As I work with more business owners as a coach, I’ve come to realize that one of the biggest hurdles they face when stepping out and playing bigger is the fear of criticism online.
It’s no secret that Twitter and the comments section of blogs are full of trolls. In fact, social media bullying has become a major topic of discussion lately. However, that’s not what most of my clients are afraid of.
Instead, my clients are afraid of their business receiving criticism online. Since their business is often a reflection of them, then it also gets a little personal.
What Happens When You Play Bigger in Business
Running a business requires you to put yourself out there. In the 21st century, that also looks like putting yourself out there online.
The more you want to earn, the more you’ll need to show yourself. The more eyeballs you have on you, the more you run risk of people criticizing you or your business online.
This used to stop me dead in my tracks when I was younger. I also see it affect several of my coaching clients who want to earn more but keep coming up against this fear.
The good news is there are ways to overcome this fear so you can better handle criticism online and earn more money.
Tip #1: Consider the source.
The first step when you run across criticism online of yourself of your business is to consider the source.
Is this a troll who is trying to undercut you? Is it a complete stranger who doesn’t know you from Adam? Or, is it someone you respect who is simply trying to help you improve.
There is a huge difference between the former and the latter, and you’ll feel it.
Tip #2: Realize that pleasing everyone will keep you broke.
I’ve recently been playing much bigger in my business as I write columns for major business publications. This, of course, has opened the doors for some Twitter hate.
Most notably, I’ve had a couple of people tell me that my columns on marketing mistakes were basic and nothing earth shattering. At first, it kind of bothered me. But, then I realized that they simply weren’t the right audience.
If I was busy trying to cater to every person instead of the right audience, I’d be spinning my wheels. The reality is you don’t make money trying to please everyone, you make money helping the people who actually need it.
The problem is several business owners are still in the business of trying to have everyone like them out of fear of being criticized. Here’s how that ends up backfiring in the long run:
- This usually leads to some pretty loose boundaries on the part of the business owner.
- You let one bad comment in a sea of positivity keep you from moving forward.
- You undercut and undervalue yourself because you’re afraid of being criticized. In other words, you literally leave money on the table because you’re afraid to ask for more.
- You don’t stand for anything and people can smell it from a mile away.
- You go after the wrong clients and customers.
These are just a few of the ways that trying to please everyone will keep you broke. As such, it’s in your best interest to break out of that mold starting now.
Tip #3: You’re not in the business of converting people.
One of the biggest business lessons I’ve ever gotten was that I’m not in the business of converting people.
If you don’t like me, my writing or my business that’s fine. Ultimately, I’m not here to make you like me. I’m here to help the people who do actually need my content and services.
I’m also not in the business of trying to convince people that they need to hire me. This goes back to making sure I’m only targeting the right people who know they need me. It’s a lot easier (and more lucrative) to do that than it is to waste time and money trying to convert people.
Tip #4: Just don’t read the comments.
I was recently listening to an interview of Danielle LaPorte where she was talking about how she handles criticism online.
The first thing she mentioned was how she turned off the comments on her own website to create some space between her and the opinions of others.
The second thing she mentioned was how she once heard Eckart Tolle say how he doesn’t read reviews of his books. Now, if the man behind “The Power of Now” get affected by negative comments, then we all do. Take a page from his book and just don’t expose yourself to the negativity.
Tip #5: Do the best you can and then let it go.
I recently had a customer service inquiry come in through my office phone. The person was understandably upset because they felt like a digital product hadn’t been delivered by one of my affiliate partners.
I looked into it, contacted whoever I needed to contact and then let it go. At that point I’d done everything I could. If they were still having issues after that it was beyond the scope of my control.
Funny enough, I heard from one of my affiliate partners that they’d done everything they could on their end as well and this person was still having issues. That’s when you realize it’s not you.
The same applies for client work and your marketing. You just do the best you can and then at some point you have to let it go.
Tip #6 Act with integrity and things will be fine.
I once had a business owner tear me to shreds on social media because they thought I’d stolen an idea from them. They threatened to sue me and made a big hoopla on their public page.
Mind you, I’d never heard of this business in my life.
First off, I didn’t engage. Especially after it became clear to me that something was off about them. Second, I immediately got myself a trademark for my idea. I took the moment as a business lesson, not as a personal attack.
And, as is usually the case, they were bluffing anyway.
The point I’m trying to make here is this: if you act with integrity you will be fine. Will you upset some people in the process? Probably. But it will be nothing in comparison to a number of happy customers and clients you create along the way.