The answer is a resounding “no!” You knew I was going to say that though, right? 🙂
Being an online solopreneur has many benefits, but it also brings many challenges. There are many different challenges, but the one I want to tackle today is the one of developing online relationships with your readers, list, customers, and even other online solopreneurs.
You see, when you’re face to face with someone, you have the added advantage of being able to read facial expressions and body language. When you’re online, you really don’t have that opportunity. So, it’s possible you’re going to offend some people when you never meant to. For example, they may read something, and take it out of context.
When we work online, we are alone in our homes. Unlike a job, we don’t have the luxury of having a colleague sitting a few feet away from us to bounce ideas off of.
The fear of accidentally offending someone can hold your business back online. Within two months of starting online, I had two emails that really weren’t that nice. One was accusing me of being too promotional, after she received a follow-up email in my autoresponder series that directed her to my YouTube channel on ways she could use her PLR. I never saw that one coming! I thought I was being helpful. After all, if someone purchases Powerpoint PLR, I thought it would be helpful to have a video that shows customers how to use it.
Then I had another person sign up for my affiliate program, who then emailed me to complain that it was annoying to have to go back into the Affiliates section (I use Amember) to update her Paypal information after signing up. I even contacted Amember after this to see if there was a way to get around this, but there isn’t. I’ve noticed, when signing up to other people’s affiliate programs (that use Amember), that this is just something that you have to do. It’s not unique to my affiliate program. What’s interesting is that I still see this person on forums, so it’s important to remember that although the online world is large, it really is a small community where many people get to know one another.
In fact, it’s not unlike living in a suburb of a large city. There are a lot of people in that city, but you get to know people living in your own area/suburb. In the case of online business, the small community would be the niches that we all work in.
So how can you handle criticism when it comes your way?
1. Well, the first way would be to prevent it altogether. However, that can be tough to do unless you never want to speak up about anything or just want to be a wallflower. So the point is this…if you’re going to say anything (sometimes, you don’t even have to say anything – people will just be upset with something about your system), you put yourself out there, and possibility exists for criticism.
2. Realize that you’re not the only one. Any of us who have been in business for some time, have received criticism of some sort. The key is not to let it drag you down.
3. Handle it with grace. Some people enjoy making others miserable. So if you can learn to have a thick skin and let things roll off of you like water off a duck’s back, you’ll be okay. Just remember not to overreact to the situation. I never reply immediately to the person (if there is a need to reply), otherwise I will be acting on emotion. Instead, allow yourself time to relax and think it through rationally before reacting.
4. Become part of a community of other like-minded solopreneurs and individuals. Associate with positive people who lift you up, and people you can bounce ideas off of. There are a number of great forums out there. That is a topic for another discussion, but in a nutshell, you want to find a welcoming, respectful community for newbies and experienced business people. You want to feel safe asking questions, and not all forums offer that. Personally, I am part of this forum, which has traditionally been a female-only membership, but it’s opening up to males very soon! I’ll keep you updated on that.
Related to this, find blogs where you can also achieve that sense of community. Be sure to become involved with discussions, so that you can develop good relationships with others. Having that support will go a long way to being able to increase your ability to handle difficult situations that you may encounter in your business.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this, and what your experience has been. Have you experienced negative things in your business, and what did you learn from it?