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Does your family know what you do?

This is a task I set some of my clients.

Brett Riley-Tomlinson


confused young woman with a yellow background

I encourage them to approach their closest friends and family members to tell them what they do.

It sounds like an easy enough request, but when some clients think about inviting their friends and family into their world of entrepreneurship, they can suddenly become nervous. All that happens is that their loved ones have no clue what they do and how they do it—some can still be in the dark about the specifics many years down the line!

Though my clients’ friends and families could probably quote their job title and a generic explanation about their role, few would be able to describe exactly how their relative/friend does what they do. The problem is, if your own friends and family, who you spend so much of your life around, don’t know what you do, how is your wider audience meant to? Think of the reach you could have if those closest to you understood how you can help others and what you’re trying to achieve.

The key is being consistent and educating everyone around you about your business and the kinds of things you do day-to-day, the benefits you bring to your customers, as well as the clients you prefer to work with.

This is so important when you first start your business. The chances are, your first few clients will be connected to your current network in some way—which makes educating your friends and family about what you do really important.

I’m not suggesting that you should sit them all down and give them a full presentation on who you are as a business owner, what you do and how you do it. What I am suggesting is that, when they ask what you’ve been up to, don’t give them a generic response—describe an actual example of something you’ve recently done, an example of how you’ve helped someone. These explanations/descriptions should be echoed towards your audience on social media, too.

So, instead of saying, ‘Yeah, I’m in marketing,’ give them an answer that encourages them to probe further and reply, ‘What exactly is that?’

For example…

Me: ‘I’m a strategic marketing consultant.’

Friend: ‘What does that mean?’

Me: ‘I work with businesses and see where they are in their market. I glean what vision they have for their business and I then create a roadmap that helps them achieve this.’

Friend: ‘How do you do that?

Me: ‘It completely depends on the client. I either work with them on a one-to-one basis as a consultant and have regular meetings with them to guide them through their journey and keep them accountable…or, my team of specialists, who cover different areas of marketing, get involved and create strategy and content such as video, graphic design, website design, social media and content writing on behalf of the client—delivering the marketing plan I’ve created. Everything is completely tailored around each individual business, which makes my job incredibly interesting. It’s amazing, the sort of businesses we get to work with.’

Okay, your conversations might not prove quite as scripted as that, but there are hundreds of words to use and ways to impart the same information. Each of my responses above provides crucial details about me and my business whilst also prompting further questions from my friends and family. I can educate them quickly and simply in a way that won’t bore them or see them regretting ever asking the question.

Go on, ask your friends and family what you do and see what answers you get—some of them may surprise you!

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