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4 Tips & Mindset Shifts for Fear of Negative Business Feedback

Is the fear of negative feedback in your business holding you back?

Is it keeping you from fully showing up and marketing and your business?

Maybe you’ve been making some progress in business and you’ve experienced this and to some extent, it’s paralyzed you and made you feel all kinds of icky.

Either way, I’m going to give you some actionable tips and insights that are going to help you have a way to both prepare for when this happens, and deal and heal from the negative.

 Let’s go back to my first job out of college. I studied business and landed a full-time job working for Target right of the gate. I had a very fancy title: I was the Executive Team Leader for Guest Experience.

Let me just tell you, I had a rockin collection of red blazers.

LJ at Target

A big part of what I did was dealing with the angriest and most upset Target customers. If you’re in the US and you’re reading this, I almost guarantee that you love Target. 99% of Americans recognize the brand Target and so many of that overall population absolutely love the store. 

Maybe you like to take long romantic walks down the aisles and to buy throw pillows and candles that you don’t need. It might even be your happy place. I ALSO love Target and everything about the brand and the business, and I learned a ton by working for the company.  

If you’ve ever checked out at Target and received your receipt you may have noticed at the bottom there’s a place to take a survey. Part of my job was to look at those survey results. And based on what contact information people gave Target, I’d contact those who left low scores and negative comments. 

If they left a phone number I would actually call the person to talk to them about their issue and try to find a resolution and make them feel positive again. If not through a call, I would email them. I can’t tell you how often I dealt with people screaming at me and calling me names. I had peers who were physically assaulted or spit on when in a store location dealing with an issue directly. The joys of working with the public!

So here I am, just out of college and also highly empathic. You may also identify as an empath. I imagine that a lot of people who start heart-centered businesses are and if you don’t know what that means, the basic idea is that you feel other people’s emotions. 

And so when people would get angry towards me/Target I would get knots in my stomach. I would get hives on my body. Tt was just not a great fit for my personality. However, I’m so grateful that I went through that experience because it taught me so much before I went on my entrepreneurial journey. 

There are two MAJOR things I learned from this role:

1) Most of the time when people are upset, what they are saying is not true. It’s not the truth!

For example, a pattern that I saw is that when people would get upset, they would say things like ” I’m never gonna shop at Target again! I’m only going to shop at Walmart” and “I’m never using your services again. You’re the worst, etc, etc.”

 Now, with this being my long -term role, the funny thing is that those same people who would threaten and then say that they’re never going to shop there again: I would see them come back week after week after week, spending the same amount of money and in some cases more money than they did the week previous. 

I can see as a small business owner, if somebody threatened that they didn’t like your product or service, and they’re never going to shop with you again, and especially (just twist the knife) and say,” I’m also going to tell all my friends to never to shop here”, I could see the temptation to give in to that person. 

Because you may get stuck in this mindset of if this person goes and tells other people “XYZ” you may think “I’m going to lose revenue” and you might feel like you want to give into that person’s demands 

But you don’t want to do that. 

Every time somebody would throw this tantrum not only did they not have very much influence over the other people in their lives, but they also didn’t influence themselves enough to stick to their own word!

Remember: What they are saying is probably not the truth! 


2) It’s rarely actually about your product or your service. 

One of the tactics that I would use when on I’d get on the phone with people, especially when I immediately noticed that they were heated or upset was to make it clear that I was on their team and (within reason), I was going to make things better for them.

As soon as I took that kind of advocate role and made it clear that I was there to help them: the walls would come down. And what would immediately happen? 

I’d find out why they were really, truly upset.

I would find out that they were going through a divorce, or that they or someone they love, just got diagnosed with cancer.

 I would find out that they are going through bankruptcy and that’s why the 50 cent coupon was so meaningful to them. 

I always found out that it had to do with some other pain that they were going through.

 And so thinking through the lens of a small business owner, it’s so easy for us to think that it’s truly about us.

Hurt people hurt people, don’t take it seriously!

 4 Tips to deal with Negative Nancies:


1) Do not hold space or energy for the negative

Easier said than done, right?

If it’s an email or a message:

Practice cord cutting. If you need some help and some guidance around this, you can just type cord cutting meditation visualization into YouTube. 

The idea is that you envision you and that person, and if you’re feeling upset about what they’ve said, or what they’ve done, you’re going to visualize the cord that connects the two of you and imagine cutting that cord so that you can break off that emotional relationship. I’ve found this to be incredibly healing. When things bother me, there is such power in visualizing that separation of energy.

If it’s a call or an in-person interaction:

If somebody gives you a phone call or your forced to talk to someone directly who is is very upset, it’s important to immediately make the separation using language.

You’re going to use the word you

You want to say something along the lines of “I see that you are upset. I see that you are struggling with x. You’re going to make a clear separation, and show them that the anger, the upset, the resentment does not belong to you, and there’s power in putting that back on them.

2) Have an alter-ego or alias deal with it

This is harder for those that are in, in person. You certainly could hire this out. But, if you have an online business, especially for the emails and the DMS, make a separate email and or account to deal with the nasties. 

Now you may be thinking, “LJ, I don’t have money right now to invest in like a virtual assistant or somebody to clean out my inbox.” And that’s okay. We can keep this a secret between you and I: You can make an email for a fictional person that doesn’t exist. 

Have “Sally” deal with the nasties in your business, especially if you’re afraid of something like a refund request, why not make up a team member? Having that level of separation, and being able to say, “Hey, I’m on the XYZ team. We see you on a refund request. Here’s our policy to review.” You may be able to stand more firmly in your decision by having it come from somebody else. 

I won’t tell a soul that you have a fake assistant.

3) Read the worst reviews of your favorite person

I want you to think of somebody that you really admire, who is a public figure or a celebrity, in the industry that you work in. Could be an author, could be a musician, etc.

Do you have them in your mind?

Now, what I want you to do is go and find a public place where their work is listed and there are reviews. For authors, you can go to Amazon to check out their reviews, for example. Wherever it is, and I want you to go and filter by the very worst of the worst reviews and I want you to read them. And when you go through, I want you to read at least three to five.

It doesn’t change your opinion of them. Right? And it doesn’t change the opinion of other people who enjoy that book, service, podcast, etc. either. 

There’s a great quote from Seth Godin, who’s one of the marketers that I admire, and he says:

“If you don’t have outsiders, you don’t have insiders”

Basically, you earn your way into having people that love what you do and what you create by having people who don’t like it. You can’t be for everyone.

4) Have a group of entrepreneurial friends to vent to!

In my business having a group of entrepreneurial friends has been key.

Having friends to reach out to and reassure you that bad feedback doesn’t affect your value and give you some advice on how you can respond to the feedback is a beautiful thing. 

Having entrepreneurial friends in my circle has absolutely changed my business and the way that my mindset works around my marketing too.

So I want to invite you to the {F}email Founders Facebook group. It’s a group of entrepreneurial women together in their marketing pursuits. I give you permission that if you get bad feedback you can safely share it there and we’ll be there to lift you up!

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Client Love

LJ helped me building a program integrated with email that brings recurring monthly revenue to my business! I couldn't have done it without her. She's your go-to tech and biz strategy gal!

Lisa P
Founder of Lita Fit

Oh Hey, LJ

Lisa P
Founder of Lita Fit

LJ helped me building a program integrated with email that brings recurring monthly revenue to my business! I couldn't have done it without her. She's your go-to tech and biz strategy gal!
Oh Hey, LJ
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