So your friend recently decided they want to take a plunge into the world of entrepreneurship, good for them right? You vow to be a supportive friend. At first, it’s awesome. They are bright-eyed as they speak about how they are going to “disrupt”, “innovate”, and “revolutionize” the industry. Over celebratory dinners, you raise a glass to them in celebration of their leap. As the months go on, you listen with a faded smile about the pitch they just had with a big possible investor, how they reached 1,000 Instagram followers or the fact they narrowed down to 6 logos all of which look exactly the same to you. You grow tired of them showing up at birthday dinners just to order solely water because they are conserving money and their never-ending story about that terrible board member who is always pushing them. Here is a quick guide from one of those wacky entrepreneurs on simple, free methods to support without ruining your friendship.
Here Are Eight Tips on How to Support Your Entrepreneur
- Friend Follow them on Social Media: Brands are often measured by their social media followers. People gain followers by having decent content or by buying them. As a friend, it costs you nothing. Chances are you will likely skim past their posts when you are online so give a comment. It can be as simple as “cool product”, “this app changed my life,” or if you want to really be awesome – tag friends. Your friend – no matter how big the brand gets – scours their engagements on social media at 3 am and will greatly appreciate this gesture.
- Provide Feedback: They launched a new product or feature. Be honest! Everyone thinks that their baby is the most beautiful baby in the world. That friend is making decisions left and right from who to hire to what thickness their business card should be so give them constructive feedback. Even if they defend their decision, it will get them thinking and let them know you care.
- Be Mindful: Life is full of ups and downs and we all go through rough patches that not everyone may know of. Be kind and considerate of others because you never know what they may be going through at that time. I would like to add a personal story here. I was in the middle of hell. My manufacturer had just disappeared on me with all of my money, my patterns, my orders and my spirit. I was over $100K in at this point. To top it off, I was going through a rough breakup. It was a bad time for me. A friend asked to meet for a drink. She kept ordering drink after drink complaining about her boss and her boyfriend. I comforted her because that is what we do. I could not help my mind racing thinking “you have a hefty salary, benefits, vacation, an amazing apartment, a fantastic partner” and then the bill came. It was $172 which she casually told the waiter to split. Now, I came from the corporate world so, in my pre-entrepreneurial life, I would have just picked it up. Whats $200 in the scheme of things. But at that time it was one day of Facebook ads, one hour with my graphic designer, 12 minutes with my lawyer. I could not speak to her for a month after. She, to this day, has no idea.
- Make Connections: We all know someone who we can connect with for assistance in many different fields whether it be a mentor, business owner, motivational speaker, Agent etc. Networking is a huge key to success in any industry you decide to approach, therefore connecting your friend with the right people will help boost their business and social network. He/She will appreciate this gesture and will hopefully pay it forward.
- Tag Them On Articles, IG Posts, FB Groups: When you tag your friend in a post on social media you are essentially opening a space for them to market and network. Share their sites and links. Tagging on social media has become a huge platform for drawing recognition and viewers to your site and is a great marketing tool.
- Purchase their Product: The best gesture you can make when supporting your friend is to actually purchase their product. This is a great way to help them promote their product and physically try it out for yourself. If it is within your means, think of it as one less (fill in the blank) to help them grow as a business.
- Take Them Out: Get him or her out of their office or home. You should most certainly ask them about the company but also make sure a good portion of the time is a distraction. After all, we all need a supportive friend who supports us in more ways than one. Working endlessly can be draining sometimes and we may forget to take some time to ourselves.
- Words to Avoid: I was telling an entrepreneur friend of mine about this article and she added in a very valuable tip. Phrases like couldn’t you just…, I totally understand how you feel, or things will get better from here, should be avoided at all costs.
“Support your friend’s Businesses and progressions like you support the Celebrities that you don’t actually know” -Anonymous