Rejection, It’s NOT Personal

Okay, maybe sometimes it is. After all, you’re a person.

Sometimes a client rejects your work for reasons that are completely inexplicable. Sometimes, unthinkably, personal comments are even made at the time of rejection.

Whether or not their reasons for rejecting your work are personal, it certainly feels that way when your freelancing client turns you down for a new project. That hurts. It’s natural to feel some pain after losing a gig.

However, there are ways for freelancers to get past rejection. In this post, I’ll discuss rejection and invite you to share some of your strategies for dealing with it.


The Painful Truth About Rejection

Every freelancer gets rejected sooner or later. There. I said it. Ouch!

In fact, if you’re not getting rejected once in a while it could be a sign that your rates are too low.

The problem of rejection can be particularly acute for a new freelancer who has been accustomed to working for a single employer. When you work for a single employer you go through the interview process (sometimes only once) and after you’re hired, you’re in. (At least, that’s the impression that most people have about permanent jobs, although there’s really no such thing as a secure job any more.)

In contrast, every freelancer faces rejection each and every time that they apply for a new gig. Even when the freelancer is awarded a project, they have to start the interview process all over again as soon as the work is complete. This can be unnerving, to say the least–especially if you’re not used to it.

When the Rejection Is Understandable

Some rejections hurt less than others. For me, this happens when the client gives an understandable reason (even if that reason is “your prices are too high”). If I can understand the reason why the client didn’t accept me for their freelancing project, personally it makes it a lot less painful.

After all, I do realize that I’m not a perfect fit for every single freelance writing project that there is. (Although, I do think I’m an excellent fit for a lot of them.) I know that there are other talented freelancers out there. So, when a prospective client lists some reasonable objections, I can take it in stride.

When the Rejection Is Not Understandable

There are times though, that it’s harder to take a rejection.

For me, this usually happens when a client turns me down for a project that I thought I was perfect for without a reason. Or, maybe they do have a reason, but their reason doesn’t make any sense to me.

It can be hard not to take those rejections personally. But, the best thing a freelancer can do at such times is take a deep breath and move on.

This Is Business

In any given freelancing field, there are dozens, if not hundreds, of practicing freelancers. This can make it difficult for any client to make a choice. And, of course, most clients want the best value for their money. That’s just good business sense.
We’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again. One way the freelancers can improve their chances of being selected for a project is to differentiate their services and come up with a good unique selling proposition. If this is done effectively, it makes it easier for a prospective client to pick you out from the crowd.

Another thing to remember is that, given the choice, most clients will choose to work with someone who they believe is easy to get along with. So, if two freelancers have basically the same skills, similar experience, and the same quality of samples in their portfolio, the one who is more personable and friendly is most likely to get the work.

More Advice on How to Handle Rejection

Here are some additional excellent posts about how to handle rejection as a freelancer:

Also, don’t miss this post on how to avoid rejection:

What Do You Think?

How do you handle rejection? Do you have a strategy for handling it that we haven’t mentioned here?

If so, please share your strategy in the comments.