How to Deal with Rejection
Building a business and developing it over time involves hard work, dedication and a level of motivation that is rarely seen in any other venture. I mean, come on, have you ever worked so hard for someone else as you have, and will do, for yourself? I know I didn’t!
It’s great to see someone take the initial steps and develop their ideas into a fully functioning lifestyle business, where opportunities are tenfold and creative vision can be a reality rather than a pipe-dream. And you can probably talk the hind legs off a donkey talking about what you do, such is the intensity of your belief and passion.
However, once you put yourself out there, the general public aren’t aware of your background, passion and skills development; rather Mr Joe Bloggs see’s what you do, decides whether to part with his hard earned cash to purchase an item or service, and once this transaction is complete, that’s usually the end of the exchange.
And thank you Mr Joe Bloggs, remember to add a review to the Feedback page!
But as well with dealing with the daily tasks and chores that come part and parcel of building your dream lifestyle business and putting yourself ‘out there’ to the wider community, this process also invites unexpected negative comments, rejection of your items/ services and reviews that basically inform you that your business has been rejected by someone or a group of people.
What happens when Mr Joe Bloggs doesn’t like what you do? He doesn’t ‘get’ what you offer or sell? Or that he just isn't interested in the first place?
A few examples I’ve heard in my time as a self employed person, from my own experience and also from other creative business owners include “you’re too expensive,” “I don’t like it,” ‘it’s not for me,” “I’m not interested,” and “you don’t offer what I’m looking for.”
And with the power of social media, bad reviews seem to carry more weight than positive reviews and these are always accessible to those who choose to seek out the posts and feedback.
It can hurt, especially when you feel like you’ve put a piece of your soul into your creation. And generally, the people I’ve worked with over the years do take negative feedback very personally and have felt knocked off course for a period of time whilst they work through their own fears and internal barriers that have only become more steel like after reading a bad review.
Building your business is a combination of hard work, tears, over-coming fears and those less-than-helpful personal reminders of how easy it would be to just give up, so feelings of rejection can send us into a whirlwind of self doubt, with our bubble of self confidence put in a head-lock by our own self criticism.
And even less helpful is the repeated rejection can make even the hardest entrepreneur question what the Hell they’re really doing and whether it’s worth all the hassle.
Over time this can go either one of 2 ways: the negative comments and feedback massively derail you and the passion and motivation you once had for your venture decreases to a tiny bullet point and you no longer feel the drive to continue building it any further; or you grow a thick skin to certain feedback and plough on regardless, not allowing anyone else’s opinions sway you off the path you’re creating for yourself.
There are 5 points to remember when dealing with rejection that may be helpful to remember.
separate the positive from the negative
Not everyone likes to go over uncomfortable situations and re-reading negative reviews or an outright rejection of your work can be one of THE most uncomfortable experiences a business owner will have to deal with.
But is there anything within the review that you can use and apply to your business at a later date? Was it to do with pricing? Customer service? The quality of your products? Your attitude and general approachability?
Try to zone out of the negative factors and locate the core of the bad review; is there something you could do to address the reason for the bad review?
By looking for the constructiveness of any negate review or outright rejection, you’re keeping control and not falling foul of any attempt to derail you. Hurrah.
Keep it impersonal
Yep, I did mean impersonal.
Sometimes, and by this I mean a lot of the time, the person leaving the bad review often spills forth a lot about who they are and what’s going on for them. Especially when the review just doesn’t seem fair or reflective of what your business is about.
Again, you can glean a lot of information about the person tapping away on their keyboard leaving the review than they realise. Maybe they were having a bad day and you were the unfortunate target for their fury on the day. Maybe they are just happy to engage in troll-like behaviour and try to upset a many people as they can, before moving on to their next target.
It can take some deep breaths and self control to remove yourself so far away from the review to start to consider the person on the other side of the keyboard, but sometimes having a think about what they review says about them can be enough to start seeing the review for what it may be: a vent about their own life and situation rather than you.
Balancing the good and bad
Put the review into context and don’t let one person’s opinion ruin your day, dreams or motivation to continue doing what you’re doing.
You’re not likely to see that person again and they are unlikely to think about you afterwards so don't waste mental energy on rehashing what happened. Easier said than done but think about it, you’ve got a business to grow and develop, and have so many other things to occupy your mind.
And going back to point 1, if you don’t think you have done anything wrong or need to change any aspect of what you do, don’t. Remember, one person’s opinion doesn’t reflect what everyone else thinks.
Refining your target audience
If someone doesn’t feel inspired by your offerings/ products or feels dis-inclined to purchase from you, this can be a good thing.
What this means is that you’re nailing down your target audience, and having sectors of the wider community turn its nose up at what you offer actually means you are loaded with a lot of information telling you who will be more interested in your work and who isn’t your dream customer.
Instead of feeling demotivated about the review or rejection of someone who doesn't ‘get’ your work, see this as a great opportunity to re-define who WILL understand your purpose and who is actively looking for what you do.
And when you start to create products and services for your ideal target audience, this makes the whole process so much easier for you.
Don’t respond straight away.
If you feel sore from the review, put the laptop away and take a massive step back. It can be so tempting to write a reply as soon as you’ve read the comment, fuelled by your emotions and the need to set the record straight.
Now we've all seen the backlash this creates when business owners have done just this, allowing their personal feelings to take control over their mind and finger tips as they furiously refute any judgement of negativity/ bad customer service/ poor quality food or products. But what this does is fuel the situation even more and leaves the business with a stain on its reputation.
If you do feel that you need the right to reply, take some time away (mentally and physically) and allow your emotions to settle down. Let the logical side of your brain take control and address each point in an eloquent and concise manner when you do feel ready to defend yourself.
But it all comes back to this: is it really worth it? Will this review really make any difference to your business, or does it say more about the person writing it (see point 2)? Can this be dealt with offline rather than for all the world to see?
Think of all your options and give yourself the space to gain some clarity about the situation before taking action.
Rejection comes in many forms, and whilst it can feel like a thump to the stomach when you see a bad review on your business, it can also be quite an enlightening experience when you have control over how it will impact upon you and your business goals.