Don't listen to your families

Published October 4th, 2006 edit replace rm!

Families you know that group of wonderful people who truly love you and will help you with everything. Well families can be great, however one of the hardest things to realise in particular if you have a great family is that their advise is almost never good news for you.

Don’t get me wrong there are definitely exceptions and I’m not saying in any way that you should dislike your family. But just as with anyone else in the world you need to know and understand their true motivations before you listen to advise.

Here in lies the problem. Family and with that include spouse and really long close friends will almost always have a selfish motive with you. That is fine, being selfish is great. However to succeed you also need to be selfish. If you realise and understand this you can decipher much advise that family members sling at you.

The things that entrepreners do essentially boil down to taking risks that others don’t. These risks could for example be:

  • Dropping out of school
  • Emigrating
  • Moving to another part of the country
  • Quitting your job
  • Working 24/7 without any real promise of an outcome

These are all things that most family members hate, because when you affect them by doing them. I’ve done all of the above and I’m sure many of my readers have done so as well or are pondering doing it.

Many parents (Moms are notorious though mine isn’t) hate to see their son or daughter move far away. I have friends whose parents have really tried throwing spanners in the wheels in this one. This is because they want you close. It’s fair enough really, but incredibly selfish when it comes down to it.

Dropping out of school. I dropped out of high school much to the terror of everyone in my family bar one, my grandfather who was in complete agreement with me. It was the right thing for me to do at the time. I was taking my first entrepreneurial steps at the time and learnt a hell of a lot. Almost all famous entrepreneurs have done this from Bill Gates to Steve Jobs and Max Levchin (PayPal). If it makes sense drop out. Of course don’t drop out just for the sake of dropping out.

For many parents the university degree is their end product for you, their pride is heavily involved here, which is why you get so much flack for it.

Quitting your job is a biggie, in particular with close family members (spouses etc) who depend on your income. When you quit your job you are introducing risk to them, they may be very risk averse. You may need to compromise a bit here. While you are confident you will start earning $5k a month within the first month, try enlarging your funds by a few months. You should also create a mini business plan, with some targets and a promise of what you will do if you don’t reach it.

All in all identify the stakes that other people have in you and filter their advice with this. Family members can be extremely manipulating and persuasive. Your job is to keep yourself focused.

Families can also bring a lot of good to you as an entrepreneur, I’ll cover that shortly.

This is part of a series of articles called Bootstrap Anti Patterns.


Stephan Tual November 28th, 2006

I validates for all 5 risks you listed! Do I win something? :-D

About me

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My name is Pelle Braendgaard. Pronounce it like Pelé the footballer (no relation). CEO of Notabene where we are building FATF Crypto Travel Rule compliance software.

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