The day after we launched FLD, I received an email from an old friend I haven’t seen in a long time, congratulating me on finally getting up and running:

“I always thought it would be that little book store in Fort Langley, but this is much cooler…”

It was a nice email to receive after all the hard work we had put in getting ready to go live and i really appreciated that she took the time to write it.  It made me reflect on the importance of surrounding yourself with the right people when you embark on an adventure like starting your own business.

Ever since spending several years in the late 90’s managing a small retail business, I’ve known that I wanted to be my own boss and I’ve never made a secret of that fact.

Fine Lime didn’t just “start up” last week.  It’s been in the makings for almost 3 years.  Sometimes, it felt slow and tedious, other times it felt like it was moving way too fast.  But I have loved every minute of it!

One thing has become very clear to me over the last 3 years of trying to start a business: a lot of people will have a lot of things to say about it.  Some, you need to listen to.  Others, you should stay far away from.

Building yourself a support network as you start out is an important step and one you shouldn’t overlook.  But it can be tricky.  You need to find the right mix of people.  I’ve found that for this purpose, most people can be roughly classified into one of three general groups.

Over the next few blog entries, I’ll outline the general characteristics of each group and why you need (or don’t need!) the people in them.

first up: the “love you’s”

That’s exactly what they are – the people who love you and want the best for you.  Mine are usually family and friends.  They don’t always “get” me, they may not understand what I do for a living, they can’t fathom why I’d want to run the risk of running my own company or, if they’re like my mother, they’re just worried about whether or not I’ll have enough to eat tomorrow.

The “Love You’s” can be incredibly frustrating at times and you can’t always count on them for constructive or honest feedback but… they are usually very supportive and enthusiastic about your venture as long as they feel you’re happy.

Don’t stress over trying to make them understand you – quite often they won’t.  And be honest… do you understand all of their decisions?  Probably not.   You need these people – they can be your biggest cheerleaders and their love is unconditional.  Enjoy their kind words and their enthusiasm for what it is: genuine love and support.  Appreciate it and don’t take it for granted.  Trust me, there will be times when it’s all that gets you through the day.

And hey, there will be times when one of them will surprise you and have that perfect piece of advice to change your bad day into a great one!

next up: the positively helpfuls