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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