“Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will – unknown”
We all go through it.
That feeling of complete and utter doubt in regards to making the next step of our dreams come true. As a writer it’s already hard enough feeling vulnerable for every single word you type out, hoping it flows, connects with your audience and actually makes some god damn sense!
And this is where it gets even harder.
You’re now trying to sell this service and you actually want people to pay money for your words.
It’s a scary thought isn’t it?
Talking to a complete stranger, putting yourself on display and asking for the chance to be able to show case your art and creativity, all so you can put food on the table and beer in your stomach!
Your mind goes into overdrive instantly thinking of all the worst-case scenarios we as freelance writers can go through and this causes you to do one thing, hesitate.
But No More
Now I’m at the point where I’m ready to start pitching my services as well as guest posts; I am battling with the fear of rejection, the fear of being judged and ultimately the fear of failing.
With that said I thought this would be a perfect opportunity to conquer one of my fears and to pitch one question to bloggers I look up to and find out their answers on how they handle it all.
I honestly couldn’t ask for a better response from a better variety of successful bloggers and for that I am grateful and I have no doubt you will be too after you take on board what they all had to offer us.
Without taking a second longer, I introduce to you our 8 successful bloggers who all answered the following question:
“What has been the “worst” result you’ve experienced when sending a pitch to a potential client and how did you move forward?”
“The worst result I’ve had when I’m pitching new markets is a deafening silence from the potential client. Somebody who *isn’t* interested in hiring you may not bother to email you back, and that’s cool — it saves their time and yours. I don’t usually follow up if there’s no reply to one of my pitches, because I’m too busy working with the people who *do* want what I’m selling. :)”
The worst result I’ve ever gotten is no answer. That’s pretty much it. I think the whole thing about queries being so “soul crushing” is a bit overblown in my opinion. If writers would stop tying their own self worth or value to whether or not they are accepted, then it would be a lot easier for them. Sending out queries is literally as difficult as you make it. As I said in a reply to someone else, if you see sending out queries as an “obstacle” then it becomes a problem. If you see queries as a fun challenge that you’d like to “win” at then it becomes a lot less stressful!
You know what, I’ve never really had a “bad” experience when sending pitches. Unless of course you count not receiving a response as a bad experience, in which case, I’ve had plenty!
For me, that’s the key: acknowledging that pitching is a numbers game. Plenty of people will ignore you (don’t take it personally!) but it only takes one person to say yes to land a job. And in my opinion, landing that first job is the most difficult. If you do great work, every new client you attract increases the likelihood of gaining more business from word of mouth and bylines.
Unfortunately, I don’t really have a “worst case scenario.” That sounds horribly vain, but what I mean to say is that the worst I’ve ever really experienced is someone saying, “Sorry, this isn’t a fit right now.” Nothing too world-shattering. The more you pitch, the more you’ll get used to it. It happens to everyone; even the best writers in the world can be rejected simply because their piece doesn’t work for the client’s blog, site, etc.
The thing about pitching is, it’s a numbers game. The more you pitch, the more acceptances you’ll have. When you do get rejected, unless the client is a real jerk, it won’t be anything that will lay you flat. It will be something along the lines of “this doesn’t really work for us” or “thanks but no.” If they give you any feedback or pointers, assimilate it for next time. If not, don’t sweat it. Sometimes it just doesn’t work out.
Rejection isn’t fun, no matter how it comes, but it’s all part of the game of freelancing. Take it on the chin, learn what you can from it, and keep trying. No one knocks it out of the park 100% of the time; the important thing is just to keep swinging!
To be honest, with all the pitches I’ve done and emails sent, the worst response I got was no response at all. I mean I’ve had a few people politely say they aren’t interested, but I’ve never had a really bad, humiliating response from anyone. I think that proves the point that if you’re thoughtful in your pitches and really try to help the other person out, good things will happen.”
I’ve sent several hundred pitches in my life to bloggers, entrepreneurs and companies. In that time, I’ve received countless responses. Most were positive but a few were negative.
But the very worst response I can get is no response. Because when someone responds – you learn. They tell you what you did right or wrong. There’s still lessons to be learned from no response but it’s much harder to see.
Luckily, no response isn’t bad. You just move on and try again. No harm done.
To be honest, I haven’t really had anything awful happen as a result of a cold pitch to a client, but I have had a not so favourable reply from a client I was already working with. Here’s what happened…
I was working with a client here in the UK who was paying me quite a handsome sum each month. This client’s offices were in a town not far from where I live in London and when the work came to an end, he invited me down for a meeting to talk about a ‘future project’. He wanted me to project manage setting up a new blog for his company and create all the content on a daily basis. It was going to take up a lot of my time and I made it clear to him that because of this my services wouldn’t come cheap.
The problem was, when I got home I realised that to make it worth my while (and to fit it in with my other client work) I couldn’t work for any less than… well, quite a lot per month actually! I agonised a bit – knowing the client didn’t have much of a budget for this because it was a new project that wasn’t generating any money yet. I eventually wrote an honest email pitch and just hit him with it!
Then I waited…and waited.
I followed up on it after a while and the client eventually replied… thinking I was mad! He couldn’t afford it and offered me an advertising revenue share model if and when the new blog made money. I politely told him that as a freelance writer, I write for money and money only, and declined. I’d put a lot of time into working out costs and getting excited about a big new project so I was really disappointed. There were no hard feelings between us and he emails me about the odd project from time to time to this day, but it was definitely one of those responses where you get a sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach as you read it!
Having said that, I don’t regret pitching so highly at all. It would have taken up so much of my time I wouldn’t have been able to work on my own projects – like the course I’ve just released. I’m so proud of that and it’s all mine – not a client’s project – but mine!
The worst thing that happens is…nothing. Not really very bad.
Getting rejected and moving forward is just what freelance writers DO. Stop thinking it’s about you. It’s just business. Keep going.
Also, Carol has just released a very helpful book “13 Ways to Get The Writing Done Faster”, be sure to check it out!
There You Have It Guys
Firstly, I can’t thank each and everyone of the above bloggers for their contributions to this post, their insight and personal take on pitches and freelancing as a whole is something I’m very grateful to have been able to share with you all.
It’s become very clear the common theme coming across is that you actually have nothing to fear.
If you’re finding yourself shaking next time you want to press the send button, remember it’s just business and if you’re rejected, it’s nothing personal. You probably just weren’t the right fit at the current time. It’s a numbers game and like anything, the more you practice, the better you’ll get!
Personally, I’m no longer scared. It’s time to get those emails out, phone calls made and time to grow a real business. If you’re serious like I am, you know sitting on the fence indulging in more information isn’t going to get you anywhere.
It’s time to overcome your fears, throw excuses to the wind and do exactly like our expert bloggers!
Lastly, I also invite you to answer the same question “What has been the “worst” result you’ve experienced when sending a pitch to a potential client and how did you move forward?”
And most of all if you found this post helpful share it to all your freelance and blogging friends who need that slight kick up the buttocks to make their dreams a reality!
Photo Credit: Luke Hayfield Photography