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On Online Trolls & Mean Comments (+ 4 takeaways for you)

online trolls mean comments, sam vander wielen

“Seriously, where do these people come from?!” <– my friends, every time I read them yet another troll or rude email / comment.

I know that getting unsolicited feedback and keyboard warrior hate is part of doing the job…. but seriously online space – we’ve got to do better than this.

Before we get in too deep here, I’ve got to be honest about something.

I get wayyyyy more nice mail than I do hate mail. Actually, I get very little hate mail overall — it’s just that the hate mail I do get stings.

Every once in a while, I’ll go through a period where I get a little more “feedback” (as I like to call it) than usual and it builds and builds and builds in me until… well, something pops.

Lately, most of the rude comments and emails are from people who are beginner entrepreneurs (or maybe even someone who hasn’t started her business yet) telling me how I should be running my business. Whether it’s that they don’t like the way an email was or they think my Facebook ad concept should’ve been different — they’re pumped to offer unsolicited feedback on something they don’t know anything about.

On Online Trolls & Mean Comments (+ 4 takeaways for you)

Last week, a brand new entrepreneur who focuses on branding & logo design took issue with how I executed one of my Facebook ads. She left a long, detailed comment on the ad about how I didn’t do the “finger down” challenge correctly.

(If you don’t know what that challenge is, don’t worry – neither did I until my Facebook ads team pitched it to me. It turned out to be an awesome, super successful ad that I’m really happy with.)

After I saw her comment, I thanked her for her feedback (that we didn’t ask for) and let her know that we were happy with the direction of the ad. I figured that’d be it.

I was really surprised to see that the next day, and for several days afterwards, she continued to leave long, longgggggggggg comments on the ad continuing to give more and more feedback and how we could have executed it differently. She even tagged her friends to ask if they agreed with her view that we “didn’t do the challenge correctly” and tagged me to let me know she’d lost “trust in my brand because I couldn’t even do the finger down challenge correctly.”

WOW. I’ll let that one sink in for a little bit.

But it’s not always just unsolicited feedback, some people can get really rude, too.

There are the ridiculous, but annoying, emails like this:

Atlhough they’re frustrating, these ^^ ones always make me LOL.

THERE’S AN UNSUBSCRIBE BUTTON, lady! You don’t have to email me to remove you — but don’t worry, remove you we will 🙂

I also love that she took issue with my FREE workshop being “too long” and somehow “misleading.” This is really where I have to remind myself that thousands and thousands of people have taken and LOVED that workshop. Not only do I have the screenshots and DMs to prove it, but the sales numbers also speak for themselves.

And then the ruder ones that I have more of an issue with, like this:

Ohhhhh friend, where do I start with this one?

“I love your biz concept – super intrigued!”

Oh great, I’m so glad you love my business concept and that it intrigues you. I was waiting for that.

“I HATE ads like this… it’s too bad really.”

HOW. RUDE.

First off, not an ad. It’s an email. An email that you received after you signed up for and watched a free 1-hour long legal workshop. The whole “it’s too bad really” thing just comes off as so rude and smug, IMO.

“I wish YOU had written your own copy – you’re quite authentic in your video.”

First of all – how do you know whether I write my own copy or not? I don’t remember giving you access behind the scenes to know who does and doesn’t write my emails.

Second, I do work with copywriters on some of my copy, especially sales sequences since that takes lots of copy expertise and sales psychology.

And guess what? That’s what successful business owners do. The truth is, if you really want to grow your business, you probably shouldn’t be writing all of your own copy, unless you’re a professional copywriter.

I write 99% of the copy you DO see. But I call in the pros when I need it. And I sign off and give feedback on every single word that you see and read.

The whole “you’re quite authentic in your video” really pissed me off. So you mean I was authentic when I was giving and giving and giving you loads of free info. But the moment I reminded you I had a business (aka asked for the sale), I’m inauthentic?

I can’t help but feel like this is something women have to deal with more often than men. Society’s comfortable with women giving and providing. But the moment a woman stands up and asks for “the sale,” they’re inauthentic. No wonder why so many women feel like they can only give and do for others and that they’re not worthy of asking for the same in return.

There’s nothing inauthentic about making sales.

And not that you need it — but it’s even MORE ok after you’ve actually given a ton of free and valuable information. Please don’t ever let anyone make you feel like you’re not allowed to ask for what you’re worth… especially when you’re offering a PRODUCT (or service) in exchange for that payment.

You’re not just sending me free money. You’re paying for something you need and want, if you need and want it. In exchange for that money, I hand over years and hundreds of thousands of dollars of knowledge and education.

Here are a few things I want you to remember as you’re building your business:

1. Black & White Thinking

There’s no 1 way to do things in business. There’s definitely no “right way” to do a TikTok trend lol. Nobody owns the rights to doing things differently or in a way that works for you. Whether you get this attitude from someone else, or you catch yourself falling into it, remember that the whole point of having your own business is doing things your own way.

Honestly, I feel like the only and best way to grow your own business is to be different. If you adopt the mindset that you can only do things the way someone else in online business does things, then you’re on a fast track to copycat someone AND have no clients.

2. Spend more time on your business than in other people’s

The amount of time spent sending me these emails, leaving comments, etc. is alarming. I certainly hope they’ve got funnels setup that are minting them money in the background or something. Because otherwise this is immense waste and misuse of their time.

If you’ve spent enough time reading someone else’s emails, signing up for their free webinars, or consuming their social media content to formulate an actual opinion — it’s time to reevaluate how you’re spending your time.

3. Criticism isn’t a marketing tactic

One of my friends thinks that the Facebook ad troll was actually trying to get my business by showing me how much of an “expert” she was. If that’s the case, that’s a TERRIBLE business strategy that you need to abandon immediately.

4. Business Growth & Criticism

As I’ve talked about this more and more on Instagram, so many of you have reached out to say that this is part of what you’re afraid of happening to you as your business grows.

That’s actually why I’m sharing this with you. I want you to know that it does happen, but that you can choose yourself. You can choose to keep going anyway.

And you don’t need to wait until you’re “strong enough” to handle this kind of criticism. You don’t need thicker skin or stronger boundaries (I mean, we all need good boundaries – but it’s not going to lessen the pain here) before you market yourself and your business more.

Both of these things can be true: you can hate getting this kind of “feedback” and criticism AND choose to keep going.

This kind of stuff won’t break you. It’ll hurt – I’m not going to lie. But I want you to know that if and when it happens, you’ll still be standing.

I’d love to hear your takeaways from this post in the comments below! 👇

Have you ever experienced “feedback” like this? Are you afraid of it happening to you? Has that impacted your business? I’m so curious. I’m here to chat <3

Talk soon!

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  1. Love this post!

    Yes, I encountered this recently with someone in a Facebook group. I shared a free resource for stress relief and had like 20+ people thanking me for how helpful it was, and then 1 woman commented that I should stop taking advantage of sick people and stealing their money. This assessment was made because I also offer coaching services and she visited my website to find this out. Nowhere in the resource did I actually mention my paid services (I still have some mental drama with doing so and this comment certainly didn’t help).

    Thank you for writing about this topic. I feel like it’s the elephant in the room that no one really addresses.

    1. I’m so sorry that happened to you, Alina! Usually — when someone gets triggered like that — it has to do with their own stuff (insecurities, mindset blocks etc.) Maybe that person is afraid to ask for what they’re worth — for fear that someone could challenge them or call them an “imposter”. You’re so welcome & thank you so much for reading! Best, Sam

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