Entrepreneurship is hard, we know that. And in order to become an effective entrepreneur, we need a community. That often means finding other entrepreneurs who can help you through the rough spots, offer support and celebrate the wins. But what I’ve realized recently that it’s important to remember your non-entrepreneur friends, too.
They Don’t Understand Every Experience
You read that right. Your non-entrepreneur friends are important because they aren’t in your work world. While it may involve explaining some ideas or your reasoning behind a decision, these friends give you the chance to get away from spreadsheets and business plans.
They may not understand every experience of starting and growing a business, and they may not understand why you want to work every Friday night or the ins and outs of your latest round of funding, but the right community will help you stay grounded and support your hard work and dreams.
These are the friends who randomly send an “I’m proud of you” text, the ones who invite you out on Saturday night even though they know you may not come, the ones who celebrate the deals, and the ones who let you cry on their couch after weeks or months of losses. (Trust me, that last one is important.) Find them, and care for them.
They Can Offer Advice From a Different Perspective
Entrepreneurs are an incredibly valuable support system, especially ones who have been through it before. But sometimes you need an opinion from someone who isn’t in the thick of it. Even one from someone who’s inside a corporation (even if we may shudder at the thought).
Non-entrepreneur friends have a very valuable trait: they offer an outside perspective. They could be your target consumer, they can poke holes in your ideas, and offer you advice that doesn’t come from someone with their own company.
They Offer a Rare Break From Your Work
Sure, you may not be able to totally forget about your to-do list, but from experience, spending time with my non-entrepreneur friends gave me a chance to talk about life. If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that when you meet friends through entrepreneurship, that’s the common thread you’ll come back to when you need conversation. It’s amazing, but it can also lead to some one-dimensional relationships.
And if your friends want a company update? Give them a quick answer and ask about a show they went to or how their family is doing. It’s not necessarily rude and it answers the question, but it also doesn’t belabor the subject.
Whether you’re in the early stages of your first company (Yay! Go team!) or working on scaling your current endeavor, remember your community. And more importantly, remember your non-entrepreneur friends. It’s a good thing they don’t understand every facet, because that leads to new insights and a chance to go a night without some shop talk.
People are created to thrive in community, and I’m fortunate to have found mine. Have you?