How to Deal with Card Rejection: Part 5

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5

Dealing With Rejection (Part 5 of 5)
Copyright © 2010 Kate Harper

Tip 10: Who in your life really wants you to succeed?




Quick! In one minute, make a list of the people in your life who are authentically happy for you when you experience success:

1.___________________
2.___________________
3.___________________
4.___________________
5.___________________


This is your list of people you should be hanging out with, especially when you experience rejection. They have your best interests at heart and can help you move forward in your creative life.

There are other types of people, who always seem ready to give criticism, but never take risks themselves. These people aren't really qualified to give you professional advice, especially if they don't understand how the card industry works.

When I failed at a card line, not only did it feel bad, but there always seemed to be someone hanging around, eager to tell me all the things I'd done wrong after the fact. People sometimes do this, not because they want to be mean, but perhaps because they want to reaffirm to themselves that taking risks is too scary and it can only lead to suffering when it doesn't work out.

There's a Tibetan proverb that says "birds will attack a dying snake." This means that a weak bird will attack a snake only when it is dying. Normally a bird will not attack a healthy snake, because the bird would get killed, so he waits until the snake is already dying, then he feels powerful.


When you emotionally feel like a dying snake, avoid hanging out with critical birds. Instead try to surround yourself with people who truly want you to succeed and believe it's OK to take risks and fail.

It's important to not give weight to those few who are eager to be overly critical. Somehow it seems like we pay more attention to one critical person, rather than ten supportive ones.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, some card makers have difficulties after success. One card designer told me "don't expect everyone to be happy for you after you succeed."

Even though it is hard to imagine that the people we love and care for would undermine our efforts, a spouse, a child or a friend may say something overly critical when your business is booming. Perhaps they feel personal time with you is no longer available...or perhaps they wish they could do what you're doing!? mmm?

If you're not getting support where you expected it, get it somewhere else. It's best to get it outside of your family and friends, and look for card professionals or business people. Many of them have the same challenges you do. If you haven't started a weekly buddy meeting, start one immediately.

Many people are afraid to put their artwork out in the world to be evaluated and criticized. This takes guts.

Give yourself credit for trying to grow and be different. Pat yourself on the back, and then keep going.

When all else fails, remember these important heartfelt statements by successful card designers I've interviewed. I asked them to reflect on what they thought their biggest mistakes were before their business succeeded:

"My biggest mistake was not looking ahead and making goals, not having any idea where I was going, and just feeling that whatever happens, happens, and was meant to be."

"My biggest mistake was where all my other mistakes came from: underestimating my own strength. I always thought there was someone else that knew more than I and who could do it better."

"My biggest mistake was not listening to myself, not trusting myself"


READERS--tell me how you deal with rejections--leave comments below.


10 Questions to ask when you're Rejected
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5

Part 1
Introduction

Part 2
Tip 1: Are you approaching the right market?
Tip 2: Are you trying to sell handmade cards to a drugstore chain, or in a rural area?
Tip 3: Did you get feedback on "why not"?

Part 3
Tip 4: Is this just one person's opinion?
Tip 5: Are you taking rejection personally?
Tip 6: Are you willing to make adjustments?

Part 4
Tip 7: Have you thought about luck and timing?
Tip 8: Are you making weekly goals?
Tip 9: Are you in the waiting phase?

Part 5
Tip 10: Who in your life really wants you to succeed?

*Get future Articles delivered to your email:


How to Deal with Card Rejection: Part 4

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5

Dealing With Rejection (Part 4 of 5)
Copyright © 2010 Kate Harper

Tip 7: Have you thought about luck and timing?
No matter how good your product is, luck and timing play a big part in sales. Are you trying to sell your cards in December? December is one of the worst month for selling cards to stores. January is better because the stores are out of stock after Christmas sales.

How often have you seen wonderful art on a cafe wall or heard an excellent band in a dive bar? It may not be that the financially successful musicians are necessarily better skilled than the ones struggling in the dive bar, it's just that the successful ones have had the right conditions come together at the right time.
I am a firm believer in creating your own luck. Put yourself out there. Send your cards to everyone.
I even sent my cards to each member of congress, when they were arguing too long.

Send your cards in lieu of a formal business letter. This is what I call "creating luck."


Tip 8: Are you making weekly goals?
Marketing your cards is really about setting goals for yourself and following through. There is no one store or one rep that is going to 'make it for you.' You have to continually create conditions for success and opportunities.

Collect business cards from stores. Call one person a day. Try to get an appointment once a week. Mail postcards with new designs. Set aside a day to go to research stores. When you hear about a new rep, send them a few samples and a brochure.

For me, having weekly buddy meetings or joining a local business association helped tremendously in setting goals and following through. Then when I faced a rejection I felt I have two choices:
1) Find out why the cards were rejected and then change them.
2) Try other stores to get more responses.

Either way, you need to act. Sitting around sad isn't going to help. Without support and advice, setting goals can be difficult. Having a supportive friend and colleague helps a lot.


Tip 9: Are you in the waiting phase?
Waiting is part of the process. Things don't happen all at once. Be content with holding still for several months.

Sometimes I felt like I was trying to push a boulder up a steep hill. I would try and try and try and nothing would happen. Then I would give up and everything would happen.

Once, after putting a line on the market, it took about 4 months for them to catch on, and then I was getting reorder after reorder.

Waiting can be frustrating, especially if want to move fast, but try to accept that it is not unusual for things to take time. It takes time for a store to order, after they order, they may not put your cards on the shelf for a month. Then it takes several more months to get a good retail response. When you add all that up, it could easily turn into a minimum of 5 month's time for things to get rolling.


10 Questions to ask when you're Rejected
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5
Part 1
Introduction

Part 2
Tip 1: Are you approaching the right market?
Tip 2: Are you trying to sell handmade cards to a drugstore chain, or in a rural area?
Tip 3: Did you get feedback on "why not"?

Part 3
Tip 4: Is this just one person's opinion?
Tip 5: Are you taking rejection personally?
Tip 6: Are you willing to make adjustments?

Part 4
Tip 7: Have you thought about luck and timing?
Tip 8: Are you making weekly goals?
Tip 9: Are you in the waiting phase?

Part 5
Tip 10: Who in your life really wants you to succeed?

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5

*Get future Articles delivered to your email:


How to Deal with Card Rejection: Part 3


Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5

Dealing With Rejection (Part 3 of 5)
Copyright © 2010 Kate Harper

Tip 4: Is just one person's opinion?
You should interview at least 5 people in the card business whose opinion you value. Avoiding relying on feedback from friends or family who do not work in the industry.
Just because one person criticizes your work, that doesn't mean it is not marketable. You need a wide range of feedback from different types of people, before you can determine whether your cards need readjusting.
Sometimes it can be hard to separate constructive criticism from someone's personality. Maybe they had a bad day, or maybe they just don't like your subject matter, even though it is a marketable design.

Tip 5: Are you taking rejection personally?
Rejection hurts. It is an emotional experience. Once someone tells us they don't like our work, we mistakenly interpret that they are rejecting "us."
It is easy to overreact, and focus on the negative things someone said, and forget the positive things. Always bring a notebook and write down everything they say. Otherwise, you can end up dwelling on the negative.

Once we get rejected, it is easy to feel overly self-critical. It can be a snowball effect and soon we can't find anything good about our work. In the end, we may never show anyone anything again because we fear criticism. Unfortunately, when we do this, we are probably being harder on ourselves than the person who rejected us was!

If it hurts, feel the disappointment, and then move on. Learning to survive criticism is part of being a craftsperson. Try to get it out of your system by doing something completely different so you can start again with a fresh mind.
If rejection gets you down, seek out people who believe in you and can offer you support. Try to include people beyond your mate or close friend. Instead, go to a business professional. This might be a business organization, artists support group, a sales rep, another designer or a store manager.

Tip 6: Are you willing to make adjustments?
If you make a line of cards and they don't do well, are you willing to remake your line? Perhaps you put many hours of work into your designs and poured your heart out. That's OK. Part of the card business is to create and recreate.

-Try out new materials, methods, themes.
-Keep a notebook of new ideas that pop into your head. Keep your creative juices flowing.
-Set a goal to make 5 new cards a week.
-Go online and research market trends and find an unfulfilled niches.
-Be willing to try a new printing method or take an art class at night.

If you experiment long enough with many different art styles, you are bound to eventually get a hit.



10 Questions to ask when you're Rejected
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5
Part 1
Introduction

Part 2
Tip 1: Are you approaching the right market?
Tip 2: Are you trying to sell handmade cards to a drugstore chain, or in a rural area?
Tip 3: Did you get feedback on "why not"?

Part 3
Tip 4: Is this just one person's opinion?
Tip 5: Are you taking rejection personally?
Tip 6: Are you willing to make adjustments?

Part 4
Tip 7: Have you thought about luck and timing?
Tip 8: Are you making weekly goals?
Tip 9: Are you in the waiting phase?

Part 5
Tip 10: Who in your life really wants you to succeed?

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5

*Get future Articles delivered to your email:

How To Deal with Card Rejection: Part 2


Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5

Dealing With Rejection (Part 2 of 5)
Copyright © 2010 Kate Harper

Tip 1: Are you approaching the right market?

Once you put your creativity on the market, it becomes a business product. No matter how good or bad anyone thinks it is, if you are trying to sell your cards in the wrong places, no one is going to buy them. For a silly example: I would not start by trying to sell handmade cards to a liquor store.

-If you are selling scenes of California, don't assume anyone outside of California wants to see them.

-If you are selling pressed flower cards, start in floral shops.
Make life easy for yourself by setting up the best possible conditions. Talk to people and ask them where they would imagine seeing your cards.


Tip 2: Are you trying to sell handmade cards to a drugstore or in rural areas?

These are not ideal markets for selling handmade cards. Small towns and rural areas may not have a customer base for upscale hand-crafted cards. Instead, try urban areas or communities that make a significant investment in the arts.

When I first started selling cards, I tried to sell to all kinds of stores, even chain stores. I learned very quickly that many chains have exclusive agreements with one or two large companies.

Some chains who do accept independent artists often require that you submit card samples to their company headquarters, before any of their individual stores can buy your products.

When you are beginning, the best stores to approach are smaller boutique stores or independent bookstores.


Tip 3: Did you get feedback on why not?

It's important to get feedback on why the store doesn't want your card. You will probably be surprised that many times their reason for rejecting you has nothing to do with the quality of your card.
  • The store may not carry handmade items.
  • The store might be overstocked with cards.
  • The store doesn’t buy photocards, and that’s all you have.
  • They only buy cards certain times of the year.
  • The subject matter of your designs (animals) may not be what they buy (flowers).
Getting feedback can tell you if you need to change something to make your card more marketable. If you are hearing from several people that your card verses aren't upbeat, then maybe it is time to try new verse and redesign them.
Retail buyers are your friends. They can help you a lot by giving valuable feedback.
Asking for feedback can be uncomfortable at times. I recall talking to a store who decided to drop my first card line because it wasn't selling. "They are just too dark and drab, when compared to the other lines." I had never really thought about what my cards would look like next to brighter cards. I spent about 2 months experimenting with different ideas and analyzing how to make my cards brighter.

Because I received specific information about the problem, it allowed me to move forward and keep trying. Overall, my willingness to hear the truth about "why not" saved me time and the financial expense of printing a bad design.


10 Questions to ask when you're Rejected
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5
Part 1
Introduction

Part 2
Tip 1: Are you approaching the right market?
Tip 2: Are you trying to sell handmade cards to a drugstore chain, or in a rural area?
Tip 3: Did you get feedback on "why not"?

Part 3
Tip 4: Is this just one person's opinion?
Tip 5: Are you taking rejection personally?
Tip 6: Are you willing to make adjustments?

Part 4
Tip 7: Have you thought about luck and timing?
Tip 8: Are you making weekly goals?
Tip 9: Are you in the waiting phase?

Part 5
Tip 10: Who in your life really wants you to succeed?

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5

*Get future Articles delivered to your email:


Dealing With Rejection: Tips for Card Designers


Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5

Dealing With Rejection (Part 1 of 5)
Copyright © 2010 Kate Harper

You've decided to start a card business and you've been working on designs for six weeks. Your friends love them. Your mom loves them. Your coworkers love them. You think they'll be hot sellers.

In your car, on the way to the printer, you decide to stop by the local card store to show them to Sally, the owner.

With a smile, you pull out your cards and wait for Sally's reaction….but slowly, like a candle melting in Death Valley, you can see it in her face... she doesn't like them.

Your heart hits the ground as she tells you what all the problems are, but you don’t hear anything because your stomach hurts, even though she continues to give you great advice for the next 10 minutes.

Rejection hurts. You slowly wrap up the cards, put them back in your bag, and decide on the spot you want to go back to school and become a radiology technician.

WAIT....STOP!

REWIND this story. What happened here?
This isn't a story about rejection. This is a story about an artist who doesn’t know what to do when their designs are rejected.

Remember, rejection is not a bad thing. It's a great opportunity to learn from an expert!

Most professionals in the card industry are happy to help artists who are willing to adjust and try new things. Ask Sally what your next step should be. Just like envelopes and paper are part of the card business, so is rejection.

Your goal in card design, is to get emotionally close to your customer. Rejection by a store can help you steer your art towards knowing your customer. Just make sure you never leave a meeting without a notebook full of advice. Find out WHY you were rejected. Otherwise, rejection will only be experienced as something negative.

In the story above, imagine what would've happened if the artist just drove to the printer first, and not the card store? Not only would she experience rejection, but she also would have lost money by printing a poor design! This artist was really smart to seek out professional advice, and not just limit it to family and friends.

I experienced similar feelings when I started my business. My first two card lines were rejected, but I went on to try a third, a forth and a fifth, a sixth, most of which were successful. Store buyers were even willing to meet with me after hours and help me. The more I tried, the better things got.

If you are ready to give up and go to radiology school, first stop and ask yourself these ten questions below, so you can learn how to deal with rejection in a more rational way.

* You can subscribe (below) and have future articles delivered to your email.


10 Questions to ask when you're Rejected
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5

Part 1
Introduction

Part 2
Tip 1: Are you approaching the right market?
Tip 2: Are you trying to sell handmade cards to a drugstore chain, or in a rural area?
Tip 3: Did you get feedback on "why not"?

Part 3
Tip 4: Is this just one person's opinion?
Tip 5: Are you taking rejection personally?
Tip 6: Are you willing to make adjustments?

Part 4
Tip 7: Have you thought about luck and timing?
Tip 8: Are you making weekly goals?
Tip 9: Are you in the waiting phase?

Part 5
Tip 10: Who in your life really wants you to succeed?


*Get future Articles delivered to your email:



~


Art Licensing and Greeting Card Design Booklets starting at 99¢



ART LICENSING


Booklet on 20 Steps to Art Licensing that is a list of suggested steps to to take for getting into art licensing. How to license your art to companies that publish greeting cards, and manufacture coffee mugs, magnets, wall hangings, kitchen items, and dozens of other gift items. This booklet covers 20 basic steps from how to prepare your art, to what companies to contact. It includes topics on: How to find agents, classes and what trade shows to attend. There are extensive resources on social media, licensing community groups, and lists of interviews with professional designers (5,200 words).








MARKETING CARDS

Booklet on Unusual Ways To Market Greeting Cards, and 22 places to get your designs featured. A 20 page booklet on how to get your cards noticed in non-traditional ways. Everything from why you should send cards to your dentist, to how to get special features in national publications. Great tips for designers who are starting out and want to get their cards into the hands of people beyond friends and family. Special Section: Submissions guidelines and contacts for 22 Gift Industry publications and professional gift industry blogs that seek out new greeting card designs to feature for free. (5,000 Words and 17 greeting card images included)








CARD WRITING


Booklet on 7 Mistakes Greeting Card Writers Make A list of 7 things to avoid when submitting greeting card verse to publishers.

Includes a list of card publishers and their guidelines, links to writer interviews, articles, card samples and other current resources. 20-page booklet and 2,300 words and 8 Pages of Card Samples.


Thanks for helping to support this Blog





~

Share: