Startup Golden Rules: 5 Smart Ways to Deal with Haters in Business

Here are the 5 golden rules on how to deal with "haters" in business.

Last Update: November 10, 2014

Ask any successful entrepreneur for one precious piece of advice to hand down to aspiring entrepreneurs and it will be something along the lines of …

“Surround yourself with the right people — those that think big and support your vision.”

Sounds easy right? Yet no matter how much we heed their wise advice, at times it seems impossible to avoid the naysayer (i.e. the cynic, pessimist, hater…).

For clarity, by definition a naysayer is:

Def. Someone with an aggressively negative attitude.

Naysayers come in many guises, from the old colleague that’s bitter about still being stuck in a job they hate, to your Mum’s dear friend who can’t help but point out the “risk” of starting a business in “today’s harsh economic climate.” Unknowingly, they’re lurking behind the shadows, ready to smash your entrepreneurial dreams to smithereens.


How to Deal with Naysayers and Haters

In the past, I found myself sinking into a black whole of self- doubt when I would find myself haphazardly stuck in a conversation with a naysayer. But, I’ve since come up with a great defense strategy that works for me.

Here are five golden rules on how to deal with “haters” in business:


1. Relinquish the need to justify.

Resist the need to justify what you’re doing , explaining your strategy in detail or tell others why you think you’re onto a good thing.

When we justify, we give away our power. Subconsciously we’re saying, “I need to ‘prove’ to you my worth for validation. Remember you don’t need to justify what you’re doing to anyone except those who are most important to you. If you believe in what your doing and feel that calling deep in your heart, that’s all that matters.


2. Give yourself permission to stretch the truth!

If a naysayer asks how well you’re doing and it’s been a hard month, don’t say it! Just smile nicely and say “It’s going great. Thanks.” After all, it really is none of their business and it will stop you from throwing bait their way and falling into the “justification trap.”

3. Stop, think and re-frame.

When someone expresses doubt and questions what you’re doing (and even seems to take a delight in doing so!) it’s very easy to feel your blood start to boil. But remember, their response is just a result of their own small, fear-based thinking.

Many people secretly envy the courage entrepreneurs demonstrate in doing their own thing and wish they had the guts and vision to do the same. Rather than support you, they seek to attack your decision to prove that they’re making the right choice by sticking to a “safe” option. Rather than get angry, see them as a product of their own limited thinking.


4. Listen to the advice of those who inspire you.

“Never listen to anyone that’s not where you want to be.” Robert Allen expresses this beautifully when he asks “When you need advice, do you seek someone who has proven success or do you get advice from people who have never achieved what you desire?”

Replace the naysayer’s negative assumptions with the empowering advice of someone who you deeply admire that has achieved the success you’re aiming for.


5. Be Casually Self-Assured.

Rather than get defensive, the best way to “bite back” is to reflect a casual self-assurance. Simply smile and say “Thanks for your opinion, but I am totally committed to what I am doing and excited about the goals and challenges ahead.”

Remember: no justification necessary.


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