Freelancers, Here’s How To Handle Rejection

When you're a freelancer, rejection is part of the game. Here's how to face it and use it to your benefit.

If you’re going to be a freelancer, you’re going to face rejection.

Don’t just read over this. Accept it as fact.

YOU will get turned down.

Sometimes you’ll get rejected sometimes directly and sometimes indirectly. And that rejection may come in large quantities before you get a single acceptance or even a hint of interest in what you’re offering.

Accept Rejection in Advance

If you accept that “no” is not only a possible answer, but also a likely one,  it won’t feel harsh when that’s the response you get. And more importantly, when you’re prepared for the nos, that rejection won’t stand in your way

You won’t say, Well he told me no so this probably isn’t a good idea. Or, “This is never going to work. Let me just [XXX] instead.

The fear of rejection is a holdback. And that’s largely because we tend to stake our self-confidence on the feedback we receive.

It seems that more and more people are saying, This is me. Take it or leave it. I don’t care. But that’s mostly a front.

Most people are not built to stand tall despite rejection. If they get rejected or even think they’ll be rejected, they stop and change course.

That’s an emotional response.

As a freelancer, if you’re operating on emotion, you’re carving out a tough and stressful path for yourself. And you’re increasing your risk of failure.

Change How You Think

Consider how many offers you get in a day. Include commercials, online ads, invitations for drinks after work, whatever.

How many of those offers do you accept? And how many do reject based on negative feelings about a person involved?

In both cases, the answer is, only a few if any, right?

That’s because there’s only so much you can say “yes” to. And when you aren’t interested, you don’t usually waste time thinking about the other party.

So, as a freelancer, take your feelings out of the equation because most rejection is not personal.

When you apply for a freelance job, pitch an idea to an editor or try to sell your products and services, most people aren’t judging you or even thinking about you. They’re thinking about their needs, their budget, what they can get and the best option for getting it.

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Benefits of Rejection

There are times, you may be the reason for rejection. Still, you shouldn’t take that to heart.

Instead, determine if the rejection is for a valid reason. If so, learn from it.

For example, say you pitch a client. She replies with an email that says:

Thank you for your interest, but we’re looking for someone with more experience­.

What did you write to make yourself seem under-experienced? Maybe you should revisit how you’re writing your proposals.

Or, maybe you’ve gotten that reply more than once. And maybe it’s an indicator that clients in that niche generally require XYZ. So, instead of wasting more time with pitches that’ll get turned down, maybe you should get a certificate, seek more entry-level opportunities, build a stronger portfolio, etc.

Negative replies and feedback often contain constructive criticism and tips– but you have to face that rejection with rational business sense.

Furthermore, when you’re prepared for rejection, it makes you sharper and offers an opportunity that a lot of freelancers miss.

When they get hit with a “no” or when their offer is denied by being ignored, they’re hurt, bothered, caught off-guard and completely shut down.

But because you’re prepared, you can strike right back with a rebuttal or counteroffer. You already know a certain percentage of people will reject you, at least initially. So think about the reasons why and develop strategies to make them reconsider.

Facing Solid Rejection

Sometimes, despite the best effort and offer, the answer is just “no.” That’s the reality of business.

Everyone will not accept your offer. Everyone will not like what you do. Everyone will not select you over the alternative.

But guess what? When you’re rejected, the only thing you lose is one opportunity–one potential sale, one potential client–out of millions. It’s a minor matter. Keep it moving.