Critique partners and beta readers are NOT the same. You need both.
Critique partners are writers. Often, two writers will share manuscripts for constructive criticism. Your critique partner(s) will tell you your story’s strengths and weaknesses and help you work through fixing plot holes, flat/shallow characters, and other structural issues.
Beta readers are, you guessed it, readers. They will give you an idea of how real readers will react to your story and may give general feedback of what they liked and didn’t like. Beta readers should be familiar with your genre and be willing to be honest (which is why family isn’t always the best choice).
Finding critique partners and beta readers can be daunting. If you’re not part of a local writing community already, try to find one. Coming up empty? Start your own group! There are also numerous resources online for pairing critique partners and beta readers. Allow yourself a little time to research and choose one that works for you.
With a reliable, supportive group of critique partners and beta readers and a willingness to take criticism, your story will become the best version of itself. As you share your work, remember that not everyone will love your story. That’s okay. Accept some comments and dismiss others. Allow your work to grow while staying true to your vision.