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5 Things to Do When Your Friends Aren’t Supporting Your Busines

By Diana Murakhovskaya & Irene Ryabaya, Co-Founders Monarq

Here at Monarq we often say that starting a company is an exceedingly difficult thing to do. Running a very early stage startup is, if possible, even harder! And when the going gets tough we expect our friends to be there to support us in our new venture. So what do we do when they don’t?

We are part of an incredible group of women business owners and startup founders called Dreamers // Doers where we help each other answer questions just like these. Below we share some of the wisdom that these strong women have gleaned from their experience navigating the waters of friendship and business.

You're amazing!!!

1. Don’t Take It Personally.

If you haven’t felt the outpouring of support you expected from your friends, don’t “break up” with them just yet. The “rejection” you feel is not necessarily personal.

“They either: 1. Intended to show support and haven’t gotten around to it, 2. Don’t agree with something about your company but don’t want to tell you, or 3. Said yes out of obligation,” said Jovena Whatmoor, owner of Clutch Talent. “All of these likely come from a good place.”

You're amazing!!!
 
You're amazing!!!

As the company founder, it’s your job to figure out why your friends are hesitating to help you. There is a good chance that whatever is keeping your closest friends from buying, using or shouting about your product from the rooftops will also keep potential customers hesitant and confused.

Create a space where your friends can share with you openly and honestly what it is about your business that doesn’t sit right with them and brainstorm with them about the best way to fix the problem. It will ultimately bring you closer together and be a great way to spend time with them while including them in your new venture.

You're amazing!!!

2. Tell Your Friends Exactly How They Can Support You

The most common reason our friends fail to to support us in our ventures is often surprisingly simple: they are busy and don’t know what they can actually do! Remember that they have no idea what it’s like to be in your shoes and there is no ”Handbook for Helping a Startup Founder”.

“Support comes in many forms. Everyone has things going on in their lives and you may not be aware of issues that have come up,” said Amy Vernon, digital media and content consultant, Amy Vernon LLC . “Just because someone hasn’t supported your business in the way you had hoped doesn’t necessarily mean he or she is not your friend.”

Next time, try to make your asks small, clear and actionable like, “please post this Tweet I have pre­written for you,” or “please forward this short email to your friends who are lawyers” rather than saying “promote me on social media” or “I’m looking for a lawyer.”

You're amazing!!! 

Picture Courtesy of Dreamers // Doers / Lloyd Johnston

You're amazing!!!

If they say “no” or just don’t do it, this can also become a great starting point for the conversation about “why not.” Do they feel your message isn’t right for their audience? Or maybe they are swamped in their own work or personal life and you had no idea. The key is to make this conversation about discussing sincere feedback without judgement or “friend guilt” and asking the right questions to understand what your friend feels comfortable contributing and what feels like “too much” or “not right.”

You're amazing!!!

3. Make New Business Friends

Is that BFF you were roommates with in college totally convinced that since you work for yourself you must be taking naps and hanging out in coffee shops? Maybe it’s time for some new friends.

“When we started Monarq, almost all our friends still had traditional jobs so we went to two startup and tech events every weeknight for months. The inspiring people we met at those events are the reason we have been able to go from a blank slate to a live app and a community in such a short time. A year later we are happy to call many of these amazing startup founders and investors our friends. ” ­ — Irene Ryabaya & Diana Murakhovskaya, co­founders of Monarq.

 You're amazing!!!

Picture Courtesy of Dreamers // Doers / Lloyd Johnston

You're amazing!!!

The reality is, not all friends will be able to support you in every aspect of your life, but that’s ok! Having friends who are also startup founders means having people behind you who understand where you’re coming from, what you’re trying to achieve and just how hard it is to do what you are doing. Even the most well­meaning friend will never be able to understand the pressures, anxieties and victories, small and large, of owning your own business business if they’ve never actually done it.

You're amazing!!!

4. Ask “What Can I Do For YOU?”

Sometimes you need to turn the tables and put yourself in your friends shoes. Are they stressed out too? Are they overwhelmed and need your help? Before asking for support, or feeling disappointed when a friend isn’t quick to respond, try asking them what you can do to help them first!

“Successful people always ask ‘What can I do for you?’ With old friends and new, build and maintain real meaningful relationships rather than demanding immediate transactional favors.” — Irene Ryabaya & Diana Murakhovskaya co­founders of Monarq.

You're amazing!!!
 
You're amazing!!!

Often we find that people are confused when offered help rather than being asked for it ­ that’s how rarely this happens! Your friends are going to be much more likely to support you when they feel you’ve been there for them.

You're amazing!!!

5. Know When To Move On

When all else fails, it may be time to accept that some friends aren’t as close now as they once were. It’s natural for friends to grow apart and, in some cases, it may be best to accept it quickly so you can, save your limited energy and move forward ­ live and learn!

“It’s been a real learning experience to see who has supported our business and who hasn’t — and I think it has opened my eyes to who my true friends are,” said Gianne Doherty co­founder of Organic Bath Co.

When the people you were once close to are no longer there for you, it’s time to meet new people who understand what you’re going through. Meet your future friends today on Dreamers // Doers and Monarq!

 You're amazing!!!

Picture courtesy of Monarq / Maryella Marie.

You're amazing!!!

Friendship and support are vital. Both in business and in life, having people with whom you can celebrate the victories and mourn the defeats is what makes life meaningful. Whether you’re building a lifestyle business or the next tech unicorn, make sure to surround yourself with the kind of people who will build you up every step of the way.

#InvestInWomen #MonarqMoguls

This blog post was contributed to Dreamers // Does via the beloved founders of Monarq (we're fans).

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