How To Deal With Haters As A Solopreneur
“Everyone’s a critic” couldn’t be truer. Whether you have your own business or not, everyone thinks they have the right to comment on your life, your looks and your feelings. You’re questioned by your mom who thinks your new haircut is a little too short. You’re ridiculed for your love of Harry Potter by mere muggles. You’re made to feel like your anxiety in concerts and crowds is meaningless by your super social friends.
Haters don’t respect you. They don’t even respect themselves. Which is why they pick you apart- it’s easier than looking in a mirror.
It’s hard enough mitigating other peoples opinions, but when you decide to change your whole livelihood or lifestyle things can get worse.
All The Bullies Put Your Hands Up
I had a very early lesson in haters. I was bullied horrifically starting in sixth grade and it continued through high school (and even the occasional anonymous college message). I had lots of haters, or as I like to call them- fans. Because in a twisted way, they were only mean because they never had the guts to be me. They were jealous.
I had zero tolerance for B.S., even at age 11. I would break off friendships when I saw the other person wasn’t nice or the kind of person I wanted to surround myself with.
Manners were a big one, and I quickly dismissed people who never said thank you after I gave them a birthday gift.
I also dressed very fashionably (Teen Vogue was my bible) which was a stark contrast to the Hollister look of the era. I was a straight-A student. I actively participated in class. I had more in common with adults than kids.
Things escalated and soon I was a pariah. I had no friends. I was constantly made fun of for having no friends. There was no Instagram or Snapchat or even Facebook early on. We had MySpace and AIM, and I received no less than five insults a day on my MySpace “board”.
I was none of these things, but it didn’t make the slap hurt any less.
I also received several anonymous IMs from classmates with the same oh-so-original insults. I remember one saying “You’re so annoying.” I wonder how long they took to think of that one?
I didn’t even talk to anyone.
In school, I was miserable. Everyone whispered about me. People laughed in my direction.
To this day, when I hear someone whispering and laughing I automatically think they’re making fun of me because it’s so ingrained in my head.
No one wanted to be my partner for in-class projects. Every clique had it out for me, and I was commonly harassed by a rotating group of them.
The administration did nothing.
Law enforcement did nothing.
I received numerous death threats and my mom was actually concerned someone would harm me in school.
To this day, I remember standing in gym class and a girl coming up behind me and whispering in my ear “Go die.”
Let's be real: haters hurt.
I’m not going to lie to you, I wasn’t born with an armour of steel. I came home every day and cried. It seemed never-ending. My mom, being the empathetic and brilliant one she is, kept explaining the problem isn’t me, it’s them.
It just feels so lonely when the attacks keep coming with no end in sight. I begged my mom to homeschool me but she couldn’t.
One of my main bullies deleted my work from school computers not once but TWICE, with no punishment from staff.
I hated school so much I completed my senior year of high school at the local community college to get a jumpstart on university. I couldn’t wait to be out of that high school. I didn’t go to homecoming. I didn’t go to prom. I didn’t even go to graduation.
They could all suck it.
Build Up Your Armour
Being constantly attacked has a profound impact on you-you learn to either buckle under the pressure (and I would never let them win) or strengthen your sense of self. If I didn’t know who I was when I entered school, I sure did when I left.
I learned who to listen to and who to ignore.
I learned that the only opinion that matters is my own.
I learned that nearly everyone I meet as an adult can be traced back to a personality type from my school days.
When I meet someone I don’t like, I think “Oh, they’re just like so and so with these problems.” Insults don’t sting as much.
If you are a human with a beating heart, haters hurt. But once you learn not everyone’s opinion matters, it becomes easier to dismiss the losers and focus on you. It takes practice and doesn’t come overnight, but standing up for yourself is critical in asserting your position in the world.
Think about it: if someone is taking the time to write something negative about you on the internet or say something to your face, they are taking time away from literally anything else they could be doing with their life. It's incredibly sad and I feel sorry for them. The only way they can feel better about them self is by tearing other people down. That's no way to live.
I don't agree with most people, but I also don't take time out of my day to publicly humiliate or argue with them.
So next time you encounter a hater...
- Tell them your business is none of their business (and if they know all the answers why don't they start their own business? hmm)
- Ignore them (this works really well because they are usually looking to get a reaction from you)
- Politely tell them off (in a calm, level-headed way of course!)
Make More Money By Being You
A solo business has you at the center of it. Clients want to do business with a person they feel a connection with. If you compromise yourself or your values to appeal to everyone, you still won’t have business because you fail at resonating with anyone specifically. People are supposed to fall in love with you and your unique take on whatever you do. It's just not going to be everyone.
Being you and not a watered down version of you will always incite unrest amongst the insecure. But you don’t have to justify yourself or placate these morons.
To be a solopreneur turned Tycoon, you have to be okay with people not liking you.
If you aren’t, you’ll never stand out or get business or be remembered.
Haters are an indication you’re doing something right.
Talking about the same sugary topics your competitors talk about or having the same attitude they do will do very little in attracting YOUR ideal clients.
Solopreneurs should have something to say. And you deserve to say it without backlash. But that isn’t how the world works.
So if you have something different to bring to the table (even if it’s on a not-so-new topic) you should BRING IT.
Because YOUR clients want to hear it.
Everyone else can go suck an egg.