Sunday, October 23, 2005

Coping With Your Critics

Every week I publish my ezine, I get almost instantaneous feedback. Most of the time it's wonderful comments like "Thank you for all you do, Ali!" and "I really appreciated this article. It gave me tips I could really use on that subject." Or "Great teleseminar you're offering - it's just what I need to learn right now!" These emails make me all warm and fuzzy inside.

But I want to level with you that publishing isn't all peaches and cream. In fact, here are a few excerpts of emails I've gotten over the past few weeks:

"Your promotions have gotten too snake oily for me." (From a woman who complained I was hiding the price of one of my teleseminars on the sales page, when in fact it was listed three times.)

"I'm sad to see you've gone the way of the high falutin' Internet marketers.... At least I can look myself in the mirror every day." (From someone who apparently did not like to see me become so successful.)

"I'm sorry you want to leave your poor friends behind." (Responding to my urging my readers to surround themselves with people who are as successful and wealthy as they want to be.)

"Your logo is terrible -- it looks like two b00bs and a crown!" (From a disgruntled designer who was upset I recommended some low-cost sources for fast logos.)

And, about a recent teleseminar I gave: "I'd avoid prolonged giggling at things that just aren't funny." (Here's a tip folks... I laugh at stuff I think is funny!)

And there are more!

For example, I took a recent survey of my list and got an amazing 1800+ responses. But at least 5 people wrote me upset that every question required an answer in order to get the free report that was the thank-you gift.

Got Critics? You're Not Alone

Now, hear me out: I'm not writing this article just to bitch and moan. I'm writing this to let YOU know that if you get complaints like these, you're surely not alone.

I learned fast and hard that the higher you climb your mountain of success, the easier a target you become for the people down below.

As the saying goes, "You can please some people all of the time, and you can please all people some of the time, but you can't please all people all of the time!"

Whether you're an ezine publisher, author, speaker, information marketer, coach, or consultant... you WILL be criticized. The more popular you get, the bigger your list gets, the more "out there" you are, the more criticism you'll receive.

Don't Take It Personally

Between you and me, some of these emails have brought me to tears. If I'm feeling the effects, I hop in my Beetle convertible, and take a long drive up the Pacific Coast Highway. It clears my head and reminds me why I chose to do what I do - because I LOVE sharing, teaching, and inspiring. Being the Ezine Queen earns me a great living while I help others at the same time. (And I'm sure that's the same reason you do what you do, too!)

I used to think it was all me, but after talking with several of my colleagues who also publish ezines, they get the same type of emails all the time! And of course we remind each other not to "take anything personally".

Honestly, I still have trouble with that one. Maybe I'm the sensitve type, but I always feel an "ouch" when someone takes an obvious jab that is not simply a suggestion or constructive criticism. Then I breathe deeply, and tell myself that the offending person may be having a terrible day, or their pet turtle just died, and it really has nothing to do with me.

Here's What to Do

What I HAVE learned is that if any of these critics get nasty with you, don't sink to their level. Remember that as a publisher you're also in the business of customer service. I typically handle it via one of these three methods:

a) respond calmly and acknowledge their point (some people just want to be heard)

b) disregard or delete their message (if their comments are so inappropriate or hurtful that I can't answer back calmly)

c) remove them from my list (if they are obviously just trying to make me feel bad)

Through these petty annoyances, remember the big picture of why you started your e-zine or your current venture. It was likely to gain credibility and "expert" status while increasing your marketing reach and revenues. Your professional reputation is always on the line.

You may want to lash back, but in the long run, it ALWAYS pays to take the high road.

Encourage Useful Comments and Feedback!

Don't forget to welcome constructive criticism with open arms! I've gotten many great ideas from my readers' suggestions and comments, and I hope they keep coming in.

Just remember that Queens have feelings too. : )

Author : Alexandria K. Brown

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