How to Bounce Back After Your Freelancing Pitch Gets Rejected

Photo by Matthew Henry on Unsplash

I’m a freelancing writer and editor, so I get a lot of feedback on my services and the work that I do.

I don’t know that I’ll ever develop the thick skin that’s supposed to come with years of rejection or criticism. I’m okay with being soft and accepting feedback that helps me grow: that’s how I’ve managed to navigate my decade of experience in marketing, anyway.

But something happened inside of me when I heard back from a pitch recently, and it shook me up. I reached out to a local agency and wanted to see if they had any writing needs. I welcomed the first response that I received: it was quick and the person was transparent.

Within another twenty minutes, though, the agency owner emailed me again (spelling errors are his):

“One more thing — I took a look at your price list and wanted to let you know that if you’re trying to get work from marketing agencies — especially those that work with local businesses like mine — your prices are too high…So, more power too you if you are getting the rates you advertise, but as an agency owner I can tell you that I wouldn’t hire you at those rates. There would be no margin for me to make any money from the client after I paid you.”

I typed up a polite response, and explained that I’ve hired writers myself and worked in agencies, so I understand where he’s coming from.

But I also explained that yes, my prices were fair for the quality of work and the amount of time that I spend on each article. And yes, my clients pay what I ask for.

I still took the rejection pretty hard. Despite having evidence to the contrary, this ONE person made me feel like I was wrong for charging what I do.

Call it impostor syndrome or maybe a touch of holiday blues, but after dealing with a few days of being super down, I took what this guy said to heart. As obnoxious as his condescension was, I listened to it.

But I’m glad that I stopped to listen. Because I listened to the suggestions he made, but I also listened to myself. My pricing is based on years of experience and industry knowledge, and when I stopped listening to his negative feedback, I heard my own confidence and strength shouting back at me. (“He’s definitely not the right client for you.”)

As a freelancer, my self-confidence is more precious to me than the MacBook that I create on. I wouldn’t have gotten to where I’m at without that confidence or trust in myself. And I did that through listening.

My confidence got jostled a little bit today, but I’m grateful for the reminder that I still have that spark to stand up for myself and my worth. Even during darker times, even when someone tells me I’m doing things wrong, my own intuition is what guides this journey.

And I’m going to keep listening: to feedback, to rejections, but most importantly, to my intuition.