How to Survive Criticism In Business
Well, hello there!
I’ve got some sticky stuff for you today!
We are talking about how to cope with criticism and business rejection. Yuck, right?!
But we all have to deal with this. Whether you’re starting out or an established entrepreneur.
Right at the beginning you might find yourself more vulnerable to criticism.
You're often in your inbox and managing your customer service. Feedback from customers (and non customers!) can be super painful at this stage.
I remember when I changed my business name to Lucky B*tch. I’d asked the universe for a million dollar idea. It came to me in the shower! I was so nervous to make the change.
Guess what? Some people liked it and some didn't. I got a load of unsubscribes. I just had to make peace.
What happens when you talk to your family about your business?
Maybe you want your mom to get excited about your latest win. Maybe you're seeking approval from your dad because he's never told you he's proud of you. Often you don’t get what you want.
Does this sound familiar: "What do you do again? Tell me how that works. Oh, are you qualified to do that? That sounds like you're charging a lot for what you do."
You’re seeking validation, and you get criticism in return.
This can derail you and your brilliant business idea.
Consider this: Where are you seeking advice from people who are not qualified to advise you?
Sometimes criticism comes up around your price. Know that if you charged a dollar, you would still get people saying, "I can't believe you're charging."
If you have money blocks around pricing and worth, you may attract people who mirror that. Their words can be like a dagger in your heart.
Don't go seeking criticism. DO NOT Google yourself. Don't punish yourself.
And lastly, turn off your unsubscribe notifications. I used to get an email every single time someone unsubscribed. I don't need to see that. There’s nothing to be gained from having that knowledge.
In this episode, you'll learn:
- Criticism is inevitable
- There’s no such thing as critic proof
- How to survive criticism
- Why it’s NEVER a good idea to google yourself
- My million dollar idea!!
- How seeking validation can derail you
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Speaker 1: Start your business for the freedom of time. Now you're tired of the hustle and grind. There's got to be a better way. It's time to listen to and Chill & Prosper. Welcome to Chill & Prosper. You're ready to chill and prosper with Denise Duffield-Thomas.
Denise Duffield...: Hi, gorgeous. It's Denise here, and I'm so thrilled to spend this time with you today, and I appreciate your time, I appreciate your listenership, and, of course, I absolutely appreciate and love any reviews you can leave, or rate it, this podcast, and it really helps us get the word out there, and it helps me move up the charts so more people can find it. I super appreciate you sharing this in your business groups and all of those things, share it with your business bestie. I love and appreciate you for that, thank you.
Now, today we are talking about how to cope with criticism and how to cope with business rejection, and I have done separate episodes on things around this. So we've done things about looking at your stats, dealing with failed launches, that kind of stuff, but I've just seen people recently get so despondent, just feel really bad, and they take business rejection so, so personally. Okay? So if you do need to revisit some of those, like knowing your numbers, for example, in my book, Chillpreneur, renamed, Chill & Prosper, there's a whole chapter about the 1% rule, about how not everyone is going to want to work with you. So you can go, and that could be your homework to look at that, but I just want to talk about other forms of criticism and business rejection today. So of course, know your numbers, know what to expect, all of those things.
Now, the first thing that can be super, super painful is feedback from customers, and non-customers, like non-buying people, and I remember this very, very clearly at start of my business journey, and it's often at the start because you're often in your inbox, your customer service, you're doing that yourself, and you're just trying to figure things out, so you're a little bit more vulnerable to that business criticism at the start.
And so, I remember when I changed my business name, my website used to just be deniseduffieldthomas.com, and then I changed everything to luckybitch.com, and I had asked the universe for a million dollar idea. I was like, "Universe, send me a million dollar book title, send me a million dollar idea," because I wanted to stand out in the market, and I got this idea in the shower, Lucky Bitch, and I remember talking to my coach about it at the time and said, "I'm really nervous about saying 'Lucky Bitch.'" And the whole story behind it is because when I started working on my money mindset, I started dealing with my money blocks, all these amazing things started happening for me, and my friends were just like, "Oh, Denise, you're such a lucky bitch," and I was like, "No, not really. Let me reverse engineer it for you. I'm learning to be lucky, I'm learning to be more optimistic, and it has a big follow-on effect," right? But they were like, "Nah, you're a lucky bitch."
So I really wanted to do it, but I was so scared of the criticism and so scared of people not liking it, and guess what? Some people didn't like it, some people criticized me for it, and I got a lot of unsubscribes from my newsletter when I made the shift. I had people saying to me, "Well, I can't support you anymore because it's a swear word," and I mean, "bitch" is one of those things, Facebook do not like it, for example, it gets flagged all the time, it gets filtered in some people's email filters, all that kind of stuff. So I totally understand it, but I was just getting people going, "Oh my God, you're so rude, and this is horrible, and it's so offensive, and I can't believe you're saying this," and I was trying to explain, "I'm reclaiming this word," and it was so painful.
It was so, so painful, and seeing those unsubscribe notifications was very painful, and then one person said something to me that was really hurtful, and it was a big mirror for me. So I used to see this chiropractor, he was in his 50s, and I would talk to him about my business, because I didn't have anyone to talk to about business. I didn't know very many entrepreneurs at the time, I was only in a few peer groups of entrepreneurs. I didn't really have a regular coach or mentor, and so, I would talk to anyone. I was just trying to get validation and I wanted all these gold stars from people like, "Oh, give me a gold star, give me a gold star."
And so, I was saying to him, "Oh, I'm so excited about my new book, Lucky Bitch," and he goes, "Can I give you some feedback about that?", as he's adjusting me, my chiropractor, and I was like, "Sure," and he goes, "The reason why I don't like it is it sounds like you think you're better than everyone else." And it was just like a dagger in my heart, a dagger in my heart, and I went, "Oh my God, you're right," but I went home after that, and I actually changed chiropractors not long after that because I was like, "Why am I soliciting this feedback from someone who isn't my target audience?"
So, I mean, I'm here to speak to whoever wants to listen to me, right? But I really do center the words that I speak to women in business, and that doesn't mean I'm excluding non-binary people or men, but it's just that I'm not centering men in my work. Right? And so, I was getting advice from someone who was never going to be a client of mine. He would never read a book called Lucky Bitch, so why was I trying to get him to give me a gold star? And I realized it's because I was trying to get validation. Okay?
So where are you inviting criticism from the wrong people? So we often do this with our families. We talk to our families about our business, because we don't have business besties, We don't have peer groups of people to talk to about it. And so, we just want our mom to say, "Wow, well done. Well done," and maybe there's layers under that. Maybe you're trying to get approval from your dad because he's never told you he's proud of you. Right? It's going to open some worms. And so, you want him to go say, "Oh good work," and often they don't give that to you.
Often, they're going, "What do you do again? Tell me how that works. Oh, I don't understand. Oh, are you qualified to do that? Oh honey, that sounds like you're really charging a lot for what you do." And so, you're trying to get this validation, and you're only getting criticism in return, and it can be very derailing. And I'm so glad I didn't take his criticism to heart, because it was so inappropriate for me to ask him, and it was so inappropriate for him to give that, and it was inappropriate for me to believe it. Okay, so where are you seeking that? Where are you trying to get advice from people who are not qualified to give you that advice, and where are you letting that derail you? Where are you changing things to do that?
Another aspect of that is working with coaches or mentors who have a very different personality than you. So where are you putting someone up on a pedestal and taking their word as gospel? And you know how sometimes you see people and they make very black and white proclamations, "Email is dead. Don't do this. This is dead," and so you go, "Oh God, okay. That's what they say." And so, when people ask me for business advice, yeah, often I've got a strong opinion on something, because I'm a Virgo, right? I'm like, I do have strong opinions, but I often say to people, "It depends," and they go, "What do you mean?" And I go, "Well, what's your money personality?"
And so, people say, "You have to write your goals down in present tense," and I go, "Yeah, but that doesn't work for everyone's personality." Some people say, "You need to set a big stretch goal," and I go, "That doesn't work for some people's personality. Some people are paralyzed by the stretch goal, and they need small wins. Other people get bored by the small goal, and they need the big goal to inspire themselves to possibility, and they don't care if they don't hit the goal. It doesn't derail them." So there's no business advice that fits every single person, but if you are trying to fit your business into someone else's model, then you could be feeling like a loser. You could be feeling like you're not living up to your mentor's expectation, or you're not winning, or you're getting criticism because you're actually doing something that doesn't feel right for you. And so, you kind of know it and you go, "Ugh."
And so, I tried to do really salesy sell from stage one time, and I got criticism. Feedback was like, "Oh, Denise didn't seem like herself. She seemed really nervous," and I was like, "Yeah, I was, because I was trying to do sell from stage in this cookie cutaway, and it didn't feel authentic to me." And so, then what I did was I went back to my half-assed sales approach where I was like, "Hey, by the way, like if you've got this Bootcamp, come and join it. If you want to join, come and join," and I had people who were like, "Oh, that's really unprofessional," but I could cope with that criticism, because I knew it worked, and I knew it worked for me. So see where you're trying to get validation from inappropriate sources, and also see where you're trying to fit yourself into something that doesn't work for you, because then you might get criticism that's just showing up because it's not right for you.
Okay. I've got some more tips after this break, short break, and I'll see you in just a sec. Stick around.
Kyra: Hi, I'm Kyra, an Australian astrologer, Tarot reader, yoga teacher, and herbalist at Herbal Moon Goddess. I actually met Denise a few years ago at a conference, and it was a huge fan girl moment. I've read her books, in fact, Chillpreneur lives on my bedside table, but I only joined the Money Bootcamp about two months ago now. When I joined, I was feeling really stressed about money. I felt like I was stuck in a financial rut, but since joining Bootcamp, I set a goal of receiving $10,000 in one month. Well, the month's not over yet, and I've actually received more than $10,000, plus, I received a phone call confirming I would receive $50,000 of value, oh my gosh. And I really have to put it all down to Denise's revolutionary teachings. It's now part of my morning ritual to listen to a Denise training video as I'm starting my day. Bootcamp has helped me grow my income and business, plus it's been an amazing journey of personal development. Thank you so much, Denise, for helping me realize my own self-worth, and helping me to break through my own limitations when it comes to earning money.
Denise Duffield...: Okay, let's talk something you might not have actually even experienced much business criticism so far, but you're actually terrified of it, and so, you might be stopping yourself from publishing a book, from launching your website, from launching your course, because you're terrified of criticism. You might see very normal things like people unsubscribing from your newsletter as very personal criticism, and I'm telling you, if you do not want anyone to unsubscribe from your newsletter, just have a newsletter with your mom on it, or your dad, and even then, some people's parents unsubscribe because they're like, "Honey, you send too many emails."
So you can't say, "Universe, send me a big business, but I don't want anyone to ever unsubscribe, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever," or "Universe, I want a really successful launch, but I don't want anyone to ask for a refund ever, ever, ever, ever, ever," and refunds are just a normal part of being in business. I've done podcast episodes about it. I've done articles about it, right? So if you need help around that, just search for my name and refunds, and you'll see that it's a business rite of passage. It's not a personal criticism. Now, some people do ask for a refund because they just go, "It wasn't what I thought," or "It's not for me," or "I don't like your voice," or whatever, and that's cool too. You could change your voice, you could change everything about yourself, and someone will still not like it.
You might get criticism around your price, and this is something that can be very scary and derailing for people, and if you charged a dollar, you would still get people going, "I can't believe you're charging." If you're charging what you think is very reasonable, if you're actually charging, but you're actually getting resentful about the fact that people are still not happy, then it's not the price, it's the people that you're attracting with that. And often, if you have inner money blocks around your pricing and your worth, you'll sometimes attract people who mirror that to you, and they will say the exact criticism that is like a dagger in your heart. "If you really cared about people, you wouldn't charge for this. If you really cared, this would be free," and you might have a belief that what you do should be free.
I've seen this a lot. One lady I know does pelvic floor help for people, using yoga. She thinks it should be free. It totally should be free. That doesn't mean she can't charge for it, it just means that if she charges well for what she does, it will free up time and energy to write free articles, to write a book that people could access, and then she could help a lot more people. So criticism around price is not a reason to discount, it's not a reason to do your work for free. It is inevitable. There's no such thing as a critic-proof price at all. Yes, you're looking for the sweet spot, you're looking for the Goldilocks price for you. It feels good, it feels right, it feels nice, it feels win-win, but you're never going to find the right price that every single person has a consensus on. Okay?
So if you're looking for consensus in your business, it's just never going to happen around anything. So if you launch your book, you're not going to get five star reviews forever, okay? And you might have a perfect record at the moment, you might have zero refund rates, you might have all five star reviews, and you're almost scared to go out a little bit further because you're like, "I don't want to break that streak of perfection. I don't want to get even one criticism," and it's impossible. You can't do it.
If you want to feel better about this, by the way, find who is your favorite author? Who is your absolute favorite author, who you just love everything they do, every word, you wish their books were longer? Go to their Amazon page and look at their one star reviews, because it will really help you realize that everyone has criticism. And do you think it stopped them from writing? Look at the most prolific author you can think of. So Brené Brown has heaps of books, Cheryl Richardson has heaps of books, and do you think that they looked at that and went, "Oh, well I'm a shit writer. I'm never going to write again?"
Barbara Cartland wrote like 700 books, and she has so many critics of her work. Obviously, she's not around anymore. She wrote her books, by the way, in a very formulatic way, is that the word? And she would lie on her chaise lounge, wearing probably lingerie. In my mind, she's wearing a marabou feathered dressing gown, and she dictated her books to her assistant. Are her books the best books in the world? Probably not. People who love her though, would've read even more. They would've read thousands of books if she'd gotten around to that.
But I've seen people release one blog post, they get criticism, and then they never write again, and there's just no such thing as a critic-proof book, ever, ever, ever. And it's okay for people to like different things. Do you like different stuff? There's books that I've hated, and I haven't gone and then done a one star review, but I have told people, "Oh no, I hate that book." So it's okay for people to not like stuff. You should hear, sometimes Mark and I will sit and we'll watch reality TV shows like The Bachelor or something, and we're super mean. We'll be like, "Oh my God, look at that person. They're so weird," and it's mean, it's not nice, but I would never put it on a forum. I would never email that person and say, "You're annoying."
So you've got to think sometimes the people who do that, they do not need any attention. For someone to write a horrible one star review, they do not deserve one, your attention, but also two, it's just their opinion, and it's okay that they didn't like it. Heaps of people don't like my work, and it's fine. It's totally fine. I'm so chill about it. But here are some extra little tips for you, right? One, don't go seeking negative feedback. Okay? So if you have a book, don't punish yourself by reading those one star reviews. It's none of your business. It's not.
You can go and read an author who's similar to you and read their one star reviews, and that might give you some ideas about what people might like to see in your next book, but you really don't need to do it, and when I say never, I reckon once a year when I'm super, I don't know, down on myself or something, I'll go read them as punishment, and then I'll laugh, because go my one star reviews. Some of them are like, "I can't believe she swears. It's just so inappropriate," and I go, "Oh, okay, fine. Whatever. I like swearing."
Someone said, "She should've emphasized that her books are for women, because I accidentally bought it and read it, and it should've had a pink cover, or it should've had 'for women' on it," and that was like, "God, dude, whatever. I read business books written by men all the time. They don't need to say 'for men.'" It's just that I was like, "Who cares about your opinion? You think you should be centered all the time in the world as a man? No." So, I was just laughing about it. So most of my one star reviews, I'm just like... Like one person was like, "Oh, she really half-assed this book," and I was thinking, "I really fucking didn't. I really worked hard on this book," so that made me feel a little bit down, but then I was like, "Okay."
So don't go seeking it. Whatever you do, do not Google yourself. I've got friends who have entries on... There's a horrible forum, I'm not even going to mention the name, because don't go looking for it. If you like drama, sometimes it can be addictive to go and read drama on those sites about bitching about people, or negative reviews about people, and some people really thrive on that. Some people, their whole business model is tearing other people down, and bitching about them, and criticizing them, and it can be really yuck, yuck energy, but it can also be very addictive. So whatever you do, don't Google yourself, don't punish yourself. Don't force yourself to look at it, because it will not feel good.
And here's one other quick tip that is so easy to do, everyone should do it. Turn off your unsubscribe notifications. Most email systems let you do this in the settings. I used to get an email every single time someone unsubscribed. I don't need to see that. It's none of my business why people unsubscribe. It's none of my business. Some will say, "You send too many emails." Okay. Well, that's how many emails I send. So if it doesn't work for you, it's okay that it's not a good fit. Or, "You swear too much." That's okay, go find a money mentor who doesn't swear so much. It's totally fine. It's cool. You do what works for you, I'll do what works for me. So, but that changed my life, just unticking that. I don't need to see it. You don't need to see it. It's none of your business. It will be very predictable what those things will be. Nothing can be gained from it.
Okay, so that is my lesson for you today. Don't go seeking criticism. Don't think that there's a critic-proof price, a critic-proof message or anything. Be yourself, be brave to be yourself, and it's totally okay for people to not like it. That's fine. Some people like Vegemite, some people hate it. It's totally okay. But don't go away, I've got one more final thought for you after this quick break. Bye.
Heather Schwart...: My name is Heather Schwartz, I'm a writer in Upstate New York, and I also produce books through my company, Connections for kids. I was so inspired by Denise's story of how she won the honeymoon contest in her book, Lucky Bitch, and the takeaway for me was that there's always more you can do, because it's true. I realized there was so much more I could be doing for my career, and my creativity, and my earning potential. I was just really inspired by every word of that book, and the other two as well. So I would recommend Denise's work to anyone.
Heidi Mark: Hello, I'm Heidi Mark from a little village in England, and I help frustratingly overwhelmed entrepreneurs and employees find their unique way to live the successful life they long for, without screwing up their health and relationships. I absolutely love everything Denise has written. It has literally changed my life. I recommend her books all the time. "Be a guru, not a contributor," changed my life, removed the fear, and also, changing the whole conversation around money and that women having money is a really good thing, love it, freedom, joy, relief at being able to do this work. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
Denise Duffield...: Hi, and welcome back, and my final thought today is the F word. I say the F word a lot, by the way. My kids are like, "Mommy, stop saying the F word," and I just love it, but that's not what today's F word is all about. Today's F word is "family." Family. If you don't think you have any money blocks, go and hang out with your family for a week, go stay with your parents for a week. So family is a big key to uncovering some of your money blocks. It could be family money stories that have been passed down that you're not even aware that you have. It could be that your family has an unofficial family motto that you all have to live by, and it's could have never been spoken out loud, but it's still there, and it could be something like, "We're resilient, we're poor, but we're happy, we're scrappy," or it's that "We're serious, and we're not creatives. We're not entrepreneurs. We value education."
And so, look at where those family stories, and those unofficial family mottos and unofficial family rules could be ruling you, and your business, and your life at the moment, because we live in a time where you can break all the rules. You can be rich and live in a tiny house. You can be happy in a mansion. You can be miserable in both of those places too. So your family story does not have to be your story anymore. You might choose to break the cycle of poverty, dysfunction, people not living their dreams, and we live in a world where we're breaking cycles, just because of who we are. My mom wasn't able to have a career, my grandmother wasn't able to have a career because it wasn't the time, and now I live in a world where I can do those things. There's not as many barriers now for me, and for you too.
So it's safe for you to release your family money story, it's safe for you to rewrite your family story, it's safe for you to create a new legacy, and the cycle ends with you. That's thirsty work though. Breaking cycles is thirsty work. So take care of yourself, ponder that. If you want to explore things like that further, make sure you're in Money Bootcamp, we talk about that stuff all the time. The details for Money Bootcamp are at denisedt.com/bootcamp. Join us when you're ready, but it's safe for you to break the cycle, it's safe for you to continue the good legacy, and create a new legacy for yourself. All right. I will see you next week on Chill & Prosper. Bye.
Speaker 1: Thanks for listening to Chill & Prosper. Tell your friends to chill and prosper, review, and subscribe. We hope you had a very good time.
About the Show
Chill & Prosper is your weekly dose of money mindset, marketing and humour from best-selling author and entrepreneur Denise Duffield-Thomas.
Denise's philosophy is that there is ALWAYS an easier way to make money and that's what she's here to help you do. Each week, you'll get actionable advice to help you make more money, with less work. There's no need to hustle - let Denise show you how to embrace the Chillpreneur way.
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