Fiona Scott
4 min readAug 9, 2022

When you start your own business, one of the most challenging things, and probably one of the most unexpected is the reaction of family members and close friends.

I’m not talking about immediate family who live in the same house as you — though there can be issues there. I’m talking more about wider family and friends who will then make assumptions about you and what you do.

While some are very supportive, there’s a big leap between that and taking you seriously in business. This is especially true if you are a woman and if you are going in a totally new direction, or you’ve taken time off to parent or care for a family member and now you are setting up something new. You are doing something for yourself.

It’s one of the main reasons that it’s important to have supporters and mentors outside of your family and friends — even if you have to pay and invest in that. If you cannot be your own cheerleader, and garner your own self belief, it’s unlikely family members will fill that void and, indeed, they can make it bigger. Self belief is everything in starting and succeeding in a small business.

Here are ten things I’ve learned and experienced on my journey in business so far.

  • Most family members aren’t really interested, won’t ask about it and if you mention it they soon get bored — they don’t want to know your highs & lows and it will make you reflect on how you’ve treated them and their profession in the past. A lack of interest becomes more apparent when you run your own business and all results are ‘on you’.
  • Some family members will not take you seriously at all and will refer to you ‘messing about with making your own stuff’, they will talk about your hobby, and your ‘pin’ money. This is particularly true if you are a woman and they mostly won’t bother to talk to you about your goals or dreams.
  • Some family members will want ‘mates’ rate’ or for you to work for them or provide them with products at low cost or for free. They won’t understand if you say ‘no’ and you’ll be amazed how offended they will be. Now if someone asks for ‘mates’ rates’ I double my prices and say that it’s not about ‘deals’ it’s about support.
  • Some family members will assume you can easily take…
Fiona Scott

Fiona has been a UK journalist for more than 30 years as well as being a freelance tv producer director. She’s also had her own media consultancy since 2008.