How do you deal with rejection as a freelancer?
There is no avoiding it – rejection can be hard to cope with. When you have poured your heart and soul into writing and pitching. When you send out an application for your dream writing job it is always with hope and dreams in your heart. So when you hear nothing or receive the dreaded rejection letter, the devastation hits hard.
When I first started freelance writing every rejection, every pitch that went ignored (or forgotten), every politely worded “not right now” return email beat me down. I almost gave up. I started doubting my ability to write and to turn that passion for the written word into a successful business.
And then one of my cold pitches was accepted! I successfully on-boarded a client.
I danced. I sang. I barely restrained myself from yelling it from the rooftops!
Now here I am 2 years later and still plugging away. I have honed my skills and my pitch. I receive more yes’s then no’s these days, but each rejection still stings.
So how do I cope with all those rejections?
1. Do NOT take the rejection personally.
This is my number one tip!
Unfortunately, rejection comes with the territory for freelancers. I used to over-analyze every single rejection sent my way.
Why didn’t they want ME? What was wrong with my writing? Maybe I am not good enough. Maybe I should just give up now.
I am here to tell you that if you let every single rejection get to you, you will burn out.
Instead, take those rejections and turn them to your advantage. What can you do better? How can you improve your pitching process? Use it to fuel that burning desire to succeed.
2. Send your work/article to a different publication.
If your first choice doesn’t accept your article try a different one! This has worked for me several times. Sometimes it is simply your style didn’t gel with the publication, or they don’t have space on their content calendar. Whatever the reason, try your luck at a different publication and see what happens. You just never know.
If you have a blog you could even post it there. Or on your portfolio page. Every writing sample helps!
3. Don’t stop writing.
Whatever you do, don’t stop writing because you received a rejection.
I give myself permission to throw a little pity party, and then I carry on. I sit down at my laptop or with pen and paper and brainstorm more ideas and places I can pitch my freelance writing services and articles.
Just keep going.
4. Learn from each rejection.
Freelancing is one of those careers where you learn as you go. Analyse your pitch or article. Did you make any minor grammar or spelling mistakes? Did you send the pitch to the wrong person? Did you send a mediocre pitch? Did your article suit the publication you sent it to? Did the business you pitch already have fantastic content on their site?
Everyone makes mistakes. It happens. It is what you learn and do with those mistakes that matter.
5. Ruminate over your successes.
When you are feeling the rejection sting indulge in some time to surf through your successes.
I like to go to websites where I have articles published, or whom I have worked for, and look at my work online. It gives me a little thrill and helps motivate me to keep at it.
6. Talk it out.
Debrief. Talk it out. Scream, yell and cry if you have to!
Invite a friend, family member or fellow freelancer over for a cup of tea and talk about the rejection. I talk to my hubby when a rejection has hit me particularly hard. He knows to simply sit there, nod his head and make all the appropriate responses whilst I rant and rave. By now, he knows that once I get it out of my system I will feel much better and be more productive.
Most of all – remember why you started freelancing in the first place. You believed enough in yourself to start a business from something you are passionate about and are good at. Don’t let those rejections stop you from doing something you love. Keep going, until you receive a YES!
Rachel Maree specializes in writing for small businesses in the health, fitness, pregnancy and parenthood industries. She is also a mum to 2 beautiful children and a registered nurse. She loves her hectic life. It lends her inspiration and experiences to write intriguing, funny and informative articles and stories.
Where You Can Find Rachel