How To Deal When You’re Getting Rejected

If you're getting rejected and it's starting to frustrate you, here's some advice to help you handle it.

you're getting rejected
Don’t let a normal course of business frustrate you. (Image by: Yan Krukov ~IG @yankrukov)

You’re getting rejected.

You know you should brush it off. But deep down it’s gnawing at you. It may be grating your confidence so thin that you’re thinking of giving up.

Either you’re getting negative replies or you aren’t getting any replies at all.

And the few jobs you did manage to land, they were one-offs. Those clients haven’t shown any interest in working with you again.

So, you’re getting tired and frustrated. You’re questioning whether it’s worth it to keep going. Maybe you’re even questioning whether you’re actually good enough?

First off, stop taking it personal when it’s business.

Freelancing is about offering services in exchange for compensation. Neither the offer nor the rejection should be about YOU!

When you’re trying to sell your services, your offer should be focused on your prospective clients and what they’re going to get.

Too many freelancers beg for a chance, talk about the outcome they’re seeking, and provide potential clients with a dissertation about themselves and their experience.

Focus outward and you’ll improve your results.

When I started out, most sentences in my freelance pitches began with I or I’m.

I knew there was a problem with the lack of variation, but I thought it was my writing skills.

It wasn’t. The problem was my focus, which obviously was too centered on me.

One strategy for handling rejection is to stop making mistakes that lead people to reject your offers.  And one way to do that is remembering that  who you are and what you’ve done is secondary to what you’re offering to do for a client right now.

See: Freelancers, Why You Aren’t Getting Hired

Accept criticism about why you’re getting rejected

If you’re worried that you’re getting rejected because you’re not good enough, and prospective clients respond with comments that confirm your worries, accept that it may be true.

Your service or your skills may not be up to par.

But that’s still not personal. It just means your business isn’t currently equipped for the job you’re proposing to take on.

You can change that. It’s very fixable.

Too often we’re too defensive to accept constructive criticism. Largely because we take the criticism of our skills or services personally.

Valid criticism is like free aid. It’s like an unsolicited, no-strings-attached investment in your business.

In case, you haven’t noticed, companies are basically begging for feedback from customers and potential customers these days.

So, when someone invests the time to give you feedback, use it if it’s valid. You only stand to gain.

If you get criticism that isn’t valid or that you don’t agree with it. Still, don’t take it personal.

Keep the situation in the customers’ perspective.

An offer is an exchange that’s supposed to provide a desired outcome on both sides.

If the prospective client enters a bad deal, it’s their money or their business that’s at risk. So, if they aren’t confident you’re able up to hold up your end, it’s most reasonable that they decline the offer.

And that leaves you with two choices– accept the rejection and move on or double back and try again.

You don’t have to accept no as a permanent answer.

Furthermore, face the fact that no one keeps a 100% score.

Getting rejected is part of business– for every business.

So, you can believe what you want about the reasons it’s happening, but remember negativity kills the future of freelancers.

It’s equally, if not more possible, that you’re getting rejected because the offer isn’t right for the business at that time.

Sometimes rejections aren’t based on your proposal. They’re based on unrelated circumstances. It’s that:

The role is already filled.

Your service isn’t in the budget.

Or, more often than you may think, your offer isn’t read or it’s forgotten.

How many emails do you skip over?

How many times do you say you’ll dig into something deeper sometime later but never double back?

Other people are busy too.

So many times I’ve heard “I know you saw my message. I understand if you were busy, but you could have at least sent a quick response.”

When you understand someone is busy, you understand that seeing your message doesn’t mean I had time to read it yet. Much less respond.

Peoples’ busy schedules are a very common reason that things get overlooked or they just say no thanks without sincerely considering an offer.

Do you know why companies seem to bombard you with emails? Because the best email open rates are government-related. And even the governments’ emails are opened less than 29%, according to MailChimp.

All other industries have an email open rate of about 21 percent.

Now consider if you only send a prospective client one email, which is what a lot of freelancers do, what do you think the odds are that all of your emails get read?

Bottom line: getting rejected is part of business

We all reject and ignore offers hundreds of times a day.

Each time you see a commercial or an ad or get some flyer in your mailbox or newspaper, that’s an offer—it’s a yes or no proposition.

When we reject others, we’re usually doing so based on our needs and our circumstances. Not because we have an issue with the service, the company, or any of the people linked to company.

Likewise, when you make an offer, your prospective clients don’t know you. They’re not thinking about you, your feelings, or your circumstances.

Getting turned down or ignored, in the vast majority of cases, isn’t a reflection on you. It’s just one of the potential outcomes when you make business offers.  So, don’t take it personal.

If you missed it, catch Freelancing: 10 Things You Need To Know from the KnowGood Podcast

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4 Comments

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  1. 1
    readandreviewit1

    Great post! I’m still really new to blogging but I can see how frustrating rejection must be for others – I think everyone in the freelancing field is really strong, and I’ll definitely be using these if I ever try and collaborate with publishers and authors in the future! Thanks for sharing x

  2. 2
    Simona ~ The Grumpy Olive

    This was a great read – I have started freelancing after being made redundant last year, and with my first few clients I was very much stressing and offering more than i could chew and then taking it personal when i shouldn’t have. Almost a year down the line I am a lot more confident and I know what I can give or not give.
    Thanks!

    • 3
      Miche

      Confidence is definitely an asset when you’re freelancing. And like you said, it can take a while to get comfortable with understanding your capabilities and your limitations. But I’m glad to hear things seem to on a positive track for you. Thank you for the feedback!

  3. 4
    Mandy Chan

    Interesting point of view. I am a relatively new blogger. Definitely will keep this in mind when I start approaching others for opportunities. Thanks!

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