An Entrepreneur's List of 17 Techniques for Handling 'Haters'
Next time some angry individual spews venom, here's what you do.
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It's going to happen: haters. They are going to approach you, email you, comment on your social profiles, blab about you on Twitter, publish articles against you and basically try to smear your reputation, your validity or your business.
Related: How to Spin a Bad Online Review
Haters are gonna hate. But what do you do about it? You receive their comments, see their tweets, read their articles and feel as though you've been punched in the gut.
People love to remark that, "Entrepreneurs need to have thick skin." But how do you make this happen? How can you harden yourself against the attacks of the haters?
Here are some techniques to try when the haters come at you.
1. Think, act, forget.
This is a simple three-step process that I go through when I encounter a hater.
- Think. Is what this person said valid?
- Act. If so, do something to correct it. If there's nothing you can do, want to do or should do, then skip this step.
- Forget. It's done. Over. You're free to live your life with reckless abandon and unchained joy.
2. Write an email and then destroy it.
It's a common human reaction to want to kick back when someone kicks us. So, go ahead and do it. Write a flaming-hot message, complete with as many bad words, pejoratives, put-downs and slams as you want.
Then destroy the email. Completely obliterate it. You'll feel better for having written it. But do not -- DO NOT -- send it.
3. Think about something awesome you've done.
You've done some amazing things. Replace the hater's message with the message of these awesome things you've done. Take a few minutes of complete "you" time to reflect on these things.
4. Take some time to consider or write about your values.
Thinking about your life values -- those qualities, people or experiences that are most important to you -- tends to put everything else into perspective. You'll quickly realize that the hater's comments are a miniscule speck of negativity in a wide universe of appreciation and value.
5. Read some fan mail or testimonials.
Counter the negative feedback with positive words. As Mark Twain put it, "I can live for two months on a good compliment." Compliments have more staying power than criticism.
If you have a testimonial or praise page -- or even just a private collection of nice stuff you've received -- take a few minutes to reread it.
Related: 6 Steps for Handling Social Media Complaints Like a Pro
6. Call your mom.
Moms are good at stuff like this.
7. Be thankful for the free ad.
Hey, you just got some publicity, right? Maybe it's not the exact message you were going for, but it's free. Feel some gratitude.
8. Listen to some power music.
Do you have go-to music that gets you going? Now's the time to listen to your favorite energy song or high-intensity tune.
9. Exercise or take a walk.
Science tells us that physical activity allows the brain to be rewarded with the "feel-good" hormones, helping you to wipe the mental slate clean of the hater's message.
10. Just don't look at it anymore.
Here's something I've found to be true with entrepreneurs: We're really good at getting past things. We have this knack for putting stuff out of our minds, and then lasering in on the next thing. That's what you need to do, too. Out of sight, out of mind.
11. Complain to a friend, and then forget it.
A good solid complaint session can be extremely beneficial. Simply call a friend, tell him or her that you need to vent for a few minutes and then let loose. A true friend will withstand your venting session, and you'll be glad you got things off your chest.
12. Put it all into perspective.
The hater is just one person. One comment. One day. One sad little mind. This person doesn't have the power to wreck your momentum, throw you off your groove or destroy your business.
13. Shake it off.
14. Work hard on something else.
Get so lost in a task that you can't think about anything else. Focus as intensely as you can, and the hater's message will be lost in the background, then wiped into oblivion, where it deserves to stay.
15. Ask for some support on Facebook.
I'm a part of some really spectacular private Facebook groups, comprised of A-list entrepreneurs. We're okay with being transparent with one another, asking for support and complaining, if necessary. Why? Because we know that we can get some much-needed support and feedback.
What you're facing with your haters isn't unique to you. Every person who has a smidgen of success experiences the same thing.
Share your struggle and ask for a hug; you'll get it.
16. Wish them the best.
Here's the thing about haters. They're usually miserable people. They're just taking out their inner hurt on you. Don't feel singled out as the object of their hate. They're probably going through a really rough time. Reach out, thank them for their insensitive comment and make a compassionate gesture.
17. Write an article like this one.
Want to know why I wrote this article? The reason is that I needed to recover from some haters of my own.
It's not easy. It hurts sometimes. But when I write an article like this, I'm writing it for myself, and that does help.
Related: 5 Steps to Deal With Haters When You're the Rock Star
Welcome to the life of an entrepreneur. You've got haters. You've got fans. And you have to accept both in whatever doses they come. Thankfully, your fans are going to love you more than your haters hate you. You'll get through this. And you'll be stronger for it.
Have you faced haters? What has been your experience?