7 “Stay Classy” Young Entrepreneur Comebacks against Entrepreneurial Cynics: The Ron Burgundy Philosophy

Young Entrepreneur inspiring philosophy

Young Entrepreneur inspiring philosophy

I quit! Whether you are a young entrepreneur or not, I think we’ve all wanted to say it. Some people do, and others do not. So for those who want to or have recently become new entrepreneurs, what’s on the other side? Heaven or hell, blue skies or pain? The answer is both!

But the sad part is most of the hell is not from the financial flops and failures, or if you want to put a positive spin on it, let’s call them the innovations that were just too far ahead of the times (even if they truly did suck.) Most of the hurt and fear is felt through how others perceive and react to your ambitions and decisions.

You will come across a range of cynical people in your efforts to follow your entrepreneurial dreams. Some of those people may be the ones closest to you. Your conversations with these cynics often leave you feeling betrayed.

You will often feel like an outsider, a loner, abandoned and set adrift. Every conversation with a cynic leaving you deflated and doubtful. However, it does not have to be that way.

Entrepreneurs often advise newbies to avoid such people. Sounds great, but it’s not always possible. Instead, today’s post is going to help you beat them at their own game. The key, in the words of the legendary Ron Burgundy is to “stay classy.” A comeback must be delivered with calmness and class.

7 Cynical Statements and their Classy Comebacks

1. What’s wrong with having a real job?

A classic statement by the many worker bees conditioned by the usual social system. Here, it would be very tempting to become defensive about your entrepreneurial choice and attack the fact that they do work. However, the reality is, “working for the man” is not necessarily a bad thing (even though it does often truly suck), it’s just not right for you.

Classy Comeback: “Absolutely nothing is wrong with having a job. In these times, a lot of people would kill for one. It’s more a question of what is more right. This is the right path for me now.”

2. Have you made your millions yet?

This one tends to be quite a low blow. It’s quite a snide comment even if it is said in a “jokey” way. It’s designed to “bring you down to earth” even though as any entrepreneur would tell you, we are well aware of what the earth feels like. We’ve all had our faces slammed into it many times. The temptation here is to ask them the same, or exploit some other drawback of having a job. Instead, what you are going to demonstrate how your decisions have led to greater internal prosperity.

Classy Comeback: “I’ve actually made billions. Billions of small and invaluable life changes that have made me truly rich.”

3. That (idea) is never going to work.

What they are actually saying here is that idea would never work, for them! They may perceive it as too hard to do, too much work, or simply unviable. The temptation here is to defend your idea and offer a range of reasons and data showing how it should work. However this puts you in a defensive position. A better approach is to tell them they are right.

Classy Comeback: “You’re actually correct. You’ve proven how this idea wouldn’t be right for you.”

4. Do you think you’re better than me?

This is very much a direct challenge. They are implying that you are arrogant and potentially self-centered. Ironically, entrepreneurs are usually very other people focused. We have to be to survive. Value creation and the satisfaction of others are essential. The temptation is to say no and state how “fair and people-focused” you are. What you are going to do is use this as an opportunity to flip the script and help them enhance their own self-esteem, and by doing so, “stay classy.”

Classy Comeback: “I’ve always considered you to be very talented. Is there a reason why you’re implying that you don’t think you’re as good as me?”

5. How is project X coming along? (They know it has been a major struggle or hasn’t worked)

They want to call you out on your failure. The feeling of “I told you so” rests heavily in the air. The temptation here may be to pretend that it has gone well or give reasons (that were out of your control) to explain why it did not work. What they do not expect is the truth, which is exactly what you want to give them as long as it is delivered with a dash of Burgundy.

Classy Comeback: “Project X has been a real challenge. In fact it may not work out. As I am sure you know, anything that is truly worthwhile will have setbacks, and I’m totally fine with working through them.”

6. Not another course! Haven’t you figured it out yet?

A classic statement. Non-entrepreneurs just don’t get how much money and time entrepreneurs need to invest in their personal and professional development. The yearning to respond by saying “and that’s why I’m smarter than you” would be very high. The reality is they usually don’t get it, and so you have a chance to educate them on why it is necessary.

Classy Comeback: “You know what, I’ve actually learnt a hell of a lot and I’m really happy about what I already know. If you want to be the best you can, then there is always another level. If you know of a better way, I’d be happy to hear it.”

7. GOOD LUCK! (Delivered either as a half-joke or straight out cynical)

The implication here is that they think you’re in way over your head. You may very well be and that is sometimes exactly what is required for rapid personal growth. You could be tempted to reply with a sense of bravado saying something along the lines of “I don’t need luck.” They are questioning your decision and in this situation you need to demonstrate that you completely believe in what you are doing.

Classy Comeback: You are only going to say two words, but it is how they are said. Pause in order to draw attention on you and take ownership of the moment. You are about to change the meaning of the comment, taking it at face value and interpreting it as a sincere wish. Smile, look them directly in the eye and say warmly… “Thank you.”


Now of course there are other things you could say. The purpose of this post is to help you understand the reasons behind the responses offered to cynicism and criticism. Usually you’re initial urge will not be the best. That is why you must follow the philosophy (though not the delivery as he was quite a hypocritical character) of the legendary Ron Burgundy and “stay classy” at all times.


If you have any “classy” comments to make, feel free.



2 Responses to “7 “Stay Classy” Young Entrepreneur Comebacks against Entrepreneurial Cynics: The Ron Burgundy Philosophy”

  1. Thanks for the article! Quit my job 2 months ago to pursue my business & everytime I think I’m doing well or get excited about something someone (usually people closest to me) have one of these comments… Now I know how to reply!!

    Thanks again! Needed that this morning

  2. aleks Reply

    Awesome Evielyn.

    That is exactly the point. The status quo or as I like to say, “the status blows” often just don’t understand the entrepreneurial heart. Keep striving and stay classy! I’m glad I could offer some positive guidance to make your path a little easier.