Entrepreneurship

5 Harsh Truths About Supporting & Being Supported

There’s something about doing what you love that makes you hypersensitive about how others feel about it. I see it all the time on social media. In my early days of following my dreams I was extra sensitive and even celebrities feel that way at times. Take Erykah Badu’s infamous declaration for example:

“Keep in mind that I’m an artist…and I’m sensitive about my shit…”

But if you aren’t careful, you can come off a little “green” about what it truly means to follow your dreams. One of the main things you have to understand is that you’re not going to be everyone’s cup of tea.

I remember talking to a first-time entrepreneur of a very new business in an extremely competitive industry. She was going on and on about how angry she was that she didn’t have the support she felt she deserved or assumed she would get. I understood where she was coming from but at the same time, it turned me completely off from even wanting to continue to support her. Then I saw a photo floating around Facebook about people not supporting their local artists but spending lots of money on celebrity concerts and shows.

It made me think about this whole notion of support.

I come from a place where there are endless debates and opinions about what it means to be supportive of those in our community and throughout the city and I feel like it would be great to share some harsh truths that I’ve learned.

Truth 1: No one is obligated to support you.

This is the very first thing you need to know before even attempting to put yourself out there. I don’t know where we get off being so entitled (not just about this but in general), but no one owes us a thing! Just because you have a product, a business or service or because you’re a performer does not mean people are automatically supposed to patronize you. And even if you support someone who you don’t feel supports you, they aren’t obligated to do it either. You must earn a fan base, clients, and customers…which brings me to the next truth.

Truth 2: You must give people time.

I know you just opened your boutique last week and released your mixtape this morning but give it time. When I first started my blog I barely had 100 page views in a month. A little over three years later, I’ve earned over 3.8 million. It takes time for people to catch on and while they’re doing that, focus on your craft.

Truth 3: Whining doesn’t help.

Ranting online about how no one supports you isn’t going to change anything. Beware of the energy that you’re putting out because it can leave a bad taste in someone’s mouth. I personally am not more inclined to support someone because they’re whining that no one does. I would (rightfully) assume that their attitude toward people is probably one of the reasons that no one is rocking with them and that isn’t attractive to me. Instead of whining about a lack of support, focus on the support that you do have. Nurture your supporters and they will spread the word for you. Trust me, I know.

Truth 4: Maybe it’s not them. Maybe it’s you.

As dream chasers, we are extremely passionate about our dreams. We can be so passionate that we go all in and have tunnel vision even as and when the results aren’t justifying the cause (trust me I know this all too well). We never stop to think about the very real possibility that maybe our idea isn’t that great. Maybe what we’re doing really isn’t working. Maybe our music sucks to the average listener. Maybe we’re channeling our energy to the wrong demographic. Those are all reasons that your level of support may not be where you think it should be. At that point, if you care about being successful, you should reevaluate some things.

Truth 5: Be genuine and really mean it when you tell someone that you support them.

I don’t get my panties in a bunch about people not supporting me, especially not the people in my hometown. I used to care but I found that when you focus so much on something that isn’t giving you the right vibes, it can consume you and make you bitter…ultimately interfering with your work. I also don’t support what I don’t like, don’t believe in or have an interest in no matter who it is. Sorry but not sorry. If I support you, it’s going to be genuine and doing the whole support for support thing isn’t my style. Think about it…would you rather have a genuine supporter or someone who just says it to make you feel better? Exactly. On the flip-side you should be genuine when supporting others as well. Don’t do it to get something in return.

I know it sucks when no one shows up to your event or buys tickets or makes purchases. It feels very crappy but it happens to us all at some point.

I’ve gone to a concert for a national recording artist that barely had 40 people there so it even happens to “stars” as well. I promise that when you shift your energy to what you have and use that to boost what you’re doing, you’ll see a turnaround. It may not be tomorrow, the day after or even next year but it will come. And if it doesn’t, refer back to Truth 4…but whatever you do, don’t let people see you sweat.

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