It takes confidence to pitch.
We’re not just talking about softballs— we’re talking about pitching ideas. Whether it’s for an article, a TV segment or even a dinner plan, ideas are our brainchildren. Like real children, it’s scary to send them into the world.
What if they get picked on, rejected, or worse: flat-out ignored?
As a freelance journalist and TV host, Emily Foley has pitched a lot of brainchildren, and in the process, she has faced a lot of rejection.
Yet, she perseveres: with over a decade in the industry, Emily has been featured in magazines like Allure, Glamour, and US Weekly, and has shared the latest beauty, fashion and lifestyle trends on TV shows across the country. In the midst of all that, she is a mom of two and wife of one.
So, what does it mean to be a working mom and a freelance journalist, and how do you find the motivation to succeed amidst pitch rejection?
We were lucky enough to speak with Emily to find out.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
GNL: As a freelance journalist, what does your day-to-day look like?
Emily: The beauty of being your own boss, and being freelance, is that you can work the way your brain works…which sometimes is a little scattered!
Back then [before becoming a mom], my goal for every week was to be doing some part of each stage of being a freelance journalist — so pitching, getting assignments, actually writing something, invoicing for something completed and getting paid.
This is a hard goal… you can’t control when people actually pay you, and you can’t necessarily control when assignments come in. My perfect week was the week when all of those things were happening.
GNL: What is the most difficult part of being a freelance journalist?
Emily: As a freelancer you need to be pitching a lot, but the more you pitch the more you’re going to get rejected. You just have to make sure that your self worth and your motivation is not wrapped up in that rejection.
There are certainly times when you have ideas that you just love, and then you never hear back. That’s hard— it’s never going to stop being hard.
It doesn’t mean that your ideas aren’t good or that you’re not a good writer. Realize that as much as you have going on in your world, other people do too.
GNL: How has your work life changed since becoming a mom?
Emily: When my daughter was a baby, I was doing lots of entertainment writing. I’d have a-list celebrities on the phone, and then my baby would start crying, and it was really embarrassing.
Once, I was on the phone with [a former J-Crew fashion designer], who is a very busy woman and does not have time to spare, and my baby started crying. I was apologizing all over myself, and she said:
“Why are you apologizing? Babies cry. It’s not a big deal. Do what you need to do… I’ll be here.”
I had to learn that being a mother does not make you any less of a professional, it does not make you any less suited for a job, and it does not make you any less intelligent— in fact, it makes you better at everything, because you are literally raising a human.
GNL: Do you have any more tips for those of us working from home with kids?
Emily: It’s easy for working moms to think that their stuff has to come last. This was me at the beginning of my working mom career; I was so frazzled, because everything was about the kids.
They would go to bed, and I would have to finish working then. I wasn’t doing my best work because I was tired, then I wasn’t getting enough sleep, and nobody was getting the best me, and it was a really vicious cycle.
It’s a lot of forgiving yourself, giving yourself grace, and teaching that to your family as well. We always say that we are a team, and we all have to help each other. We just have to get through today.