Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Blogger Rejection & Losing Confidence

Blogging has, over the last 2 and a half years, become very much a part of my every day life.

It's my favourite hobby - the one I've stuck with the longest and have enjoyed the most, and it's now also my full time job.

Writing is my true passion, it always has been and blogging gave me a way to use that.

There are many many sides to the emotions that I connect with blogging...sometimes I feel that my blog improves my confidence, gives me a voice in the crowd, gives me a space for my feelings and anxieties, allows me to connect with likeminded people, and an added bonus is that it earns me a living and some wonderful opportunities.

There's also a downside - sometimes it makes me feel "less than", not good enough, sometimes it takes away the little confidence I have to begin with.

As bloggers we often collaborate with brands and companies who recognise our social influence - this was something I wasn't aware of when I began blogging but over time I've come to appreciate the mutual benefits from establishing these relationships with brands and PR companies - sometimes though, it doesn't feel that nice.

Sometimes it feels quite disheartening.

I recently decided, as an exercise in self confidence, to apply to join a new YouTube channel aimed at Mums sharing their honest experiences.

I thought it might help me to get more confident in front of the camera and that pushing myself out of my comfort zone to apply would be a good thing - as confident as I am with writing, I struggle very much to do anything on camera and even sharing photos of myself is something that it's taken me years to build up to doing often - even when I publish an outfit review post I feel nervous all day at what sort of nasty comments I get or what people might think...and so putting myself on video camera feels even more nerve wracking...I hate my appearance, my voice, I feel awkward in front of the camera...all this considered I really didn't expect to be selected for the channel at all, but it was more an exercise in pushing my own boundaries.

A very good friend of mine with similar anxieties had recently joined and hearing her speak of how much it had done for confidence really spurred me on, and made me think what a great boost for my self esteem it would be just to show myself that I could make the application video and allow myself to be judged.

However - I couldn't bring myself to make the application video public, that was just a step too far for me.

Luckily the company allowed privately listed videos - meaning only me and people I chose to share the link with could see it.

I spent time creating and editing my video, uploaded it privately and sent the link to them along with my written application and then I forgot all about it.

Only they would be able to see the video, so I had nothing to worry about and no reason to think about it again.

A few weeks later, I received a rejection email - "No problem" I thought, never expecting to be chosen but proud of myself for taking the plunge - and I headed over to YouTube to delete the video....then I noticed that the video had received ZERO views.

I was pretty shocked.

This company who claimed to have watched my video, judged it and decided I wasn't suitable...hadn't  actually watched it at all.

I pondered this for a while, and decided to email and ask why they ask every applicant to take the time to make a video if they're not going to watch them all...suggesting that it may be better to just request written applications initially and then request videos from those they were interested in taking further.

I honestly thought they would just thank me for the suggestion and explain they didn't have time to watch every single video, but judged the applications first before deciding whether to view the videos.

The response shocked me further - "Oh we did watch your video for a while, but then we realised it was similar to another one we'd seen".

Erm....well that's just not true. If it had been viewed at ALL, it wouldn't have shown as zero views....they hadn't watched it but they were lying about having done so?!

I went back to the video to delete it anyway....and had to laugh when I saw it suddenly had two views! Somebody from the company had obviously quickly panic-viewed it!

I'm not sure why they would do this, but why didn't matter...what mattered to me was that my confidence, which I had been trying to build up, had been completely shattered.

To simply not be selected wouldn't have phased me whatsoever but this felt very different...they had decided that I wasn't even worth watching. Not even for a second.

For a company using a tagline containing the word "Honest" I was appalled at their total lack of honesty.

If I hadn't chosen to make the video private but rather uploaded a public one as most applicants do, I would never have been any the wiser...I suppose that's what they were counting on.

The experience made me feel pretty used...pretty cast off without even having been given the courtesy of even being watched and considered...I felt very much not good enough.

Clearly on paper I didn't fit their requirements - whatever they may have been - All sorts of reasons why ran through my head....was I too old? Not pretty enough? Not skinny enough? Not enough blog views? Whatever the reason...clearly their was something they were looking for that I didn't possess to the extent that I didn't even warrant having the video I'd put effort and time into viewed.

I've since found out that I wasn't the only person who this company treated in this manner - I know of other bloggers who had the exact same experience as me, and to be frank I find it absolutely disgusting.

It leaves me in an awkward position as very good friends of mine and bloggers I admire are associated with this channel, but the companies total lack of ethics leaves me cold and unable to support them in ANY way...so I can't bring myself to watch any of their videos which upsets me, as I like to support anything my blogging friends do...but I can't support a company I find so duplicitous.

I have struggled if I`m honest to let go of the experience, and put myself out there again...having been left feeling so "less than" and so simply "Not worth watching"....and it got me wondering, HOW do you shake off these experiences when you're putting yourself out there as a blogger? How are you supposed to simply brush off the experience and not let it phase you?

Sometimes we're approached to work with companies and it's all very straightforward - but a lot of the time we apply for places on ambassador programmes, we take part in "Blogger competitions" to win things, we apply for open call out opportunities on social media.

We try to sell ourselves and the blogs we work so very hard on, to justify WHY a company should pick us over another blogger...and we wait with baited breath to see if they deem us as "good enough"...if we fit their criteria...

And often, we don't...and that's just part of life.

Sometimes the companies don't operate as ethically as they perhaps should and that can be a difficult one to deal with.

As one blogger recently discussed with me..."Often companies give excuses as to why we're not chosen for campaigns, stating our children aren't in the right age bracket...then you'll see a blogger chosen who's child is actually younger than yours and you know they just didn't want you. I'd much prefer them to be honest with me!!" (- mummy blogger who wishes to remain anonymous).

It can be so difficult to shake off the bad taste in your mouth that you're left with after such experiences, I know I myself felt really low after my experience...in fact a quick look at my YouTube channel shows that I've not made any videos since the experience as it has totally knocked my confidence and put me off the whole thing completely (quite the opposite effect to the one I was hoping for!) ...I simply can't bring myself to make another video...if a company who specialise in scouting talent didn't even have the inkling to watch a second of my application, that tells me I might as well throw the towel in.

But I'm trying to shake it off.

As difficult as it may be, it's important to remember that with ANY company - no matter how lovely they try to make themselves seem - its ALL BUSINESS.

Their interest in YOU is minimal, the interest in promoting themselves and whatever they're trying to sell or achieve is paramount and always will be...they have the luxury of cherry picking the faces that fit them.

Who knows how many of these companies even read all applications, all blog posts, etc - I wonder if half the time they don't already know exactly who they want before they ask for applicants (And how often have we all seen certain people ASKED to apply for certain programmes? We know it goes on.)

How it leaves us feeling may be difficult for those of us who struggle with confidence to deal with and it's difficult not to let it burn you...once bitten twice shy and all that...

But I have found the way to get through that feeling is to hold on to the good experiences, and remember why you started...was it to promote someone elses brand or cause? I doubt it.

You started for YOUR OWN reasons...to do YOUR OWN thing...

So, basically, up theirs! If they don't think you're good enough...their loss. Crack right on and show the world what YOU are made of, what YOU can do.

You may not be what X Company is looking for, but you're YOU...the ONLY you out there...so get back on that horse and be the very best YOU that you can be.

I've had some fantastic experiences and opportunities as a result of this blog, and I can't allow one bad experience to deter me.

Ok I haven't quite got there yet...I'm yet to make another video or brave the camera again...but I'll keep plodding on, and hopefully one day I'll build myself up to it again....

Although that particular company/channel can honestly kiss my ass ;)

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  1. As lovely as it is for the other bloggers involved, I 'honestly' think you're better off without them. Chin up

  2. I try to think along the lines that the right opportunites will come when the time is right. It does get disheartening as most of us work so hard on our blogs. Often it feels to me that the same blogs get chosen over and over again. I find it hard to sell myself which I really shouldn't. I do like honesty though and it would niggle me if I had gone to the effort of making a you tube video that was never watched. Maybe there is a bigger and better opportunity just around the corner x

  3. It sounds like you had a lucky escape to me Hayley! I wouold never ever do a Youtube video and think anyone who does, deserves a huge pat on the back and as you said you over came your anxieties to do the video which in itself is worth more than anything anyone could say to you x

  4. I think you're fabulous Hayley and should never let anyone make you feel any less, you should feel proud that you had the guts to put yourself out there and at the end of the day it's their loss xxxx

  5. I know exactly what company you are talking about as I have heard others mention the way they were treated too. After what I have heard I will be avoiding and won't watch a single video which is a shame as I like some of the bloggers who take part. Don't let them knock your confidence your one of my favourite bloggers and your better off without them xx

  6. I've heard a few things about this company now - I did apply at the start myself but my video was rubbish so I wasn't surprised to be rejected. I've considered reapplying but with all the things I've heard I'm glad I haven't x

  7. I've been through a massive amount of disappointment this year. I've pitched for things and been ignored only to see other bloggers with similar items in the next few weeks. If I'm honest I've allowed myself to dwell on it far too much too. I honestly do believe that you're better off not working with a company that can't even be bothered to watch your video after soliciting such a way to enter. Videos aren't exactly an easy option, if they really can't be bothered to watch then that's their

  8. I love the sentiment in this post. I'm only vaguely aware of the company as I have no interest in being on video but what a terribly two faced thing to do! As you say, you may not have been 'right' for them but they could have at least been honest about it!
    I often feel jaded by the whole blogging thing, why did she get that opportunity? Why do they get all the sponsored posts? what's wrong with my blog?

    Keep on exactly as you are, lucky escape from this ridiculous company I say!

  9. I'm so sorry that they didn't even watch your video. Seems like a terrible way to run a collaboration to be honest - and 'Shake it Off' is definitely true when it comes to insecurities and rejection. Even in the non-blogging world!

    | www.ibelieveinromeo.com

  10. Really honest post here - so sorry this happened to you and I hope you get your confidence back soon and start making those videos again! It is tough feeling like that :( I personally am not keen on these open applications, as I see it as a marketing gimmick for companies - get loads is people apply with no real chance and then just choose whoever you wanted in the first place. Business is business, and so on, got no problems with that, but gimmicky marketing is so see-through it puts me right off...

    Anyway, chin up, I am sure you will do fab without them!

  11. They didn't deserve you anyway. I know exactly what horrid channel you're talking about x

  12. I did hear about this before and I think it's a disgrace. They shouldn't ask for people to appllybid their applications aren't dealt with fairly and they should instead approach specific bloggers they want to work with.

    I think you rock so ignore them :) xx

  13. Oh wow! I am so sorry to hear that they did that! That is just awful. Sure would shatter my confidence. I hope you're ok and you are much better off without them. xx

  14. Hi Hayley I'm really sorry to read this, it doesn't sound like us - or not what we think we are and want be anyway! I understand what it takes to put yourself out there and this must have felt very hurtful. I wonder when this was, we have such a lovely team looking at entry level videos and I can't imagine them dismissing someone like this. I will look into our processes and make sure we are always being fair and honest and kind and that whatever happened here doesn't happen to anyone else. I'm glad you blogged this, as I hate the idea that we left anyone feeling like this :(
    I'd be more than happy to discuss this more on here, on email or on the phone if it would help. I am genuinely sorry.
    Siobhan from Channel Mum

  15. I think you're brilliant Hayley, and we love working with you! I've had similar experiences that have really knocked my confidence. One brand even invited me to an event, then emailed a day later to say they'd changed their mind and chosen a different blogger instead. I was gobsmacked and completely horrified! (especially when they'd chosen a blogger they knew I was friends with!)

    C x | Lux Life

  16. That is terrible how dare they not recognize the effort you put into making that video for them, I would blacklist them and show them that you don't need them to succeed.

  17. It's a really hard one, but it really isn't worth taking this kind of rejection personally as there will always be other opportunities and someone else that will really love your blog. I bet sometimes there is no rhyme of reason to it, but everyone is really busy and has targets to meet and people get over looked as a result

  18. I totally get what you mean about blogging sometimes making you feel 'less than'.
    I really enjoy your writing and I can see that plenty others do as well. Please don't get bogged down into the reasons why they may have rejected you because there will be other opportunities. Think of it this way; if they felt they maybe you weren't the right fit for them, perhaps they weren't the right fit for you! Rise above it.

  19. I wouldn't worry about it too much hayley. There's so many other brands out there that are more worth it then this one. Personally I am not a fan of videoing myself. I just never know what to say.

  20. All blogs should have been watched fairly. I have had lots of rejection and it does in my opinion get a little easier and probably makes me a little harder.although any rejection is hard to take especially when it's unfair.

  21. I'm so sorry this has happened to you Hayley. That seriously sucks! It's easy to say don't take it personal but seriously don't Hun. I don't take rejection very well but I totally understand what you're saying about fitting the criteria. Don't worry lovely I'm sure other opportunities will come your way whatever is out there for you nobody can take

  22. I've had lots of rejection. I had a company really keen to work with me (a drinks company) they were considering sponsorship and then they realised I was overweight and um...spent a lot of time in bed- not active and it went downhill from there lol. It wasn't nice but then I just kept going!


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