Here’s the deal: working for yourself isn’t easy. Some days it can be extremely difficult. As small business creatives, crafters, and makers, it can be easy to allow yourself to fall into a slump both mentally and physically. Constantly coming up with a fresh spin on your products while maintaining boundaries with how much you work can be hard to figure out. On top of all this, negativity often sneaks in. And negativity is SO sneaky. Learning how to fight negativity can also be tricky.
We mentioned in last week’s blog post. It’s way easier for negative thoughts and actions to sneak in than it is for positive ones to stick and stay. It’s incredibly important for you as an Etsy seller to understand this. Dealing with negativity in a healthy way will allow you to stay healthy mentally. It will also keep your business and shop healthy. We want to give you the tools you need to fight negativity and find more Etsy shop success!
Haters gonna hate
As an Etsy seller, if you haven’t experienced this already, eventually a negative review or conversation will come across your screen. This is definitely not the most fun thing to deal with and can be downright hard. As a creative, you pour your heart into your shop and hearing negative comments can be extremely hurtful. As a writer and designer, I’ve experienced the exact same thing on multiple occasions.
When there is a screen between two individuals, words often fly back and forth that would otherwise not be spoken in person. If you’re anything like me, it’s a task to not think about those words that caught you off guard A LOT for a few days afterward…maybe even longer. Dealing with a seriously difficult customer is definitely not awesome. We understand this in our little corner of the universe first hand, BUT we also know that the BEST customers can make your entire year amazing! So, how should you handle negative feedback?
The last thing we want is for you to become bogged down with a negative comment. It’s not worth wasting a ton of energy on. Instead, we want to help you come up with a game plan for staying positive and pushing through negativity! Because, if there’s a plan, you won’t stay in a slump and instead you will focus more on the positive. As we all know, focusing on the positive leads to a happier and healthier life and business. Below is a list of five things to help you with focusing on the upside of negative comments and difficult customers. Yeah, there actually is an upside and silver lining to those less than ideal situations!
1.) Constructive Criticism
The literal definition of constructive criticism is this: helping to improve; promoting further development or advancement. This is a fantastic way to look at negative comments. Instead of becoming upset and angry, ask yourself what you can learn from the customer feedback you’re receiving. If the situation calls for a change on your part, work to make that happen. Maybe you got behind on shipping because, life gets crazy!
If you didn’t communicate thoroughly with your customer during this process and hence received a less than stellar review, think of how to make this different the next time you’re faced with the same issue. This will only help to improve you as a seller. Changing your perspective on how you look at negative comments will keep your mind away from the bazillion negative places it could go instead. The first upside to all this is that you can learn and improve where improvement is needed, which is awesome!
2.) Kindness changes everything
If you did nothing wrong and have a customer who is being completely unreasonable, think of this quote: “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” Here’s the thing, we all have really bad days. The sort of days where we didn’t really want to get out of bed in the first place, but here we are…adult-ing despite it all. If I wake up to a negative comment or am blasted with one right in the middle of a hectic day, let me tell ya, it’s HARD to not want to lash back out at that unknown human on the other side of my screen. But, here’s the thing y’all: life is hard and believe it or not, we’re all in this thing together.
As an Etsy seller, you might not be at fault whatsoever and might have gotten a bad comment/review for no reason at all. But, if react with anger it only fosters negative energy in your life. I can promise you, the feelings you’ll have to deal with when you react this way aren’t worth it. Take a step back from those words you’re reading on your screen. Take a few deep breaths. Remember, kindness is NEVER wasted. Literally. You might not win the battle with this particular customer, but you’ll win the war in your own heart and life by not allowing negativity to fester.
3.) Respond vs. React
A reaction is instant. It’s driven by the beliefs, biases, and prejudices of the unconscious mind. When you say or do something “without thinking,” that’s the unconscious mind running the show. A reaction is based in the moment and doesn’t take into consideration long term effects of what you do or say. A reaction is survival-oriented and on some level a defense mechanism. It might turn out okay but often a reaction is something you regret later.
A response on the other hand usually comes more slowly. It’s based on information from both the conscious mind and unconscious mind. A response will be more “ecological,” meaning that it takes into consideration the well-being of not only you but those around you. It weighs the long term effects and stays in line with your core values.
Maybe you didn’t do something right. Maybe you did nothing wrong. Either way, try to respond to those words on your screen. Reacting out of anger will do nothing for you or your customer. Pause, take that step back and take a breath. Walk away if you need to, and when you can calmly respond with kindness and integrity, write the response that will only bring positive energy to your business and your life.
4.) Make A Conscious Decision
Once you’ve responded, don’t dwell on the negativity any longer. Instead, concentrate on what you’ve learned from this negative comment/difficult customer. If you took the constructive criticism, be thankful for the lesson you learned and apply that to your interactions with future customers. If you simply had to learn to respond when you were not at fault, be thankful that you were able to practice kindness with someone who is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Either way, make a conscious effort to dwell on the positive in your situation, and kill the negativity that would otherwise try and take over your thoughts.
If you’re responding in kindness…whether you’re learning to change something about the situation or not, it doesn’t mean the person you’re dealing with will respond in kindness as well. Remember…that’s not the point. The point is that YOU learned what you were meant to in order to positively respond to your customers in the future. When we learn to respond instead of react, when we do our best to practice deeper levels of understanding and kindness…that is the point.
Ultimately, it’s about gaining the realization that you and I and every single person who writes a negative comment (or is difficult with us on Etsy or social media) is fighting their own unknown battle. It’s also about understanding that we’re all connected in life, one way or another. And whether by something huge in your life, or by something rather small (like responding in a kind way to something negative in your shop) you can make a positive impact in the world by the way you respond to others.
What are some tricks and tips you use to stay positive with negative comments and difficult customers? Let us know in the comments below!
Happy selling…and being kind…everyone!