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Bad Break-Up: How To Handle Client Rejection

Don't take a business rejection personally. Instead, funnel the frustration into improving your business and looking for new opportunities.
Green and orange alphabet blocks spell out the word

It's not you, it's me.

The first time I was dropped by a client, it sounded more like a bad break-up. Earlier that day, I had felt rather accomplished by securing three new, well-known writers for my client's website. But after a short email and a long phone call, I found myself reeling over a significant cut in my income.

Rejection is a part of being in business for yourself. Not every person will want to buy your product or use your service, and certainly, as a writer, I've been rejected more than accepted by more major publications. But while rejection is a part of every business, every successful business has another characteristic: perseverance. Instead of stressing over what went wrong and listening to that nagging little voice that's repeating “give up” to the beat of a favorite break-up song, successful entrepreneurs take rejection as an opportunity to come back stronger.

Don't Take It Personally

When you are running a one-person business, it's hard not to take rejection from a client personally, instead of what it actually is—just business. They may still love your product, admire your dedication and talent, or respect you as a valuable service provider. Here's the truth: when you equate your professional success with who you are as a person, those inevitable business rejections will just tear you apart. Separate the business from the personal.

Pinpoint the Reason

In the case of my first bad "break-up,” my client made sure to note that I had done exceptional work—he just looking for more of a topical expert than an editorial expert at that phase in the project. However, sometimes business rejections happen because something went wrong. If you don't identify your mistakes, you can't learn from them. Don't dwell on them, but do concentrate on how to improve your product or service based on the feedback.

Use Your Frustration

Sometimes, I come up with my best ideas when I'm mad. Being frustrated makes me work that much harder and that much faster. Use your rejection to propel your work and ideas to new areas.

Spend Extra Time on Marketing

Generally, when a client leaves I find myself with extra time. Use that extra time to work on your marketing. Send out more bids for new clients, revamp your website design or create a new social media strategy. Spending extra time on marketing will not only fill the time gaps, but help to bring in another client—another stream of income—to replace what's lost.

Rejection is a part of every business, but you can turn it into opportunity. My first big rejection opened up time for a unique position in an area I hadn't yet developed experience in—which created another avenue of services my business could offer. Use every experience, even the bad ones, to develop a stronger business.

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