Entrepreneurship is not easy! We plan on yelling it from the roof-tops from now until infinity.
One of the many challenges of an emerging entrepreneur is finding and staying true to your value as a person, company and leader. As Pop-Up organizers we're often on the receiving end of criticism as are the entrepreneurs we serve.
Customers, family, friends or, the regular 'ole, run of the mill, internet trolls who are unfamiliar with the level of work that goes into entrepreneurship may criticize products, pricing, process and staff. As an entrepreneur it is important to have thick skin and endurance. Yet, the more exposure a brand gets, the more criticism and scrutiny the brand receives. The lists of potential criticism can be endless. As a solo-entrepreneur this negative feedback can be overwhelming and downright demoralizing. If we don't learn to develop and enforce boundaries we (as entrepreneurs) can find ourselves feeling unworthy of the success, recognition and money we work so hard for as entrepreneurs.
Feedback is an inevitable part of the entrepreneurial experience. There are people: customers, family, friends that will be absolutely obsessed with your brand. They'll be your number one fan: liking/commenting on every post, buying every product, showing up for every event. Then, there will be those people who cannot WAIT to shit on what you do. Yes, sometimes that includes family. Social Media has given so many people seats at the table. The general public can have no filter and easily forget that there are people behind the screens on which they're commenting on.
As an entrepreneur in the line of fire it is important to remember:
Opinions are like ass wholes. Everyone has one. Take feedback with a grain of salt. Consider whether the opinion benefits you or your brand (given by an asswhole or otherwise)? If it doesn't add value forget about it and get back to work.
When receiving feedback on any aspect of your brand try to find the value. Not all feedback is bad feedback. Not all feedback is personal. Consider whether the feedback triggers ideas on how to improve your brand. (As an entrepreneur it is important to delineate baseless comments from constructive criticism that might just make your product/service better).
Consider the source: Back to the opinions are like asswholes comment. Anyone can come to our events and criticize it, telling us we should do this or that. It's one thing to hear from a random. It is another to hear it from an actual mentor or colleague who has experience and talent to run events.
Identify your deal breakers and honor them.
Number 4 is tricky, but as an example we'll throw out pricing. Soo many emerging entrepreneurs are taken advantage of when it comes to pricing. As entrepreneurs:
We're told that because we're less experienced we can't ask for certain fees.
We're asked to reduce our pricing or give discounts.
We're told that our product/service is "too-pricey."
Then if someone is unhappy in the slightest, they're asking for a refund because it they feel the product or service wasn't "worth the price."
Nauseating right? We can only speak to our unique experience as entrepreneurs and so we will. When we first started out, we were WAY under priced. A major company approached us to partner and actually told us we were under priced. They told us in order to move forward with the partnership we'd have to substantially increase our pricing. We said we didn't want to because we wanted to remain accessible for emerging brands. In retrospect we should have listened. That experience was followed by two years of uphill financial struggles for our business because we were priced at cost in the hopes that "one-day," we'd get enough business to become profitable. Mind-you: at the time, brands were still complaining about pricing ($100/day). The truth is our pricing was unsustainable as a business. We had to make a change to stay afloat. Of course the comments haven't changed, people still complain about pricing and still grumble about the value we provide. We're not going to sit here and lie that sometimes that feedback cuts deep. But you know what we realized:
At some point it just clicked and we accepted our worthiness. We stopped letting the opinions of outsiders define our worth and value. We realized that if we wanted to survive, pricing is a deal that we are unwilling to break. We realized that if outsiders don't see our value then we don't want to work with them.
So much of entrepreneurship is waiting for the right customer while acknowledging that everyone is not your customer. It's hard especially if you're a full-time entrepreneur. We get it, you need those sales. But, patience has the potential to attract quality customers who see their value and yours.
Many times both customers and brands don't find the value in paying full price because of their own insecurities. This is important to understand because the truth is with all this feedback- a lot of times it's not you, it's them.
We're on a crusade to remind entrepreneurs everywhere that you work SO hard and because of that, YOU ARE WORTHY. Remember that the next time someone tries to haggle you.