Entrepreneurship

Have You Been Rejected as an Entrepreneur? It’s the Best Thing that Could Have Happened to You!

5 min read

We hate to be rejected.

It’s in our nature. We like and love just the opposite: being accepted.

But that’s not how life goes, especially when you’re an entrepreneur.

What do we do, as entrepreneurs, to overcome this, unfortunately, frequent scenario?

Here I will share some techniques I use because, as you may guess:

  • I’ve been rejected millions of times.
  • I keep on being rejected daily.
  • I will be rejected even more in the future.

Step 1: Accept rejection

First and essential key point: accept rejection.

It’s part of your life, such as success, victories, failures, and any other situation you will live as an entrepreneur.

We cannot be angry because of that. It’s just another situation you have to live with.

When you accept it, as I’m telling you, it’s when you will feel a kind of release.

I can perfectly remember how we spent hours, weekends, and nights preparing clients’ proposals (for free). We had a 2%-3% success ratio, so imagine how happy we were when we were rejected.

Sometimes clients didn’t even send us an e-mail to tell us we had been rejected.

It’s a very tough situation.

You’re creating a business, spending hours, energy, money, and many clients don’t even reply to your proposal to say NO.

I felt outraged, offended, angry… at that time.

As the years went by, I had to learn how to cope with these situations because they had become usual and frequent ones.

I couldn’t live in that state, either mental or physical.

When you accept those facts, your mind starts to open, think about solutions, and look for alternatives… It’s when you begin to behave rationally and pragmatically.

Things I started doing:

  • Assess which clients I presented my proposals to. Not everyone deserves a proposal.
  • Think about how I could prepare my proposals in an easier/faster way.
  • Think about other ways to create services or products in which presenting proposals weren’t the way to sell.
  • Stop complaining. That drives me to a better scenario, with a much healthier body and mind state.

As you can see, the sooner you accept a fact, the sooner you will overcome it.

If you don’t do so, you will waste your time, and time should be your first and essential asset in life, especially when you’re an entrepreneur.

Step 2: Take advantage of it

We see rejection as something negative because it’s the first idea that comes to our heads and because that’s what they taught us at school and in our society.

Why don’t you think out of the box and see it as an opportunity?

It sounds weird, and I have to tell you this is not just an acceptance strategy to justify failure. It’s the one and only solution to overcome negative scenarios.

Never qualify a scenario as negative. Period.

If you want to, it can be possible, no matter how tragic it is. It depends 100% on you.

I didn’t understand this type of reasoning initially, but today, when I’ve been doing it for more than a decade, I can tell you it works, it’s possible, and you cannot find a better tool to progress in life.

Seeing rejection as an opportunity will make it possible to start paying attention to the causes which produced it.

At that moment is when you’ll see things like:

  • How you can improve.
  • How you can polish your products and services.
  • What your competitors are doing right.

It’s the main entrance to evolve.

In my case, I’ve improved a lot because of rejection.

I will describe to you some examples.

Big accounts

In the beginning, we were obsessed with getting big accounts in our company (a marketing agency).

They had big budgets, the big figures. Every sounded big, even our failures.

Big accounts were our biggest mistake in our 20 years of history.

They almost kill us if we wouldn’t have figured out the type of thinking I’m talking about in this article.

When we moved our target to small and medium-sized companies is when success started knocking on our door.

It was the movement that made us grow, being profitable, and survive.

New services

It was rejection that made us think about new services.

  • Services that didn’t need a complex proposal to be sold.
  • Services much more profitable than the initial ones.
  • Services which were much more demanded by the market.

With a whole new pool of services in our hands, we increased our sales, benefits, and project.

Nowadays, we’re a 45 people agency, having started being just 6 almost 20 years ago. That’s, from my point of view, evolution.

Diversifying

It was rejection that made us think about creating other companies and other business models related to our agency but were completely different, with different clients, processes, and benefits.

That’s how we’re today a holding group of 4 companies, much more diversified.

Diversifying is a great way to decrease risks.

On top of that, if you create companies with points in common, you can start taking advantage of cross-selling: products, services, clients…

You can also find out synergies among your human capital, having people inside your projects perfectly fit and reducing costs to your other business areas.

Motivation

In my case, when I get rejected, instead of being depressed, angry, or sad, it motivates me a lot.

Being rejected is my fuel and energy to progress, evolve, become a better version of myself.

I drive all that energy:

  • To be more focused on the things I’m doing.
  • To tell me I cannot be rejected again, so I have to perform even better.
  • To look for ways to look more attractive, changing how I sell my products and services.

Takeaways

Don’t take rejection as a personal matter.

Nothing’s personal in life.

We have to deal with an infinite amount of scenarios all our lives.

Life is not a war. Life’s just that: living.

Accepting those situations and making the most out of them is the best tool to survive and progress.

Think positive. You can always do it. It works!

Photo at the top courtesy of Jon Tyson on Unsplash.