Starting your own business comes with all kinds of ups and downs, but things can get much more emotional when you have to involve your family members. Whether you are starting a side hustle or planning to launch out of a traditional career into a more non-traditional one as a blogger or other online business owner, your family members may not understand what you are doing. 

Out of concern, they may deflate your excited bubble over launching your own business. There are certain things you should know about telling your family and friends about launching your company before you go ahead and do it. What I have broken down here is my experience from being in business for myself for over five years, four of which have been full time. When I initially left my traditional employment situation, both my then-boyfriend (now husband) and my mother were extremely supportive. That was because I spent an entire year building up my income to beat my day job earnings and garnering a roster of clients I was proud to serve. That didn’t mean that everybody in my world seemed to understand what I did however.

Boundaries and Your Biz

Some people seemed to think that it was appropriate to text or call or email me all the time, expecting immediate responses because I “wasn’t really working”. Other people simply didn’t understand that I was actually working more hours, working for myself, but there was a different level of passion and excitement about doing it. Furthermore, I even had colleagues in the academic setting who told me, “Are you actually making any money with that?”

This can be an extremely difficult situation when you may not even be sure of your own founding in your business and may feel uncomfortable answering these questions. First of all, try to explain things to your family members in a way that makes sense to them. Even though you might spend all day talking about Instagram growth and Facebook page engagement, you shouldn’t always assume that your family members know what that is or will understand it.

If your family members simply don’t get it and refuse to stop crossing the boundaries, use some gentle but firm words about the importance of being able to manage your own schedule and reinforce the things you need them to do to assist you. For example, you might say:

  • Sorry, I can’t always answer your emails right away. I am usually tied up in business.

  • Sometimes I don’t even have my phone with me when I am at work, so if you want to reach to me, the best thing to do is call after business hours.

  • I have been so busy lately that sometimes I have to turn off my phone or enter the no distraction zone to get things done.

Lack of Understanding Can Be Your Fault, Too! 

Sometimes there is miscommunication because you never said why something was important to you. For example, why would your boyfriend be excited that you increased Pinterest page views by 200% unless you explained what that meant? Don’t fall him for saying “Oh, that’s cool!” because he really has no idea what you’re talking about.

I made this mistake by never explaining to my significant other the why behind launching a podcast. I got my feelings hurt when he didn’t jump for joy when I passed 1,000 downloads but that’s my own fault. As business owners, we get in our own heads and forget that people outside might not “get it” unless we make an effort!

Make sure you are translating the things you are doing and why they are important to you because you can’t expect everybody to understand what you are talking about.

Should You Hire Family Members in Your Business? 

I strongly recommend against hiring any friends or family members to work in your company. When you get to the point of needing to outsource some of your tasks, it may seem like it makes sense to hire someone within your personal world to help you, but there is no way that these situations end without some type of drama in the vast majority of cases.

There are certainly some cases where a person has hired a family member to work with them and it ended up sticking over the long run. If your family member doesn’t really understand what you do or tries to overstep their bounds as a result of your new business relationship, this could lead to unnecessary problems outside of the company too. Where possible, I recommend hiring someone you have no connection with.

Keep Your Numbers Private, Honey!

Finally, never share your income information with your family members if you can help it. Now, if you post a monthly income report on your blog, it’s likely that they’ll see it and they may be judgmental or comment on high your expenses are.

The bottom line is that you have to detach from what other people think about your business. Join Facebook groups and mastermind communities and network with other people who have an online business, who understand what it’s like to work for yourself, but you cannot count on your family members to understand or care about every single aspect of your company.

I speak from experience here- keep this info to yourself if you can. If your family or friends never understood things before you made money, it’s unlikely they will afterwards. Celebrate these milestones on your own or with others who understand the excitement!

It is a never an easy road to travel when people simply don’t get what you do, but the only control you have over this situation is disconnecting from your heavy emotions over the subject.

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