A friend of mine shared a recent article about the 7 people you should avoid in the workplace. I think the rules are different for people like me who do not work for anyone but are entrepreneurs. People who are solo or lean StartUp founders do not interact with co-workers. Their interactions with others may be limited to clients, contractors or other independent consultants.
For us, there are certain people in our familial and social circles who could harm our progress and therefore we should limit contact with so I’ve identified the 5 types of people StartUp Founders should cut out of their lives, or at least, Plan B, quit telling them stuff about their biz:
1. The Doubter – This is the friend who is fine and complacent with their comfortable life and work situation and really do not understand your drive and desire to be more than just being employed at a good federal government job with benefits and a pension. So, they may shoot down all of your ideas and give you all the reasons why it won’t work or you won’t succeed. This person doesn’t mean any harm, but she just cannot envision or dream as big as you can. Blocked by these limitations, she comes off as pessimistic about your chances for success. Not everyone is cut out for the entrepreneurial life and that is okay but you need friends who will let you be free to be free and will be open to hear your thoughts without judgment. Plan B: You don’t have to dump the Doubter altogether but just quit sharing your plans with her. It’s better that way.
2. The Hater – Unlike The Doubter, this person does recognize that your ambition may take you places far and they are not cool with being left behind. This is the person that will make snide side remarks that come off sort of shady. He may laugh off some of these comments and tell you he is just joking when called out on the negativity, but don’t be fooled. He is doing his best to keep you on his level. Plan B: If you are hesitant on cutting out this person from your life, then as with the Doubter, avoid sharing your plans and be extra cautious in social media also about over-sharing. The Hater is secretly watching your every move to keep track of your advancement and progress. Don’t let his bad vibes cloudy up your opportunities.
3. The Competitor –This person may be in the same field as you or going after similar projects or wins as you are. When you scrape together funds to get a new laptop, she goes out and buys one with bigger memory or that is slightly more expensive, or the latest model. When you find a co-op space in town with a good monthly lease rate, she invites you to the suite in her uncle’s building that he just offered to her lease-free until she gets her business off the ground. When you mention a pitch competition you are thinking about entering, you discover later that she too entered but didn’t tell you and she is a semi-finalist but you didn’t make the cut. She is the epitome of “Keeping Up with the Joneses” but you are Mr or Mrs. Jones and didn’t know it. Plan B: Maintain a cordial but distant relationship and keep things vague when talking about your plans and movements. You already have the clues that she is gunning to out-pace you so don’t be foolish by continuing to be open.
4. The One-Sider – This is the friend who calls you for contacts and connections. He always asks you to connect him with your inside sources but when you need him and seek out his links, he is nowhere to be found. He puts you off and gives you a dozen excuses. Calls and texts aren’t returned immediately. Your email asking him to look over your slide deck never gets answered. This relationship is one-sided and you are on the losing side. Cut this person out. There is no Plan B with this relationship because it is draining and costing you your coins and come-up. Just ix-nay and keep it moving.
5. The Enabler – This friend too means well, just like the Doubter, but just doesn’t know how to be supportive so she just green-lights all of your crazy thoughts and ideas. Whether she doesn’t give much thought to your questions about which direction you should take your business or she doesn’t understand it, and rather than ask for clarification, she tells you to go for it. This is the friend that will tell you that it’s okay to go to the network happy hour the day before a big meeting when you really needed someone to tell you to NOT go and to rest up instead. In the back of your mind, you know this person is keeping you back but you rely on her as a crutch for your ego because she admires your drive and puffs up your head. Plan B: This person’s judgment isn’t the best so before you seek her out to bounce off ideas, find someone else whose decision-making you trust more. You keep the enabler because she is still a supportive person to have around.
It’s well known that your inner circle is key to your success and growth. By being smart and strategic about who is in it, you’ll be able to progress, steadily. Good luck!
Jay Jay Ghatt is also editor at Techyaya.com, founder of the JayJayGhatt.com and JayJayGhatt.com where she teaches online creators how to navigate digital entrepreneurship and offers Do-It-For-You Blogging Service. She manages her lifestyle sites BellyitchBlog, Jenebaspeaks and JJBraids.com and is the founder of BlackWomenTech.com 200 Black Women in Tech On Twitter. Her biz podcast 10 Minute Podcast is available on iTunes and Player.fm. Follow her on Twitter at @Jenebaspeaks. Buy her templates over at her legal and business templates on Etsy shop!