Entrepreneurship Lesson: How to Overcome Adversities
Entrepreneurship is not at all sunshine and rainbows. In fact, it can take an ugly turn. Here are some tips on how to overcome adversities and develop a thick skin in the business.
Ask entrepreneurs about haters, and almost everyone will tell you they have their fair share of them in the business. Haters may seem like the least of your worries in running a company, but they do affect your performance as a business owner.
Entrepreneurship subjects you to a lot of criticism from people you know and people you don’t. As we’ve discussed in the previous Startup Hustle TV episodes, it takes a toll on your mental health. Harsh words, whether they’re told through a random troll comment or said by a person close to you, are hurtful. But just like everything else in life, you’ll inevitably have to deal with them.
The biggest challenge in handling criticism is to discern whether to take the high road or respond back. Here are some pieces of advice from the Startup Hustle cast on how to overcome adversities.
What is a Hater?
The word “hater” is pretty self-explanatory. Webster simply defines it as a person who hates someone or something. However, it can mean something different to every individual. For some, haters are people who are generally pessimistic. Others think of them as people who are incredibly malicious and unreasonably angry.
Hernan Sias of Business Bros describes a hater as, “somebody who is going to knock you down. Someone that will tell you that you’re not good enough. And that what you’re trying to achieve is impossible”
“Haters can come in a lot of different forms. They can definitely be strangers on the Internet who are just out trolling, or they can be your own friends and family. [They] aren’t doing things they want to do with their life or are unhappy with their situation. And they see you doing what you want to do and they’re gonna hate,” explains Kyle Steppe, founder, and COO of KC Hemp Co.
Who are your haters?
As a startup founder, you are guaranteed to have haters centered around your world. There are people who will hate your ideas, ambition, drive, and even the products you sell in your business. It doesn’t always have to be logical too; some people do it for spite.
“I’ve had people come after me and attack me as an individual, which hurts. And people who come after InnovateHer, which hurts even more. I don’t see that much differentiation because InnovateHer is kind of like an extension of who I am and what I’m about. So when the haters come out of the woodwork, it sucks,” says Lauren Conaway, founder of InnovateHER KC.
Matt DeCoursey, Full Scale founder, shares his insight on the matter, “in the end, they probably hate themselves. They are so unhappy with their own ability to do anything. They direct that frustration out into the world.”
Tips to overcome adversities as an entrepreneur
Don’t take it personally
When you’re dealing with haters, take the high road and always be professional. Handle all criticism with a clear head. A hater is someone you can’t control and there’s no use chasing their affection or approval. You don’t have to stoop down to their level. Save your energy for the more important things, like growing your business.
Look for constructive feedback
Take the good with the bad. There may just be something you can learn from those hate comments. We always have to be growing. And what people point out as bad or unconventional about you, may actually be your edge as an entrepreneur.
“You get used to people pointing out why you’re different or why you’re weird. I just started embracing it,” Andrew Morgan, founder of Marknology, shares.
Take time to process it
Hate comments sting. We naturally want to get along with people around us. It’s a healthier practice to deal with hurt first before shaking it off and moving on. Give yourself a chance to internalize those painful events, remarks, and actions. You can allow yourself a good cry so you’re not always carrying that burden in your work.
“If I have a hater, the only time it bothers me is if it’s someone I really respect. A peer that I care about their opinion. Those are the ones that actually sting. But it doesn’t happen very often,” shares Matt.
Don’t become a hater yourself
As the proverb goes, “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” It may be tempting to respond to attacks, but you’ll just end up hurting yourself and your business in the long run. Chances are, your haters are just trying to rile you up. And, becoming just as hateful is going to cost you more. No one likes to work with angry people. This will just alienate your customers and employees. So, keep calm and handle the hate gracefully.
Follow the advice of Mixtape founder Joel Johnson: “Do something more constructive with your time. Support people, serve them, or just be generous.”
Learn more about Entrepreneurship
Entrepreneurship is not an easy journey. The road to success is paved with a lot of pitfalls. You have to deal with a lot of business problems on a regular basis. That’s why it’s important to surround yourself with mentors and take the extra initiative to learn.
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