Facing negativity, trolls, and online “haters” is part of the reality of growing a business online. I tend to be someone who meets the world with rose-colored glasses, thinking unicorns make perfect pets, and cupcake calories don’t count. However, as someone who has worked within the world of digital media and public presence for a long time, a surefire fact is that as you begin to rise (or sometimes when you are just beginning your business), haters will come out of the woodwork to bring you down. And, you know what – in the long run, that’s OK.
Coming Into The Light
When you choose to open a business, digitally based or not, prepare for negativity. New ideas, competition, and ‘something different’ is seen as a threat. My wise ol’ dad once told me, “Emily, the more you know – and the more people know you know, be prepared to lose a lot of friends. It’s lonely on your road to the top.” And, as his social butterfly child, I laughed and laughed.
Until I wasn’t laughing anymore.
I realized how accurate his statement was. The social rules for relationships are quite simple. We invest in relationships because:
- Someone is like us
- We can influence someone
- Someone likes us.
When you begin to separate from the crowd by launching your own business, for example – or finding success in a new and different way – it is easy for people to stop liking you.
No longer are you like them. No longer can you be influenced by them.
Real friendships and healthy relationships mean you grow, evolve, and support those around you while they explore new limits. And when we rise – perhaps in leaps and bounds, your friends and family may not know how to react.
In many spaces, you may feel pushed to the side.
Many entrepreneurs talk about how solitary the journey can be – and this is the reason. As we evolve and begin to show up in new ways, people that were once our support group no longer are there for us.
Other Times It’s Just “Mean Girls”
If you have been watching my social media lately, there is a good chance you have seen some good ol’ fashioned “mean girls” movement. Although I act quickly to dodge, weave, and block – I don’t babysit social media, so some of it might slip through. When your business begins to grow, and your sphere of influence slowly begins to blossom, often mean people just come out of the woodwork.
For no other reason than they want to be mean.
When You Go Online, You Open Yourself Up To The World
However, when you open yourself online on the flip, you also open yourself up to people who might not like you, trust you, or want to see you succeed. These are people who become your ‘trolls.’ Luckily, there are ways to disengage and create a pillow of protection around you. But, what you cannot do it avoid them altogether. When you begin to show up and shine, be prepared for just as many people trying to bring you down than people trying to build you up.
Muhammad Ali Said It Best
Muhammad Ali said it best when he stated, “I’m too fast. I’m too smart. I’m too pretty.” He faced a lot of criticism. Yet – his mindset was a reminder that no matter how people might take him down, he had it covered.
Not only did he trust his ability to win, but he also began to use the criticisms people had against him to build himself up. The criticisms became his war-cry of self-motivation before each fight.
And it is something I recommend you do, too.
As business owners growing a sphere of influence over the wild-wild west of the internet, recognizing that some people will be out for blood just based on the fact you exist. Perhaps they are threatened, bored, or maybe they are mean.
One obvious thing is that you have to be prepared to deal with it. Sometimes that means having to thick skin. Other times it means blocking people who are genuinely slandering you or your business – while other times, it might mean engaging with people head-on. And even if you do not feel like you want to engage, breathe in Muhammad Ali and remind yourself, “I’m too fast. I’m too smart. I’m too pretty,” straighten your crown and move on.
Stand Up Confidently In Your Brand Story
Going into business can be a scary thing. With new skills to learn, the necessity of marketing and networking while managing your business’s ins-and-outs is overwhelming. When you begin to lose focus due to online harassment or “mean girl” behaviors, it might be time to work with someone who can help you refocus your brand so you can stand up in your brand story confidently.
Entrepreneurship is a journey. Do not let the distractions of people online (or locally) get in your head and in the way of your success.
Learn more about the work of Dr. Cross and her team at the WordWell Group by scheduling your free online assessment here.