First Year of Business

The Family Test

Written by Chukwuma Asala for Gaebler Ventures

Family can be the biggest obstacle to your business getting off the ground, so here's some helpful tips to get them working with you, not against you.

As an entrepreneur you are destined to face many obstacles.

Failure will be one of the things you must make peace with. A dentist knows very well he must get used to saliva, a surgeon must be comfortable with blood, and a salesman will experience more rejection in one year than the average person experiences in a lifetime. Failure is inevitable and must be embraced if you are to be successful in business. But believe it or not, the biggest obstacle you will face will be the people who are closest to you: your family.

Everyone knows the statistic of startup businesses. 95% of businesses fail within the first 5 years of being in business. Business is not easy because it is lonely, requires a high degree of emotional intelligence, motivation, drive, and focus. Chances are if you are in business you will have many family and friends who do not agree with your unconventional choice of a career. Because let's face it; it is much easier to just get a job and work … forever, until you can hopefully retire on one third of the income you couldn't even live on in the first place.

But why do so many people have friends and family that are not supportive of their friend or family member going into business? Let's examine two important reasons.

The first and biggest reason for lack of support from family is fear. Always remember that most people will always project onto you the fears they have not for you but for themselves if they were faced with a similar situation. Your parents for example would never want you to have to go through the vigorous task of getting a business up and running off the ground, and why should they? If they never owned a business and worked all their lives and had "security" in their job then watching you eat dog food and living out of a basement while investing all your money into a business that may not be working as fast as they would prefer it to work is very scary for them. They could never do what you're doing which is why they tell you there's no way you can succeed so just get a regular job like everyone else so at least you can be comfortable. Just remember that success is not built on convenience and you'll be fine. There's a reason why they're still working at age 65: working a job didn't work!

The second reason is most of your family members and close friends know you very well. A big challenge is that they have never seen you as a successful business person because you haven't been one all your life. They will remind you that you're only a certain age, or you were never good at math in school, or you were always terrified to talk to people. Your past will be the biggest thing they will continually remind you of but you must persist and ignore them. Don't let your past steal your future. Explain to them that who you are today is a result of the person you have been in the past and who you're becoming is an entirely different person. Your past has no relevance on your future except for the fact that it has prepared you for what you are currently experiencing. Remember that family members are always well-intentioned but can be the biggest dream-stealers you will ever face in your pursuit of success in business.

Chukwuma Asala is an international student from Nigeria who is studying to earn an MBA from the State University of New York in Albany. He has analyzed more than 20 industry case studies throughout his education thus far, and hopes to bring some of his business knowledge to

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