Blocking Out the Haters; How One Comment Almost Stopped My Business

coffee mug pen and crumpled paper

7 years ago, I knew I wanted to do something, I just didn’t quite know what that something was. I finally was able to define that internal push as the fact that I wanted to get paid to write. I had started my own blog and it was a wonderful creative outlet, but I didn’t know if it could be monetized. I wrote for free for two local blogs hoping to gain some followers of my personal blog and make some connections, but over time it became more work than it was worth

The Course

I stumbled upon an online course that had a connection to someone I knew “professionally”. The course would teach you how to generate ideas and then pitch them to publications, hoping they would then pay you to write the article. It sounded amazing! I reached out to the owner and she told me that the course was designed to have multiple students, but since she didn’t have one starting anytime soon, she would do the course just for me. I was thrilled! I happily handed over the fee for the course, downloaded the materials and got to work.

The Call

After completing the first set of assignments, I scheduled my first touch base call with the instructor to go over the work I had sent to her. I was prepped for feedback – I knew I was there to learn and grow and so I was ready to hear how I should do that. And then she rescheduled the call. And then rescheduled again. Still eager to hear what she had to say, I pursued that call. When we finally did connect, we had a little small talk and then she said:

“You know, I see a lot of writers’ work. And I’m looking at your work and I just think…you don’t have it. This just isn’t very good.”

Stunned, flabergasted, and frankly hurt, I managed to point out that this was supposed to be a course, something I should be learning from. Was I supposed to come into it already knowing how to do the work? Wasn’t I supposed to be learning that stuff here?

Moving On

I didn’t complete the course. I never called her again. While I didn’t believe her, I was still shaken by her negativity. As the years went on, her words echoed in my head as I built a business. I started taking that gut punch and using it as motivation. The first check I ever received for a bio I wrote for a friend, I felt like sending her a picture.

Flash forward to 3 months ago. I got an email with a subject line that was something a friend would send you, except I had no idea who it was from. Aaaannnddd then it hit me – it was the course instructor. It wasn’t just an email to me, it was her new newsletter. It explained that she had gone through a terrible divorce (at the same time I was taking her course) and had fallen off the radar because of it. Now that she was finding her footing again, she was diving into a new business venture – podcasts! And did I want to be a part of it with her? If so, her new course was available for me to check out.

I literally almost threw my phone across the room – I couldn’t get her away from me fast enough. It took every ounce of effort not to reply to her newsletter and let her know the terrible damage she could have done. That if I wasn’t as stubborn as I am, she could have completely derailed what has grown into a very successful and satisfying business. One that has expanded to be able to bring on several friends who are able to earn some extra money and still be full-time parents. So much amazingness could have swirled down the drain with her one, thoughtless comment. She let her personal world potentially destroy someone’s dream.

Block Out The Haters

The Dude said it best, “yeah, well, that’s just, like, your opinion man.” If you have a dream, don’t let idiots stand in your way. You never know what their motivation is for trying to slow you down – and you may never know. I’m grateful for some closure to that crappy situation, but even if it had never come, I have all the satisfaction in the world when I get to pay my friends each month, and when a client calls and tells me how pleased they are with that month’s post, and when I hear my kids say “my mom’s a writer”. So screw the haters, go get that dream

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