The only critics you really need to listen to you are your customers. If they have no complaints, ignore everyone who does.
5 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
Entrepreneurship is an amazing opportunity to create a business which allows you to be in control of your life. You can create financial security and not deal with the stress of living paycheck-to-paycheck. You can experience true time freedom in which you wake up each day and spend your time on the things that light your soul on fire. You can make an impact in the lives of those your business helps — you can help solve real problems.
Along the way, there are other factors thrown into the mix that complicate entrepreneurship. It can be clearly identified issues such as a lack of cash flow, having the wrong team, dealing with the wrong customers — the list can go on. But some silent, less obvious struggles are what hurts the most businesses and entrepreneurs — without them even realizing it.
If you spend any amount of time on social media, you’re likely to see a post from an entrepreneur making fun or taking shots at people who make money teaching other people how to make money. You’ll see entrepreneurs complaining about how other entrepreneurs market their business, how they build their email list, what they create content around and 100 other complaints. You’ll see entrepreneurs taking shots at how various other entrepreneurs generate income and their business model.
Here’s the thing: when you see these types of threads — and all the other people jumping in and agreeing — it affects you in ways you don’t realize. You start to think that you need to change what you do or change the way you operate your business. You overthink and become timid. You stop doing all the things it takes to help your business grow. You let their words get into your head and cause doubt, fear and a general negativity that will affect the action you take.
When you question whether they’re right, you start to feel you might be wrong.
While it’s always good to re-examine your strategies in your business, there’s a difference between an audit and caving to unnecessary pressure and drama. Don’t let anyone dictate how you live your life and build your business. You can easily become a prisoner to what others think you should be doing. This is your life and you only get one of them. You are building your business and no one else is going to pay your bills. Stop letting other people or entrepreneurs take away your power!
Related: How to Handle Social-Media Criticism
Entrepreneurship is not a one-size-fits-all opportunity.
I’m currently in Medellin, Colombia. Wherever you drive here, you see micro-entrepreneurship. It can be the street performers doing their thing at traffic stops and collecting a few pesos. Or, entrepreneurs walking around the tourist areas selling all manner of things. In a culture like this, entrepreneurship is one of the few ways to survive because traditional employment is not an option that can support their family. It would be easy to sit back and judge how they make a living but they couldn’t care less. They understand what they need to do to pay their bills.
Appearances don’t equal income.
For many of us (I’m throwing myself in there), sometimes appearances are more important than actually making money. What you need to understand is that people will be quick to judge and make fun of what you do or how you do it, but they won’t pay your bills. They won’t bring you new customers or help you when you need it. If you are using strategies that work and are honest, boldly do what you do. Nothing anyone else thinks is important if what you’re doing is growing your business by bringing real value to your customers.
Successful entrepreneurs don’t waste time comparing. They don’t get caught in online drama. They don’t care what anyone else thinks. They don’t let anyone else dictate their next moves. They put their head down and do the work. Period. They stay focused on what it takes to achieve their big goals and dreams. No one else is going to pay to support your lifestyle.
Whatever business you operate and however you build it, boldly do what makes the most sense for you. Be honest and real. Add real value to your customers. Sometimes people are better at teaching than they might be doing. If you are getting results and deliverables for your clients, keep doing you. If you aren’t, that’s a different story and you need to go back to the drawing board. Don’t let what others think and say take away your inner power and strength. Build the business you want.