Overcoming Doubt and Negativity as an Entrepreneur

After having an exceptionally successful year in business, here is how I overcame doubt and negativity to achieve my business goals.

Photo: Julia Gardner, co-founder of MaaS Appeal; Source: Courtesy Photo
Photo: Julia Gardner, co-founder of MaaS Appeal; Source: Courtesy Photo

Quitting your full-time job and starting a business is an exciting time. Yet, why is it that the colleagues you respect and appreciate the most are the same ones that doubt you?

After telling my peers that I was quitting my job to start a digital advertising agency, the immediate response was, “having a startup is hard”, “you may fail”, and “you will most likely experience a poor quality of life.”


I found this perplexing since I had never felt so liberated. However, I eventually came to terms with the fact that I was unable to change the opinions and perceptions of others about my own personal vision. The only way I would change perceptions is through success.

So, after quitting my job and having an exceptionally successful year in business, here is how I overcame doubt and negativity to achieve my business goals:


  1. Build your army.

    Working in a shared office space has been a huge contributor to developing my network of smart, driven, and loyal colleagues. The people that surround you are a huge enabler and support system to your startup success. You share wins and losses, provide business advice, and create meaningful relationships.

    Traveling between New York, London, and Toronto quite frequently, our friends at WeWork and Workplace One have helped immensely with providing young entrepreneurs with a sense of community, an open forum to share ideas, and a supportive atmosphere during periods of travel.

  2. Develop a stiff upper lip.

    A horrible cliché, but absolutely vital. Don’t let your emotions ruin your company’s vision and goals. Being a female entrepreneur, I found it especially difficult to separate my emotions from business when receiving negative advice and feedback from others. After determining that I could not change or influence what people think, I drew a line in the sand, made my path known, and told others to “cross with caution.”

  3. Be able to say ‘I Lived’ (Thank you, One Republic)

    Think about this one. You are a taking a risk that roughly 80% of the population wouldn’t consider in their entire life. Don’t let negativity impede what you want to achieve. My biggest fear in life is looking back and saying “I wish I did that.” With all the opportunity out there, it sounds ridiculous to repeat those words. Do what you love or you will regret it.

Refreshing Startup Reminders

Most recently, I received refreshing advice from Ronda Rousey, after watching her SXSW, UFC: Women Breaking Ground Inside the Octagon, panelist discussion.

Imagine a woman attempting to make strides in the largest male-dominated mixed martial arts promotion company. Ballsy. Even though many doubted (including her Mom and Dad), she persevered to prove that women and men are at parity in terms of endurance, strength, and determination in the octagon.

Negative opinions will always exist. You don’t have to let that impede your path to success. By having a support system of entrepreneurs in your network, a thick skin, and a strong focus on personal achievement, you can conquer it all. Take a risk and don’t look back, you’re not going that way.


This article has been edited and condensed.

Julia Gardner is a co-founder of MaaS Appeal, a digital brand advertising agency based out of New York, NY. Born out of an understanding that today’s consumer economy is heavily influenced by content consumed across multiple media channels, MaaS Appeal, seeks to transform brands through a trifecta of effective platforms, strategy, and user experience focused on specific verticals. Connect with @MaaS_Appeal on Twitter.


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