When you put yourself and your business in the public eye, you are going to face critics. In this episode, we discuss how to assess critics to determine if the criticism is valid and how to deal with it.
There are many types of critics out there. Some may have good intentions but many do not. Assessing which type of critic you are being confronted with helps you deal with them better.
Trolls are people who go around the internet trying to get a rise out of people. They thrive on pissing people off. Their criticism is typically not valid as they do not have a personal stake in your business and are just trying to get you to react angrily.
Haters are people who have a personal stake in taking you down. This are different from trolls because haters are targeting you for some reason. Either they do not like your success or they are competitors that are trying to take you down. You cannot make these people happy and you should probably take their criticism with a grain of salt.
Criticism from family and friends can be valid. You need to assess your relationships with these family members. It is hard for people who work a 9 to 5 job to understand the life of a small business owner. These people are very risk averse and believe there is security in a paycheck. You might experience a lot of "Why" people in this category.
People love to say, "The customer is always right." In our experience, that is just not true. We should try to make customers happy but when they ask you to do something that is wrong or are just lashing out, you need to assess the validity of their complaint and the scope of your business. This is why it is important to know who your ideal customer is and your goals for your business.
Getting criticism from peers is difficult, especially when you respect them a great deal. When you receive criticism from a peer, ask yourself about their motivation. Is this person trying to help you or tear you down? In some industries, peers are incredibly supportive of each other. In others, they are not. What type of industry are you in?
Many times, we get a piece of criticism and it feeds our fears. We start to question why we are trying to put ourselves out there. Assessing the validity of the criticism you receive is important, because if we take everything to heart, we may never get off the ground. There is enough fear in your head without taking on the criticism around you. Use productive feedback to improve your business and ignore the rest. It's important to also assess how you react to other people. When you feel the critic within you bubbling up, ask yourself if the criticism is valid or if you are experiencing jealousy. There are very few unique ideas anymore, just unique ways to deliver those ideas. Don't get angry when someone brings an idea to market before you. Use that as validation that there is market for this and get to work!
Typically, trolls should be ignored. They are just trying to get a rise out of you. If you have trolls on your Facebook ads, you should try to make sure that the top comment is always positive. Unless a comment is derogatory, we do not delete them. People are more likely to purchase a product that has some negative reviews. If every review is a 5-star review, people get suspicious. With haters, Kristin does typically respond in a sickeningly sweet way. When you respond to your critics, you show strength, which can be very attractive to potential customers. Don't get in the mud with your critics. Be nice. Be an example to your potential customers. When ideal customers deliver criticism, ask yourself if making some changes can improve the experience of your ideal customers and help you grow your business. If so, look at the cost/benefit of making those changes.
If you don't have critics, you are not taking enough risk. It's nice and safe in our critic free zone but that also means that you are not exposing yourself to potential new customers. When you put yourself out there, you will draw critics. Women have a much harder time dealing with critics than men. Men have a much easier time brushing it off. A negative comment will cause sleep loss for most women. By assessing those who are criticizing you, you can determine if the criticism is valid or if it should just be disregarded. And remember, some people are just jerks.
Share your experience in the comments below or in our Facebook group.
"Using this planner helps me stay organized and on task, even on the most hectic days." - Kristin Ingram, CPA and CEO of Ingram Digital Media, Inc.