A month into quarantine, I’m starting to see a disturbing new trend: Mean-spirited emails. Rude comments on Facebook. Accusatory emails. Sometimes downright nasty, this negativity has been circulating my inboxes and Facebook groups in the wake of this Pandemic.
And it’s not just me! An alarming number of my fellow business owners have shared that they’ve seen a HUGE increase in people replying to emails with snark and sarcasm or accusing them of being scammers.
Have you experienced any of this negativity in your own business? If you have, this message is for you:
You do not need to bear the weight of their hate.
Because here’s the thing that haters don’t know… Building a business is a LOT OF WORK. It takes sacrifice and heck of a lot of grit to start something from nothing.
Haters don’t know this because they’re NOT the ones doing 👏 the 👏🏻* work*👏🏾.
Small businesses are the lifeblood of our communities and are run by people like you and me who are in the trenches, pouring their heart and soul into their business. Your true fans know that, and they’re the ones we keep showing up for.
So how can we stay positive and productive when it may feel like we’re all living in a pressure cooker right now?
11 Simple Ways to Conquer Negativity in Your Business
Tip #1: Put the blinders on.
Facebook groups can often attract internet trolls like bees to honey.
Focus on your own business right now, instead of wasting hours in Facebook groups playing the comparison game. I find myself in this trap ALL THE TIME. If you let them, these groups can be a major drain on your productivity and your confidence!
So here’s my bold suggestion for you.
Try taking a break from Facebook groups for ONE MONTH. No, seriously!
I’m sure it will come as no surprise to you that in December 2016 I had yet to cross my $5k a month revenue goal line, but after putting down Facebook and giving those hours back to moving my business forward, I more than doubled my income in just a few months!
Since negativity is as contagious as this virus, it may be time for a little social quarantine. . .
Tip #2: Address your fears head-on.
What is holding you back from taking the next big step, launching that course you’ve been fantasizing about, or creating your first product?
Are you feeling crippled by a mean review you got this week? Are you afraid of selling during this climate? Does one refund request totally throw you off your game by poking at your fear of failure?
Once we can identify our fears, we can distinguish lies from truth.
Truths: Now is a great time to sell. Refund requests usually mean your product just wasn’t the right fit for that person. And mean reviews come from the haters. Remember what I said about the haters??
Tip #3: Celebrate how far you’ve come.
Take 20 minutes to reflect on the moves (big and small) that you have made in the past year. Maybe you made a decision to START a business (woohoo!), maybe you created a new product, or grew your email list by a few hundred or a few thousand. You took a step closer to your dreams, and every step is a win.
We all need constant reminders of our wins. It helps us keep a healthy perspective on how far we’ve come when our instinct is to only look at how far we have to go.
Tip #4: Unsubscribe the Negative Nancys.
You don’t have to serve everybody, you just need to serve YOUR people.
If you find there are outliers who are draining your bucket, it’s okay to let them go.
Tip #5: Encourage your community.
I’m talking about your fellow small business owners!
Taking two minutes this week to write a friendly response to someone’s newsletter or leaving a review of a product you loved could be a much-needed drop of kindness for someone.
Encouragement breeds confidence, and we all have the power to give that to someone, just like we have the power to take it away.
Tip #6: Create an “accolades” folder.
I once had a boss that used to keep an “accolades” folder of thank you cards and kind emails from clients in her filing cabinet. She claimed it was so that she could pull it for quarterly reviews and wave it in front of her supervisor’s face to justify a raise, but I’d catch her pull it out sometimes on a lunch break.
Sometimes we need to be reminded of the impact we’ve had on people or kindness we received, and there’s no shame in that! There is no shame in reminding yourself of who you are to the people that matter.
Tip #7: Pass off email management.
One of our students has her VA monitor all of her emails. She then gets a weekly digest of positive emails that she can choose to respond to or not. The negative emails don’t even cross her desk, and she lets her VA (who isn’t emotionally attached to the business) handle those in a professional and helpful way.
Email management is a great task to pass off to an assistant. Let someone else be the front line and fend off the bullies who aren’t serving you or your vision.
As small business owners, we feel everything more personally. A mean email isn’t just a mean email to a faceless executive, it’s a mean email to ME, directed at everything I stand for, laughing in the face of my BLOOD, SWEAT, and TEARS! Okay, I’m being dramatic, but you get the point. Negativity hits small business owners harder because our hands and hearts are in the business, making every interaction (good and bad) more personal.
Tip #8: Anticipate the negativity and prepare for how to deal.
If you can anticipate the negative responses you’re likely to receive due to price changes, support changes, communication speed, etc. etc., you can plan in advance how you’re going to respond in certain situations and avoid breaking into a cold sweat just thinking about your inbox.
Tip #9: Focus on the areas in your business where you ARE making an impact.
A fellow business owner recently shared with me that they had been feeling frustrated and bummed about their email list growth until they realized that they had a really high open-rate! The perspective shift was a game-changer for them.
Once you celebrate the wins, you’ll have the energy and motivation to tackle the pain points or challenges.
Tip #10: See some crazy? Keep on Scrolling!
Clickbait. The ultimate time-waster. We’ve all had that Buzzfeed article experience where we click that grabby clickbait title, and before we know it, we’ve wasted half of our lunch break just trying to get to the juicy gossip that was promised.
Facebook groups can operate in a very similar way…
I realize that for some, taking a FB break just isn’t a reality for your business or is just too radical a move. Maybe instead, you can make an active decision to scroll past the crazy. Put those blinders on and ignore the complainers, the instigators, and the aggravators (the people, not the band).
Many of my business-owner friends have shared that they focus their energy on Instagram because it’s a much more positive social platform. Being more active on Instagram and less active on Facebook could make a big difference. I second that!
Tip #11: Have compassion for the haters.
I’ve shared a lot of tips to avoid the hate, ignore the hate, and prepare for the hate, but what counteracting the hate?
This quarantine has been emotionally challenging for everyone. People all over the world, down the street, and in our own homes are suffering anxiety, loss, grief, loneliness, and depression.
Studies on isolation have shown that connection is the most important thing for those suffering. Maybe the sentiment behind our response to a nasty comment could be, “I’m here, are you okay?”
We’re living through a turbulent and taxing time, and the reality is that we just don’t know how that may be affecting our customers, our clients, and, unfortunately, our trolls.
As Redefining Mom’s Project Coordinator, Hayley loves to say, “Kill ’em with kindness!”
I hope these tips will inspire and motivate you to remove the negativity you’re experiencing in your own business. Don’t let the haters bring down your big, bold visions for your future! They’re too freaking good!