Let’s Chat: Rejection

An open discussion on facing rejection as a small business owner and how you can use it to push you forward. (via Instagram)

Rejection. Woof. The worst.

But there’s no way around it, it’s part of business. You’re going to get rejected, more than once, and from projects you want so bad it hurts. But that doesn’t mean you can’t be successful. And that doesn’t make you less of a person. I know when we feel the sting of rejection our initial thought is to run and hide. In one fell swoop we somehow forget all the good things we’ve ever done.

Even if it doesn’t come through on these blog posts or on my Instagram, I’m no different. Just the other day I was turned down for a project I really wanted. But instead of checking out for the rest of the day and fixating on the bad news, I sent out five more emails that will hopefully evolve into other projects I really want. It’s taken me a long time to get to this point, but I use rejection to drive me. Because letting it hold me back is no longer option. There’s too much to be done.

You too have too much to do. So, here are a few tips for pushing through and picking yourself up:

1. Archive. Get that email out of site as soon as you’re done responding (if necessary). Don’t let those bad vibes linger.

2. Pick one thing to make you happy and do it. Go buy a cupcake. Treat yourself to flowers. Take a 45 minute break to watch an episode of one of your favorite shows. Or this video. It’s okay to take some time out and reflect.

3. Remember, you are not your business. Even though you put your blood, sweat, and tears into your business, it is not who you are as a person. You are not getting rejected, your business just isn’t the best fit for whatever reason.

4. Get moving. Dance, go for a run, walk around the block. Just step away from the computer and get your blood pumping.

5. Make a list. What are other projects you want to work on? Make a list and set those into action.

Rejection is scary and it hurts. But how else are you going to get what you want unless you take that risk and ask?

“We gain strength, and courage, and confidence by each experience in which we really stop to look fear in the face… we must do that which we think we cannot.”– Eleanor Roosevelt

  • Those were the words I really needed this morning! Thank you, Rachel! It’s always hard to get rejected, especially when you put your heart and soul into something your doing. At the moment, I’ve got a small tombola on my blog and I’m so happy about it (it’s my first one with prizes provided by a small company I like) – but sadly nearly no one is participating. Naturally, I assume that it’s my fault, because my blog is uninspired and uninteresting. I start to feel sorry for myself and have the urge to hide myself under my blankets in bed. I really hate those days, when you first are really enthusiastic about what you are doing, looking forward to the response and then, an instant later, there are only grey clouds and rain.
    So again, thank you very much for your article – it was very helpful! Love the Eleanor Roosevelt quote!

    • Uli

      Hey love! What’s your blog? Had a look at Disqus but the link to your blog didn’t work there. That might be a reason no one is visiting? x

      • Hi there! Thank you very much for your hint – indeed, it was the wrong address :) But I suppose, that wasn’t / isn’t the problem since German bloggers don’t use “Disqus”. I just tripped over it because I found Rachels blog. Getting people to know your blog is really difficult :) Thank you for your support! x

    • Oh no! Don’t you feel down about yourself or your blog at all! Sometimes those promotions go well, and sometimes they just miss the mark for whatever reason (it’s really unpredictable!). You are certainly not alone there.

      Where can I find the giveaway, I’d love to help you promote if you think that will help :)

      Wishing you well!

      • Hey Rachel – you can’t imagine what this message of yours means to me! I really adore what you are doing on your blog. I love your craft ideas. To me you are an inspiring example!
        Thank you very much for your offer of helping me promoting the give-away – that is totally sweet! I’m speechless! Unfortunately only people from Germany, Switzerland and Austria can participate.

        But, nevertheless, you can find my blog here:

        I would be really happy, if you found the time to visit it :)

        Have a nice weekend! x

  • Uli

    I think everyone knows rejection. Your tips are great! I definitely get distracted with other stuff: also there are so many other opportunities. I believe a lot is destiny anyway :) x

    • Thank you so much Uli! There are other opportunities out there, I love that!

  • Thank you so much for this post. I think all of us have gone through rejection in one way or another and it is easy to get sucked right down with it. I LOVE how you said, “I use rejection to drive me. Because letting it hold me back is no longer option. There’s too much to be done.” I need to better learn how to make rejection drive me. When I look back, I can see how many times the redirection that rejection brought has turned out to be way better than what I had previously been wanting so badly. Pinning and sharing this–thank you!!

    • Oh yay, so happy you liked the post Jennie! It’s really a long road to flip rejection to motivation, and sometimes it just never gets there. But I think all we can do is try, ya know?

      Wishing you nothing but the best!

  • Sarah

    Thanks for sharing, Rachel! Rejection can be such a downer. I especially like your tips on buying yourself a cupcake and the reminder that you are not your business!

    • Those are really my two keys to business happiness really! Rejection feels so personally sometimes, but it always helps me to disengage when that happens.

      Also, why does Disgus not have emojis?! I’d totally use the sassy girl one right about now :)

  • Amy @ Delineate Your Dwelling

    Loved this. This year I decided to go for things (big blog contributor positions, asking blogs way cooler than mine to interview each month – LIKE YOU!, etc) with bold ambition! I’ve been surprised as soon as I asked, how many things have worked out… but wow, I’ve also had a LOT of rejection. It’s hard, but if I would have never asked I might still be in the same place as last year. Thanks for the great tips because sometimes it’s just hard no matter what. I’m going to go eat a cupcake now. =)

    • Heck yes Amy, you totally deserve a cupcake! And you’re right that it’s hard, but I love that looking back you can see how far you’re business has grown, despite any rejection that may have come your way.

      Keep kicking ass lady, you’re doing great things!

  • I needed this so badly! I recently received a few big rejections and it’s got me in a serious slump. I feel uninspired and unmotivated, but this was just what I needed to read for a kick in the butt. Thanks for the reminder that life goes on :) And I know it always helps me to remember that things always happen (or don’t!) for a reason… I truly believe that.

    • Oh my goodness, I am so glad this helped! I have definitely been where you are, was completely in a slump for a week not too long ago. Once you get back into the swing of things, you’ll be stronger and so ready to take on the world. Good things are waiting for you!

      Wishing you nothing but the best Megan!

  • Laurel (A Bubbly Life)

    Very important to remember you are not your business. Of course, I never remember that when I get a big fat No, lol. Also, You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take!! <3

    • Right?! It’s so hard not to take it personally sometimes. And love that thought, thanks for sharing!

  • I agree with you and Laurel, I should start a journal with the good + bad news each week. I tend to focus on the rejection, but usually so much good/progress happens that same week!

    • Oh I love that idea Julia! It’s so good to remind yourself of the good when the bad feels overwhelming.

  • Ugh, it’s so true, rejection sucks. But it’s so true that we just need to move on. Thanks for the reminder that we need to move forward and put a plan to action. That, and cupcakes + dancing.

  • This is such a great post! It really hurts when you get rejected, but you are right, you have to keep moving and turn that feeling into motivation.

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  • Moving on is hard when you don.t want to move forward, when you think that all you need is there, back. Maybe a trip, alone, somewhere far away could solve the pain.

    • Yes! I always find that traveling is a cure all to any problem :)

  • Blair

    So perfectly put!