Your dream of pursuing an entrepreneurial lifestyle has finally true, and while it may seem great at first, it can be hard to drown out the voices of the "naysayers" who could be deterring you from pursuing your passions. But if you make a conscious effort to stay positive and continue your relentless effort, you'll realize you're achieving the most important goal of all: staying true to you.
Nine entrepreneurs offer their best advice for ignoring negative feedback as you pursue the plight of an entrepreneur.
1. Free yourself of others' opinions.
It wasn't until I freed myself of caring about what others without buy-in thought of me or my work that I was able to really push forward with my companies.
If you're always looking backwards and paying attention to the negative chatter of people who are more interested in spending their energy cutting you down than doing something for themselves, you'll be carrying around a huge ankle weight.
- Darrah Brustein, Network Under 40
2. Focus on the worst case scenario.
It may sound negative, but I find worst-case thinking is useful for combatting fears. For most people, the worst case scenario of their business failing is going back to a job like the one they're currently in!
Most people have irrational fears like being abandoned by friends and family or never being able to start another business. It's useful to sit down and realize that these fears aren't true.
- Laura Roeder, MeetEdgar.com
3. It only takes one "yes" to change your life.
It doesn't matter how many people tell you "no," because it only takes one "yes" to change your life forever. Dozens of people told me launching ZinePak was a terrible idea, but I kept going until I got the only "yes" that mattered, from a music buyer at Walmart.
That "yes" meant more than 1,000 "no"s because it was actionable. Find the actionable "yes" for your dream and ignore the other noise.
- Brittany Hodak, ZinePak
4. Talk to other entrepreneurs.
The general population is much more likely to be full of naysayers than people who have actually built businesses. Surround yourself with other business owners -- but if they all think your idea doesn't have legs, you should probably listen to them.
- John Rood, Next Step Test Preparation
5. If you have a cash runway, you can afford to take risks.
The naysayers are most likely worried about the financial burden of starting a company. You can dream big and still be pragmatic about starting your business so that you're not throwing yourself into a mountain of debt and despair if it doesn't work out.
Save up six months' worth of living expenses so you can stay calm and confident while you focus on growing your new business.
- Allie Siarto, Allie Siarto & Co. Photography
6. Defiance is an integral part of a founder's DNA.
In my 20 years' experience as a five-time founder, I've learned that successful founders are innately motivated and even driven by naysaying and rejection, whereas poor founders have a regressive reaction to negativity, and oftentimes too easily surrender to pushback.
Great founders want to win all the time, and even more so when they're told that they can't win or shouldn't try.
- Philip Ferreira, WebCorp
7. Remember that the 'brick walls' are there for a reason.
Naysayers are awesome -- they're a free focus group. You just have to remember (quoting Randy Pausch here) that the brick walls are there for a reason. They let us know how bad we want something. Naysayers are identifying the problems with your idea.
Your job as an entrepreneur is to recognize that problems are just opportunities in disguise. Naysayers build the walls; entrepreneurs scale them.
- Jeremy Kenisky
8. Stay positive.
The naysayers only give you the reasons why your business won't work, but you need to focus on what will work about it and how to make that happen.
Staying proactive and positive in your thinking can motivate you to pursue that dream and prove to others that they were wrong about their reasons why not to do it.
- Cynthia Johnson, American Addiction Centers
9. Remember your passion.
The whole world will be eager to tell you how your idea will fail. Remember why you're passionate about the company you're building. The day I realized I could make a difference to others was the day the company became much bigger than me.
I had to push on. Eventually, I met the right people to help me move the company forward.
- Ajay Yadav, Roomi