Working freelance

How To Handle Rejection As A New Freelancer

No one likes rejection. However, it’s part of life, including for freelancers. The number of freelancers increased to 59 million in 2019 from 53 million in 2014. Therefore, opportunities exist despite the possibility of denial for a project or two.

Freelancing exists in all fields of the American economy. All who bid on projects and apply for opportunities will experience a rejected bid at least once in their self-employed careers.

New freelancers must learn that rejection is par for the course.

How To Handle Rejection As A New Freelancer

Rejection and Freelancing

The amount of rejection freelancers experience depends on their field. For example, actors fall into the freelancer category, and actors face a lot of rejection before landing big-time roles. On the other hand, rideshare drivers face little rejection.

Rideshare drivers receive opportunities when they log into the apps. Therefore, they don’t experience rejection often, if at all.

Writers, graphic designers, and interior designers, among others, apply for and bid on projects. Even if they are the only candidate who expresses interest in the project, the hiring party might still decide to go in a different direction.

Keep in mind that despite the rejection, it’s possible to move from it to approval fairly quickly.

As a new self-employed professional, It’s OK to lick your wounds for a minute. However, focusing on setting yourself up for success is more productive.

We provide a brief guide on how to handle rejection as a new freelancer.

  1. Remember, It’s Not Personal

Companies and employers have a responsibility to deliver high-quality products and services to their customers. When they turn to freelancers, they seek to obtain specialized deliverables.

Sometimes it’s a cost-effective strategy. Other times, they don’t have time to train an employee.

Regardless of the reasons, representatives must find the best match for their needs. Therefore, their focus remains on the business side of the project. Rejecting an applicant is not personal; it’s business.

For those on the receiving end of the rejection, the sting feels real since all rejection stings. It’s not surprising that a new freelancer feels the sting more, especially if it’s your first try at obtaining a project.

Remember that over-dwelling takes away time from finding an opportunity that better matches your skill set.

To boost your self-esteem, apply for a project that offers median pay for entry-level or average skills. It’s a stepping stone that lets you taste the world of freelancing. Moreover, you enter it with an easy win.

Work space

  1. Move On ASAP

After receiving a decline notice, avoid over-absorbing it. The more you dwell on it, the more you’ll question your abilities and decision to enter freelancing.

Instead, acknowledge it and thank the individual for considering you for the opportunity. Then, move on ASAP.

If you network and hand out business cards, your first job is right around the corner.

Need help designing business cards? Gigly offers some tips.

  1. Listen to Feedback

Those who receive more than one refusal should seek feedback.

  • Do you apply for the wrong jobs?
  • Is your profile incomplete?
  • Do you need to improve your skills?

After 2020, employers saw that hiring freelancers offers them several benefits at all skill levels.

Obtaining feedback helps you re-think your cover letters, improve your skills, and reconsider the jobs you are currently seeking.

  1. Assess Your Skills

Successful freelancers have an entrepreneurial mindset. They seek to improve their skills and keep their fingers on the pulse of the respective markets.

Instead of focusing on the lost job, assess your skills. Take a look at veteran freelancers in your niche and work to reach their level. Time creates credibility.

A decade ago, the digital marketing sector treated search engine optimization as an afterthought. In 2022, SEO has made it to the forefront of marketing plans. Therefore, writers, content creators, and web designers must understand it.

It’s OK to accept an entry-level gig as a resume builder. After completing a handful of resume-building jobs, you can aim higher.

Woman freelancer

  1. Keep Several Irons in the Fire

Freelancers experience seasonality and times of abundant work. To even out the highs and lows, keep several irons in the fire.

If you receive a rejection from one opportunity, you’re less likely to dwell on it when others might say yes in a day or two. Moreover, learn how to fill your calendar with projects so that you remain busy.

When you have a full calendar, you can take rejection easier since another project is on the way.


The Law of Averages says that among all the rejections eventually, someone will say yes. Freelancers have several work-finding tools available to them. When you optimize your position, you will hear fewer rejections by applying for opportunities that match your skills and offerings.

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