Musings from Bahraini entrepreneur, design agency creative director and magazine editor, Wafa Alobaidat
Part of what you do as an entrepreneur is to take a risk. Part of taking that risk is dealing with criticism along the way.
You may hear things like:
"You will fail."
"Why would anyone want to use your product?"
"No one would buy this."
"Are you qualified to do this?"
"Don’t you have to study something to do that?"
"Why don’t you do something else instead?"
"Listen to me, I know better. It won’t work."
"Have a backup plan. You know… In case…"
The strength of your belief in what you want to do, coupled with your support system, will allow you to look past the critics and will take you to the finish line.
Nevertheless, along the way, a lot of people give up due to an increase of critics, and a decrease in the support system.
I came up with a formula for dealing with critics and battling their negativity:
- Surround yourself with positive people ONLY.
- Negative people need to be weeded out. Otherwise you should control or steer the conversation to the positive.
- Don’t share your hopes, dreams and future plans with the negatives, as you have now left yourself exposed in a battle with no weaponry. And they are sure to poke holes in your ideas. That does not mean you should be private about sharing your work; just share it with those who will back you up, support you, mentor you, will give you constructive criticism, and/or connect you with someone who will aid you.
- Have at least one person you can lean on, that you can talk to everyday, and who loves you unconditionally. Someone who is a mentor to you and can guide you to the next step.
Most importantly, you, yourself, must believe in your work, or else how can others believe in you? Battle those who try to take you down, and protect your vision. Even if they are your own parents (as is so often the case).
Unfortunately, a lot of budding entrepreneurs need to battle a negative parent (or two), who tells them to choose a safer path, to wait until the markets pick up before launching their business idea, etc, etc.
And for that, I suggest being stubborn, pursuing your plans, and attempting to get funding without them. For when you do succeed, they will end up being the most proud of you.
Wafa Alobaidat writes a bi-monthly column for Khaleejesque and muses on fashion, art, culture and culture shock in the Middle East. Wafa is also the editor of Sketchbook magazine and runs design and PR agency Obai and Hill.