Why Family and Friends Usually Give Bad Advice About Starting a Business | Inside My Business
If you’re like most people, what you are great at doing isn’t always apparent. Most of us spend a large part of our lives trying to uncover the answer. Factor in the added complexity that you need to be able to make a living doing it, and it can seem like a daunting task. So, how do you figure it out?
Many people make the mistake of evaluating themselves and asking for feedback from family and friends. This makes sense after all, since these are the people that know you the best. Shouldn’t they be able to guide you and point out areas where you excel? And, certainly, they will support you in your decision to start a business based on this area of expertise, won’t they?
Unfortunately, family and friends are typically unreliable sources of information when it comes to evaluating your strengths. And, they are not always the most supportive when it comes to risk-taking endeavors, such as starting a business. It’s not that they want to lead you astray or give you bad advice. It’s just really, really hard to judge someone that you’re close to. Add emotions into the mix, then combine that with relationship history and perceived ulterior motives, and the whole thing gets pretty muddled. And, because family and friends love you, they tend to err on the side of conservatism. They don't want to see you fail. They don’t want to see you fall flat on your face and be hurt. So, it’s hard for them to encourage you to quit your job, take on debt, drop out of college, sell your house, raise capital from investors, or any other risky move in order for you to go for your dream.
A much better indicator of discovering what you’re great at doing and whether or not it can support a business is to actually test it in the marketplace. The market is a superior indicator, because it’s emotionless. The market doesn’t know you, care who you are, or care about your feelings. It’s just the sort of unbiased source that will give you the brutal feedback that you need to know. If you’re good, if your product or service fills a need or desire or solves a problem, the market will buy it. Provided, of course, that you do all the other necessary things to operate a functioning business. And, testing your idea in the marketplace has another advantage. It will give you real world experience, so that you can determine if you love the work. After all, the powerful trifecta of having passion for your work, being great at it, and offering a needed product or service is the recipe for business success.
So, the path forward is clear. Test your idea. Try it out in the real world to see if it works, if you love it, and if you’re great at it. And, if you don't have a specific idea, then try lots of different things. Test, experiment, and repeat. Keep going until you hit on that combination that works for you. Let the market guide you. Don’t fight it, argue with it, or try to change it. If something’s not working, there’s usually a reason why. Figure it out, then refine, adjust, pivot, or go back to the drawing board. Be relentless and stay with it, and you will eventually unlock that unique mixture of elements that’s right for you. Also, take the time to step back and closely examine your life. Is there a pattern that you’ve failed to recognize? Do you tend to gravitate to the same types of things over and over again? Is the answer lying dormant in plain sight waiting for you to recognize or accept it? Now, if you’re still young and you haven’t established a pattern yet, is there something that you’re attracted to at this time that might hold the answer for you? What gets you excited and motivated? This insight may also help you to know where to start.
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