One Bad Review

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Why is it that one bad review can negate all the great things people say about you? One mean comment, one snarky tweet, one dissatisfied customer? You know this already, but just in case you’ve forgotten it I’m going to remind you again: you can’t please everyone so don’t waste your time trying.

Of course we don’t want to give ourselves permission to ever do a bad job, if you do get a bad review it’s really important to analyse whether the comment is worthwhile paying attention to at all. It is from someone who paid you for a service or someone who’s opinion you value? If so you might want to listen to it, learn from it and make amends if you need to. However if it’s coming from someone who’s just having a big old moan (online most likely!) then I’m sorry but who gives a stuff what they think? You don’t owe these people a response or any justification at all in fact.

Does anybody watch Nashville (shameful admission alert, but I’m totally obsessed)? In a recent episode one of the main characters, singer Juliette Barnes, tried a new ‘sound’ at a concert. The first review she read of her performance was from a music critic in the audience who said awful things about it and her on twitter. Obviously it crushed her and her confidence and she spent hours, days even, reading and re-reading his comments and doubting her new direction completely. However, by spending her time worrying about what this one critic has said, she’d failed to notice the thousands of positive comments on the YouTube upload of the performance – comments from fans who actually part with their hard earned cash to buy her records. At the end of the day it is their opinions that really matter anyway.

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Of course this isn’t real life, but my cheesy analogy does bear some weight, and as I watched it on TV I knew there’d be some of you out there doing the exact same thing.

Don’t wallow in that one negative comment. Focus on the people that matter and all the great things they are saying about you. If you don’t already, I highly recommend keeping a praise file where you store all the nice emails or messages you get about your work. It sounds silly and like you’re blowing your own trumpet, but no-one else has to read it and if you’re feeling low it’s a really nice thing to go back and revisit once in a while. Reminding yourself that you are doing a good job or making a difference to people is a really good thing to do.

The opinions that matter are the ones from people that actually buy your products or book your services. They clearly love what you do and I guarantee the person having a moan isn’t a potential customer anyway. Let’s be honest, they’re probably just feeling bad about their own work and so having a pop at you. In a way it’s a crazy kind of compliment.

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I understand though. It can hurt reading, or hearing, mean things about you and the work you put so much effort in to. It’s horrible to be criticised and I know how difficult it can be to take. But you have to ignore them. Their ‘review’ means nothing. Remember, they aren’t your customer and you don’t owe them anything.

So, and hard as it might be, ignore the naysayers and instead of wallowing, move onto planning your next fabulous move. They’ll probably moan about that too, but who cares? They’re not the one living your life or doing what you’re doing. They’re not putting themselves out there, taking risks or striving to improve each time. You are, and you’re doing a bloody brilliant job.



  1. Fabulous post as always. I’d like to publicly declare my crazed obsession with Nashville too (and resist the urge to piss you off with spoilers).

    So yeah I get that more with my singing than my writing, so very timely <3 you are clever. Love, me xxx

  2. Agree whole heartedly with this. When I started my business last year I had no real idea of what to expect and with feedback good and bad it was then improvements were made. You have to learn to get back up ‘dust yourself off’ and become greater! x

  3. gemma

    Don’t feel guilty for being obsessed with Nashville Kat!! They actually have very solid Rock n Roll credentials and some very well respected artists have written songs for the characters to sing… eg The Civil Wars have written a couple of Gunnar/Scarlett tunes. That’s enough justification for me!! x

  4. Had my first unhappy cake customer about a month ago now, I have to confess – I cried!!
    It was a huge job, and one that I’d done as a favour in the first place. Disaster struck the day before when I broke a vital tool – my left hand. Sliced a couple of fingers deep enough to need superglue and special dressings to stem the bleeding. But I soldiered on (with gloves of course) and did my absolute damndest. And it still wasn’t enough.
    Learning the hard way that you can’t please everyone is tough, but sometimes it’s the only way.

  5. Fab post Kat! It’s worth mentioning if it is actually a customer who may have had a bad experience a good way to amend is probably getting in touch directly with them and remaining gracious. If I’m doing my job well, then I’m happily confident and always treat any situation in a timely and calm manner. Often i see things getting played out on twitter or Facebook and it’s cringey. Even worse, those passive/aggressive digs between suppliers! *unfollow and move on planning the next fabulous thing*
    Love from one closet Nashville lover to another xxx

  6. Love this post and totally agree! Thank you for taking the time to write it. I think as women, we are normally people pleasers by nature. It is good to be reminded that even though we try our best that we can’t please everyone.

  7. Thank you! I needed to read this. I had a snarky comment not on my blog but on a blog linking to my post this week and it crushed me. This post gives me life.

  8. You really made me feel good reading this. This is so heart felt and very true. There is no way one bad comment should ever bring that much bad vibe on ANYone. Thank you for sharing this! (:

  9. Really good post! I remember the first wedding I did and I stressed for weeks about it. And I mean weeks. Will they be happy on the day? Will I let them down in their expectations? etc etc. They were over the moon apart from one thing – the groom didn´t like the fairylights that the bride had chosen. She was chuffed. He wasn´t. I beat myself up over this very small detail to them but huge detail to me (again for weeks!) until I realised that crying about it wasn´t going to get me anywhere so I put it down to experience and moved on.

  10. This post has been playing on my mind for a while and I think you need to make to clear distinctions when it comes to negative responses in your business. The first are customer complaints, where someone has a legitimate right to say you didn’t deliver on a service you said you would give. The second is just horrible people saying nasty thing about you when they have never engaged with you in any other way but they are just being horrid.
    The first would bother me because of I had let a customer down then somewhere along the line it’s my fault but I can learn from this and improve my products or service accordingly. I’ve seen people act very negatively to complaints against their business but leaping to the defensive just makes you look bad. Sometimes you just have to say ‘sorry I made a mistake’ and move on.
    The people who are just out to get you because they don’t like what you do for whatever reason, well you will never please them. They are never likely to be customers so there is little point in trying to appease them. Trolls are just ridiculous people with no discernable taste.
    I know I don’t handle critism well but I’m learning to try and weed out the stuff that matters from the stuff that is just noise that I can’t do anything about.


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