s confident enough to feel the fear and do it anyway. I’m not. Why can’t I do that?”
  • 15:22 Never apologize for your success. You never want to feel like you’re undeserving of it, like you can’t be excited about it, like you can’t celebrate your wins. There are certain people that will make you feel that way. Rather than allow that feeling to overtake you and consume you, don’t even allow yourself to go there.
  • 17:30 There are always going to be situations where you’re encountering all different types of people. Some are going to be really accepting and supportive. Some are going to be curious about the fact that you’re traveling an unknown path and you’re doing really well. You are becoming a role model for some people.


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Thanks so much for hanging out with me! Have some feedback you’d love to share? Leave a comment below. Or… if you want your comment or biz question featured on an upcoming episode, leave a voicemail. I’d love to spotlight you!

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It is natural for your family to ask about your business, but the feelings that come when you talk to your family about your business can be stressful.
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