Any juicy stories about parents horrified by your desire to start a business?

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I am working on a chapter of the Escape from Cubicle Nation book about getting your friends and family on board with your idea to start a business.

For the section about talking with your parents, I am looking for a specific example of someone’s parents who freaked out (initially at least) when you told them you wanted to leave your stable corporate job to start a business.

One example is a friend whose Dad escaped Nazi Germany to come to the U.S.  He is absolutely perplexed by his son’s desire to find meaning in his work.  Such a concept is so far from his own life experience that my friend struggles to explain it to him.

My own parents are wildly supportive of everything I do, and that has included some pretty wacky things like going to Rio de Janeiro by myself to study martial arts, taking the bus from Caracas to Bogota (advice in retrospect:  don’t do it!), starting a business and moving to Arizona to marry a Navajo medicine man/entrepreneur.  I don’t think there is anything I could do that they wouldn’t support, unless it made me unhappy or broke a law.  I realize that they are the exception, not the rule.

If you have a juicy story (can be short), please comment here, or drop me a line at pcs (at) ganas (dot) com.

Time is of the essence, so the sooner the better.  Thanks!

Update 1/22:  I had to share this response, from Felicia Ryan — it was too precious!

"When I told my father that I was changing careers from my comfortable 65+K per yr as a marketing/fundraising professional to start my business as a life coach he said, "Well, we will love you no matter what." After what seemed like a long time my mother got on the phone and said, "Your father thought you said you were going for training to become a life guard. He didn’t know what a life coach is." This is from a man with a high school education and the same job working at the Boston Globe since he was 18 years old. Here I am with a Master’s Degree and working on my 20th or so job since I graduated from College. So in his own way he was telling me that he would support me.

My father is partially deaf and really has no idea what a life coach is. So in his mind he translated it to the closest thing he could relate to. It was pretty funny. "

5 Responses to “Any juicy stories about parents horrified by your desire to start a business?”

  1. Sharon Lee says:

    I guess a better word than “horrified” would be “dismayed”… that I would willingly leave the “security” of a job (after going to university and everything), to venture into the riskiness of starting my own business.

    And for a while there, it looked as if perhaps they might have been right…

    That is, until I finally found an online marketer (James Brausch), from whom I learned SEO strategies — and now my website is on the front page of Google, MSN and Yahoo for my primary keywords!! 🙂

    Anyways, my parents are still somewhat skeptical — they think this new-found success just couldn’t possibly continue. Should be interesting if one of my brothers or sisters should ever lose their “secure” jobs…

    – Sharon

  2. Paula G says:

    I wouldn’t say horrified, but I know they aren’t happy. I still hear regularly “when are you just going to go out and get a real job”. I know they love me and that in their paradigm of the world it isn’t “safe” to be self-employed..and they just want the best for me. But it does make things difficult.

    One key nugget I have been focusing on…and working through from the inside out is the difference between having my parents love vs. acceptance/approval. I know I have their love and I need to be OK with following my dreams even if they aren’t on board because they don’t understand.

    So it’s not nearly as exciting and juicy as you might be looking for…but it certainly is not only real but something a lot of budding entrepreneurs probably face. After all if family hasn’t known or been exposed to anyone who owned their own business (or their exposure was all bad like uncle so and so going bankrupt) they aren’t likely to jump on the cheerleading squad for your venture.

  3. Richard says:

    I once told my dad I wanted to start a small business. As he was shaking his head he looked me square in the eye and said don’t do it. I’m still stuck in the cube and whenever I start planning a venture that thought goes through my head. Not sure if he discouraged me because of who my partners were at the time or if he didn’t want me to suffer the ‘pains’ of business ownership.

  4. gl hoffman says:

    I hear these all the time. Some I included in my posting some time back about the top 100 attributes of successful enterpreneurs

  5. Anne-Marie says:

    When I quit my job as a corrections officer to make soap full time, my parents rolled their eyes and figured it was a phase that would pass. They’re far too nice to “freak out” but they did refuse to invest $5000 in my company. Of course, now that we’re past the 7 figure dollar mark, they’re probably bummed. =)