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Hate-Proof Your Work From these 8 Kinds of Haters 

In the world of innovation and entrepreneurship, detractors are as common as ideas themselves. Their voices are loud, often hiding in the shadows of progress, and whispering doubts just loud enough for you to overhear. 

Back when Sterling & Stone was dabbling in the business of education, we couldn’t launch anything without a little pitchfork waving. The key to not just surviving but thriving, regardless of the haters waging war on your endeavors? 

Believe in the core truth of your idea, have enough resilience to stay the course, and understand the 8 kinds of haters you will encounter:


Moochers only want what they can get for free. This differs from someone just starting their journey and genuinely strapped, but willing to pay for help once they can afford it. 

Moochers will bleed you dry because they have no genuine appreciation for the value of your idea, and resent any attempt to profit from it. Moochers see anyone willing to pay for knowledge as a “sucker.” This often shows a poor understanding or relationship with money, seeing as they will gladly spend ten hours searching for “free information” online, rather than dropping five bones to get that same info in a book. 

With moochers, your ideas must exist to serve them, for free, or as little as possible. 

Solution: Establish clear boundaries and value your work publicly. Use tiered offerings so you can cater to different audience segments, including free resources that provide genuine value while keeping premium content or services for those willing to invest. This approach respects both your work’s value and the varied needs of your audience.


Attention Seekers clearly crave the spotlight. While they might argue about right and wrong, really, they only want to shine the attention back on themselves. They will loudly complain, raising digital hands, despite zero requests for their opinion. 

Attention seekers often use emojis to pretend they aren’t being as vicious or manipulative as they actually are. 

For attention seekers, your ideas must work to service or validate them. 

Strategy: Channel their desire for attention into positive engagement by inviting them to take part in constructive ways. For example, ask for their input on specific issues or involve them in community challenges. This potentially turns critics into collaborators by making them feel valued and heard.


Complainers grumble and criticize, regardless of what you do. Something is always wrong for this crowd; they tend to be magnets for disasters that seem to befall only them. 

Complainers want you to understand them and to feel their pain, but they are not interested in your solutions or advice. They need to be the victim, because that’s where they feel safest, even if they don’t know this about themselves. 

Because complainers are always complaining, they like to complain about you. Your ideas load the shells into their chamber. 

Mindset Shift: View complainers as a source of feedback. Acknowledge their concerns without necessarily agreeing and focus on solutions that align with your goals. Sometimes, a simple acknowledgment can diffuse negativity and shift the conversation toward productive dialogue.


Envious People are dangerous and are often unaware of their ugly behavior or its root cause. Internal hate is a cancer to happiness, so this breed of detractor is toxic to the world around them. 

The envious will judge, criticize, and gossip about you. Envy is hard to battle, because both attention and lack of it add fuel to the fire. 

Your ideas might inspire envy in the weaker-minded. 

Solution: Envy often stems from admiration gone sour. Keep your communication transparent and inclusive, highlighting team efforts and community achievements over individual victories. Promote a culture of mutual success and offer mentorship or collaboration opportunities that can transform envy into inspiration.


Bulldozers are always right, even when the evidence is heavily mounted against them. They cannot conceive of being wrong about anything and rarely, if ever, take the feelings of others into account. 

They’re arrogant, stating their opinions as fact, though they never extend this courtesy to anyone else. 

Bulldozers believe they are the smartest person in the room, no matter its size or shape, and rarely see others as equals. Every conversation is a potential argument to be won.

Strategy: Stay confident and assertive in your stance when dealing with bulldozers. Use obvious logic and evidence to support your ideas, agreeing to disagree when necessary. Establishing mutual respect is key, even if consensus isn’t possible.


Narcissists might have some great ideas, but they’ll always filter your idea through the lens of their benefit. 

Someone who is self-centered to the core can never truly appreciate your needs. Relying on their opinions could send you off into the wrong direction. 

Mindset Shift: Recognize that narcissists’ feedback may be skewed by their self-interest. Take their opinions with a grain of salt, filtering useful insights from self-serving comments. Focus on the collective good and broader audience needs rather than getting caught up in pleasing any single individual.


Control Freaks want jurisdiction over everything by nature, and by including them in your idea you risk their wanting to claim dominion over your notion. 

Because the control freak wants to manage everything, you may not disagree with them, and they will engage in furious battle over tiny infractions just to prove themselves right. Your ideas only get breathing room when aligned with their perspective. 

Control freaks will drain you and your idea until it no longer feels like yours, or even worth doing. 

Solution: Involve control freaks in the process by assigning them specific roles or tasks that play to their strengths and desire for control, but set clear boundaries to ensure they don’t overstep. This way, they feel involved and valued, while you maintain the overall direction and integrity of your work.


Liars might be the most dangerous people to allow around your idea. Deception decays even the strongest relationships. Even minor lies can be damaging. 

Dishonesty drains the worth in a relationship because it erodes trust. Without faith in a person, their words have little if any inherent value. Your instinct can probably spot a liar a lot faster than your heart, so heed it often. 

Liars will look you in the eye, so look back without flinching, and know that someone who has told you an untruth once will probably lie to you again. Keep them far from your ideas. 

Strategy: Maintain a strong ethical stance and rely on transparency and honesty in all communications. Build a supportive community that values truth and integrity, where it is harder for dishonesty to thrive. Trust your instincts, and prioritize relationships with people who prove themselves honest and reliable. 

Incorporating these strategies not only helps to manage the impact of detractors, but also fosters a more productive environment for pursuing your ideas and projects.