In Freelance VO Survival: Pt 2 – Motivation, I offered some great tips on how to stay motivated on your way to a successful voice-over career.
- Know your motivator. It’s that one thing that drives you to do the thing you do.
- Being self-motivated is liberating. You decide how to become motivated and develop disciplined to stay on track.
- Motivation helpers make it easy. Find activities and develop habits that help keep you motivated. Stick with the ones that work. Be open to new ideas that might work better.
If you’ve ever worked a job other than freelancing, you know getting called into the boss’s office to discuss anything negative is deflating. Rejection sucks and being told ambiguously that something needs to be different or better without the benefit of being told what needs improvement can cause a spontaneous head explosion. POP!!!
The Here and Now
When you make the choice to become a voice actor or other freelancer, it’s easy to get blinded by the sheen of unicorns and the brilliance of rainbows when you hear that work is abundant, more than enough for everybody.
It sounds positive and rejection-free. All you do is open up a personal studio and start auditioning or sending out proposals.
Rejection is ongoing for freelancers and it happens in a batch of all new ways.
- Your quote is over budget.
- Your style is not what they were looking for.
- Too old. Too young.
- Too American. Not American enough.
- Decided to use a male instead of a female. Decided to use a female instead of a male.
- Prospect decided to go in a different direction (they’ve hired somebody else) and gave no reason.
- No response to your audition, simple quote or proposal.
Get the point?
Don’t focus on the rejection. It’s not about you personally. Instead learn how to make lemonade out of the lemons that come your way.
You Are in Good Company
There is no one in the business of voice-over, or other freelance work for that matter, who has not been rejected. Let that sink in a moment.
Risk is involved with your choice to freelance. You’ll be meeting knew clients and taking on projects you never thought you would. The way to get what you want is to remember not to be afraid of the word no.
“I really wish I was less of a thinking man and more of a fool not afraid of rejection.”
Countless voice talents have gone before you, and had they given up, would not be where they wanted to be, where they saw themselves. The word ‘no’ is part of the freelance equation. If yes was easy to get, everybody would be a freelancer.
It’s About Them
After submitting an audition to a client for consideration, you hear back from them that they’ve found the talent they were looking for–elsewhere. They’ll keep you in mind for future work.
There are a number of things that could have had an effect on that talent seeker’s decision. Their mood because of the speeding ticket earned on the way to work. Their mental state affected by a venti latte they dumped on themselves. They think you sound like their ex-wife or estranged father. The list of potentially pointless craziness is limited only by imagination and there is nothing about you they are attacking.
“If I went by all the rejection I’ve had in my career, I should have given up a long time ago.”
Since you’re a pro at what you do, the audition you submitted was amazing. Just because they felt it wasn’t a good fit for what they were looking for, doesn’t mean it wouldn’t have worked for somebody else.
Another way to look at it: just because a red car isn’t right for you, doesn’t mean it’s not right for somebody else looking for a car. Make sense?
“I take rejection as someone blowing a bugle in my ear to wake me up and get going, rather than retreat.”
Why are some voice actors booking while others only hear about amazing projects?
Talent aside, are those people being hired better at marketing themselves? Is it because their website and business cards were designed by an award winning studio? Do they take risks and continue to stretch their talents?
Hmmm… Maybe it’s the way they handle rejection.
It takes several ‘no’ prospects to get to a ‘yes’ client. If you give up on yourself before hearing yes, you’ll never understand your potential. It is a good idea to evaluate as you go and make adjustments as needed. Truthfully ask yourself why a high rate of no responses are coming your way. Be willing to make changes. Perseverance is a trait of successful freelancers of any type.
The Delightfulness of Yes
There’s more to yes than landing a gig. What you do after receiving a job is to grow your client’s happiness. That’s what keeps them returning for more.
“Sometimes I feel my whole life has been one big rejection.”
Keep on top of communication with your new client. Respond to their e-mail and phone calls in a timely manner. Ask questions when in doubt about something in their script. Be interested in their project. Meet their deadlines. Or better yet, deliver early. Be willing to do what it takes to keep them, within reason of course.
And, follow up with them after delivery of your audio files to make sure they have everything they need.
Avoid reasons for their rejection.
It’s Not Easy
Put yourself in the seat of the producer who listens to dozens of auditions, trying to find the sound that’ll match their project. It’s hard.
“You get used to the rejection and you don’t take it personally.”
Making a choice is difficult when considering several equally talented people. And, nobody enjoys the process of telling everybody else they’ve made a decision that’s favoring another person.
When you’ve been told another talent has been selected for the project, be gracious and thank the producer for their time. Remember, this isn’t about you.
Most often you’ll not hear back when you’re not the one selected. And if you’re told they’ll keep you in mind for other projects, don’t consider it as lip service. I’ve had clients reach out to me for subsequent projects when I was the best fit.
Have a thin skin? Make an effort to build one thicker and resilient. And, keep in mind, you can do everything right and still not get booked. Detach and move forward.
What to Remember
- Rejection is not about you. Many things will influence a person’s decision not to book you for the job. These are out of your control.
- You don’t have an exclusive membership to Club Rejection. Most everyone who freelances has heard ‘no’.
- Make an effort to prevent rejection by existing clients. After being booked for a job, deliver on customer service and do what it takes to create a repeat client.
Looking for additional ways of dealing with rejection? Check the article written by Creative Business Coach and Author of “Resilience: Facing Down Rejection and Criticism on the Road to Success”, Mark McGuinness.
What are your thoughts about rejection?
How do you handle it when rejection comes your way?
Are there ideas in this post that you’ll consider?
Leave your comments below.
Next time: (Pt 4) Continuing Education
You should know more today about your chosen freelance path than you did yesterday but not as much as you will tomorrow. It’s important for your business to grow and one of the best ways to help with that is education.
© 2016 J. Christopher Dunn