I am worthy of the rates I charge.

I am worthy of the rates I charge.

I am worthy of the rates I charge.

The time between sending out a quote and receiving the response is a magnet for all sorts of self doubt to gather and spread the longer it takes. Did I charge too much? Did I not offer the right services? Did they see through my ‘fake it to you make it’ mantra? Did I spell their name wrong?? God, did the email go straight into their junk folder??!?

Nothing quite like the critical thoughts in your own head to really make the waiting game suck.

And what if the answer is No?

Jia Jiang is the author of Rejection proof, a book about overcoming the fear rejection. He created his version of rejection therapy and actively sought out rejection for 100 days. His TED talk is the video of the week and no one tells his story better than Jia himself but in summary he learns some pretty profound things on the first three days alone.

On day one he asked a stranger if he could borrow $100 - not surprising the person said no and asked why he needed it - Jia was so embarrassed he ran away instead of answering. On day two he asked a burger joint if they do ‘burger refills’ - the staff member said no but this time Jia doesn’t run and explains that he loves the burgers and it would be awesome if they did burger refills. On day three he goes into a Krispy Kreme and asks if he can have his donuts shaped like the interlocking olympic rings (obviously impossible) but the video went viral and so did his story.

What he learnt about rejection is that it's a muscle - like any muscle if you don’t use it you will become weak and timid and you’ll eventually stop using it - you’ll stop asking for anything.

Rejection is a numbers game, if you can handle the no’s there will eventually be a yes.

Avoiding rejection is worse than receiving it. When we avoid rejection we are rejecting ourselves and our ideas before the world ever gets a chance to reject them!

When it comes to engaging with clients it can be really hard getting a ‘NO’. It can be even harder saying no to a project because the fit just isn't right. Freelance work often feels like feast or famine so saying no to a job when rents due next month can be terrifying.

What I have come to believe is that every good NO makes room for a better YES.

The more I put myself out in the world, the more NO’s I’ve been getting. I have however been asking why and am normally surprised by the responses. Taking the time to ask why and continuing the conversation a touch longer (rather than just running at the sound of “sorry, but we’ve decided to go with...) also gives the relationship a chance to rekindle further down the track. The more of these encounters I have, the better I’m getting at explaining myself and the feedback suggests I’m still on the right track - even if I didn’t get the job.

Ideally I want clients to see working with me as an investment in themselves not an expense. I want people to understand that my role is one of facilitation to help them get to where they want to be. Sure, I use the tools of a designer to help them get there but in truth, the design is minimal compared to the work we do together at the start when I learn as much as I can about you and your business. About where you want your business to be and why. Asking great questions (and really listening to the response) is the most valuable thing I can bring to the relationship.

My value lies not in what I say but how I listen. Not what I already know but what I come to understand.

When I send out a quote into the world my biggest fear now is that I didn’t explain my role as a facilitator clearly enough. Brand strategy can be quite intangible if you’ve never gone through the process before. Sometimes I’m educating the client about a process they’ve never heard of before, then asking them to pay for it!

Investing in branding is so very important for any business, whether you're an entrepreneur or a massive corporation - Marty Neumeier said it best:

“A brand is not what you say it is.
It’s what they say it is.”

So it’s worth investing in the strategy and getting it right!

Video of the Week
What I learned from 100 days of rejection | Jia Jiang
Podcast of the week
Chipotle: Steve Ells (2017) from How I Built This
Font of the Week
DX Sitrus: Font of the week by Dirtyline Studio

Please sign up for my weekly newsletter. No spam, just a weekly summary about what's been on my mind.

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.