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Entrepreneurial anxiety. It’s a thing.

I was recently approached by SmartCompany for a featured interview to appear on their website & social channels. The interview went smoothly and I hung up the phone feeling pretty content with the answers that I provided. Everything I said during the interview was honest & down to earth but I couldn’t help but have this sinking feeling that something, anything, that I said might be taken out of context or even spun in a way that reflects negatively on me or the business.

It’s the same reason I find it so difficult to watch the show Shark Tank. Understandably the producers need to cut the footage to enhance the drama of the pitch and a number of the entrepreneurs that appear on the show end up in a bad light from the public’s perspective. Any time the entrepreneur disagrees with a comment from the ‘sharks’ the edits highlight the entrepreneur to the point where you can see the sweat dripping on their face.

In recent times I’ve started to naturally build my entrepreneurial profile having won several awards, putting out more content and making myself more accessible through social media. As such, I become much more open to negative comments and skepticism. I dare say that 98% of comments and reactions on my content are positive, but it’s the 2% that I dread. Perhaps it is my immaturity as an entrepreneur or just me being human, but I genuinely dread the negative comments that might come my way.

Here’s what gets to me…

Sure, I put myself out there in the public eye by doing interviews, writing content like this and having an accessible social media presence. But what I can’t comprehend is why people go out of their way to put someone down who’s ‘having a crack’. Time and time again I see features on entrepreneurs, in particular young entrepreneurs, and the comments on the article are absolutely savage. For example, just today I watched a video on Channel 7’s Facebook page about two young entrepreneurs from South Australia who started an app for exchanging cars. Regardless of whether you like the idea or not, I do not understand the premise of going out of your way to post a negative comment. I opened the comments on the video and browsed the first ten top comments and they were brutal, bordering on personal attacks. Imagine being one of those two young entrepreneurs and opening the comments only to find brutal attacks on your endeavors. Moreover, why are people liking these savage comments?

I recently had the same experience when my new venture (Athletikan) was featured in Broadsheet and they posted the article onto their Facebook page with more than 200,000 followers. A number of the people who chose to comment posted sweeping negative statements about our new brand. But, for every negative comment on the post we had about 20 new signups on our pre-launch waiting list. I told my business partner not to read the comments, but I myself couldn’t help but read them anyway.

When SmartCompany interviewed me last week I knew the article would be posted on their Facebook page and I had a crippling anxiety about what the comments might be. As a follower of SmartCompany I’ve seen first-hand some of the comments that other followers choose to post and it’s very hard to read.

Why? Why would you go out of your way to post a negative comment about someone who’s having a go? About someone who has a dream, a vision and working towards a goal. Entrepreneurial anxiety is real and seemingly highly unrecognised.

There’s a difference between constructive feedback and blatant & unnecessary negativity.

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If you want to see the article on SmartCompany click here.

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