Friday, November 9, 2012

Striving for 100 Rejections in 100 Days

New pic taken by the lovely Laura of le animalé. Hey, as long as I'm going to be tackling my fears I might as well get them all out at once (like posting photos of myself online).
I've written here before about my fears around contacting people. I dread…truly truly dread having to call people to ask for things, which I think stems from a horrific phone interview I conducted as an undergraduate journalism major. But I also have an irrational fear of putting myself out there over email, too, for no apparent reason I can think of. Asking retailers to stock my printed collage sheets in their stores, for example, has been un-crossed-off on my to-do list for nearly three years now.

What, in the world, am I afraid of? It's funny because I think I'm equally nervous that someone will say yes to my requests as that they'd say no.

I used to think I was alone in my mostly irrational phobias. But I've picked up stories here and there of others' concerns as well. A jeweler in my business class has had a list of 500 stores to contact for years…a soap maker in the same program stopped going after a major client when her contact didn't return an email. Jessica Swift talks quite a bit about the power of continuously following up with someone in her e-book Jump, Trust, Repeat since so many of us will send out one email, or maybe two, and then give up thinking that the person is not interested or doesn't like us (rather than they're simply busy like the rest of us).

But as much as my fears can sometimes keep me from moving ahead, I'm equally pushed forward by others' stories of success. I LOVE the story of Kathryn Stockett and how her book The Help was turned down 60 times before becoming a best seller. Or this great story from Jill Meyer about contacting 25 different agents to represent her artwork. Within days 18 of those agencies had gotten back to her with most wanting to take her on! I can't even imagine how long it would have taken me to contact 18 different agencies.

So, in the spirit of my business coach who essentially told me to "get over it" and start selling my stuff, and inspired by Tiffany Han's great challenge to herself to get 100 letters of rejection in 2012, I'm calling myself out publicly.

My goal: to receive 100 letters or phone calls of rejection within the next 100 days. We're talking about people actually saying no (not just not responding), so I'm going to have to do a lot of follow up with emails and phone calls to actually connect.

And I will blog about it. Every. Single. Day. (Gulp).

Can I do it? I have absolutely no idea. It makes my stomach hurt to even think about  it. But I'm hoping this amazing community here can be my virtual work-out partners. You know, the people who you go to yoga with who are the only reason at all you actually show up half the time. Yep, that's you. So please feel free to call me out when I make up excuses, or if quietly stop posting. I'm counting on it.

So here we go.

Day #1 (which was actually yesterday): Emailed to see if they want to do another sale of pin-ups or vintage tattoos. I had two sales this summer with them that were less-than-spectacular, but decent enough to try again now that holiday shopping time is coming up. My first email to schedule a new sale months ago went unanswered, so trying again. Also contacted Bill Horton to see if he'd take me on for one-to-one business coaching but haven't heard back yet. I think I may need some coaching/cheerleading to get through this.

Day #2, Friday November 9th: Send in application to sell on One Kings Lane. Their aesthetic seems so perfect for my collaged artwork, even though they don't often carry unframed prints, and I've been working on a portfolio for them for literally seven months! At some point I have to call it good enough and hit "send."

Who's in this with me? Anyone else want to be my virtual yoga partners? I would love it.

ps--click here to follow my progress and see all the "100 days of rejections" posts.


Fantastic Toys said...

Yay! I'm rooting for you! You're post is inspiring. I need to get over my fear of rejection too. :) Sure once in awhile a great opportunity will happen for me but if I really want to achieve my goals I need to contact those publishers, agents or manufacturers myself. I hope to start those emails after the holidays. I'll be following your journey with anticipation. Good luck!

piddix said...

Thanks so much Tim/Fantastic Toys. I love your printables. They'd be super-fun to play with on the airplane with my 5-year-old. So what kind of emails are you dreading sending? Any specific goals you have in mind?

Fantastic Toys said...

I've wanted to do a craft book for some time now. Either a book on basic cute crafts, printables or soft toys. Writing a book proposal is one, and I'm also been researching licensing for the past year.. which is why I started following your blog since you've just started to break in. Going the way of a licensing rep seems to be my best bet since shows are so very expensive to exhibit. I need to start sending my portfolio to my favorite reps. In the meantime I'm just designing more toys and building a stronger portfolio. :D

piddix said...

A craft book would be great. I can totally see it. Have you seen this interview?

Not sure if Stash would be a great fit but I found the interview to be very inspirational in that it made editors seem more approachable.

And I LOVE my licensing rep. Wishing you luck on finding one you love, too.

Georgianna said...

Hi Corrina! Thank you for being so refreshingly candid and BRAVE. Okay, I'm in! I'm guilty of not following up on submissions I've sent to magazines that would be perfect for my photographs because I never got a response. Even though I have my own stock agency and sell through a number of international reps, there are some dream projects I've never pushed through. So, I can really relate.

Will follow along and wish you great success!


Anonymous said...

I'm totally with you on the shyness as I suffer from it too (and selling rejection just kills me). I refer to it as a more "passive selling approach" but I know that's not going to propel my business forward. My personal goal is to contact 250 shops/boutiques to wholesale my goods to. All my wholesale accounts are from folks who have found me on Etsy, so I need to take an active role in growing this part of my business. This is going to be my New Years business resolution (can't do now as I'm going into the busiest time of year) but I am going to follow you on your journey as inspiration for my journey. Thank you for putting yourself out there and inspiring us introverts; I'm cheering you on!!!

piddix said...

Wow. It's actually pretty reassuring to hear I'm not alone in my "passive selling approach" (aka, waiting for them to beat down my door and beg me to sell my products to them). Love the ideas and resolutions.

And Georgianna, love the idea of following up with magazines. That seems like it would be very helpful for feedback.

Saturday Sequins said...

What an awesome, inspiring and brave project! I wish I'd found your blog when you started it -- I'm someone who's learning to deal with rejection, and actively courting it sounds like the perfect way to make it less scary.

-- Sarah of, who found you through Michelle Mach's blog.