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How to Turn Criticism into the Ultimate Startup Motivator

College Treps

Editor's Note: College Treps is a weekly column that puts the spotlight on college and graduate school-based entrepreneurs, as they tackle the tough task of starting up and going to school. Follow their daily struggles and this column on Twitter with the hashtag #CollegeTreps.

How to Turn Criticism into the Ultimate Startup Motivator

Between professors, business advisors and customers, you're bound to face criticism as a college entrepreneur.

It's how you respond to that criticism that could either set you up for success or failure. For me, criticism is my biggest motivator. Here are four tips that I've learned about criticism and how to handle it:

1. Understand where your critic is coming from.
Realizing your idea is not the best idea since sliced bread is imperative for young entrepreneurs to understand. But hearing that criticism from someone whose opinion you hold highly can be tough to stomach.

I got roasted by someone I respect. He really doubted my business model and stressed how intense the competition was. It was the most painful 30 minutes of my entrepreneurial career. Looking back, I started to understand where he was coming from and that what he was saying wasn't intentionally hurtful. Instead, it helped me locate aspects that needed improvement. In the end, focus on those weak points people point out, and prove them wrong by showing them the sales revenue you bring in. 

Related: 5 Ways to Keep Your Ego in Check as a Young Entrepreneur

2. Take the negative in stride.
When someone looks at your startup and points out weaknesses, listen to them and try not to interrupt. Everything they are telling you is probably true, and you really needed to hear it. Once they point out the flaws, ask them how they'd recommend you can fix them. What you should not do is formulate a long excuse on why that is not an issue. Chances are they have more experience than you.

Related: How to Find Value in Other People’s Problems

3. Use criticism to motivate.
As a young entrepreneur, people will often encourage you and praise your idea. However what you really need is for people you respect to tear your business model apart and point out the flaws in your idea. It'll hurt to hear it, but it will get you thinking. It may even drive you to excel so you can even debunk those doubts.

Related: 3 Reasons to Be Proud of Your Brick-and-Mortar Shop

4. Don't quit.
Criticism is hard to take, but the worst thing you can do is give up. Instead go out and pursue your goal even more ardently. Fix what needs to be fixed, of course. But in the end, don't let anyone derail your entrepreneurial efforts.

How did you overcome criticism? Tell us how you handled your business critics in the comment section.

**Apply Now** Are you an enthusiastic college- or graduate-student entrepreneur, eager to share your on-campus experiences? Apply to be a YoungEntrepreneur.com College Treps columnist.

The author is an Entrepreneur contributor. The opinions expressed are those of the writer.

Will Caldwell is currently a senior majoring in accounting at the University of San Diego. He's the founder of Rivolix, a mobile real-estate tech company focused on property management, MLS/IDX integration and residential realtors.

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