I couldn’t have a successful work from home business if I had a fear of rejection, of potential clients telling me no. It just wouldn’t work. I would never be able to pitch a client. And fear stops you from doing anything. Anything. Everything. I have C-PTSD so I know this as a fact of life…and I also know that I’ve lived in fear of an ex, of whom I have a permanent victim’s protection order against worked into the language of an amended divorce decree, attempting to get me fired from traditional corporate work. So, I recognized that corporate work was not job security…and COVID-19 is, unfortunately, teaching a lot of people that corporate work isn’t as secure as they thought, either. Working from home became my safety net. I had to choose which fear was worse…telling businesses that I could help them or wondering whether or not I could get a paycheck because it is legal in my state to fire a survivor of domestic violence. So, I built my business on the side while working two jobs before making the leap. And I learned how to get over my initial fear of rejection. Here’s how to get over yours.
Get Over Yourself
Seriously. They have the right to say no…just like you have the right to say no. Why don’t you like going to car lots? Why don’t you like shopping at places that pay commission only? Because a lot of people come at you at once and you feel pressured to make a decision? Because you feel obligated to buy? Because you don’t feel like you’re given enough information? I mean, there are a lot of reasons…and as the buyer in that situation, it’s almost always because of how the person selling to you is presenting the information (or, rather, how they are not properly presenting the information…or maybe you’re just a tire kicker…those exist even when you have your own business and you’re on Upwork or any other freelance platform. They exist even if you don’t use freelance platforms.
It’s Their Project; They Can Choose Who They Want
Just like how you can choose any plumber, electrician, or car mechanic you want, they can choose any copywriter, editor, graphic designer, web dev, biz dev, or whatever. And, don’t worry, I’ll address your fear of rejection related to the fact you’re brand new and have no verifiable experience on platforms because we all start there at some point.
Yes, you are just another option. So am I. It doesn’t make you less than. It doesn’t make me less than. It isn’t rejection. It is choice. It is your mindset. It is how you choose to look at it. What I reject and what clients reject is a shitty attitude, bad feedback, bad prior experience, and maybe (keyword) budget (because I rarely buy into the “I can’t pay that…” because it’s usually the fact they want a better rate and so they will go and find it…and usually I will hear from them again, because I will not bargain with them, to fix the problems caused by the bargain rate writer who spoke no English and used Google translate to write their text and had no SEO experience…and then they pay me my full rate – even if I increased my rate). Many clients choose other providers because they have a certain connection or because the other provider had a previous project that was similar to what the client needs done. It isn’t rejection – it’s connection. Learn how to talk with potential clients, not at them.
Stop Pointing Out Your Newness
Stop pointing it out to yourself and stop pointing it out to your potential clients. You know your new. And if you don’t have a portfolio set up or any feedback on your Upwork profile, well….everyone has a pretty good idea that you’re new. You do not need to keep harping on it in your proposals…or status updates.
Should you accept lower rates or offer your work at a lower hourly or flat rate? Up to you. I did that initially. One of my lowest hourly rates was $10 an hour. Keep in mind that freelancing, especially in the beginning was hit or miss. I wasn’t getting full time hours. I had two other jobs (that were both part time). At that time, Upwork did not take 20% on new contracts. For the record, I have no issue with the 20%. I’ve had fewer bullshit offers since that started, and it goes down over time. I also have zero issue with paying for connects. They are super cheap. You should be able to invest into your own business. When you sign up and get approved, you are given connects for the first time. Use them wisely.
But I charged a lesser rate because my thoughts were:
- This is part time…and I currently have two other jobs.
- Since my rate is lower, but above US minimum wage then it is still enough that someone will likely think, “She knows what she’s doing, but she’s cheap enough to take a chance on.” And I was right.
From there, I started raising my rates…
However, never once did I say to potential clients that I’m so new and I don’t know what I’m doing. I watched YouTube videos. I read articles. I harnessed the power of the internet and figured this shit out. Fast.
Do It Until…
You’re going to get tired. In a week, you’ll be tired. You might get tired of doing it in a month. Or three months. JK Rowling kept getting rejected. Stephen King threw his manuscript for Carrie away. His wife got it out of the trash and sent it in. Fear of rejection is the human condition. There is no guarantee…and we do it until. We keep going until. And we pivot.
We change. If we keep going and we aren’t seeing results (and that doesn’t mean results after one day or one week), we change strategies. Maybe we change our approach. Maybe we tweak the content. Whatever.
Hearing no is part of the process…we teach others to have boundaries and to learn to say no…which means we have to learn to be comfortable hearing no as well.