Today’s Q is:
How do you handle criticism in your business online and offline?
Christa Jensen from ChristaJensen.com says:
When it comes to criticism with my business the way I react really depends on how the person doing the criticism comes across and whether I invited it. There are times I have asked for input and received constructive criticism. It is also inevitable to come across people who feel the need to criticize what I am trying to build online without invitation.
For the ones who are in business both online and offline that offer constructive criticism I welcome that with open arms. I am completely open to those who genuinely want to give you advice and these are the people I seek out for input. I will also embrace it from successful business owners who just offer it up to me. It is not always easy to hear what people think you are doing wrong or what you can be doing better, but if presented to you in an honest non judgmental way it could help your business ten fold.
Now and again I have dealt with people that feel the need to criticize just because they think they can. I deal with this side of criticism on a person by person basis. I haven’t had to deal with this a whole heck of a lot thankfully but it can be frustrating even on a small scale. My general rule is to change the conversation if I feel the person is being overly critical of something they know nothing about. I rarely try to explain to what I call “know it alls” that don’t have any sort of business to base their criticism on. However, if they just seem a little misinformed or uninformed based on stereotypes of work at home moms, I will take some time to educate them about it.
So in a nut shell I deal with it as it comes and as gracefully as I can.
Samantha Angel from Advancing Steps says:
Criticism is one of those things that is necessary for growth. I haven’t always been so open to it though. When I was younger, I had a very thin skin. I took every criticism to heart and rather than benefit from it I took offense. There is, of course, those out there that criticize without the intent to help you get better in your efforts. Over the years, I’ve learned that most of the time you can learn something from it, even when it isn’t intended to help. Even though it may hurt at the time there is always something you can learn from it. This is a sensitive but so important subject that I’ve written a couple of posts about feeling the heat on my blog: I Just Got My Butt Kicked and Constructive Feedback Sometimes Hurts.
You’re on the path to success. And many times thinking big or unconventionally brings about a whole lot of talk whether it be from family, friends or random people who just feel the need to share their two cents – many times unsolicited. Entrepreneurial people tend to be magnets for that kind of chatter. At some point, putting yourself out there will result in some fool saying something that’s not so hot. It can be severely draining and sometimes even zap your motivation. But for the most part, when you jump into the entrepreneurial space it’s inevitable.
Feedback is not always meant to be hurtful though. I’ve learned to keep an open mind because there are times when you will not have all the right answers. A view from a different lens, especially from people who have been there, could serve some good. But still, it’s not always easy to digest. I can definitely relate to our Sparkplugging advisors on that.
So how do you manage criticism especially in the “social” age we live in? Face it. Your negative critics are not going away. So on that note, make sure to stay put and stand your ground. Just learn to equip yourself with some hardy armor and tough love and you’ll find yourself being less affected by it as time goes on.
Here are some tips I’ve collected along the way:
1. Keep pushing through it. If you are truly committed to your craft, this will be much easier to accomplish. There is less of a barrier to bounce back when you truly believe in what you and your business stand for. The more steps you continue to take forward, the more confident you’ll become.
2. Minimize impulsivity. Social media can be particularly scary because you’re absorbing a blow in front of a boatload of people. This could potentially lead to a crisis in your business that can negatively affect your reputation. Gain some awareness in how you feel (defensive, angry, inadequate, etc.) but chill out. I’m sure you’ve heard about all of the Twitter rants. You can’t change your feelings but you can control how you react. You might make a bad situation worse by impulsively countering your critics in public.
3. Don’t internalize it. Keep an open mind in order to correct your course if necessary or simply ignore. Change your perspective on criticsm by viewing it as a learning experience. It minimizes the negative impact on your psyche and how it is expressed in your business.
4. Accept that it’s an integral part of success. The more successful you become in your business the more exposed you will be to criticism. Use it as fuel and validation that you are making big strides. Perhaps it’s a sign that you are moving in the right direction.
I asked this question because in addition to wanting to learn about how other homepreneurs manage criticism, I figured it would also serve to bring some empowerment in knowing that others have been there. I’ve learned to become well versed in resiliency because it helps with enduring the challenges and hardships that come with entrepreneurship. Most of the time, negative feedback is more about your critic’s baggage than it is about you. You are going against the grain, taking massive action and reminding others that they don’t have the guts to do what you’ve done or to go where you’re going.
**Webinar tomorrow, May 1, 2014 @1pm EST: Building a Super Successful Micro Subscription Program**