AskPat 325 Episode Transcript
Pat Flynn: Hey, what’s up everybody? Pat Flynn here, and welcome to Episode 325 of AskPat. Thank you so much for joining me today.
All right, now let's get to today’s question from Alice.
Alice: Hi Pat, this is Alice Turner. I have a blog and an e-commerce site called YourDoulaBag.com. I have recently opened a membership site and it's the first one in that niche. And after launching that I have received some very hurtful and negative comments on the community and I'm just wondering if you have any suggestions on dealing with this? Whether I should respond to anything that's sordid in social media or should I ignore it? And, just wondering, any tips and thoughts you have on the situation. Thanks so much. I absolutely love your podcast and I need to convince you to release something on Saturday and Sunday. Thanks so much, Pat.
Pat Flynn: Hey, Alice. What's up? Thank you so much for the question and, first of all, just let me empathize with you because I have also received several hateful comments in the past and some in the far distant past that I continue to remember and think about because they were incredibly hurtful. And even ones that I've had in the most recent past as well.
It's just to show you that it is something that all entrepreneurs go through. The first thing that I'll tell you is something that was kind of surprising to me to hear when I heard these comments coming in from other people, and I told that to a lot of friends and colleagues and people in mastermind groups with me. That was this: Comments like that, haters; when people say things like that, especially if they're completely disrespectful, is actually a good thing. Not good because it obviously messes with our heads once in a while, and I'll tell you a quick story about that in a second, but it's good in the fact that it means that you're doing something right.
If you never got any haters it just means that perhaps you're not being bold enough in the actions that you have to take in order to succeed. Sometimes in order to truly affect a person's life, you're going to have to open up to the fact that you're going to get these negative comments from people who you are not affecting, who aren't necessarily in your target audience or who aren't just appreciative of the work that you do. The biggest thing that made an impact on me was this quote here which I've sort of fine-tuned it to my own, but it's something that I've heard many times before in a similar way.
That's this: “Every second you waste on a hater is a second you take away from someone who actually needs you.”
So, although you might be getting these hateful comments in your community, there are probably a lot of people in the community who do need your time and attention and I will tell you, and I know a lot of you agree with me when I say this, that entrepreneur math is pretty interesting in that one negative comment is often much greater than one hundred positive comments. You can get a hundred—a thousand—people praising you and telling you how amazing you are and the program you have built for them and just how much it has helped them. They can tell you that all day long but the moment that one person says you're crap or you're scum or all those hateful things, that outweighs those thousand positive comments. That's just human nature to think about those negative comments. And again, thinking about the fact that every second you waste on that hater is a second you waste or don't give to somebody who actually needs you.
You know, there's a really strong notion, I remember back in 2012 it was, there was this guy and he was leaving these really hurtful comments and hateful comments on my own blog in several of my different posts. He also left that same comment on his own blog and his forum, pretty much talking about me in front of his audience and not even allowing me to respond. Not only did he do that, but he left those same exact comments, just copy/pasted them, onto every single blog and forum that was out there at the time that had featured me in some way, shape, or form. So, hundreds of them.
I was getting emails from some of my friends who I had done guest posts for or interviews with on their podcasts saying, “Who is this guy? He's just left this comment. What's this all about?” And I, of course, just got really flustered by that and really angry. I even shed a few tears here and there and I didn't work for three or four weeks. It just disabled me and it was incredible how much power that gesture had from this person who really wasn't even giving me a chance to respond, didn't even want me to necessarily have a conversation with him.
I asked him to come on Skype with me and he refused. I wanted to know where all this was coming from and I later found out that he just did this because he wanted to stir up some heat and get more traffic to his site in that way. Of course, I didn't link to his site and I don't mention his name and I don't mention his website. It's because I don't want to give him that but it was incredibly hurtful and it really threw me off course for a while until I connected with a bunch of people who told me: a) it was a good thing, it just means that I'm doing something right; and b) that those three or four weeks that I was out, I could have done something beneficial with. I could have used that time to build something that would be incredibly helpful for more people and I didn't do that.
So now, when I get these comments, I read the reviews on Amazon and I read the reviews on the podcast and most of them are positive but there's that one or two negative ones that come in every once in while and I've learned just to say hey, you know what? Okay, that person feels that way? Fine. Well, here are all these other people that feel this way about me and I have to appreciate that. I also have a lot of friends and colleagues that I talk to in mastermind groups who always keep me in check and make sure that I'm always thinking about things in a positive way and I think that's really important too, Alice, if you can connect with other people. Kind of like how you're connecting with me now. I'm going to say, you're not alone. You are not alone.
Now, I will say, I caught the end of this at Social Media Marketing World at the final keynote. Jay Baer from Convince and Convert (convinceandconvert.com is Jay Baer's site), and he did the closing keynote. That keynote was titled “Hug Your Haters.” It was interesting because he talked about the fact that you actually have to hug your haters. You go out there and give them what they want. I think there was a little bit of a disconnect in terms of how I feel, where the definition of what haters are to me versus him.
“Haters” to him are people who, yes they leave nasty reviews but they are coming from a place where maybe they weren't being served correctly and he's in the sort of space where he's talking about corporations and retail and Yelp reviews and things like that. It's a little bit different than the comments you might get from a membership site, for example, like what we're talking about here or something you're working on online.
I will say, it's important to listen to what they say. It's important to not take it personally. But it's also important to listen to what they say. And Jay mentioned in his keynote, that these people are the ones who are brave enough to speak out and talk about these things, that might be a first sign of something that you might need to work on. I wouldn't completely ignore them, I would listen and whenever they have something of criticism to say about something you're doing, then I would take that and reassess how you're actually doing things and see if what they're saying is actually either true or the start of something that could potentially be true.
So you can go in and fix it and adjust and pivot and all those hateful parts of it, I would just ignore. Those things, I would just laugh at. Like, really? You really had to go there? Couldn't you just say this? That would have been helpful. Yes, I can change things or maybe I'll look deeper into this problem with my program, but really? You had to call me that? Or really, you had to go there? Please. I mean, I just laugh at that. I just don't resonate with any of that. So, ignore that part of it and don't necessarily respond right away. If anything, don't respond immediately after you get these comments. You can really get yourself in trouble by responding in the heat of the moment, if you will. Sometimes sleeping on it is the best thing you can do.
I've also learned a thing or two from Gary Vaynerchuk, who would often reach out to those people who left one-star reviews on his books on Amazon and get them on a phone call. I've done that a few times and it has actually helped because a lot of people just seem to be not in the know of what's going on and sometimes you can tell based off of peoples’ comments. Sometimes they're just misunderstood or they've misunderstood something which a phone call would actually be much appreciated.
If people are leaving hateful comments and they're just trying to tear you down, I wouldn't give them the light of day. Again, just listen to what they're saying. Maybe it's coming from a place of hate but also they might be saying something useful that you can use to either reassess where you're at and see if you need to make any changes. But make sure to know that sometimes it's just the few who are outspoken in that way and there's a lot of people that are benefiting from what you have to offer and share who may not be outspoken as much as those people in a positive way.
So, Alice, I hope that helps you. Don't take it personally and, again, this is all a learning experience. Listen to what they're saying but not necessarily how they're saying it. And, in some cases, you may want to respond but also just make sure that always sleeping on it, not responding in the heat of the moment and also taking it for what it is. Which is sometimes on a case by case basis, but you are not alone. I get hateful comments and hurtful comments all the time and I know a lot of us out there can relate to that. If you want to pitch in on this and help Alice out, use the hashtag #AskPat325 on Twitter and you can respond with your thoughts on hateful comments and negative comments as well.
Do you agree with me? Do you think you should listen to them at all? I mean, perhaps they are the sign of something that could use improvement in whatever it is that you have to offer that they're commenting about? Or, do you completely ignore them and listen to the masses in your audience? Let me know what you think. #AskPat325. Alice, thank you so much for your question. I really appreciate it. An AskPat t-shirt will be headed your way for having your question featured here on the show.
And for those of you listening, if you have a question you would like featured here on the show, just head on over to AskPat.com. You can ask right there on that page.
Thank you so much for listening in. I really appreciate it and, as always, I like to end with a quote. Today's quote is one that we've already mentioned in the show today but it's very important to remember and that is: “Every second you waste on a hater is a second you take away from somebody who actually needs you.”
Cheers, take care, and I'll see you the next episode of AskPat. Peace.