How To Collect Feedback For Your Startup When You’re Terrified Of Rejection

The practical guide to collecting feedback as a mortal human who cares about what people think

One of the most impactful things that most startup founders don’t do is talk to their customers, or their competitor’s customers.

Why? Let’s talk about the reality of life.

People hate rejection.

I hate rejection.

Everyone tells me that I shouldn’t hate it, that failure is a sign of success, but most of the time it’s hard to rationalise yourself out of it.

Let’s run through a daily reality of mine:

Me: Hey, do you like my product?

Them: Yeah I love it! There’s just one thing…

Me: (this is where I zone out and feel like my life is coming to an end. Life is over. Maybe I should just sell the business? Maybe I shouldn’t answer my phone for a few days.)

Okay, okay. It’s probably not that bad but you get the idea.

So How Do We Collect Feedback As A Scaredy Cat?

Here are a few ways that I can do this, without suffering the stomach churning of pre-rejection.


Made up noun

When you ask a question knowing that you’ll be rejected, even if in actual fact, you’re probably not going to be.

HotJar (Lifesaver)

HotJar provides this little tool that allows your website visitors to judge you, without you having to be there all!


They actually have two ways of doing this, but the one I’ve found most useful is called ‘Incoming’.

Here are the three phases:

  1. First, the user clicks the happy pink man down the bottom right.
  2. Then they select an element on the site and rate their experience. The funky faces help reduce the pain of an angry response.
  3. Finally, a text box appears so they can leave personal response.

That one piece of feedback in the screenshot above increased sales on my client’s website by 30%.

My own site has had some rejection too(which helped so much)


Woops! We didn’t optimise for mobile.


Face palm…

Write in my diary…

Re-think my purpose in life…


But yeah! Tears minimised. Results maximised. The site was live for a month before we put the feedback widget on. Then 2 days later the user told us about the problem and we fixed in 1 day later.

Talk about a feedback loop!

Okay, That’s Some Good Stuff. Any Other Options Steven?

Email is a super effective option for rejection without having to face the public humiliation, but if you’re like me, you’re going to find it a little hard to hit that send button.

I automate this by using NPS (Net Promoter Score).

For this client, after 30 days of a purchase, their customers get an automated email that looks like below.

Then I get an email to see how their customers liked their product.

As a bonus, you can automate product and service reviews.

I have two workflows set up which follows up to anyone who scores us 7 and below to find out more about their problem so we resolve their issue and turn them into a happy customer.

The other workflow I’ve set up automatically emails any who scores us 8 to 10 and gets a review from them for the website.

Automatically I collect feedback, get reviews, and can solve unhappy customers requests and turn them around into repeat customers.

Success — We’re Now Getting Feedback And We’re Not Scared!

What a difference!

So here’s what I want you to do.

Get them both set up, today — no matter how visitors you have.

HotJar is free and highly recommended.

There are a lot of ways to do NPS for free as well. Chances are, if you’re already using an email marketing software like MailChimp, you’ll be able to set it up through there.

PSST: I'm currently documenting the journey of opening a cosy plant store on TikTok, helping the online world become more accessible through Hello Access & the marketing director at Sunobi. Follow the journey as I sell my first 100 plants!
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February 2023
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Steven Male

Written by Steven Male

Creating a more digitally accessible web through Hello Access 🌟Sharing stories on Storyo 🎙️ Growth at Runn 🌱 he/him. Say hi to me on Twitter!


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