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How To Handle Rejection as a Freelance Solopreneur

07 March 2022 | 0 comments | Posted by Bhujal Patel in Temping

Tips for success and dealing with rejection

Rejection is painful, but it is a regular occurrence in the freelancing world, and it will get harder. There are estimates of 30 million freelancers globally, and as that grows, it means more competition for clients. When clients have more options, rejection is not unusual. Many people give up and say that freelancing does not work—that it is merely hype and that you cannot earn a living from it. I beg to disagree.

In fact, I will show you how to handle rejection as a freelance solopreneur.

How to handle rejection as a freelancer

First, start with an analysis: Why did you receive a rejection?

When we apply for work, we think that we are qualified. What we fail to see is that how we perceive ourselves is not how others do. They see us differently.

To handle rejection, the first thing you must do is assess yourself and ask WHY you were rejected. Clients looking for freelancers stipulate what they need—from competence to price, you have everything in the job listing to make this assessment.

If you cannot find fault in your application, the rejection must do with competition. In most freelancing platforms, you will access other people’s bids. You will see how they priced their bid and what their backgrounds are.

Do this and analyse data from the perspective of your client, not your perspective. You will get insights from this activity, making adjustments accordingly.

Focus on the positive

Positive thinking can take you a long way, but a negative mindset ends everything. If you give up to soon, you are not allowing yourself to learn.

What is a positive mindset anyway, and how can you apply it to your life if you get rejected? A positive mindset is nothing more than looking at the brighter side of things. Every occurrence has two sides—like a coin.

If you wallow in despair and hurt, you will likely depreciate your values. The worst thing that can happen is you come to a point where you do not believe in yourself anymore.

Learn from your mistakes and be optimistic that you can correct them. Positive thinking does not mean being hopeful—they are different things. You being positive means not giving up. It means you are looking for ways to improve and then working on these opportunities.

Use the feedback to grow

You should be happy if a client tells you why you are not hired. As such, you must take this as an opportunity to grow. From time to time, some clients will tell you that you are not a good fit. If this happens, do not hesitate to ask them what will make you a better fit in the future?

Some would say that your price is too high. If you receive feedback like this, think about it and then decide. I am not saying that you should work with pennies—assess whether or not the price you set is reasonable.

Some clients will work with you, but they are unhappy with your work. It does not matter if you are a writer or an artist—clients pay, and you should be receptive to feedback. Make adjustments to your final output as required, and apply the same principles to your next project.

Customise your pitches & prices

I have hired several freelancers. And if there is one thing that annoys me, freelancers cut and paste their bidding templates without reading my instructions.

When freelancers do this, I reject them outright. You must understand what the client is looking for and address these demands in your application. Your bid for work is your cover letter—you must treat it as a formal job application all the time.

In the jobs that I post online, I usually put a code in there. I tell the applications to use the code in the first part of their bid.

If the applicants did not do it, I know with certainty that the freelancer did not read my entire job post or did not understand what I wanted.

Whichever is the case, do you think I want to spend money and work with that freelancer? No, I don’t. I need somebody who requires little supervision—someone who can follow instructions, at the very least.

Move on quickly to newer opportunities

If you are rejected, you must move on. The world is filled with opportunities, and there is no reason to be a stickler for the past. If you only spend time on job boards and freelance marketplaces, you will realise that many tasks require freelancers. It is up to you to find new opportunities.

Getting rejected is part of this game. What I would recommend is that you expand your services. Do not stick to one kind of work.

For example, let us say that you are a graphic artist. Do not just focus on making 2D art. There are many out there looking for 3D graphics. Offer this service to expand your freelancing coverage.

Tricks to win more clients as a freelancer solopreneur

Take your freelance business seriously.

If you are moonlighting as a freelancer, nothing will ever happen. Treat your freelancing career with seriousness. If you must, register it with your government. Pay your taxes too. If you require an office, get a business loan if you need to.

As a business, you should have files, processes, standards, and money management skills. You must carefully calculate how much you are paying in fees and taxes. Figure out how much is left for you as your net profit.

Freelancing can also open new opportunities for you. In the future, you can do what many people call drop-servicing. It is a process where you hire other people to do the work. So, if you are a software engineer, you look for clients, but you outsource this work to someone else.

You pay that freelancer lower than what your client paid you. The difference is yours to keep. Of course, you are fully accountable if your client is unhappy with the work.

Know your target market.

You will never succeed as a freelancer if you do not know what your clients want. It is imperative that you ask your client what they are trying to achieve.

For example, a client may be looking for photo editing work. If you want to do this job right, you must know what the client will use it for in any situation. If it is an ad for a product, you have a better understanding of how you would go about your job.

Promote yourself & build awareness

Create a portfolio and use this to showcase what you got. A portfolio is not optional. It is mandatory. Websites are easy to build, and many of them are free. You do not even have to be a front-end developer to build one. Here’s the list of website builders to do all the heavy lifting.

Create social media accounts for your business and do the same in freelance marketplaces like Fiverr and Upwork. Build your reputation by getting positive reviews, and you will grow your freelancing business in no time.

Do not low ball yourself to get the work

There is cut-throat competition in any marketplace. People will always lower their prices because they do not want their products to spoil. Freelancers also do this—they reduce their prices to get work. They do not want to waste their time doing anything.

Do not compete with this mindset. You will not succeed as a freelancer if you reduce your price just for the sake of getting a job.

I would only recommend it if you were a beginner and accumulate positive feedback. Always price your services according to what you are worth.

Be consistent

Consistency is what makes winners. You may not be the greatest, but you will certainly reach the finish line if you do not give up.

To succeed as a freelancer, you must bid consistently until you find clients. Make sure you deliver according to what you have committed. Expand your knowledge and your reach, and you should reduce your rejection rate.

Consistency means meeting expectations over and over again without fail. Sure, you may falter sometimes. Sometimes your work is not at par with specifications. It happens—make sure you do more good work than the bad ones.

Be Yourself: Don’t overthink why you got rejected.

One acceptance makes up for a lot of rejections.

I know of freelancers whose success rates are only between 3% and 6%. What this means is that for every 100 bids they make, only three to six clients will respond positively to close a deal.

That acceptance rate, however, is enough for the freelancer to make a living.


Because as a freelancer, you are better off looking for clients who have consistent work, not those that only offer a one-time job.

About the author

With 10+ years of eCommerce & marketing experience, Bhujal is passionate about helping businesses get more revenue and profit through customised strategies. Bhujal lives in Toronto, ON and writes about affiliate marketing programs and scaling your eCom business at mydigitalkube.com.

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