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How Successful Entrepreneurs Handle Rejection

Some blessings can come from rejection. Many entrepreneurs have been rejected, only to come back stronger.

Did you know Steve Jobs was fired from Apple before he returned to turn it into the icon it is today? Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling was turned down 12 times before getting published. Don’t even get us started on Elon Musk, who was fired from PayPal before going on to co-found Tesla, SpaceX, and more. 

No one likes rejection, but rejection happens even to the best of entrepreneurs. That's why it makes sense to learn how to handle rejection well and turn it into a learning opportunity for your business.

The Four Best Ways to Handle Rejection

If no one told you you’re going to hear “no” as an entrepreneur, here’s what you need to know: You'd better get used to it. Whether it’s telling your spouse about how you want to quit your day job and start a business, or you’re going after small business funding, the one thing most entrepreneurs have in common is rejection. Selling anything (whether it's the idea of entrepreneurship to a skeptical spouse or the idea of a loan to your banker) is hard.

It’s not the rejection that matters. It is how you handle it afterward that will make or break your business. As sure as you set out to achieve a goal, you are going to experience roadblocks. Big or small, each “no” could take a chunk out of your armor, if you let it. Instead, consider these four ways to pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and keep trying:

  1. Take a moment to acknowledge your emotions. Don’t bottle them up but do try to be healthy in your expression of the feelings that stem from the rejection. However, sooner or later to keep moving toward your goal, you’ll have to move beyond the emotional and into the cerebral, which leads you to step two.
  2. Think through why you were rejected. Was your small business funding not thorough? Did you pick the wrong angel investor? Was the market not right for your product? Rejection is fortifying and you can learn from it and use it to get better. Ask yourself: What did I just learn? Then move to step three.
  3. Roadmap your way forward from here. This is the tactical phase where you put your rejection and what you learned from it into actionable insight. Do you need to create a different approach to go after the same goal or was the goal wrong from the beginning?
  4. Do not give up. One thing that Steve Jobs, J.K. Rowling, and Elon Musk all have in common is that they never gave up. Each rejection forced them forward and motivated them to keep going. If you can move through the emotion that comes with rejection, figure out why it happened, redirect your effort, and stay motivated, eventually, the odds are in your favor to reach your goals.

If you have money in a qualified retirement plan, you have access to rejection-free financing for your business. Talk with our team about our innovative 401(k) funding solution, known as the Rainmaker Plan®, to help launch your entrepreneurial dreams.

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