Dealing with Rejection as a Freelancer

Dealing with rejection is tough. Spending late nights working on proposals, only to get THAT email that reads “we’ve gone with someone else”, can be extremely frustrating. Since starting my freelance career I’ve got many of these emails that have left me feeling awful and had me questioning whether I’m doing the right thing by choosing to freelance. It would be so easy to slip back into a 9-5 job and live the status quo, but I’m not happy with the easy option. So I keep my chin up and remind myself of the following:

1. Don’t Take It Personally

Working in publishing before I started my freelance career made it easier for me to accept rejection without taking it personally. You need to realise that sometimes you just aren’t what a client is looking for, even though you might think you are. It is not your fault that the client is looking for someone that is not you. You just need to find the clients that do want you.

2. Believe In Your Skills

Yes, THAT email makes you feel like crap, but that doesn’t mean you aren’t talented. Again, you were just not what the client was looking for. For me, it was super important to keep believing in my skill set and not falling into the trap of ‘I must not be good enough’. Again, the client is just not looking for your skill set.

3. Ask For Feedback

Constructive criticism helps us grow, learn from our mistakes and makes us better at what we do. Once you get that ‘rejection email’ ask for feedback like ‘what could I have done better?’ and ‘what do I need more experience in?’.

4. Remind Yourself Why You Are Freelancing

Whether it is the freedom to go for a surf when the waves are good, live your digital nomad dream or pick up your kids from school every day, we all have our reasons for leaving the 9 to 5 world. For me, it was to live a happier life, do what’s best for my soul and travel.

5. Never Give Up!

Keep looking for the right clients, work opportunities and jobs that are worth your time. Giving up is not an option. We all somehow have to find the strength to move forward keep on pushing for our dreams.



Lessons From Being Retrenched

At 26-years-old, the worst thing that could have happened to me did – I was being retrenched. I was working my dream job as Copy & Entertainment Editor of Seventeen Magazine South Africa. I was the envy of all my friends, loved what I did and was earning just enough to get by. Then, after almost being at the company for two years, our team of 20-something-year-olds got called in for a very important meeting and told that the magazine was closing. I watched as hearts dropped, tears rolled and awkward jokes were made. For me, to be perfectly honest, it felt weird. I’d been thinking about leaving the company and discussing my options with a few people. Despite this, it was hard, I cried and went into panic mode, but after the dust settled, I learnt a few very important lessons from being retrenched.

1. Do Not Make Your Job Your Life

…because when you lose it, life feels like it’s spinning out of control. I learnt this the hard way when I lost my job. To be honest, it felt extremely personal and I felt like all my hard work, missed holidays and late nights in the office were for nothing. It is important to understand that if you do work for a big company, you are ultimately just a number and it is not personal. Your blood, sweat, and tears are valued when you create a beautiful product or have a satisfied customer, but if money is not made, you have to go! I gave most of my life to a brand that left me and I was left picking up the pieces of non-existing life.

2. Walk Away When Things Aren’t Working Anymore

After the closure of Seventeen, all former staff members of the magazine were promised a placement within the greater company. All other staff members got placed in jobs immediately, but as a copy editor, I found myself sitting in an empty office staring at a blank computer screen. It frustrated me so much and made me feel so worthless. As a result, I made the hard decision to leave the security of a paycheck and take the retrenchment package. It was liberating and unknowingly the bravest thing I’ve ever done.

3. Know The Purpose of Everything You Do

I came across this quote just after we had that important meeting and it helped me take control of a bad situation: “Choice not chance determines your destiny”. It embodies everything that I believe in right now. Don’t let chance determine your greatness. I refused to sit back and allow my career to be determined by an opening at another magazine or newspaper. I went to Seventeen with a purpose and because I liked the brand, not because it was the only thing available.

4. Nothing Lasts Forever

Like the magazine, nothing lasts forever! Tears will dry, you’ll pick yourself up and try again. I understand that I was super young and very fortunate to be retrenched without a family to support or five years before my retirement, but it happened. And even though it felt like my life was ending, I saw the opportunity to take some time off (make up for all those missed holidays) and live a little. Because life doesn’t last forever either.

5. Be Nice

I was very angry when I lost my job, but I refused not to be nice. I felt like I’d been given the short straw especially when I saw people simply be placed into other positions. It was so heartbreaking. I’ve had things said and done to me throughout my career that tested me, especially at Seventeen (Devil Wears Prada type stuff), but this was the worst. When I left I turned the other cheek and was more grateful for the thing I’d learnt than for the nasty behaviour of others.

6. It’s Not The End

Life doesn’t put anything in your path that you can’t deal with. It’s all about how you deal with things. To be honest, it is only the beginning. I was paid out a pretty penny and decided to give freelancing a shot. Now I get to build my career around my life – not my life around my career. And I can truly say I am happy!

 



5 Things I Learnt in 2011

In my wildest dreams, 2011 couldn’t have been more awesome. Yes, it had its ups and downs, but through it all, it turned out being the best year of my life. I lived a little more and probably learnt some of life’s most important lesson. So here are the top 5 things I learnt in 2011:

1. Australians Aren’t That Bad

It must have been something about our sporting history with the country or the fact that they stole my best friend but having spent an amazing month in their beautiful country, I realised, they’re not so bad after all. 

2. Get Yourself a Credit Record

I, unfortunately, involved myself in a 3 car pileup on Valentine’s Day. My poor little car had been squashed between two others and had to be written off. With my minimal budget and a serious case of whiplash things looked pretty bleak. Anyway, long story short, within a month, I did the impossible and got a new job and bought my dream car. The only issue was that I didn’t have a credit record but thank God for supportive parents and BOOM, the Polo was mine.

3. Feelings Are For Those You Care About

Don’t waste your time, money or effort on anyone who doesn’t see in you what you see in them.

4. Models Are Paid to Be Skinny

I mean, seriously, if someone paid me to go to a gym for the hours every day I’d do it. But I work a 9-5, deal with my curves and most boys like a little cushion for the pushing.

5. There’s No Place Like Home

Cape Town is the business! Not only is it a holiday destination filled with my friends and family but also Design Capital of the World and home to one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, I’m definitely one lucky lady to call this amazing city home.

Here’s to 2012 being even more awesome!

 

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