Note: This is a guest post by Frank McKinley, he’s a writing coach, an entrepreneur, and an idea guy. His mission is to help writers engage readers, sell their ideas, and build their tribes. His blog can be found at frankmckinleyauthor.com
If you’re like me, you hate to hear the word “No.”
Let’s face it. Rejection sucks. I’m an extrovert, so I generally expect a “yes” every time I ask anybody anything.
The truth is nobody is that charming.
When I was in college, I was an art major.
The instructors focused a lot on the craft of art. When we were finished with school, we could take the Art World by storm!
The only problem was they didn’t teach us how to sell our art.
“You’ll have to go to the business school to learn that,” my advisor remarked, as if marketing was a four-letter word that made your mom wash your mouth out with soap.
My sculpting instructor was even worse.
“You might have to work at Burger King for awhile before you make it.”
Okay, so how do I “make it”?
“Get a job as a teacher,” my instructor remarked.
That’s cool, but it’s not what I signed up for.
Learn To Love Rejection and You’ll Never Be Out of Work
I dropped out of art school to work in a retail store.
My first job was as a commissioned sales rep at Radio Shack. I wore a tie, wrote sales on 2-ply carbon paper, and learned how to hustle.
While I was there, I read Tom Hopkins’ How to Master the Art of Selling. When he wrote about prospecting, he had some strange and unconventional advice.
Learn to love no.
Sales is a numbers game. If you want to play to win, you’ve got to hear some no’s. A lot of them.
The trick was to figure out how much your average sale is and how many calls you have to make before someone says yes. For example, your average sale is $250. It takes 10 calls to make that sale.
Divide $250 by 10 and you’ll discover every no is worth $25.
With that in mind, every time you hear someone say “No”, you can say, “Thanks for the $25!”
Writing is a Business
Recently I asked the members of my Facebook group what their biggest dream was.
Over and over I heard, “I want to make a living with my writing.”
As writers, we just want to write. Why do we have to worry about hustling products and services? Can’t we just write great books and have the money roll in?
As someone who has sold a lot of books myself, let me say this: You need multiple streams of income if you’re going to make it as a writer.
Here’s what I’m doing.
- Writing books.
- Creating courses.
- Coaching writers.
And that’s just the beginning. You could also sell these services:
- Public speaking
- Book editing
- Website copywriting
The possibilities are as endless as your imagination.
Now let’s get down to why you should love rejection.
You Have to Play the Numbers Game
Sure, you’re a great writer. You’re awesome. You have something to say, and the world needs to hear it.
They won’t come running to you until they know you.
That means you’ve got to introduce yourself to people. In other words, you’ve got to build a network.
When my family started going to a new church a few years ago, my son and I had a talk before we went inside.
“Drew, there are probably a lot of nice people in there. But don’t wait for any of them to talk to you. You introduce yourself to them.”
He nodded, and we went inside.
I stopped and chatted with everyone I met in the hall. As I was doing that, Drew was finding people for me to meet. In fact, he had met so many that we were the last people to leave!
When my wife and daughter started coming with us, we already knew half the church on a first name basis.
I’ve applied this same technique online. I’ll connect with people who have similar interests. I’ll start a conversation. Once I get to know that person better, I learn more about how we can help each other.
Here’s the golden rule of networking. Feel free to tweet this, tattoo it on your arm, or frame it and put it on your wall. Whatever you do, don’t forget it.
Be generous first. Let reciprocity kick in before you ask for anything.
When you’re generous, people want to pay you back. If you go straight for a sale, you’ll find closed doors everywhere.
You Need to Fail to Succeed
Remember when you learned to walk?
Your mother does.
You didn’t just get up one day and suddenly become a master. First, you crawled to get around. Then you lifted your body a little. Soon you pulled yourself up and walked beside the furniture.
Then you let go, walked 3 feet, realized what you were doing, and plopped down on your butt.
It’s good that you had a cushy body back then. You fell hundreds of times. But again and again, you got up and tried again. You were going to walk, by God – and nothing would stop you!
When you finally walked the length of the living room, your family cheered!
Succeeding as a writer is no different.
You’ll write crap before you write something great.
You’ll make lousy proposals before you pitch something perfect. You’ve got to take all the steps if you want to arrive.
So collect those no’s. The yeses will come.
The More You Risk, the More Doubt Dies
Fred Smith, Sr. wisely said, “There is no growth in the comfort zone.”
That’s not totally true.
If you stay where it’s safe, your fears increase. Doubt festers. Your writing muscles grow flabby.
You just don’t know it because you never take a chance. Risk is scary and potentially painful. It’s easier to stay home and do nothing. It’s safer to keep your big ideas in your head.
Now let me scare you.
You have a gift. It’s wrapped when you get it. You got to peel off the wrapper and take it out before you can enjoy it, don’t you?
Otherwise, it’s just another box, pretty but worthless.
The world needs your gift. So use it whenever you can. Here are some practical ways you can do that today.
- Find 10 blogs in your niche and ask to write for them.
- Send a short complimentary email to someone influential.
- Go on LinkedIn and make connections with people who do what you do.
- Join groups that share your interests – and participate.
Do this every day and you’ll be so busy achieving your goals, you won’t have time to doubt.
Want to know how to have an unstoppable mindset? Want to be so strong rejection rolls over you like water over a duck’s back?
Decide what you want beforehand.
Take a minute and get a clear picture in your mind. Imagine what you will feel like once you’ve accomplished your goal.
See the sights.
Feel the feelings.
Experience the thrill of victory.
What’s amazing is when you do this, you’ll find you have everything you need to make your dream come true.
Any rejection you experience becomes a step on the journey to your ultimate destination.
With such a bulletproof mindset, everything you want will one day be yours.
Your doubts will seem insignificant – and may even vanish!
And you’ll become the writer you always dreamed you’d be.