- So, you got rejected...
So, you got rejected...
Freelancing lessons from a travel fling
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It’s 2017 and I’m on a beach in Ko Pha-ngan, Thailand. I have blue and emerald paint smeared over my face in celebration of the Full Moon Festival. Because I’m 20 years old and adventurous (or just plain stupid), I buy a booze bucket of bootleg Red Bull and whisky. It burns going down, but blooms in the belly.
I’m excited to be there. The British boy I met in Bangkok is somewhere in the crowd. It’s a travel romance, meaning it’s a fiasco masquerading as love (something about being abroad really fuels that dopamine, doesn’t it?).
I spot British Bangkok boy by the palm trees. But as I start to dance my way through sweating bodies to greet him, I notice something else – the undeniable closeness only lovers share, between him and another brunette.
When I think of rejection, this incident from seven years ago slams into my mind.
But it’s not because of the pain that it’s memorable. It’s because although it was a punch to the gut, that ache faded within days. My self-esteem wasn’t irreparable. The world didn’t end. I found out, as Noah from The Notebook would put it, that we have a two-second rebound rate from rejection.
Thank goodness for that, because your business (scratch that, your life in general) can’t grow if you’re not willing to get rejected. And for us freelancers, the only way to earn a living is to get regularly rejected in creative and borderline masochistic ways:
➜ To land new clients, you have to get rejected by a few others first (no freelancer has a 100% close rate).
➜ To become a better writer, you must endure the discomfort of an editor ripping your draft to shreds, so you can learn and improve for next time.
➜ To earn more money, you have to hear the “We’re going to pass,” when you pitch higher rates to the client.
In my three years as a freelancer, I’ve found one of the best ways to grow your business is to tell yourself, “I want to be rejected” instead of avoiding rejection. It’s by being audacious that you unlock better and bigger outcomes.
And once you do get rejected, you realize it doesn’t hurt as bad or as long as you expected it to. Or as Derek Thompson puts it,
So, here’s my message to you – get rejected today, please. Sure, it’ll hurt (only temporarily.) But, if you knew your [insert dream goal here] was only 45 rejections away, wouldn’t each one excite the hell out of you?
🗞 Newsletter of the Week
If you like this newsletter, you might like Mindset Mastery, a weekly newsletter about the psychology of self-employment from business coach Jenni Gritters. Each week, Jenni shares case studies, useful business-planning exercises, practical ways to build a human-first business, and musings on the state of self-employment in America. Subscribe here!
✍️ Quick Writing Tip
Collect the delightful words or phrases you stumble upon (I just use my Notes app!). Then, use them as building blocks to enhance your writing.
Example: “Charlie Munger called Robinhood a gambling parlor masquerading as a respectable business.”
Led me to… “It’s a travel romance, meaning it’s a fiasco masquerading as love.”
🥒 Content Diet - Tools Edition
✍️ How to Write Faster by Jennifer Gregory: Is it possible to earn more money without raising your rates? Oh, absolutely. It’s just a question of upping your output (without compromising on quality). Jennifer’s tips are super useful to boost that typing speed.
🎤 The Cultural Tutor on Writing Everyday, Growing a Twitter Audience, and Reading Old Books by David Perell: Yes, I’m drinking the Write of Passage Kool-aid, and David’s podcast is fantastic. This episode in particular on how The Cultural Tutor went from 0 to 1.5 million followers in under a year will blow away (and inspire) you.
🎬 Of an Age directed by Goran Stolevski – Not to be dramatic, but this is one of the best movies I’ve ever seen. I know you’re here for writing tidbits, so I won’t bore you with the details – but if you’re interested in a love story that will both melt and shatter the heart, give this a shot.
Thanks for reading and I hope you have a beautiful week, wherever you are.
And apologies for the three week delay here! I was in France visiting family, Ireland to run the half-marathon, and Croatia with my sister. I’m now back in NYC, exhausted, and plan on doing zilch for the foreseeable future. 🙃