How do you deal with business judgment — aka how people respond when you tell them what you do? How do you handle it when people question whether you’ll be successful, your business is scalable, or how safe you really are?
This summer, you might find yourself chatting with someone new, saying…
“I’m a [coach / creative / consultant / online entrepreneur]. I help [who you help] to [what you help them do.]”
…..blank eyes stare back at you 👀
People don’t get what we do. And sometimes when people don’t understand something, or it makes them feel something about themselves, they say things that sting.
I’ve heard it all:
“So like… do you work?”
“That’s so nice that your husband gave you the opportunity to do this!”
“Nice! I’d like to start my own business, too. I’m so sick of having to work.”
Oh, and don’t even get me started on what traditional lawyers say to me — they don’t love that I’m making legal accessible and digestible for you online.
Within a few hours of landing in Denver and chatting with strangers the entire day, I got 2 business judgment-comments almost verbatim. (not kidding)
But here’s the deal: it doesn’t bother me as much as it used to. I’m never one to pretend like I’m not very much still on this journey ; )
But that wasn’t always the case.
Someone’s judgy pants and fear projection used to seriously freak me out.
If (and that’s a big IF) I ever told someone what I did without stumbling through my words and finally spitting something out with a million qualifiers in it…
(“Oh, it’s just a little business right now!” “We’ll see how it goes… I can always go back!”)
I’d be crushed if they said something like that.
Time definitely helped. And building up my business confidence made me 🤷🏻♀️about what most people think of me or my business.
As Brené Brown says, it’s not that you shouldn’t care what anyone thinks. Instead, it’s about taking feedback and opinions from people who are fighting in the arena along with you. If you don’t have mud on your face, I don’t really need your feedback.
So if you feel the sting when people comment on your business, try to push their fears onto you, or offer unsolicited feedback — here’s what you can do to work through it:
1. Realize where business judgment comes from
…not everyone dreams of being an entrepreneur. So the idea of being out on your own, cutting your own paycheck, and being able to work from anywhere doesn’t make sense to them. They’re not walking the same walk as you — so don’t expect them to understand the journey.
Besides, I’m convinced that 99% of the comments you get about your business have to do with the person making them — not you.
Maybe they feel like you being an entrepreneur or leaving your corporate career makes them look like an industry hack.
Or they always dreamed of leaving, but didn’t because they were too afraid. You showing the bravery to leave and seek out a better life for yourself calls everything about her being into question.
Or maybe they NEVER wanted to be an entrepreneur — but their self-esteem isn’t strong enough to stand in their power as someone who likes working a corporate job.
Either way, most of the time this has nothing to do with you. We have to check our ego at the door and mentally say, “this has nothing to do with me” over and over.
2. What do YOU think about your business?
You don’t need anyone else’s approval of your business or career path. Are you proud of what you’re doing? Do you know the online space better than your Uncle Harry who’s worked in corporate for 30 years?
Do you love health/fitness/business/money and know that you’re helping people? That’s all you need.
People mean well (for the most part), but they’ll tell you how hard/terrible/scary it is to be an entrepreneur, too.
I’ve never heard so many failure stories in my life until I told people I was leaving my “safe” corporate attorney career to become an online entrepreneur.
Remember: the arena. Design your own arena. Stay in it. You know what your arena is like.
3. Who are you talking to?
If people offer unsolicited feedback — that’s 1 thing.
But if you find yourself in these situations because you’re opinion shopping, check in with yourself.
Your partner, family member or friend who’s never run a business may not always be the best person to bounce business ideas, investment concerns, or feedback from.
They mean well, but their #1 concern is your safety. And your career or business choices can feel risky (aka. unsafe) to them.
But any entrepreneur knows, all positive changes or leaps forward in life involve some level of risk.
Oh, and why are you asking your Uncle Harry what he thinks of your online business anyway?
There are so many incredible women doing business online. You can find someone you like, connect with, and trust in almost any area.
4. Set Boundaries
It’s OK to:
(a) not share that much about what you do to someone you know won’t respond well, or
(b) to say something like, “Thanks so much for your feedback! I actually have a lot of support in this area already. So what’s new with you?”
You might have to set the tone that you don’t actually need (nor did you ask for) their feedback in the future.
It feels really weird at first for a people pleaser — but it’s actually what’s healthiest for your entrepreneur mindset moving forward.
When I first left the law firm, I still spent a lot of time with my attorney colleagues.
But these comments and unwelcomed doubts were plenty. And it really got me down.
So at some point, I knew I had to cut it off. It wasn’t actually healthy for me to spend time around that type of energy or business judgment.
I started picturing myself as having a little entrepreneurial halo around me all the time:
It glows, represents freedom, and admittedly is a little fragile. My job is to make sure I do what I need to do to make sure that halo doesn’t pop.
These days, I actually spent a lot of time strengthening the halo by spending time with women who are in the same arena I am. I’m also working on my self-esteem and confidence without relying (as much as possible) as the approval or worthiness of others.
So love, was this helpful? Has this type of business judgment happened to you? How will you respond to business judgment differently now?
I’d love to hear from you in the comments below! 👇🏽
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