Get All Access for $5/mo

How to Turn Criticism into the Ultimate Startup Motivator Student entrepreneur Will Caldwell on the taking critiques in stride and using that feedback to help improve a business.

By Will Caldwell Edited by Dan Bova

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.

Will Caldwell

Co-founder and CEO of Dizzle and SnapNHD

Will Caldwell of San Diego is the co-founder and CEO of Dizzle, a mobile real-estate tech company that helps real-estate professional generate more word-of-mouth leads.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

Side Hustle

This Mom Started a Side Hustle on Facebook — Now It Averages $14,000 a Month and She Can 'Work From a Resort in the Maldives'

Heather Freeman was searching for a way to make some extra cash — and her cousin gave her a great idea.

Starting a Business

He Turned His High School Science Fair Project Into a Product That Solves a $390 Billion Problem: 'This Has Not Been Done Before'

Vasya Tremsin was just 18 years old when he came up with the idea for outdoor fire sensor company Torch Sensors.

Starting a Business

How to Find the Right Programmers: A Brief Guideline for Startup Founders

For startup founders under a plethora of challenges like timing, investors and changing market demand, it is extremely hard to hire programmers who can deliver.

Business News

Why Does Taylor Swift Keep Stopping Her Shows Mid-Song? It's Actually a Great Lesson in Leadership.

Taylor Swift has paused nearly half of her shows while on the European leg of her Eras tour, and the reason is something leaders can learn from.

Side Hustle

This 26-Year-Old's Side Hustle That 'Anybody Can Do' Grew to Earn $170,000 a Month. Here's What Happened When I Tested It.

Stephen Alvarez was working at a dental supply company and following his passion for cars on the side — then an Instagram ad changed everything.