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In the year since I started blogging, I’ve gotten a bunch of freelance writing gigs and regular jobs writing all over the Web. But, initially, no one offered them to me. I had this blog I was proud of, a super-cool design, and yet the offers didn’t flood in. Crazy, right? Tell me about it.

I finally decided that if I wanted something to happen, I had to go and get it. So I did the simplest thing I could think of: I just asked for it. I wrote to a bunch of different sites, and asked if they needed writers. I pitched a few ideas, used my blog as a resume, and offered my services.

I couldn’t give you an exact number, but the response rate to my emails was extraordinarily low. Let’s just say that if I were a baseball player with that batting average, I wouldn’t be a baseball player much longer. Only a couple of people responded at all, and a few of those turned into the jobs I got initially as a freelance blogger. But my batting average wasn’t high.

And it didn’t matter. For the opportunities that didn’t come my way, all it cost me was a few minutes of my time to send an email. The hour it took to write ten emails, even if it only generated one response, was well worth it just for that one response.

I got my dream job this summer from exactly the same thing: I sent an email. I can’t explain why it worked, or why I got a response instead of the hundred or so other people my boss got applications from. It worked, though, and for one reason: I asked. If I never heard back, so be it; it’s a wasted ten minutes. But I did, and it became a fantastic experience for me.

Simply asking is the most useful marketing tool I’ve ever discovered. You can have a spectacular resume, the most polished skill set, and the perfect passions for a job or opportunity, but if you don’t ask for it, who’s going to know you want it? Asking, handled the right way, leads to nothing but positive results.

If you’re anything like me, you’re afraid of asking for things – especially things you really want. I think the problem is that we so fear getting turned down that we run away, in order to be able to somehow hold out hope that we’re good enough for it. Asking, and getting rejected, would somehow only prove our failure and our ineptness for what we really want.

The reality, though, is that there are a ton of reasons why an opportunity didn’t come along, most of which have nothing to do with you being a failure: there’s timing, restrictions, personality issues, and a whole litany of other reasons why the opportunity’s not right for you at the moment. Maybe your email just got lost, or maybe the person doesn’t like people with your name – whatever it is, not winning mean doesn’t mean you’re a loser. That can be hard to understand, but not getting down because your batting average isn’t perfect is key to success.

The more opportunities you put yourself out for, the more you’ll get. Do you want something, whether it’s a job, a cookie, or something else? Ask for it. Do it in a respectful, productive way, and you’ll get a response in kind – even if it’s no. Don’t let the no’s bog you down, and remember: the second “Yes!” is always easier than the first.

Thanks to simply asking, I’m now writing for ten or so websites I never dreamed would care what I had to say, working for the man with the career I want, and loving every minute of it. All because I asked for it.

What can you ask for? A better job, more responsibility, more fun, more money, something else? What is there to lose?

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