I was never good at cold calling. Whenever one of those poor bastards who is contracted to sell crap that no-one wants (raffle tickets, exorbitant solar panels no-one can afford, free steam cleaned carpets as long as you sign up to something else) calls my house, I am irritated but equally sympathetic. It's a shit job.
Selling yourself is perhaps more attractive than selling raffle tickets (ask Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman) but no more guaranteed to succeed. No one (in Australia anyway) likes to sound like a wanker. Touting your wares to someone with the dollars to pay you, with the power to hire you, is intimidating, irrespective of how confident you feel about what you are selling.
The stakes are high: your livelihood and your self esteem. You can remain as professional as you want but rejection never feels good. It is personal. They don't want you, or what you have to offer or what you have to say. You can separate yourself from this - and that skill comes with age and maturity - but the un-niceness of the feeling is hard to shake off.
With a vast portfolio of work stretching across the best part of a decade, I am still constantly selling myself. It is a hard slog. Sometimes I want someone to just come to me - ask me to write for them and offer big wads of cash. Sometimes? No, all the time. I'd love to just sit poised at my keyboard waiting for the call to say "Please write for us every day and we will send you bars of gold." I'm still hopeful.
The fatigue of continually pitching ideas to editors who often ignore or reject based on reasons you may never know (budgets, agendas) can spiral a negativity that becomes debilitating.
So with that sunflower and chocolate cake description of freelancing, I hope I haven't put any potential writers off. As difficult as it is to constantly "apply for jobs" every time you have a story idea, it keeps you moving forward. There is no stagnation in this world. Be on the pulse or get on the gurney.
The business of selling yourself is challenging but entirely doable.