When Your Work is Rejected

Wed, Apr 21, 2010

Inspiration, Time Management

When Your Work is Rejected

Dedicating yourself to hours of intensive work on a project only to have your virtual blood, sweat and tears to be rejected by your client can lead to unwanted conclusions. The crushing feeling of having wasted hours bent over a project and knowing that there were no fruits can make you feel down. Many freelancers who I know have begun doubting their own ability because of the attitude of some clients.

Emotions are hard to control and it would be futile for me to say “Don’t feel this way”, however it is possible to bring back your motivation by looking at the reasons why the work was really rejected and making amends in the future so your work is not rejected as much.

A Breakdown of Client Relationship

If a respectable client rejects your work or ends a long standing client relationship, you may want to get to the bottom of why this has happened. Often you will find that setbacks caused to the client due to unprofessional time-keeping on deadlines and other avoidable problems which may seem trivial are the root cause of the client’s distress. This illustrates how it is not your ability which causes work to be rejected but unprofessionalism and weak business decisions usually cause the unfortunate breakdown of relationships and rejection.

If this is the case you may want to contact your former client and ask them what caused them to leave your services. A telephone conversation is usually harder to listen to, as they may say something which offends you. Personally, I think you should send them a questionnaire with a small list of questions. Try to focus your attention on grasping the cause of why they rejected your work.

Ask straight forward questions, such as, “What did you not like about the service provided?” and give them realistic options to choose from, such as “The rates were too high”, “The deadlines were not met” etc. This will give you much needed feedback to help you improve your services in future. If you are lucky this may also show your client that you actually care about their custom and they may come back to you and if they rejected your work, they may ask for revisions


When you have the feedback you are in a great position to reassess how you look at your business. If the client says that deadline keeping was bad, then you need to have a read around on how to better your timekeeping.

Sometimes there is a problem which can be rectified in unusual ways, for example, being unqualified. If many clients are rejecting you because of your lack of qualification, you may want to learn the new skill sets required.

If your rate is an issue, you could reassess this, but in my own experience I have found that only some clients moan about the rate, and they are mostly clients who will moan about everything. This can, however, not be the case and it is possible to overprice yourself.

Final Word

Try to keep reassessing your business and make good business decisions based on your feedback. Do not be disheartened when your work is rejected, rather just get back up and dust yourself off and go for it again.

Subscribe to our RSS
Comment below
Promote using links below

The Grand Marketing Manual for Freelancers

Be Sociable, Share!

This post was written by:

- who has written 54 posts on Freelance Apple.

Shoaib Hussain is an web entrepreneur who was formerly a freelancer. He is the main writer and owner on FreelanceSchool.com and aims to enlighten young freelancers with his vast experience and deep knowledge. Shoaib Hussain also spends his time giving advice to budding freelancers and helping web businesses.

Contact the author

7 Responses to “When Your Work is Rejected”

  1. Jordan Walker Says:

    Could not agree more, always keep your chin up.

  2. Alice Dagley Says:

    Thank you very much for your article! I appreciate your advice on sending a questionnaire clients who refused to work with you. It is very important to know what your clients are not satisfied with. It’s a good idea to ask clients whether they enjoy working with us or not. This will let them know that we take care about our clients and we value our relationships. What is more it will point out our mistakes. None other than your client can help you to upgrade yourself)

  3. Sports trivia Says:

    I just spent ages typing a long comment, but when I tried to send it my Internet Explorer hung.
    Was it somehow saved or do I need to redo it?


  1. [...] rät ein ehemaliger Freelancer in seinem Blog anstatt eines Anrufs zu einem Fragebogen, der an den Kunden geschickt werden kann. In diesem [...]

  2. [...] a former freelancer advises in his blog to send a questionnaire to the client instead of calling. A questionnaire should list all possible [...]

Leave a Reply