Episode #20

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EP20 – Criticism sucks… but it doesn’t have to

In today’s episode, Nat & Ang are chatting about the ever-dreaded topic… criticism. They’ll be discussing the difference between criticism and critiques, their personal experiences with criticism, unhappy clients and lastly when not to listen to criticism.

What is the difference between criticism and critiques?

Criticism comes from a more painful place. You feel criticism more and it doesn’t typically come from a place of pleasantry. Whereas critique comes from a place of respect with the intention to aid in one’s development. Ultimately, they are both related to one’s growth.

Nat’s criticism story

At the 3:00 mark, Nat shares a personal story related to criticism with her former wedding photography business and how it affected her and how she was able to take that criticism and make big changes within her business. At 6:54 she reveals that her intuition had shown a slight red flag with the interaction with a former client. She ultimately did end up working with this client and once she provided the final photos, it was not met with enthusiasm and excitement. To sum it up, the client was not satisfied. In fact, she was extremely upset. 

One of the best pieces of advice Nat offers from this experience is to,

“Never, ever ever, send an email when you are emotional.” To which Ang agrees and goes further to explain that it is best to “sleep on it” before responding back to any negative feedback. 

Nat shares what she learned from this experience and how she adjusted her service moving forward which included adjustments to her contract. This was an opportunity to manage people’s expectations and be proactive and clearly communicate with future clients. 

Nat reveals that criticism can easily feel like a personal attack. Which is why it is so important to learn from experiences like this. Ang acknowledges that in moments of criticism it is really important to take a moment, step back and try not to go into reactionary mode. There is always an opportunity for accountability. Ask yourself, “how can I rectify this situation or what accountability can I take from this situation?” 

To round out the experience, at the 15:08 mark, Nat goes back to saying that one of the other big lessons she learned was to trust her gut. She had an inclination upon first meeting this particular client and that she potentially could have acknowledged that perhaps that client was not a good fit. 

At 16:15, Ang comes out and says it…  “there are some clients that just aren’t a (good) fit.” She goes on to explain that not every client should be your client. And when you can recognize early on that it may not be a beneficial relationship or working experience that it’s best to not enter into any agreements. Avoid operating from a scarcity mode.

How do we handle criticism or critiques from close family and friends?

Sometimes family and friends can provide you with feedback that may come across as passive aggression. Many of the times it an come from a place of love but also from a place of not understanding what it is that you do.  In relation to entrepreneurship, (where there is typically a lot of work and risk involved in taking on a business of your own), in many cases it’s our friends and or family members who cannot relate and their feedback may come to a place of fear and protection. 

Social Media and online trolling

Unfortunately, when we show up on social media we are putting ourselves and our work out there and sadly it opens up the doors to unwanted negative comments. It’s important to understand that just because someone has criticized you publicly (like in a comment) or privately (like in a direct message) does not make it right. In many cases, it is very easy to drop negative comments. Trust your intuition and recognize the difference between someone criticizing you or offering valuable feedback. 

Nat shares a fantastic quote by Teddy Roosevelt that she found in a Brené Brown book to which she relates it to the social trolls and those who hide behind their accounts to criticize others online. 

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”


“if you have no critics, you’ll likely have no success.” – Malcolm X

Nat goes on to explain that as your business grows and as you grow your following on social, typically so does your critic count. As you grow it becomes louder. When you can marginalize it by a percentage, you’ll like have not as many as you think. It may just feel like more 

Why asking for feedback is so important 

At the 26:00 mark, Nat and Ang discuss the value in asking for feedback from your customers and clients as it is a tangible way to grow. When you don’t ask for feedback, you are missing an opportunity to perform and serve better in your business. 

Asking for a review of your product or a testimonial for your services is both beneficial to our overall marketing strategy.  In most cases, people don’t actively leave a rating or review. Which is why it is so important to ask! 

When asking for feedback, it is really important to be specific. Send them a direct link, send a survey through something like survey monkey or ask for a rating. But if you make it easy for them (ie: don’t make them try and find the right page on google to leave a google review). 

If you look at feedback and critiques as golden opportunities you’ll be in a better position to react and make adjustments for the better. And don’t forget… do not listen to the haters!

To round out the episode, Ang notes that if you receive feedback that is more negative or a client/customer is unhappy and it doesn’t sit well with you. If it doesn’t make you feel good. If it feels upsetting… trust that it is a good sign! Why? Because it means you still CARE! If means you still operate with passion and strive to offer your product or services to the best of your ability. 

Categories: Business


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