There have been a lot of scary risks and leaps I’ve taken in my craft life. Things like writing a letter to every single manufacturer (over a decade ago) trying to get hired in any form was a great risk for rejection.
Not one person ever replied to those letters.
Applying to design teams and going out for jobs – that can be another risk because you’re putting yourself out there and the feelings of rejection can be overwhelming.
Ah, but here’s the secret to the whole thing: I couldn’t ever do what I do, I wouldn’t be who I am had I not failed hundreds of times. Oh at this point it may be into the THOUSANDS. I promise you that even today, should I go out for a design team I would more likely be told no thanks than yes please. It’s not personal, it isn’t my shortcoming – I just am perhaps not what that particular company needs in a team member. Guess what? That’s ok.
The only way to figure out what you want, what you excel in, and what you would really like to get better at is to put yourself out there. A few months back I decided I hadn’t been taking enough risks and felt kind of without solid focus. I started working on some brand focusing stuff. Watching videos and reading articles and working on some internal improvements here at HQ. I also tried submitting some articles to a huge website/blog.
When I first applied I was asked to make some pitches. That was super exciting. Then I was asked to write up a few. Scary, but still exciting. They never got picked up – in fact they never got a reply which seemed odd given the quick replies to the initial process. But that’s OK. The point of this was that it terrified me in a good “egads! Scary! Vulnerable! what if?!” way. The goal was to push myself, try something new, and embrace that vulnerable space where you’re not sure if success or failure is the desired result because both can be scary.
The actual success or fail wasn’t the point – it didn’t actually matter. It was the doing, the effort, the putting myself out there and trying new things that was the entire focus.
If you want to give this a go (creative industry speaking) I do have a few tips. First of all – never ever be afraid to email a person or contact a company and pitch your idea. I can count on one hand the number of times someone has approached me with an idea/to pitch themselves. People just don’t tend to jump in and go for it! Just follow these three rules:
- Keep it short/to the point and respect their busy schedule. Cut out all the meandering/long intros/deep detail. They’ll contact you if you spark interest.
- Keep it focused on what you can provide/do for the company and/or how your idea benefits them in some way.
- Have something to back it up- if you say you craft a ton, blog regularly, etc… you’d better have the website/gallery/proof to show you are serious!
Just remember – being turned down is not a “fail” or rejection. You’ve got to knock on a LOT of doors, try a lot of ideas, and make a lot of stuff before things start opening up and you start seeing progress. That’s all good – it’s a part of the ever changing process of being a creative person.
This applies to all those who enjoy this hobby of paper crafting in general too – don’t get stuck and don’t tell yourself “I can’t…” because guess what? You CAN do whatever it is you’ve convinced yourself is impossible for you. You just have to do little steps each day, embrace the fails as well as the wins, and go for it.