Today, I thought of writing on this 'not-so-charming' topic- How to deal with rejection? Rejection in freelance jobs.
I often get asked about this feeling by my 'new friends' (who are starting off in freelancing and are afraid of hitting the 'send' button of their emails to their dream clients and companies).
'New friends' are those strangers who contacted me with their queries and ended up becoming my friends! Amazing, isn't it? Yes!
Okay, first of all, I must say that there is no harm in getting rejected by a company or client. Yes I know that this 'no' in emails can be heart-breaking, but you must know how to deal with it with ease.
I have to deal with this 'no' even now- after almost 9 years of my freelancing career, and I am completely okay with it! (or so I think)
So, the scenario is-
You are a freelance designer (just like me) and have sent your first email to your potential client or company to get a commissioned work through them or to get your designs purchased by them, or to work for them as a freelance designer. And then you wait... for their reply.
Okay, now don't wait! You have done your part and let them take their time. That's it. As you never know how much time they will take to reply to your email, there is no point in waiting.
Instead, keep on creating more artworks/patterns/designs and keep on growing your personal portfolio.
But sometimes, perhaps, you are afraid of sending an email to your dream client that you wrote to months ago! Don't be afraid. Just send it. You will never be able to get to know their views on your work unless you hit the 'send' button. Isn't it? So, just send it.
Now the questions are- What will be their reply? What kinds of responses will you get with that design submission enquiry? What will they think of you working as a freelancer for them? or even more dramatic- what will they think of you sending a job enquiry email, eeep? etc.
Yeah, I know these feelings too. These are the types of questions that surrounded my mind too, in ancient times!
So now, I am sharing the types of real responses that I get from these design submission enquiries-
1) I don't get heard from my dream client ever! Yes that's true. Sometimes I don't get any reply or response to my emails and I wonder if it ever reached them! So, should I wait for their reply? Yes sure, wait for at least a month and send your second PDF portfolio. If they don't reply this time then may be you should stop sending emails. It is a sad ending. But maybe companies are really busy and they cannot reply to each and every query that comes their way or maybe it ends up in their Spam folders! Yes, this too happens sometimes.
2) Auto-response. Sometimes companies have an auto-response reply to let you know that they have received your email! And that's so relieving. Then, you may get a reply from someone from customer-care that 'they have forwarded your inquiry to the concerned department and they will respond to you'. Now, at this point you may or may not get any further response. It also depends on their requirements- either they work with freelancers or they already have their in-house designers that do the work.
3) A sweet and polite 'no' saying that they are not searching any new designers for this or upcoming years. But you can keep them updated with your new design collections from time to time! And that is good too! If you really want be a part of this company then you should (and you must, actually) keep them updated with your newest design collections/projects. Who knows, that might be something they were looking for at the moment!
4) A simple expressionless 'NO'. With these types of email responses I really don't know what to do next, but I always reply very politely to the sender with a sweet thank you. And that is the end of our conversation.
5) A polite 'no' saying that you don't have the kind of style/look that they are looking for to add in their list of designers. And this is a very honest review of your work and a very honest reply. Don't be disheartened. Every company or art agency has a specific type of look and feel, and so they want to take designers who have the same consistent look in their portfolio. For example, if a company has a Vintage style or rustic and farm-house look, they definitely won't like to take any modern and abstract artworks submissions! Or vice versa.
6) The companies have their own in-house designers and they don't work with freelancers. or They only want in-house designers. So, to work with them you have to be in that city to work with their in-house team. That can be your full-time dream job! Wow!
7) Some companies like to purchase directly from trade shows or art agents/design houses. This way, they are sure of purchasing good quality production files. In that case, you can apply to some design houses or art agencies that have the same feel/hand like your own work, to be represented by them in trade shows, etc.
I work with a few design houses too to sell my work directly to companies.
8) They don't take self-taught designers/artist. They employ full-time or freelance designers who have graduated from a design school.
Yeah, this can be a bit sad sometimes when you know that you are a good artist or designer. But, it is what it is, and sometimes you can't do anything in this kind of situation. So, the best way to end this conversation is to politely say a 'thank you'! The end.
9) They have a family business or are a small-scale company with one or two staffers and do all the work themselves. In this case there is absolutely no point in taking the conversation any further. So, always end the email with a sweet 'thank you' and, maybe, you can add that you really would like to be a part of that company sometime (if you really, really want to). Who knows...!
So, don't be shy in sending your work to your dream clients. And, if, by chance you get a 'no', then you already know all the possible reasons behind it!
Go on, be brave.
All the Best!