I came across an awesome quote on Reddit by a man called Ray Goforth.
There are two types of people who will tell you that you cannot make a difference in this world: those who are afraid to try and those who are afraid you will succeed.
This really rang home to me. When I started my first business aged 23, I had a lot of unwanted advice, all from people who had actually never started a business themselves. The person who was the most supportive of me at the time, was my billionaire boss, who had always told me that I can get rich and I am perfectly capable of it. Successful people have never told me that my dreams are impossible, because they’ve managed to achieve theirs.
I heard these things a lot:
“What if it doesn’t work out, won’t it be embarrassing to admit failure and go back to your job?”
“Self employment is very hard” (As if it were beyond my abilities.)
“No one makes much money from owning a business, there are too many outgoings.”
“To build up a successful business, you need to have a lot of investment from a rich boyfriend or Daddy.”
“Everyones dream is to become self employed, but how are you going to support yourself in the first year when you don’t make any money?”
“90% of businesses fail in the first year.”
Now I look back, it occurs to me that these people had considered self employment themselves, but had talked themselves out of it, and they were using the same thought patterns to talk me out of it. It didn’t feel possible for them, so how would someone like me manage it? I felt as if I was considered arrogant, naive and stupid for wanting to become self employed, and one individual actually said I was arrogant for assuming I know anything about business (he was in employment and had never become self employed).
I know that my experiences as a young entrepreneur were very common, I’ve heard the same story from many of my self employed friends.
That covers the first type of person “People who are afraid to try”.
And what about the second? Well, now I’ve been self employed for a few years, the comments have not turned to celebration. No one is going to say “wow, I didn’t think you had it in you but you actually did it! Well done!” All there is is crickets. These people are silent, which makes me think that they never wanted to see me succeed in the first place.
That’s ok, because I don’t take it personally. If we’ve never even attempted our dreams for fear of failure, it must hurt quite a bit to see someone else doing it. It’s important to remember that discouraging comments are almost never about you, but are usually about the person making them.