When I first started in graphic design, I didn’t tell a lot of people.
Maybe it was my confidence level.
I didn’t hide it, of course (I was running a business, after all), but I wasn’t sure what people would say.
As a result, years into my business, friends would talk to me about needing materials for their event or business, and I would think, “Hello! What do you think I do?”
What’s funny is that I would then design something for them and their reaction would be, “Hey! You are actually good. You did this?”
Man, did I drop the ball on informing the people closest to me.
There is no telling what kind of connections could have been made by doing a few simple things.
I’m not going to let you make that mistake.
When lobbying for the support of your family and friends (I’m referring to the 8 ways I share in the infographic below), remember a few key tips:
Tip #1 – Make it simple
Remember, you do what you do every single day.
It is second nature to you.
It is NOT second nature to the people you are talking to.
Use simple language.
Avoid industry related jargon that will just cause confusion.
The sooner they grasp your skills and talents, the sooner they can support you.
Tip #2 – Do everything
No matter what you are asking from them as far as support, make it as painless as possible.
If you are asking them to send an email to their friends, write it.
If you are asking for funding, create a professional-looking document that answers all investment-related questions. Try one of these templates.
If you are asking for feedback, give them specific criteria to use when evaluating what you need help with and questions to guide them.
Before giving your friends and family a task, think through it yourself from their perspectives and ask yourself what you would need to make the job as easy as possible.
Provide them with what they need.
Tip #3 – Accept diverse perspectives
Hearing from your friends and family is like hearing from your client. Usually, clients don’t understand the depth and time investment of what you do and neither do your friends and family for the most part. Listen to them and make adjustments to make your brand more memorable and convenient for your customer.
Listen to them and make adjustments to make your brand more memorable and convenient for your customer.
Use their perspectives as a way to be strategic in your planning.
Tip #4 – Let them tell your story
Your friends and family are the beginning of your Word of Mouth network which is your secret weapon.
The more familiar they are with what you do and what you stand for, the better they can tell your story and gain interest for your brand.
8 ways to gain support from your friends and family to grow your brand (post + #infographic) Click To Tweet
The 8 Ways Explained
1. Ask for Likes and Comments
Either they will do it or they won’t, but if you let your peeps know a few clicks of a few buttons could really help your business, they will likely do it.
Send direct links to your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, etc…
Having awesome social media graphics makes it easier for your friends and family to share because it is more natural. Need a social media/blog design template? Check this out.
2. Utilize Their Talents
Whether it is, writing, strategic thinking, or simply a knack for details, ask your friends and family to contribute in a way that benefits your business and helps them feel appreciated.
Asking for their support in a way that is uncomfortable for them is counter-productive for you.
For instance, if your cousin is always on social media, but rarely leaves the house, then you shouldn’t ask that cousin to come be a hostess at your business event.
Let her/him handle some of the social sharing instead.
3. Benefit from their Network
Your family members have jobs (hopefully), friends, and people they interact with that you don’t!
Allow them to provide warm leads that you can comfortably follow up with.
4. Ask for Feedback
Ask them to “audit” your business so to speak.
Treat them like clients and gain valuable feedback concerning your processes.
Ask your friends about your look and the thoughts that come to mind as they view your documents.
5. Educate Them on Your Brand
People that love you are unpredictable.
They may go the extra mile and do something amazing for your business, but you hold them back if you don’t educate them.
Your family needs to know EXACTLY what you do and a general idea of how you do it.
Equip them to help you.
6. Ask for Funding
I know this is probably your least favorite suggestion, but if you need it, who better to give you money than people that believe in you.
However, do yourself a favor and be sure to define the details of the funding upfront.
If it is a loan, set up the dates and amounts that will be paid.
Don’t let uncertainty linger; it breeds rejection and bitterness later.
7. Offer Something Exclusive
In return for their sacrifice, give your family something awesome.
If your services would benefit them, give them something free.
8. Set the Example
Most of us have a dream and there are so many fears swarming around those dreams.
Be the permission-giver amongst your family and friends.
Share tips, tricks and encouragement as you go on your entrepreneurial journey and they will likely be on board with you.