“Everyone wants to ride with you in the limo, but what you want is someone who will take the bus with you when the limo breaks down.” ― Oprah Winfrey
When I launched my first business I was surprised that people started to see me in a different light. I guess I didn’t feel the leap into entrepreneurship was such a big deal because it was something I had craved my entire life. It seemed like a natural progression for me, something I had always been working towards.
However, I soon realized that depending on their own life experience, people either viewed me as completely crazy or awesomely inspiring. But whichever view they took, everyone (including distant acquaintances) asked personal questions about money that I never expected. Specifically, they asked, "How is the business going, are you making money?" or "Have you started paying yourself yet?" I was also asked detailed questions about how much it cost to buy certain business assets or to setup the business entirely and, shockingly, a CUSTOMER once asked me how much we pay our staff in wages!
For those who've never owned a business, let me tell you, those questions are the equivalent of asking someone outright, “How much do you earn?” I don’t know about you, but I was raised to believe that question is just plain rude.
Now, I have to admit that in the beginning I didn’t really appreciate being asked these questions. But I also lacked an appreciation for how fascinated some people are by entrepreneurship. As a business owner, you can choose to feel the pressure and weight of prying questions or decide to accept them for what they generally are:
I recommend prepping yourself with answers, so no matter what state of mind you're in when confronted with questions about your business, you can provide a consistent response. Although being an entrepreneur means experiencing highs and lows in your business, it's important not to let that emotional roller coaster be your image. Confide in those you trust, respond positively to everyone who asks.
As for the people who are just plain nosy, you’ll soon learn to handle them with a firm but tactful rebuffing that stops their inquisition.
Have you also been surprised as to how forthright some people are with their questions about your business? How did it make you feel and how did you respond? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.