How to best the bullies, trolls, and critics.
The internet is the Wild West. If you’re stepping up, be prepared for haters to pull you down. These five entrepreneurs share their steadfast rules and tactics to keep their sanity and reputations intact.
1. Pay them no mind.
Money and success follow attention—you won’t get either without attracting haters. Here are five things to remember:
Don’t get emotional. Stay rational when you are getting “pinged” by the haters and critics. Say, “Thanks for that, I will take it into consideration.” Then, throw it away. Getting emotional messes with your productivity.
Don’t fear the hater, be afraid of those who listen. Friends, family, and people on your team who are weak enough to buy into the hate are more dangerous to you than the haters themselves. Get rid of the weak people who pass on critics’ garbage.
Haters are quitters. The people who say you can’t do something have already quit trying. When haters say, “Become a multimillionaire, yeah right,” they’re actually saying, “I’m a quitter, and I’m hoping you quit too because it will make sense of why I quit.
Haters are spectators. Players don’t take feedback or criticism from spectators; those people rarely have success in their own lives because they’re too busy “speculating” on the lives of the successful. I value correction from other players but never value criticism from haters.
Never waste a hater. Haters should not be wished away but used as fuel to take you to the next level. So many people have talked about how they used haters to inspire their success.
Remember, there has never been a successful person who wasn’t criticized or hated on!
2. Show them how to win.
When I started my company, Style Coalition, back in 2008, the blogosphere was the Wild West, mostly filled with people pursuing it as a hobby or a side gig at best. I was accused of “selling out” by forming a coalition of bloggers with the aim to pursue sponsors and help people build a business out of their blog—something that’s part of the industry today, but that required a daily fight for existence just a few years back.
It came to the point where I was bullied online with personal attacks for my bold opinions. I chose to ignore the haters and focus on work, one day at a time. Being a one-woman show for the first couple of years, I simply didn’t have the time for the haters. Slowly but surely, the fruits of my labor started to create positive buzz, proving that you can have an authentic voice and profit from it at the same time.
Most visionaries—who see things before others—often suffer harsh and frequent unfair criticism, but they also reap the biggest rewards. The key is to block it out while continuing to create a positive impact around you. Nothing discourages haters more than seeing you succeed!
3. Use them as fuel.
The writer Elbert Hubbard told us, “To avoid criticism, do nothing, say nothing, be nothing.” Those of us who choose to live and share content in a way that impacts people can’t avoid criticism. Instead, we must embrace it.
In 2010, when my second book, “Life! By Design” came out, it hit the NY Times, Amazon, and WSJ bestseller lists. I did hundreds of interviews, podcasts, and drive-time radio spots.
One particular piece generated the most hate. HuffPost did a four-part piece on the four addictions I covered in the book. Each week, people took the time to share which addiction stopped them, and I shared a solution.
Then, the haters came out. You would laugh at all the crap they shared—seriously, it was hysterical.
How did I deal with it? One, I didn’t give them my power. Two, I accepted a long time ago that people are entitled to their opinions. Three, I wished them peace. Then, I kept doing my thing!
With this mindset in place, I found that the haters actually fueled me to do more.
4. Ignore the bullies.
I categorize people into three categories:
The lost causes: 33 percent who don’t care who you are
The haters: 33 percent who hate you for what you stand for, how you look, the things you say, and a million other reasons that you’ll never understand
The lovers: the final 34 percent who like and love everything you do.
Once I’ve defined a person’s category, I use an appropriate response system. Sometimes, you ignore; other times, you respond with canned responses.
I once had a guy who hated my guts for absolutely no reason at all. He wrote negative things, slander, and lies to ruin my reputation—all from anonymous fake accounts. (He would message me to inform me that it was him doing it all.)
Initially, I ignored him, then I threatened legal action. But it came to the point where he did anything to get my attention. So, I ignored him entirely—the more he tried, the more I ignored. Eventually, he got tired of trying to get a reaction out of me and moved on to someone else.
That’s what haters do: they shout from the rooftops until their lungs give out. Once they notice no one is listening, they move on. Storms pass and all seasons bring new weather.
Ignore hate as best as you can. Always responding to hate only increases the problem and its attention.
Instead, focus entirely on those who love you, what you do, and what you stand for. Your loyal fans deserve all your attention and service. They’ll always have your back and love you unconditionally if you service them with incredible value.
5. It’s them, not you.
When I started mentoring fitness business professionals, haters targeted my physique. Even though I’d been a healthy trainer for years, I didn’t look like “The Hulk.”
People said that I should be “shredded” if I knew what I was talking about. It really messed with my head.
I reminded myself that I knew a lot about health and fitness and had helped many people reach their fitness goals. And negativity toward me was said probably out of someone else’s insecurities. It wasn’t about me.
I used that experience to deal with haters since. I like how I look and know what I’m good at — helping people build their business. I know I can offer value to the clients I serve and make a positive impact in their lives.
What people say can’t be changed or controlled, so I don’t let it consume me. Not everyone will love what I do, but I love what I’m doing. Negativity won’t ruin that.
Weirdly, haters validate your stance: they prove your polarizing effect in the world. So, you’ll have some haters, but a another group of people who resonate with you. Focus on that, and you’ll be prepared to face the haters.