The Upside

How to Turn Rejection into Growth

Earlier last year, I applied to join the Forbes Council in hopes of helping our members shine even brighter as thought leaders.

I got rejected. Twice.

Although rejection almost always feels like a blow to your growth, confidence and ego, this one actually empowered me to think differently and creatively about how The Upside could best support our members’ efforts to be more visible.

So in 2022, instead of features in Forbes online, here’s what The Upside delivered to our members:

  • Member Spotlight Campaigns that helped our members generate massive social media engagement and open new doors through the power of community.
  • Writing Workshops hosted by a content strategist who helped members get unstuck and shine as the go-to experts in their fields.
  • LinkedIn Pods that drove quick, group engagement and supercharged their content efforts.

I thought that a flashy name like Forbes would help our members get more recognition and bigger opportunities. But as it turns out, I was completely wrong.

For consultants and industry experts, showcasing your thought leadership through consistent content delivers significantly more ROI than one feature in an online Forbes Council article.

With the support of The Upside’s content resources, I’ve watched our members receive invites for paid speaking opportunities, quality client inquiries, paid writing features in national publications, and invites to be interviewed on top podcasts, all through content like:

  • Weekly posts on LinkedIn + engaging with comments
  • Building a newsletter following (like this one!)
  • Creating guides and reports that showcase their expertise
  • And/or self-publishing articles that demonstrate their passion and expertise, and that speak directly to their clients’ biggest pain points and goals

Some of these strategies will grow your inbound client pipeline.
Some will nurture an existing audience.
And some will help build trust when a potential client Googles your name.

All are important, so please make a commitment to yourself and to your business to prioritize consistent content and thought leadership in 2023. And don’t give up if and when you don’t see immediate ROI. It takes time to build up an audience that bears fruit. But oh is it worth it!

It’s been 8 months since I got rejected from Forbes Council.

Am I still bitter about it? A tiny bit, sure.

But next time you get rejected by a publication, a potential client, a club or any opportunity that feels like a door shut in your face, just remember this:

You can always open a window instead.

Erin Halper

About the Author

Erin Halper is the founder and CEO of The Upside and the leading authority on independent consulting. Since launching The Upside in 2017, Erin has helped thousands of professionals transition from corporate life into consulting to achieve flexibility, autonomy, and a renewed sense of purpose in their careers.

Erin has been a frequent speaker at Columbia, NYU, Harvard, and Brown and has been featured as a leading future of work expert on dozens of podcasts as well as in Forbes, Business Insider, Nasdaq, Crunchbase and many more.

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