Online haters. They are everywhere. In fact, they are so pervasive sometimes that many people are afraid of putting themselves and their businesses out there online. They are terrified of people judging them and are afraid of falling victim to online bullying.

I’m not going to lie to you, you may need some thick skin when running an online business. But the reality is, you would probably need thick skin offline as well. The difference is the internet has put a magnifying glass on us where online haters can have at it.

Here are some of the ways you can handle online haters when they turn their ugly heads.

Do not engage.

I still remember my first real online hater like it was yesterday. My web designer had posted a nice message on the Facebook page of a woman she thought would appreciate my work. Rather than the woman being happy to see younger generations talking about money and love in the same sentence, she went on an epic rant in the Facebook comments about how I was copying her and was going to fail. Mind you, I had no idea who this woman was since I’d never heard of her.

Sometimes, when people feel threatened they react in nasty ways. That’s why it’s important not to engage. I could have defended myself in the comments, but I much preferred to leave it be. Unlike her, I was not going to make a fool of myself publicly, especially because I didn’t do anything wrong.

Figure out what you can learn.

In any stressful situation, there may be a lesson to be learned. This includes some cases with online haters. In the case of this particular online hater, I realized that the more visibility my business gets, the more some people may challenge me or, even worse, copy my stuff. This means I needed to protect that which I’ve worked so hard to build.

I immediately emailed one of my mentors and asked if she recommended a trademark attorney. She did, and within a few months, I had the necessary trademarks I needed.

Ignore them.

It can be very easy to get wrapped up in whatever online haters are saying. However, the reality is they don’t know you from Adam, so really, you’re better off not wasting your energy on that kind of stuff.

For a good example of how to ignore online haters, check out some beauty bloggers on YouTube. They get hate all the time – sometimes the worst kind – and they handle online haters like champs.

Know the difference between online haters and constructive criticism.

There’s a difference between online haters and someone who simply isn’t in your target market and therefore didn’t like your service or product. There’s also a difference between online haters and someone who is just giving you constructive criticism.

A comment like “I’d like to see you do more of X, please” is not hating, it’s just making a suggestion. Online haters aren’t nearly as polite.

Someone asking for a refund because they thought your offering would be different, also isn’t hating. They just aren’t in your market.

By knowing the difference, you can save yourself a lot of headaches. You’ll also know where you should put your energy and where you shouldn’t even bother. That’s really the key to handling online haters of any kind.

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Amanda Abella is a full-time writer who specializes in online business and finance. She's also an online business coach and the Amazon best-selling author of Make Money Your Honey.

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