An Entrepreneur’s Guide to Dealing With Rejection

As an entrepreneur, we have a lot of confidence. It takes confidence to go solo, start  your own business or go freelancing, and believe that success is possible.

Confidence is the bread and butter of our everyday work experience. Nevertheless, we have moments that don’t go as well as we would like, or as we planned it to go. Sometimes potential or current clients reject the proposals that we worked so carefully on presenting.

People, including ones we love, have doubts about our abilities to carry through on a project or naysay our future success. When people reject our capabilities, it can have a ripple effect and we can start to reject our own abilities, our business, and our future.

Sad businessman
photo credit: Nevenka Mazic / Flickr

What you are doing as an entrepreneur is so outside of the norm for the average person, that sometimes it can be hard for other people to understand how possible it is to work for yourself, set  your own hours, and have a positive cash flow month after month.

Here are a few tips to handle rejection from clients and other people in your life while working as an entrepreneur.

Rejection Tells You It Ain’t All That Bad

It’s very normal to fear unpleasant emotions and feelings like pain, anger, jealousy and sadness. Rejection can make us feel a lot of these unpleasant feelings, so it’s only normal that we want to protect ourselves and not have to feel these negative feelings.

Nevertheless, the more you experience rejection, the more you realize how strong you really are. You can feel these feelings, no matter how unpleasant they are, and they will pass because no feeling lasts forever.

You can move on in your business, knowing that you can survive, no matter how much a rejection may sting at first.

Rejection Means You’re Rocking It

When you experience rejection after rejection, you can get down about it or you can take a step back and think about it. You’re doing it! You’re in the trenches, and people who are trying are the ones who might be experiencing rejection.

People who sit on the bench never get a chance to try. You’re not one of those people. Rejection is part of the experience of trying and reaching for something, so don’t give up just yet.

Businesswoman working hard

Rejection Is Just Another Word For Opportunity

It’s so easy to give up. We’ve all felt discouraged at times when doors seem to close and you feel like you aren’t getting anywhere.

There are so many examples of people who almost gave up, but didn’t, and went on to do amazing things with their life. George Washington Carver almost gave up on education when he got rejected to college because of the color of his skin. Walt Disney got rejected from his job because he “lacked imagination.” JK Rowling was fired from her job as a secretary because she kept writing when she was supposed to be working. And very few people expected Abraham Lincoln to actually succeed in politics. Simone Biles was criticized for her body weight by her coach. The list goes on and on.

If you’re going to become a statistic, become a positive one. Sometimes when things don’t work out, there is something better waiting just around the corner. There may be a better client, a better contract, or a better way to conduct business. Keep going and keep looking for opportunities to improve yourself and your business.

Rejection Is A Means Of Self Improvement

Sometimes personalities clash, or people don’t share the same vision as you. Sometimes they just don’t know you that well, and so it’s hard to accept you over a different freelancer that they might know better. There are a lot of reasons outside of our control that we might be rejected. However, we can also look at ways we might be able to improve the experience for next time.

Study your competition. Is there something they are offering that you aren’t? Does their website have better SEO and content marketing than yours? Is there a certificate you can obtain to show your proficiency in a key area? Is there a specific place you should meet clients at, such as a conference or networking event? Do you need to improve your portfolio?

Hire an expert or ask a trusted friend in the field how you can improve your business in such a way that you reduce the amount of rejection you face from current and future clients.

Rejection Gives You The Chance To Prove Them Wrong

There are a lot of people out there who jump at the chance to tell you what you’re doing wrong. These self-proclaimed “experts” will shake their heads with doubt, tell you why things won’t work, and the list goes on. Most of these people don’t have your experience or your expertise. In fact, most don’t have the authority to give you such feedback. When you keep going and succeed, you get a chance to prove them wrong.

That makes all the difference.