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Unsupportive family? Here's how to not need them...

Women Who Do Founder Emma is talking to business owners about their experiences with unsupportive loved ones and how it impacted them. She also speaks to business and mindset coaches, Adina and Amie, about how to deal with unsupportive people.

We've all been there: we joyfully announce we're starting a new business or are launching something exciting and the people who are closest to you are the ones that are least supportive:

"That will never work"

"You don't know the first thing about owning your own business"

"How will you make your money?"

All sound familiar? Don't're not alone. I've been there in fact. Actually, occasionally I still am there, despite doing this for 4 years...these are still questions I get asked.

But I'm not alone in this and I sort of understand why. For one thing, people have their own shit to deal with, so your new business probably isn't high on their list of things to get pumped about. Additionally the only person who can see your vision is you, so whilst you are imagining every finite detail that will make your business thrive over the next 5-10 years, everyone else is just seeing the here and now (the long hours, little income, battle with social media etc).

Women Who Do was designed to create a space away from the negativity that some women were receiving from friends and family. It's a space where, from the moment you introduce yourself, you have a gleeful band of cheerleaders who can't wait to see you succeed. But that lack of support from those whose opinions feel the most important to you can still feel frustrating and demoralising. You should know you're not alone.

"I felt really excited to start my business as it came from something I was passionate about. I did though feel slightly negatively impacted by people around me who were of the opinion that “people wouldn’t spend money on coaching in a lockdown.” Even though I tried not to let it affect me and I tried to keep my spirits up, deep down, it did impact me unconsciously, as I was only receiving clients on a sporadic basis. .

My advise would be to stay strong and learn to develop a thick skin.

You can’t change a person’s behaviour but you can change your attitude/reaction towards it.

Don't give up your business because of something that someone said or did, that would be such a great loss."

Jemma Founder Ohh Jemma

"It can really demotivate you and make you question everything. I think if this had happened when I first started, I would have stopped immediately and deleted everything because I had no self-confidence and belief, so if someone else had expressed that they thought I couldn’t do it then I would have believed them. Now, I know that it has been so beneficial to my mental health, I’ve gained a creative outlet and have gained so much confidence from it that I don’t care as much!

People are going to talk about you either way, no matter what you do. Prove them wrong by showing them that you CAN do this and you CAN achieve your dreams.

I love the quote, “You only regret the chances you didn’t take”.

You can either take the leap and do something you’ve always wanted to do, or you will regret not going for it because of other people’s opinions. If you fail, it doesn’t matter! You can learn from it and try again. But if you don’t try, you’ll never know. If you’re struggling and need support, then I would actively seek out supportive people - whether this is a friend, a family member or even someone in the same field online. I’ve found SO many supportive people on Instagram who are, essentially, doing the same things as I am, but they are so welcoming and helpful in supporting others to succeed. Community over competition always!"

Sophie Slater, Founder SoEnglish Beachwear

"I think the day the website went live, a newsletter went out to as many people as

possible including a ‘tier 2’ selection of family, friends and contacts. Maybe it was

naivety and unrealistic expectations but I expected a fanfare of excitement, emojis

and applause but instead there seemed to be radio silence.

In hindsight I think it is unrealistic to expect friends and family to

understand the ins and outs of business, when most people have absolutely no idea

what it’s like to juggle the many hats needed to run a business.

A godsend to me has been finding like-minded creative people and complimentary businesses.

Facebook groups and online communities, such as PR Despatch and the

Resilient Retail Club have been brilliant."

Know that people will always judge situations based on THEIR perception of what’s possible and achievable. Not what’s actually true. So they’re really being unsupportive because they can’t see themselves in your shoes and killing it!

It doesn’t mean you can’t succeed it just means they think they wouldn’t. Keep going - one step at a time.

And If the pressure is too much you don’t have to tell them what you’re up to (yet). Protect your brain space - it’s your most valuable real estate!

Amie Crews, Mindset Coach

Only you have the exact vision of what your future looks like, and you may not even quite have nailed that yet! You’re feeling all excited about it and you want others to share the excitement, instead, they project their own fears onto you. I heard all kinds of things like, “why on earth would you want to give up your [well paid] job, for something much less secure?!” I experienced this a lot in the early days and the truth is, it can shake your confidence, if you let it. Notice their fears and anxieties, but avoid taking them on your own shoulders. They are telling you all the reasons they wouldn’t start a business!

Consider who you share with; what you share and share lightly, and keep it brief and make sure you have your own support team who are there to encourage you.

This might be certain friends or family, or those who are on a similar journey to you, maybe even a little further ahead. Surround yourself with people you can learn from and grow with, who get as passionate as you do about what you’re doing.

If you're looking to join a space where you are supported we welcome you to the WWD Facebook Group. It's free to join and it's filled with women who are passionate about what they do as much as they are about seeing other women achieve their successes.


Emma Downey, Founder Women Who Do

Avid cake-eater, Disney-superfan and passionate about female empowerment, Emma founded WWD in 2017. She's on a mission to help as many women as she can to achieve their version of success. She loves to write and fills her time with as many hobbies as she can.

You can contact Emma:


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