It's beyond your control that they didn't hire anyone, but then again, it's beyond your control that they didn't hire you no matter what. All that is in your control is that you:
1. VERY CAREFULLY select where you want to "spend" your connects...they ARE limited...and there's a reason. If there were fewer limits or no limits freelancers would be clogging clients with proposals that may not even loosely be a match. You and I both know this is what would happen.
2. Take the time to write a very good proposal and be specific to the job. Don't copy-and-paste some spammy intro. (Not that you're doing that...but many do...trust...I mean I've heard this from clients as a general complaint, to be sure.)
3. Don't fall for "too good to be true" jobs. Maybe once in a while, take a quick shot at a "wow, this rate seems REALLY unlikely for this job" sort of gig if you have some reason or other to give the benefit of a doubt. But in my experience, anyway (remember, this is just me), too good to be true very often is.
4. At the same time, don't go begging for the lowest-paying, most sketchy jobs "just" to get the job. IME, those clients are the ones *least* likely to treat their freelancers well, oddly enough. (Just overall. There must be exceptions, but I haven't come across them yet as a general rule.) They also seem to be the more flighty, job-suddenly-disappears clients. Again, my experience only. I don't speak for every person here or for every freelancer/client relationship.
On the good-news front: after you start buildilng a reputation, you should start getting approached for legitimate jobs. (I don't speak here for so-termed scams; actually, I've been approached with these very rarely and I have a theory about that, but that's perhaps off-topic.) This means you won't have to be spending connects for every possible job from now until the end of time. If you build a reputation and do good work you should start getting approaches fairly quickly. That "saves" you connects. I don't anticipate having to spend any connects at all this month, for example.
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