Section Two: How to Handle Rejection

Sorry to burst your bubble, but rejection is a part of the freelance writing journey. It’s important not to take it personally but to use it as a learning opportunity.

If you apply for a gig and the client responds with a generic rejection, stop and consider the fact that they likely read through dozens, maybe even hundreds, of applicants. It doesn’t mean your proposal was bad, but it might mean it didn’t really stand out. Take that as an opportunity to refine your pitching process and tweak your portfolio so that it shines.

Note: We provide templates to craft your own awesome proposals at the end of the course!

Tips for Handling Rejection

Always try to ask for feedback to improve your future pitches. Learning why you were rejected might save a lot of time and effort in the future.

And don’t be dissuaded if you are unable to secure a reason why you weren’t accepted. Many of these jobs have hundreds of applicants, and sometimes a rejection is as simple as the timing of your application. The takeaway is to ask for or accept the reasoning but don’t always expect to understand why. 

Remember, a “no” from one client means a “yes” is waiting elsewhere. I was once rejected for an interior design magazine but hired for an interior design website all in one day. You never know who’s waiting for a pitch and portfolio just like yours!

After receiving several rejections, take a step back and assess everything. How does your pitch sound? Get a friend or colleague to give you some feedback on it. What does your portfolio look like? Does it contain similar projects to the ones you’re going after?

How Not to Handle Rejection

Whatever you do, never reply with anger. It’s never personal. It’s always business, and that’s a hard fact we freelancers have to accept.

Never scramble to resubmit unless invited to.

Do not blast the client or platform on social media. It only makes you look bad, no one else.

Embracing Flexibility and Adaptability

I always say that the freelance world is an ever-evolving landscape because it really is. Industries morph, algorithms update, consumer behaviors change like the wind, etc. Whether you’re creating content for Google or people, it doesn’t matter.

Being able to go with the flow and turn on a dime is absolutely a must for a freelance writer. Thriving in this environment means being able to pivot swiftly and efficiently without losing your stride.

Why Flexibility and Adaptability Matter

Freelance writers often juggle multiple clients, projects, and deadlines. Being able to adapt to every client’s unique requirements and adjust your writing style accordingly is crucial for success and client satisfaction.

Also, flexibility in your schedule allows you to accommodate unexpected requests or tight deadlines, significantly enhancing your reputation and client relationships.

Let’s take a look at a few made-up scenarios that show the importance of being adaptable and flexible.

Scenario 1: Shifting Content Strategies

Imagine you’ve been working with a client for months, focusing on in-depth technical articles and guides for their gardening website.

Suddenly, they decide to shift their strategy towards more engaging, short-form content to better capture their audience’s attention on social media. This sudden shift necessitates adjusting your writing style and comprehension of engaging social media content.

Success in this scenario hinges on your willingness to research current trends in social media writing, understand the nuances of crafting shorter, more impactful pieces, and apply these insights to meet your client’s new objectives.

Plus, it’s a great opportunity to expand your skill set and demonstrate your versatility and commitment to meeting client needs. Afterward, you’ll be able to throw your hat in the ring for gigs asking for this type of content.

Scenario 2: Entering Unfamiliar Niches

You’re presented with an opportunity to write for a niche you’ve never explored before—let’s say, blockchain technology. Is it outside your comfort zone? Absolutely. Should you shy away from it? It depends.

Diving into this new area can significantly broaden your expertise and marketability. Embracing this challenge involves conducting thorough research, familiarizing yourself with the niche’s jargon, and possibly even interviewing experts to ensure your content is authoritative and accurate.

I’d like to point out that most scenarios like this provide you with a learning opportunity and a chance to exercise new skills, all while getting paid to do so. I mean, why would you pass that up?

Tips for Being More Flexible and Adaptable

Over the years, I’ve had to train myself to control my thought processes and habits in order to stay on top of my career. I’m always eager to learn, eager to please, and strive to be the best. I grew up in the nineties, sue me.

But this ability has kept me in the freelance game for over a decade. I’ve stuck it out through massive industry transformations, Google updates, and consumer trends, refusing to accept I’ve been bested by the internet.

Here are some of my go-to tips and tricks for remaining flexible and adaptable in my career. I hope they help you, too!

Tip #1: Stay Updated with Industry Trends

The world of content writing is always changing, with new platforms, algorithms, and audience preferences emerging almost daily. Subscribe to industry newsletters, follow experts on social media, subscribe to anything they have to offer, participate in relevant webinars or workshops to stay on top of current trends, and keep your skill sharp enough to slice paper. Basically, always be IN what you’re writing.

Tip #2: Develop a Diversified Portfolio

A varied portfolio showcases your ability to tackle different subjects and writing styles, making you more attractive to a broader range of clients. It also prepares you for shifts in demand, allowing you to transition between projects or niches more smoothly.

In other words, don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Diversify and show off your skills in at least three niches. For me, it’s writing and publishing, parenting, design, and anything in the geek/nerd sector.

With that being said, I consider myself an expert in those niches. Today, more than ever before, it’s so important to establish what you’re an expert at. Clients are constantly on the hunt for subject matter experts over generalist writers. 

Tip #3: Cultivate a Growth Mindset

View every project, especially those that push you out of your comfort zone, as an opportunity to grow. A growth mindset helps you approach challenges with curiosity and resilience rather than fear or resistance. Never say, “I can’t do that.” Instead, say, “I haven’t done it yet, but I can’t wait to learn.”

Tip #4: Invest in Continuous Learning

The most adaptable freelance writers are those who invest in their education. Whether through formal courses like this one, reading widely, or practical experience, continuous learning enables you to stay ahead of industry curves and anticipate client needs before they arise.

I once picked up a temporary gig to help write user manuals for appliances. Did I have a clue about how household machines worked? Not really, but I’m smart. I took it as a chance to learn new work and life skills.

I called up a local service and repair man to ask if I could hang out in his shop and sort of shadow him. Not only did I learn everything I needed to know to do the job, but the guy fixed my dryer for free.

Tip #5: Leverage Technology

As much as I hate to admit it, tech is your friend. Use technology to your advantage by familiarizing yourself with different content management systems, SEO tools, and writing software. This makes you more efficient and more adaptable to clients’ varying technological preferences and requirements.

If a client asks you to use tools and software you’re unfamiliar with, spend some time with it. Learn how it works. Figure out what parts you have trouble with. Head to YouTube for a plethora of helpful tutorials.

Tip #6: Practice Effective Communication

Flexibility and adaptability extend to how you communicate with clients. Be open about your capabilities, ask clarifying questions, and manage expectations effectively. Clear communication can often mitigate the challenges of adapting to new demands. It also helps avoid wasting time creating content the client may not want or need.