I sat on the phone in tears. “I can’t do this any more. The rejections are just really getting to me.”
I was facing a week of rejection emails after spending a considerable amount of time pitching some freelance articles. And the latest one had really got to me.
Perhaps I just wasn’t good enough, I thought to myself.
At the time I had just embarked on my freelance journey and now looking back with over four years freelance experience, I like to think i’ve grown thicker skin. Well, at least I hope I have!
Of course, rejections still hurt. Especially when you’ve managed to convince yourself that you’ve come up with the best story possible.
Looking back at how I felt before, I think these are the lessons i’ve leant and the things I would tell my younger self now.
- The pitch is key. Why now. Why the right time. What’s the angle?
- Research. Don’t send any emails until you have researched the publication
- Breaks are healthy. It’s always good to take a break. Don’t get stuck in front of the laptop!
- Stop beating yourself up over rejections. It happens to everyone!
- Things will get better! You’ll get other commissions. You’re great! It’s going to happen!
- Show off when you do get published work. Add it to LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook – any place where you could pick up future work!
Advice from other freelancers
I decided to take to Twitter to ask advice from other freelancers who were very kind to share what they’d learnt on their freelance journey.
Here’s what they said:
1. Don’t lose sight of why you’re freelancing
2. Focus on projects/clients you’ll enjoy working with
3. Keep the cash flowing, even if it means compromise
4. Make time for exercise – mornings are ideal
5. Don’t panic – there will be quiet times!
6. Connect with other freelancers.
— James Gurd 🌝 🇬🇧 (@JamesGurd) May 25, 2018
My top rule is to go outside every day! After four years, I’ve also found a regular exercise class (cheaper during the day) or even personal training really helpful. I’m working with a PT once a week right now – totally worth it.
— Jenny Pace (@thejennypace) May 24, 2018
Action plan daily, in priority order!
— IAmDanElson (@JetElson) May 26, 2018
Netflix or music whilst editing, exercise often, sweatpants and hoodies, variety of projects… #FreelanceLife
— Nate – Photography Agency (@itsNateDotUK) May 24, 2018
My top tips are:- Have lots of fresh air; time away from your computer/laptop; successful networking and your daily input of water. Also, never ever give up. Keep moving and thinking outside the box!
— So-Occasion now (@SoOccasionNow) May 25, 2018
Speaking as a freelance journalist – learn to handle rejection and having your e-mails ignored. You’re going to get it, a lot. Don’t torture yourself or take it personally.
Build up a good network of other freelancers – it’s easier when you find others are facing the same probems
— Amy Booth (@AmyBwrites) May 24, 2018
What are your top tips for freelancing? And how do you cope with the pressure? Let me know!
Also, freelancing is hard. I get it. If you have any questions then let me know!