No matter what your entrepreneurial venture track is, you’re going to hear quite a few things over and over againâ€”although you might get a little more flack if you’re in a creative field. Whether it’s graphic design, web development, SEO, or something else entirely (like a brick and mortar mom and pop joint), being an entrepreneur or small business owner isn’t easy. No wonder there are networks buzzing with people just like you. It’s nice to be around those who â€œget itâ€ every now and then.
However, don’t assume that these questions (which can come off as rude) are necessarily meant that way. Some people are genuinely curious and have no idea how an online business works.
Others are trying to give well-meaning advice, but it just doesn’t sound that way. If you’re an entrepreneur, get ready to hear these same questions and comments over and over againâ€”and here’s how to respond:
1. You know, most small businesses fail
This is true, and it’s probably something that every entrepreneur is well aware of. Maybe the person meant it as a warning, or didn’t quite know how to ask how you plan to succeed in such a competitive landscape. Instead of defending yourself and your business, replying with, â€œI’m aware of thatâ€ should suffice. If the person really wants to know what your plan is, they’ll ask a followup question.
2. I had an idea for a startup onceâ€¦
Really, this is just a way to change the subject so the person can talk about themselves. You can indulge them or not, just like any other subject change. However, you can satiate your annoyance by realizing everyone has ideas and dreamsâ€”that’s what makes the difference between a dreamer and a doer. Be polite, nod along, but start running if the person asks for your help in making their startup happen, too (unless you’re genuinely interested).
3. Most small business owners are broke/in debt
That’s another no-brainer any entrepreneur knows all too well. You can simply acknowledge the fact, or make a joke of it (while mentioning your financial management skills, if you like). This will most likely come from relatives who are concerned about your financial situation (or at least want to gossip about it). Discussing money is generally seen as crass, so try not to let this conversation starter linger. It’s nobody’s business how much, or little, money you or your business has.
4. It must be nice to have someone to support you!
If you happen to have a partner who has a â€œregularâ€ job with a decent income, some people might assume they’re footing the bill while you pursue a hobby. There’s no getting around it: Comments like these are meant to be hurtful while also digging for more information (how much does your spouse make, anyway?!). It’s best to ignore these comments altogether, or let the person know they’re out of line.
5. Can I work for you?
Nepotism rarely works out, and it’s even worse if a friend or family member asks if their kid can work for you. Luckily, you have the excuse of not wanting to ruin your relationship at the ready. If only it were this easy to get out of all sticky situations!
You’ll encounter plenty of naysayers and negativity on your entrepreneurial journey, but don’t let them stop you. Those will be the least of your hurdles ahead.