C&T Q&A – How can I get my family and friends to take my craft business seriously?



{source: dear moonbeams}

Today’s question is from K, and she writes:

I’m wondering if you have any words of advice for those of us who have left other, some would say, more “responsible” jobs to go into the creative world. A large part of me doesn’t care in the slightest, but there’s a niggling part of me that is annoyed with some old friends & family for their lack of support. I sometimes think how great it would be if they could share something I post on Facebook for all of their friends to see – or if some of them could bring themselves to simply click that “like” button!

I have a wonderful customer base & I realise these are the people I need to focus on, but at times, I really feel that lack of support. They most likely aren’t taking my work seriously, as they’re not malicious people at all. Any idea of how I could help them understand how important it is to me that I grow my business and how valuable their support could be?

Ahh, yes! I, too, left a ‘traditional’ and ‘responsible’ full-time job with a good salary to do my own thing. My last (and hopefully last EVER) ‘job’ was as the manager of a maths and English tuition centre. It was a great job, with great hours (1pm to 8pm, 5 days a week), and a decent salary.

I learnt a a lot about business during my 2 years at that job, and I think it was invaluable in my development and confidence, as I’d never had any sort of ‘business-y’ job before that.

So – leaving that job was a big risk… but honestly, it wasn’t one I was worried about. I’m one of those people who has faith that everything will work out, so I knew I could find another job if necessary.

However – giving up traditional employment to go out on your own with a home-based business – especially a craft business – definitely has the propensity to raise eyebrows.

I am obscenely lucky in that I have a husband, parents, friends, and extended family who have never been anything but unfailingly supportive.

Well, I don’t think my Dad really took what I did seriously until I started turning around a few thousand a month, but he was still supportive, and had faith in my ability to succeed.

The same goes for my extended family. They were always supportive, asking me at Christmas ‘how’s the business’ going… but I think people struggle to have respect and take a creative business seriously until you can back it up with the numbers. (I think I slightly shocked a few family members last Christmas when I mentioned my December turnover.)

People just don’t have the mindset that this sort of business can actually succeed and make you any sort of decent income.

K, in your case, it sounds like your family and friends care, but perhaps still think that this is just a ‘fancy’ or a ‘hobby’ for you – and that you’ll get back to the ‘real world’ soon.

Or, equally possible, they do care and are supportive – because I have to say, being concerned that they don’t share your stuff on FB or like it isn’t an indication of whether they are supportive or not! That’s what a FB Page is for 🙂 If they choose to be a fan of what you do, great! If not, don’t take it personally. Are you actively supportive of all of their jobs/professions/hobbies/passions?

We’re all busy people, and rarely do we take the time to help and promote people consciously. Even – and perhaps more so – the people we love and care about the most… because we assume they already know we love, care about and support them!

Heck, they might even think you’re doing so well you don’t need that sort of help! I can’t tell for sure from your email, but all of these things are possibilities.

I think the best way to gain the support and respect of people in this situation is just to succeed.

Give them the cold, hard proof that what you’re doing is viable as a business – and that means the $$$.

Of course, if your partner or other very close family and friends aren’t as supportive as you would like, you really need to talk to them about it – tell them how you feel and ask them what they think about what you do. You can’t make anyone be supportive, but opening up an honest conversation is the first step in building those supportive relationships.

Don’t assume what they think about your business – we all know what they say about assumption!!

To conclude: it’s amazing how powerful a little bit of faith and support from those who love us is.

If you have that support, be thankful for it every day.

If you don’t: have faith in yourself, work hard to make your business a success, and you’ll eventually convince the skeptics who require a bit more proof!


Van Den has written 388 posts in this blog.

Jess Van Den is the editor of Create & Thrive, and has been a full-time creative entrepreneur since 2010. She makes eco-conscious, contemporary, handmade sterling silver jewellery under the Epheriell label, and blogs about her jewellery and other beautiful things at Epheriell.com. You can catch her on twitter @JessVanDen.



I identified with the question so much I could have written it. Thanks for your suggestions & advice Jess.

Julia Sydnor

One of the easiest, most effective things to do, is stop calling it a ‘craft’ business. You are not a ‘crafter’. You are an entrepreneur starting a new business. Yes, it’s risky. But it’s also awesome! Show them examples of other creative entrepreneurs that have had success, so they can see you’re on the right path.

“Don’t assume what they think about your business…” So true! I had the same nagging thoughts when I quit my day job. It turns out most of it was in my head. I was struggling to come to terms with my big decisions and lofty goals, and was reading my fears and doubts in other people’s ‘opinions’.


Very well said, Julia!!

What say you?