Joshua Davidson wrote this article
For most of your childhood and early teenage years, you’re pretty much on the same trajectory as everyone else in your age group. For the most part, society has created a construct that unless you don’t try whatsoever, you’re not going to fail. It doesn’t mean that everyone is on an equal playing field, nor does it mean everyone will end up at the same destination – but it does mean that for the most part, you and your classmates, up until the time you finish high school, have all been exposed to the same playing field.
I started Chop Dawg when I was sixteen years old. This is the time of your life that you’re meant to remain in this trajectory that society has created, not start creating your own rules or thinking outside the box. Of course, that is exactly what I did. I decided at an early-age, I wanted to build a business and do something completely on my own. At the same time, this would mean for the first time in my life, I was facing rejection. I’m eternally grateful for this.
You see, the first month that I began Chop Dawg, I couldn’t drive. I wasn’t old enough to have a license (or even a permit). I would walk, door-to-door, miles and miles, every single day during my summer vacation between sophomore and junior year of high school, asking small businesses if I could create their websites for them. You’re talking about dozens of hours asking to speak to owners, and managers, then sitting down, chatting in face-to-face meetings all day, all cold selling, during the middle of the summer.
It is not surprising, in hindsight that 99.5% (made up statistic, I wasn’t actually recording those then) of those I approached rejected me within the first few minutes. Outside of being a young entrepreneur with no previous sales experience whatsoever, I was dressed as a sixteen year old would be dressed, as sweaty as if I went to the gym thanks to the summer heat, a nervous wreck and had no previous experience to back me up. I ended up for thirty day stretch being told no every single day, multiple times a day, all the way up to my very last day of summer vacation, where the very last two businesses I met with, both said yes, and signed a deal with me soon after. It’s funny how that works.
Here is the thing I know now in hindsight, no matter what age someone is, most would have quit soon after the first day, if not after the first week. Rejection sucks. You always take it personally, even if it is just business. It takes a toll on you. One no is okay, ten no’s you can deal with, but thirty days of hundreds of no’s? It takes a special human being to deal with that kind of rejection. For most people, it will break you. For some, like me, you learn to embrace it, and turn it into a source of motivation. That is exactly what I did.
I learned in those impressionable years that a no isn’t always a no. Many of the times, hearing no meant that I lacked execution, planning, or failed to demonstrate the value a potential customer/client needed to believe in to begin working with me. I learned that I could change a no to a yes with any customer if I could give them the value that they needed at the price point they believed it was worth. A no only fueled my inner-motivation that much more, to go back out there and get that yes. For every no, I wanted ten more yeses. That is what embracing rejection is all about, and what I learned during that hot summer month on the Jersey shore.
I still face rejection, every single day. We’ve been pretty public about the hundreds of entrepreneurs that we talk to every year who express an interest in working with us here at Chop Dawg. I talk to every single one. Only a few dozen will end up working with us. I never let hearing no ruin my state of mind, my momentum, or my positivity. I only use it to embrace what I am trying to do, what my company is trying to do, and what it is that we are trying to accomplish.
If you’re planning to be an entrepreneur, be ready for things not to always work out. Be ready to realize you cannot control everything. Be ready to realize you can be the greatest at some things, and the worst at others. That is okay. At the end of the day, persistence and consistency is all that matters. When you put in the work, rejection and failure will end up as one of your largest sources of motivation, keeping things in perspective for you, making you want to taste success, and accomplish your goals, that much more. Learn to embrace rejection, and when you do, nothing in this world will hold you back.