An Unexpected Lesson from Starting a Business - Conquering the Blank Stare

Everyone knows that you learn a lot about yourself when you start a business, but what I wasn’t expecting was how much I learned about the people around me. When I started opening up and telling people that I started a business, some were super supportive of my crazy endeavors, and some think that it’s just too risky for a single mom, but most just give me a blank stare. A BLANK STARE?!?

I struggled to work out what this blank stare/lack of reaction could be. Maybe it's just that:

  • They realize that I’m more delusional than they had previously thought
  • They're distracted/don't care
  • They’re so impressed that they’re rendered speechless
  • They don’t understand what I’m doing, so they’re just stumped, and somehow don’t have any questions for me
  • They feel inferior or jealous
  • They think that I’m being narcissistic and just trying to one-up them 

What my reaction would be if a friend told me that they had started a business:

“Oh my gosh, that’s fucking awesome!! Question, question, question, more questions”

This is the type of reaction that I was initially expecting. Not this deer-in-headlights look. I could be wrong, but I had always assumed that my ‘tribe’, and genuinely smart, positive, and passionate people would probably not have a deer-in-headlights reaction to that kind of news. (If you're an entrepreneur who has cracked this case, please email me at 

This is so hard to realize and acknowledge, but chances are, if you’re an entrepreneur that's not living in a big, powerful city, the average person around you is just not as ambitious as you.

I know that sounds harsh and assuming, and makes you feel like the relationships that you’ve spent your whole life on are less meaningful than you realized, but this is the conclusion that you may come to months or years into owning your own business. It's just part of that whole 'Entrepreneurial Loneliness' thing. 

What I hypothesize might be a great reaction to this blank stare – none. Trying to prove yourself to them or find the meaning behind that ominous dead stare is a big waste of time. You’ve got to allocate your time carefully as an entrepreneur, and getting wrapped up in how others perceive your journey is just a rabbit hole that you probably don't have time to explore. 

And of course, it’s not really a good idea to judge someone based on a single reaction of theirs, but it may be an indicator of who you should spend your time with. Time is so precious. Why spend it with people that don’t have vision or passions, or who are negative, and going to take up your headspace as you try to figure out where they’re coming from? Realizing this makes you treasure your true supporters so much more. Who has time for boring people, places, or things?

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