AMY PORTERFIELD: “You're going to experience this as well. Strangers on the Internet are always going to tell you what they think, and they're always going to find a way to cut you down. They don't matter. We don't even pay attention to them, right? But what about students, that as you grow and change and do bigger things in your business, what about those people that you care deeply about, because you've supported them and you've helped them, and now they think you're doing something wrong? We also need to have thick skin with them as well. Love them, wish them well, but not believe them. We've got to be ready for people to say, ‘Who do you think you are? The audacity to charge that, the audacity to create something like that for those people. This isn't right. You're not right. You're doing this wrong. Shame on you.’ We're going to hear that, and we have to move forward anyway. We're going to hear that from people that used to believe in us, who have gotten a little bit beyond where they're comfortable with, so now they're going to start saying stuff, and we've got to still keep moving on.”
INTRO: I’m Amy Porterfield, ex-corporate girl turned CEO of a multi-seven-figure business. But it wasn't all that long ago that I lacked the confidence, the budget, and the time to focus on growing my small–but–mighty business. Fast forward past many failed attempts and lessons learned, and you'll see the business I have today, one that changes lives and gives me more freedom than I ever thought possible, one that used to only exist as a daydream. I created the Online Marketing Made Easy podcast to give you simple, actionable, step–by–step strategies to help you do the same. If you're an ambitious entrepreneur, or one in the making, who's looking to create a business that makes an impact and a life you love, you're in the right place, friend. Let's get started.
So I did a thing, and at the time that I did it, I felt really good about it. And then as I've done a little journaling, worked with my coach, thought about it for a while, I don't feel so great about what I did. And I thought I would share it with you because I think it might help you down the road if you come into a situation like I had. And the next time this happens to me, I’m going to deal with it differently, so I thought maybe I could help you sidestep a challenge that might come your way.
Okay, so here's the thing. You know how you watch those videos on the web from people we love and we trust and they motivate us and they say things like, “Don't let a stranger’s opinion on the Internet dictate how you feel or what you do in your life or your business”? We’ve seen those videos, and they’re good, and I 100 percent believe it. I’m like, “Yeah, of course.” So if I put up a Facebook ad and some total stranger in the comments says, “You're an idiot. You look like crap,” I just ignore it because I'm like, “I don't know who you are, and you've got your own opinion.” It doesn't even faze me.
However, what if a student who is loyal to you and has taken your program and gotten success and is a huge fan, what if they write a hate email? And by hate email, I feel like that’s very dramatic. What if they write an email that says some stuff that doesn't make you feel so good? What about that? Are you supposed to ignore that as well? Well, kind of, but I didn’t.
So here's the thing. When I was promoting my brand–new membership site, Momentum, back in December, I received an email from a woman that was my student. She had bought another program of mine, and she had gotten success with it, and she said she was a huge fan of mine. And she wrote in the past tense, which was kind of funny when I went to go re-look at it before I recorded this. It was like, “I loved you because you cared so much about your students,” and “I was a fan because…”so, obviously, she doesn't love me or is not a fan anymore. But she didn't like how I promoted Momentum. She felt like it was too expensive. I was promoting to the wrong audience. It was like, if I read between the lines, what I saw was like, how dare you have the audacity to create something like this for these people, and this is what's wrong with the whole world. It was it was a pretty fierce email that she wrote. She had a lot of negative opinions about what I was doing.
And unfortunately—here’s a big lesson—I read that email during the launch. Now, for all my students who are going to live launch, going to promote something, or have, those who have, you know how you feel during a launch, right? You're putting it all out there—blood, sweat, and tears; good, bad, and ugly. You're doing your best work ever during a launch. You're tired. Your overly sensitive, often overly emotional if things kind of hit you the wrong way. It's not the best time to be reading any negative feedback, just for the record. Learned the hard way, but, yeah.
So I did this stupid thing where I went in to Help Scout during the launch, which Help Scout is the software we use for our customer support, and I saw this email, and it just derailed me. So I was so fired up by all her negativity that I recorded her an audio, and the audio was, I don't know, like, ten minutes long. I didn't mean for it to be that long, but it was basically like, “Let me tell you why I created Momentum and why I believe in it so much. And let me tell you about how it's changed lives already and why I charge a premium price for it. And let me tell you who it's for.”
And I just—I wasn't rude, because if you guys know me, my tough love comes across as, “So let me tell you about this or that.” I don't have a mean tone, but I was fired up, and I was passionate. Guys, I hope you believe in your products like this. I believe in Momentum. I know it's changing businesses. The caliber of people in there is incredible. The conversations we have, the engagement, the success, the lessons, like everything about Momentum is worth its price tag and more, and the people make it even more valuable. Like, it's incredible. And I believe in it so much that I had to tell this woman all the reasons why I did and why I created it and why I charged what I charged for it and everything. And then at the end, I told her, “And so before you try to cut somebody down next time, maybe think about how much blood, sweat, and tears goes into creating things like this. And just remember that just because you don't agree doesn't mean it's wrong,” blah, blah, blah. So I gave her a little lesson at the end.
Yeah, she never responded, nor did I think she would. But ultimately, when I recorded that audio for her, I realized about a month later it wasn't for her; it was for me. And I allowed somebody’s opinion to get the best of me in a negative way.
Now, where I justified it, when I was talking to my weight–loss coach, Corinne, because we talk about work stuff all the time, I justified it to Corinne to say, “Well, she’s not a stranger on the Internet. she was a student. And I feel bad that she felt that about me and my new product,” and dah, dah, day. And Corinne looked at me and she said, “She's just not right for the program. She’s not a good fit. What about all the other people that are in the program right now that are not writing negative emails? And you want to know why? Because they're too busy doing the work and getting results.” And when she said that, I was like, “Damn, that’s good.” Yes, they are. I see them every day. I see you, Momentum members, kicking ass.
And so in that moment, I felt foolish, like, “That audio was so good but so not necessary.” And then I realized, wait a second. If I am going to continue to play a bigger game, I've got to get thicker skin. I have to. I thought I did get thicker skin. And maybe I have throughout the years. I went through a really rough time giving up a partnership, and I think I grew from there and got thicker skin from there and kind of saw what I was made of. So I've seen glimpses of me getting thicker skin, but eleven years in and I'm still working on it.
And so what I did is I sat down and I wrote a list of five things that I'm going to go back to each time I see something negative from somebody else, cutting me down in one way or another, because I think it's going to happen a lot as my business gets bigger and as I play a bigger game. So I wrote down these five things, and I thought I’d share them with you because you're going to experience this as well. Strangers on the Internet are always going to tell you what they think, and they're always going to find a way to cut you down. They don't matter. We don't even pay attention to them, right? But what about students, that as you grow and change and do bigger things in your business, what about those people that you care deeply about, because you've supported them and you've helped them, and now they think you're doing something wrong? We also need to have thick skin with them as well. Love them, wish them well, but not believe them.
I’ve seen this all over the Internet, but I saw it specifically from one of my students, Danira. I think I mentioned this on the podcast already. And she wrote on social media, she said, “Two thousand twenty, I’m going to start hearing a lot of ‘Who does she think she is?’ and that’s okay.” Danira’s going to play a bigger game, and she's ready for that. And she's an example of what I'm talking about here. We've got to be ready for people to say, “Who do you think you are? The audacity to charge that, the audacity to create something like that for those people. This isn't right. You're not right. You're doing this wrong. Shame on you.” We're going to hear that, and we have to move forward anyway. We're going to hear that from people that used to believe in us, who have gotten a little bit beyond where they're comfortable with, so now they're going to start saying stuff, and we've got to still keep moving on.
Now, before I go through my list of five things that really have helped me and hopefully they will help you, I want to say this. I'm always going to look for patterns from my audience. I don't believe we should ignore everybody, especially not our customers. So here's the thing. You've got to figure out the pattern in what you're looking for in terms of your audience.
But let's say I received twenty emails that basically said the same thing about an offer I put out there. I'm going to listen. I'm going to pay attention. Now, twenty is a lot. You have to say, like, I'm emailing 400,000 people. So twenty, is it a lot? I get to decide. Only you get to decide where a pattern shows up. Don’t be crazy and say, like, five emails, and boom, you’re changing everything. But when my team knows—Josh and Megan, all my customer support—they know that when we see a pattern of feedback, they're going to come to me. I'm going to stay out of Help Scout. I'm not going to hunt and peck for the negative emails like I accidentally did during that launch. But they know to come to me. “Hey, Amy, I'm seeing a pattern. People are complaining about how we're doing x, y, z.” I'm paying attention now. But one offs, I can't let those derail me.
So it's important that you pay attention to your audience, but you have to be careful about the decisions you make from the feedback. And you have to say, am I getting enough of this that actually I need to pay attention? because the collective feedback is the most important, I believe, not the one–off negative feedback. Cool? Are we on the same page? Okay. That's what I believe and how I basically navigate through all of this.
So next time I read a one–off email from someone who says, “The audacity you have is ridiculous,” kind of thing, here's what I'm going to do. Number one, I’m going to remember something so important. I've heard so many of my mentors say this in one way or another. Someone who has achieved more than me will never judge me for wanting more. Someone who has achieved more than me—I don't know who originally said this, but it's good—someone who has achieved more than me in their business and in their life, they've done bigger things than me, they've made big things happen, they will never judge me for wanting more.
And that is the truth. When I think of my students, typically with my students, for most of them, I'm ahead of where they are. They want to aspire to building a bigger business like the business I have. I would never look at one of my students who's trying to sell a digital course and say, “You’re charging too much. That's ridiculous. No. Who do you think you are? You cannot teach that. No. This is ridiculous. Wait. You need to slow down. Maybe just consult for a few more years.” Like, I would never do that because I know it’s possible because I’ve played a bigger game. So dreaming and putting it out there and big goals and being full of audacity, hell, yeah, I’m always going to encourage that because I know it’s possible because I’ve done big things compared to, let’s say, my students who are just starting out.
So, remember that. So the people that are telling you you're doing it wrong, you're charging too much, this is inappropriate, whatever they're saying, they believe it and they are so entitled to it. But they're not playing your game. They are not going after what you’re going after. They do not have the same dreams and ambitions that you have. They could have their own, but they don't have yours. And so we are not going to give them a voice in our head at least, right? They're going to be vocal, but that's about them, not about you. At the end of the day, this lesson I taught myself was the person who is giving that negative feedback, they are just not a good fit for what I've created. And I wish them well. Done. Moving on.
The second thing that I wrote down in my journal was, just like everything in life, sometimes things are going to get rocky and feel really uncomfortable; I am committed to having thicker skin. I've got to have thicker skin. I look at some of my mentors, and they all have thicker skin. I know they’ve got haters. I'm thinking of two female entrepreneurs that I'm very close to, and they tell me specifically some of the horrible things that they've heard other people tell them, and they almost just laugh at it. Now, I’m so sensitive, I can’t even laugh at it. But they have thick, thick skin. And so I’ll never have as thick a skin as they have—I just wasn't born with that DNA—but I know I could do things to get thicker skin, such as writing this list, going back to it, and remembering how I navigate through these negative comments and negative emails and such.
Number three, this is what I wrote: I know I create my own thoughts. No one can hurt me. I am in charge of what I think and what I feel. Period. So again, Brooke Castillo, the thought model, she's got a podcast on it and the Life Coach School. I subscribe to it. I believe in it. And if you don't know what that is, go check it out. Life Coach School’s a podcast; Brooke Castillo’s the host. In the very beginning of that podcast, she taught something called the thought model, and then she talks about it through almost all of her episodes, one way or another. I am so perfectly imperfect about following the thought model, it's not even funny, meaning I catch myself saying, “Oh, this person hurt me.” Like when I got that email, I literally said to one of my coworkers, “That email, it just cut me to my soul.” And then I heard myself say that. I'm like, What? I’m allowing that email to hurt me. She didn't hurt me. I allowed the thoughts I had about that email to hurt me. So I really do believe that I genuinely am in control of every thought that I have. And no matter what anyone says to me or about me, it cannot hurt me unless I choose to let a thought about that hurt me. I know it's a hard concept to get sometimes, but I go back to it literally twenty times a day. I work on this all the time, and it has served me well. Even when I falter, like sending the audio out because I said she hurt me where in sense, you know, I let that happen. I falter a lot, but I still go back to it, and I get better and better every single day.
All right. Number four, I wrote, although I will always look for patterns in the feedback from my audience, which I talked about earlier, I will never let an individual's opinion dictate how I feel or how I do business. So that one was important to me. It's just like a reminder. We'll look for patterns, but not individual opinions.
And number five, I wrote, I am here to stay. And to me, that's so powerful because when we're just talking about building your online business, like I'm talking business now, as you build your online business, if you just tell yourself in hard times, “I am here to stay. I am here to stay. I'm not going anywhere. I'm not going back to my nine to five. I’m not going to change this business. I'm not going to do things differently. I'm here to stay. Right now, me, I am here. I am taking up space, and I'm going to do big things,” that is important to me because it makes me feel unshakable. No words, no negative comments, even from people that I feel like I've supported and loved, even when they change their opinion about me, I'm here to stay. And as long as my moral compass is on track, as long as I know I need to make it about all of you more than I make it about me; I need to love up on you and support you; no matter if you ever buy from me or not, I need to show up for all of you; I need to do what I do so that you can create a business you absolutely love so that you can have the life that you want; I have to remember that. I have to remember that girl in the cubicle right now that she's in a job that she does not love. She knows she's made for more. She know she wants to do her own thing, but has no idea how to get started. I've got to focus on her and think about her all the time, more than I think about my own feelings or getting hurt or more than I think about the money or any of that.
And some days, I do better than others, but I do know my why. And so if you know your why, and I bet you do—dig deep, you've got it—as long as you keep your eye on the why and you remember that you are there to serve and to love your audience, even the negative feedback, you don't have to let it affect you like I let that negative email affect me. You don't have to let it affect you.
So, I don’t know. I just wanted to jump on here to do this episode. I actually didn't want to jump on here. Let's be honest. I actually thought, I don't want to do this episode. I don't want to talk about this topic. It makes me feel uncomfortable. And I don't necessarily love all the emotions I had to have through this experience. But then I thought, heck, I wrote this list. I'm going to learn from it, and maybe it can help you as well.
So I'll go through the list one more time. You could just take down some notes if you want and just come back to this when you get that negative feedback, because you will. If you let it sting, then you got to go to the list. Deal? Okay.
Here we go. Number one, someone who has achieved more than me will never judge me for wanting more. Just remember that one. Number two, just like with everything in life, sometimes things are going to get rocky; I am committed to having thicker skin. Number three, I know I create my own thoughts. No one can hurt me. I am in charge of what I think and what I feel. Period. Number four, although I will always look for patterns in the feedback from my audience, I will never let an individual's opinion dictate how I feel or how I do business. And number five, I am here to stay. And you are. You're showing up, you're doing the work, you're doing the hard stuff, you're in this. And I think that's really powerful.
I want to wrap up with this. It's going to be a little bit weird, but if the person who wrote that email happens to be listening to this audio, I want you to know that I respect everything you said in that email. You are passionate. You have your own beliefs, your own thoughts. And although I can't let it hurt me or derail me, I still respect that you have your own opinions, and those are yours. Also, in the weirdest way, I want to thank you for allowing me to learn the lessons that I've learned, because without that email, I wouldn't be able to show up how I've shown up here today. So there you go.
All right, guys, thanks so much for letting me share my heart. I hope this episode was valuable. Have a great day. I can't wait to connect with you again soon. Bye for now.