As a 16-year-old entrepreneur whose blog is constantly experiencing growth online one thing I’ve come to discover is that as long as you’re progressing you’ll always be criticized, directly or indirectly. Yes! There is only one way to avoid criticism completely and that one way is not to succeed.
As an entrepreneur there are a lot of decisions you have to make, it will please some and it will displease others and some people will even go to the extent of criticising you publicly. It might be very difficult to move forward or comport yourself in cases like this but once you believe the two points below you’ll be able to overcome critics easily:
1. You Can’t Satisfy Everybody: I’m someone who has a strong belief in myself and my abilities, I take decisions by myself and one thing I’ve come to learn the hard way is that you can never satisfy everybody. Once you could understand this you’ll begin to see critics as minorities and you won’t take anything they say seriously.
2. Some People are Going Nowhere, and They’re Ready to Stop Others: If you’ve ever heard the term trolls online you’ll understand better. Here’s a definition of trolls in the internet slang (excerpt taken from copyblogger):
In Internet slang, a troll is someone who posts controversial, inflammatory, irrelevant or off-topic messages in an online community, such as an online discussion forum, chat room or blog, with the primary intent of provoking other users into an emotional or disciplinary response or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion.
Once you understand the concept of these trolls and you know that they’re going nowhere it will be much easier for you to succeed. These trolls are the ones who will criticize your every move, they’re the ones who will go out publicly to insult you and you’ll find it difficult to succeed online until you can understand these trolls properly.
We all have our own freedom, we have our right to speech and decision and if I become your enemy because I took a decision you don’t support then it is obvious you’re an internet troll. I’ll also like you to understand that to succeed online you have to be strong at taking decisions and you shouldn’t be confused by anybody, you’re the one who built your business to where it is, you know how to do it and you shouldn’t be forced into doing something that will impair your growth.
Also, when you see these trolls criticizing you it’s important not to take their criticism to heart, in fact, pretend as if they don’t exist, if you do otherwise there’s every probability you’ll give up your entrepreneurial career in reaction to their criticism.
Now that you’ve known the two major types of people you should ignore we’ll now visit what you should do when they come around.
1. Do Nothing
I’ve taken some decisions in my life when I was supposed to do nothing, I took most of these decisions out of anger and I regretted ever taking these steps.
First try to understand that most of these critics are strong enemies of yours and it will be very difficult convincing them, any action you take to convince or react to them will give them an ego boost and will also fuel them to criticize you the more.
I’ve heard and read this saying several times and it wasn’t until recently that I began to realize how true it is, the saying goes thus: the best answer for a fool is silence. So short but true. Responding to every moves of a fool will make him think he is of any importance thereby keeping on playing his pranks, ignoring a fool makes him of little importance thereby leading to him keeping shut.
It’s important to first realize that any decision you take in anger can come back to bite you and anytime you read a negative opinion of critics about you it makes you more angry and furious so in cases like this it’s very important to do nothing. For weeks, don’t even think about it, once that anger in you has gone down you’ll be able to take the right decision.
Another reason why doing nothing might be the best option for you is that in most cases it makes the critics look like a fool since their main intention is to make you angry and strike reaction from your part but if they see no response from you whatsoever they’ll begin to see themselves as someone of no importance, and nothing can be more insulting to them than this so in a lot of cases they’ll give up. What if they don’t? The other points below will tell you what to do.
2. Observe Their Criticism
One thing I’ve come to learn over time is that I’m in no wise better than others, my decisions are always flawed and are not always the best so anytime someone criticizes me, directly or indirectly, I’ll read and re-read the criticism to see if there’s need for me to improve.
It doesn’t matter how hateful the criticism of your critics may be, there might be some truth in it so it is very important to observe their criticism properly.
When trying to observe the criticism of others about you it’s also important to look at the percentage of people who disagree with you, for example, if over 50% of your followers disagree with you there’s every probability that you’re the one who is wrong but if only 2% disagree with you and you got the full support of the others you should know clearly that you’re on the right track.
It might be difficult observing criticisms against you because sometimes there are some decisions in which almost everybody will disagree with you but is the best for you, in cases like this I’ll advise you to follow your instinct only (and only) after you have carefully observed their criticism to see if there is any truth in it.
3. See it as a Sign of Progress
If you’ve been observing WritersinCharge for sometimes now you’ll notice I’m gradually trying to cut this blog from the blogging tips niche and making it more of an entrepreneurial blog. There’s one thing I noticed in the blogosphere recently and that’s the same people saying great comment to the rubbish posts other people are writing. You’ll see bloggers blogging about themselves everyday and saying a lot of irrational things yet you’ll see a lot of people who call themselves effective bloggers commenting on these silly posts, why? Mostly because they also want the blog author to comment on their blogs. I see that as total foolishness!
Take a look at Darren’s Blog, Brian’s Blog and Daniel’s Blog, how many times do you see these type of irrational comments? Many of these type of bloggers don’t comment on big blogs because they know they won’t get any thing in return so they decide to comment only on small blogs whose author will reciprocate with them.
My Point: If you’re not progressing and you’re still maintaining the small audience you have a lot of people will support everything you say (even if it’s not right) because they want something from you but if you’re achieving great results and you’re not dancing to the tune of people you’ll begin to receive a lot of negative feedback and criticism.
Criticism can be a sign of progress because if you’re not that big you’ll hardly be criticized. It’s also important to take a look at those criticizing you, if it’s someone in the same niche/field as you whom you’re far successful than you should know that in most cases that person is doing it out of sheer hatred and jealousy, nothing more!
If you discovered that criticism on your part is a sign of you progressing you don’t need to do anything, in this case you should even be happy.
4. Prepare Your Audience
Critics can be very bad and since they have no goal or future ambition, all they want to do is destroy. They might even go on to confuse your followers.
Another great way to deal with criticism is by preparing your followers, let them know why you took the action you took and let them know how and why it will benefit them, make it clear that anything they hear otherwise is nothing but a lie. This might sound funny but it helps prepare your readers for it and strengthen their belief in you, instead of the critics confusing your followers your followers will be the ones fighting the critics for you.
CAUTION: When preparing your followers it is very important not to use your blog/website/influence as a platform to abuse and insult the fellow who is criticising you, it makes you look foolish and unprofessional and the best thing to do in cases like this is to keep shut and let the person see the kind of fool he/she is.
Once You Understand This…
Once you could understand that in this world there are two types of people – we have friends and enemies – it will be easier for you to succeed. If you think we only have friends you’d have failed before you realize it. Get my point, what I’m trying to say here is that you should prepare yourself too, believe you’ll be criticized soon so it wouldn’t be sudden and heart-breaking when it happens.
There’s a lot for you to achieve in life and the worst thing you’ll ever do is to allow yourself to be slowed down by critics, follow the above tips to deal with criticism as an entrepreneur.
Onibalusi Bamidele is a 16-year-old entrepreneur living the internet lifestyle, subscribe to his blog (via email or RSS) for updates from him, you can also download his guest blogging guide to improve your knowledge on guest blogging.
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