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).
Curious? You can follow my progress here.