Should You Listen to Naysayers?

Part of being an entrepreneur involves receiving negative or discouraging comments from others. When I decided to freelance and quit my job, giving up a steady paycheck, I heard things like, “Is there any money in copywriting or editing?” and “But how are you going to pay your bills?” and “Wow…that’s a tough industry. Good luck.”

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Rather than tell them off, I held my tongue, smiled, and said, “It’s actually a great industry and there’s lots to keep me busy.” Then I went my merry way and launched my business. I’ve never been a follower, anyway, and I was so ready to do my own thing. But sometimes, I think it’s important to listen to the so-called naysayers.

The only problem is: When should you listen to them and when should you ignore them?

Let’s break it up and analyze:

When you should NOT listen

  • If your endeavor involves risk, but there’s lots of opportunity for you
  • If it’s something you’ve been dreaming about and know how to make happen
  • If you are ready to put in the hard work, have the resources you need, and are willing to make sacrifices (especially financially)
  • If you just feel ready for the change and have been making steps to reach your goal
  • If that person’s “caution” or “words of wisdom” to you are just their own fears and doubts

Don’t let your fears–or the fears of someone else, for that matter–hold you back from going after your passions. When you do what you love, and you can figure out how to make it work for you, then go after it without looking back.

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When you should listen

  • If what you’re about to do is incredibly dangerous and you could lose your life (even then, I know some daredevils will go for it)
  • If what you’re planning to do is incredibly stupid (like buying a magical bean that will grown a giant beanstalk)
  • If you haven’t taken the time to plan things out (preparation is the key to success)
  • If you have some life issues (emotional or physical disabilities) that cause an incredible hindrance to your daily well-being
  • If you know you’re not ready, but you’re letting pride cloud your sound judgement

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Just because someone advises you to reconsider choices you are about to make doesn’t mean that you have to completely forget the idea. Rather, it means that you should at least think about their “advice” and ask yourself if there is any credibility to what they’ve told you. Sometimes, it’s hard to remove our ego and we develop this personal vendetta to prove everyone wrong at any cost. Don’t do something just to show others you’re right.

Take every piece of advice with a grain of salt. The best thing to do? Find people who are passionate, like you, and are successful entrepreneurs/business leaders/etc. and ask them if you can buy them some coffee in exchange for an hour of their time. Pick their brains, ask them questions, find out how they became successful. Surrounding yourself with people who are like-minded can help you as you make business and life decisions.

So, heed the naysayers, but weigh your choices with sound judgement and advice from those whom you admire and trust. Don’t let the Negative Nellies get you down; create the life of your dreams by taking some risk. It just may be the best thing you’ve ever done.

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