“What’s something everyone loves to give but hates to receive?” My riddle book says the answer is “advice,” but I’d like to update that to say “criticism.” I wrote two articles on giving–and receiving!–criticism a while back, but a recent event in my own life made me start thinking about them again. I want to ask you, gentle reader: How do YOU handle criticism?
“Everything You Are Doing Is Bad. I Want You to Know This…”
Recently, an awkward conversation with an old friend made me feel like I was trying to converse with Dr. Janosz Poha from Ghostbusters II (observe the quote in my header!). I was berated for nearly an hour about how everything I was doing in my business was terrible: From my website looking like crap to not commanding higher prices to the ridiculousness of my preferred gigs (writing articles). Yikes!!
She said a lot of different things to me, but most of it boiled down to this: Sell out.
In order for me to live a “better” life, I would have to give up doing what I love–and how I love to do it–and start going after jobs that make the big bucks, even if they would bore me to tears. Hmmm.
Later that same day, my other friend, Roxy, re-tweeted this quote from Mr. Will Smith:
Ah. Now, that’s more like it!
For me, that quote rang true: Just because starting up your own business is slow, super hard work, and can often be frustrating–don’t give up! You got into this lifestyle for a reason, didn’t you? Why would you go back…?
Don’t sell out just for money. As my friend Mo used to tell me when I had money woes, “You can always find ways to make money–you can’t always find ways to make happiness. If you’re happy, the money will come.”
I can almost guarantee you, no matter what your freelance business is–writing, illustration, jewelry, sculpting, film, or something else entirely!–that if you just keep at it, the money will come. Patience. Tom Petty acknowledged that “the waiting is the hardest part,” but sometimes it’s necessary. Just because things don’t go your way immediately doesn’t mean you should throw all your hard work out the window! Keep at it!!
Wait…Wasn’t This Post About Dealing With Criticism??
Oh, yeah! About that…
Not everything my friend(?) said was bad. She actually had some pretty good marketing tips that I plan to utilize in the future.
When you get criticism, it can be hard to differentiate the good from the bad.
Step One: Stay Calm.
Step Two: Ask yourself “does this really apply to me/my business?”
Step Three: Adjust accordingly.
Step Four: Throw out everything that doesn’t apply.
Step Five: Dust off your hands and move onto the next challenge. Ya can’t please everyone!
What Do YOU Do?
Have your say!!
How do YOU deal with criticism and general naysaying in your business?
Leave a comment!