14 Defenses Against The Anti-Entrepreneurial

Anyone who attempts to free themselves from the shackles of corporate slavery will undoubtedly meet with resistance from unlikely adversaries: friends and family.

As much as you know in your heart that you were born to be an entrepreneur, freelancer, or web worker, very often the people closest to you will be unsupportive.

It’s not that they don’t care about you, they just come from a different world. Employees are from Mars, entrepreneurs are from Venus.

Because our friends and family often have a completely different perspective from us, sooner or later they’re bound to ask that question we all love to hear: “Why don’t you just get a job like a normal person?”

To survive as entrepreneurs, we need to vigorously defend our entrepreneurship against these formidable opponents, ideally without hurting our relationship with them.

In doing so, many of us will take on one of the following personas.

Defense #1:

The jerk

Who they are:

Sometimes the best defense is a good offense. The jerk goes straight for the kill to preempt an attack.

What they say:

“I don’t want to waste my life at a job I hate just to be a total loser like you. If you had half a brain you’d understand.”

The pros:

It will quickly get people to leave you alone.

The cons:

It will quickly destroy most of your relationships.

Defense #2

The martyr

Who they are:

Entrepreneurship has its price. The martyr is quite verbal about the sacrifices they’re making, hoping to elicit sympathy.

What they say:

“I can’t hang out with you guys, I have way too much to do tonight. Poor me, I never get to do anything fun anymore. Bring me back something nice.”

The pros:

It might get people to do something nice for you.

The cons:

It drags everyone down.

Defense #3

The rationalizer

Who they are:

There are plenty of logical reasons for being an entrepreneur, and the rationalizer can put together an airtight argument to defend their case.

What they say:

“The first benefit of entrepreneurship can be traced back to ancient Egypt…”

The pros:

It shows that you’ve done your homework, thought this thing through, and made an informed decision.

The cons:

No one will care.

Defense #4

The kid in a candy store

Who they are:

The ordinary seems extraordinary to a kid in a candy store. By reacting to everything as if it were the greatest thing since sliced bread, they think people will have to be impressed with how entranced they are.

What they say:

“No thanks, I’d like to go to Disneyland with you, but my work is way too much fun. Every minute brings a wonderful new surprise, and I just can’t tear myself away from this!”

The pros:

It might convince people that you’re happy.

The cons:

It might sound a little phony.

Defense #5

“I’m rubber, you’re glue”

Who they are:

Any onslaught aimed at this person will harmlessly bounce off and stick to the assailant.

What they say:

“You know, you’re always complaining about how awful your job is. Why don’t you look into freelancing so you can have more control over your life?”

The pros:

It shows that you’re not bothered by what anybody says.

The cons:

Many people don’t like unsolicited advice.

Defense #6

The underdog

Who they are:

Everyone loves to root for an underdog. This type will position themselves as someone you can’t possibly root against.

What they say:

“I know this is going to be extremely difficult, but I really want to stay home to be with the kids. I just have to make this work. Can I count on you for moral support?”

The pros:

You’re likely to get your own little cheering section.

The cons:

They’re cheering because they feel sorry that you don’t have a chance.

Defense #7

Clark Kent

Who they are:

This type disguises their entrepreneurship so no one knows who they really are. When duty calls, they disappear when no one’s looking. They secretly get their work done and then reappear. If asked where they were, they make some excuse about errands they had to run.

What they say:

“Oh, an entrepreneur was here? Golly, I’m from Metropolis. I see entrepreneurs every day.”

The pros:

They avoid conflict because no one has any idea what they’re doing.

The cons:

A double life takes its toll.

Defense #8

The bragger

Who they are:

While not outright insulting, the bragger is not shy about telling people how successful they are.

What they say:

“Why would I want a job? I make more money working from my bed than I ever did in a stuffy old job.”

The pros:

It’s hard for anyone to attack someone who’s displaying success.

The cons:

Nobody likes a bragger.

Defense #9

The zealot

Who they are:

Whenever a zealot comes in contact with anyone, they make sure to put on the mother of all happy faces.

What they say:

“Is this the best day ever, or what? Every breath I take gives me new life. Every ray of sunlight is a gift from God. Excuse me while I go sing to the bluebirds again.”

The pros:

The bigger the parade, the less people want to rain on it.

The cons:

Everyone will wonder if you’ve joined a cult and will ask them to drink the Kool-Aid.

Defense #10

The surgeon

Who they are:

To a surgeon, an unsupportive person is like a tumor. You don’t try to reason with it, you cut it out.

What they say:

“I’m sorry you can’t support me in this venture, but life’s too short to be held back by negative people. Goodbye.”

The pros:

A tumor that’s completely removed probably won’t be back, at least for a while.

The cons:

Cutting someone out of your life eliminates all the positive experiences as well as the negative.

Defense #11

The delayed gratifier

Who they are:

By making sacrifices now, the delayed gratifier expects to achieve greater rewards later. Anything that’s currently not going well is just a sign of progress to them.

What they say:

“I’ll have to pass on the movie this time. By spending two years doing what most people won’t do, I can spend the rest of my life doing what most people can’t do.”

The pros:

You’re not being overly optimistic. You’re acknowledging that you’re making sacrifices, but to you it’s worth it.

The cons:

Two years later, you’ll look pretty bad if you still haven’t gotten anywhere.

Defense #12

The (wo)man on a mission

Who they are:

This person thinks the fate of the human race is dependent on their business success.

What they say:

“I’m on a mission from God. This is my destiny. This is my role in the universe, and my work is what holds together the fabric of the space-time continuum. If I don’t succeed, Zion will fall.”

The pros:

People might be too freaked out to criticize you.

The cons:

People might be too freaked out to come within 100 feet of you ever again.

Defense #13

The guilt tripper

Who they are:

Instead of putting up a defense, the guilt tripper disarms their critics by giving in to them.

What they say:

“Well, excuse me for having to supplement my income to make ends meet! Not all of us get to go to Harvard and have everything handed to us on a silver platter like you! I will now avert my gaze while you ascend your spiral staircase into heaven, your majesty!”

The pros:

People who feel guilty won’t attack you.

The cons:

This can wear down your self-esteem.

Defense #14

The workaholic

Who they are:

By being fully absorbed in their work, the workaholic will be too busy to notice any negativity directed towards them.

What they say:

“I’m sorry, Bob, what did you say? I’ve got to take this call right now. Can we meet up tomorrow? No, that won’t work. How’s your July? Actually, mine’s terrible. You know, I’ll just see you when I see you.”

The pros:

People will take you seriously if they see that you mean business.

The cons:

Someone in this situation may be paying too steep a price for success.

Which one are you?

 

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