Cultivating Your Tribe: FRIENDS + FAMILY

This is the first article in a four-part series on cultivating your tribe.

Entrepreneurship can be a lonely road-- especially at first. It could take years to make your first hire, and even then, depending on that hire, their role, and your relationship, that person might not be someone that you choose to confide in, or seek counsel from. That’s why you have to build your tribe.

I’ve found that no tribe is complete without friends and family, peers, a general network of like-minded individuals, and mentors/mentees. These buckets of people tend to overlap, cross-over, and sometimes the same people can fill multiple or even all roles. In this four-part series, we’ll explore how to fill each of these roles, how to balance your sphere of influence and how to make sure your tribe is suited to your needs.

Your family and friends, usually your closest inner-circle, might be the most supportive of your entrepreneurial venture, or (and don’t be offended if this is the case) the least supportive of your journey into your business and lifestyle creation.

It depend on the person and it depends on the relationship. Often, our parents, and our confidants, and our partners, are the people who care the most about our well-being and if you care about someone and their well-being it’s unlikely that you’ll be excited about them jumping into the shark-infested waters of entrepreneurship. It’s unlikely that they’ll want to see you leave the “comforts” of a job with benefits, a salary, an office and co-workers that wait for you every day in order to pursue the great unknown.

Even when family members and friends are entrepreneurs themselves it can be difficult for them to dole out the support, because they know first-hand the struggles you might be about to face.

So, how do we deal with the irony (and perhaps even the pain) associated with the reality that those closest to us might at first be the least supportive of the journey we’re about to take?

Ask for what you need. Have a conversation. This is likely the first circle that will hear your idea, you might even test your product on them. Understand their concern is often coming from a place of love and fierce protective instinct. Tell them your plans, listen to their concerns, ask them if they’re willing to take the journey with you in the specific support role you need. Maybe they’re your cheerleaders, maybe they’re your editors, maybe they’re helping you ship your product to your customers.

Get clear on how you want them to show up in your life and ask them to do so. If they can’t do that, examine and explore why (warning: this can get messy and emotional, but it’s okay to feel) and decide if they will play a role on your stage, or if perhaps, they’ll sit in the audience instead.