Learn not to take client feedback personally and how to handle it like a pro.
Your heart races every time you open your email because you dread client feedback. Hearing criticism sends you into a spiral of self-doubt and frustration. 🤯
Receiving client feedback doesn’t have to be stressful.
I know it’s scary at first, but feedback is part of the job as a freelance copywriter. Once you get used to handling criticism and learning from it, you’ll enjoy your work more. And your writing will benefit, too!
Why Is Client Feedback Triggering?
Does getting client feedback make you feel physically stressed? Maybe your body heats up, your palms sweat or anxiety builds in your chest. This usually means that a trigger has activated your fight-or-flight mode.1
Triggers are the distressing feelings that come up when an event causes a subconscious memory to be activated – usually a bad one.2
Your fight-or-flight response is your biological reaction to stressful or dangerous situations. It tells our body to get ready to either deal with the danger or retreat to safety. Triggers activate this mode because they’re trying to protect you.4
Triggers are trying to keep you from feeling distressing emotions related to your past unpleasant memories. But sometimes this backfires on us and creates unnecessary stress.
So when you get stressed about client feedback, it may be a sign that it’s triggered a deeper fear.
You may be afraid of…
- Not being good enough
- Being embarrassed
- Being exposed as a fraud
- Facing the unknown
These underlying fears tend to disguise themselves as anger, defensiveness, or anxiousness. When client feedback triggers one of these reactions, remember it may be a sign of a deeper emotion.
How to Address Underlying Triggers
When you’re feeling triggered by client feedback, take a moment to explore your feelings. Approach them with curiosity and compassion – not judgment. Try to uncover why you had such a strong reaction, and what emotions could be underlying.
Maybe a memory from a time when a teacher embarrassed you in school suddenly comes to the surface. Once you’ve identified any underlying fears, write affirmative statements that oppose them.
For example, let’s say that client feedback makes you feel like your work isn’t good enough. Trust me, this is a common fear of many copywriters and you’re not alone.
Create an affirmation that directly combates that fear.
Here’s an example affirmation to use: “I trust in my skills as a strong and capable writer. I view client feedback as an opportunity to expand and learn, I continue to be confident in my capabilities.”
I’m a firm believer in practicing your affirmations in your morning routine. Internalizing these statements daily changes your deep-seated fears and beliefs over time.3
7 Ways to Handle Client Feedback
Identifying and overcoming your triggers is vital to long-term healing and growth. But taming these triggers is a continual process that takes time, so I want to give you some tips you can use right now when you receive client feedback.
- Write a Throw-Away Response. If you get feedback that frustrates you, write down a response that you know you’re not going to use. Release your triggered thoughts and frustrations – even if they’re over the top.
Sometimes, we just need to give our emotions air. This exercise helps relieve tensions without harming your relationship with your clients.
- Sleep On It. Remember that you don’t have to respond to emails right away. One of the upsides of being a freelancer is you can define your communication guardrails. I give myself 24 hours to respond to emails.
Read your throw-away response after a good night’s sleep. With a fresh perspective, you’ll probably see that the feedback wasn’t as bad as you thought. You may even find your throw-away response comical.
- Don’t Make Assumptions. It’s soooo much harder to interpret messages online because we can’t see facial expressions or hear each other’s tone of voice. We tend to think of the worst-case scenario and imagine that feedback is negative – even if it wasn’t intended to be.
Remember to keep an open mind and don’t assume what your client is thinking. They could be short over email without meaning anything deeper.
- Write Down Your Wins. When we receive negative feedback we tend to forget about all the positive feedback we’ve gotten, too. Our brain stores memories when our emotions are heightened, so negative memories get stored more easily.
Keep a Google Doc of the positive responses you’ve received from clients. When you’re feeling triggered or like your work isn’t good, remind yourself of all the amazing work you’ve done. This is a great way to push back against our innate negativity bias – our tendency to over focus on negative experiences (this is simply our brain trying to protect us).
- Build a Tolerance. The more you expose yourself to client feedback and conversation, the more comfortable you’ll be with it. So try to view feedback and questions as opportunities to improve, rather than situations to avoid.
Addressing your client’s notes makes them feel heard and happier with your work. And you may even learn something that improves and grows your skills.
- Untie Your Self-Worth From Your Work. Easier said than done, I know. But the more you can separate yourself from your work, the more you’ll be able to view feedback objectively. Your work is not you or your worth, it’s simply how you earn money.
The client is critiquing your work, not you. When you detach yourself and your worth from your work, you no longer take things personally. This saves you SO much emotional distress.
- Remember Feedback Is Subjective. Feedback is never completely unbiased. Your client’s personal feelings and opinions influence their thoughts about your work.
Client feedback doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve done something wrong. They may just have different opinions than you. For example, one client could love a blog article while a different client could dislike the same article.
Not letting client feedback paralyze you makes your freelance work much more enjoyable. You’ll have more headspace to focus on growth, instead of ruminating over criticism.
Of course, there are still times that I feel triggered by client feedback. But with these practices I have more control over my reaction to them.
And when you apply these practices to your personal relationships as well, it benefits your whole life. We all spend waaay too much time worrying about what other people think. Releasing yourself of the need to please others allows you to show up as your authentic self.
To help you apply these practices to your life, I recommend reading The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruez.
This book outlines four practices for living your life on your own terms:
- Be impeccable with your word
- Don’t take things personally
- Don’t make assumptions
- Always do your best
Applying these four practices to your life is a game-changer. You’ll experience so much more genuine happiness and freedom.
Address Your Fears About Client Feedback
Understanding and healing your triggers is a vital part of being an entrepreneur. This keeps you open-minded about opportunities, ways to improve, and how to grow. Doing this work gives you so much more fulfillment in your personal life as well.
To learn more about how to identify and address your underlying beliefs, sign up for my course: Master Your Mindset.
This course walks you through exactly how to identify your triggers, self-limiting beliefs, and how they may be affecting you – in work and life.
If you want to let client feedback roll off your back, Master Your Mindset is for you.
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