How to Market Yourself is a Daunting Issue for Most People
Most comments I read or hear from people who are afraid of marketing themselves go something like this:
- I’m afraid I’ll put someone off
- I don’t know what to say after making that initial contact
- I don’t want to seem like a salesperson
- I don’t want to be pushy or offensive
- I’m afraid I won’t come across as genuine
- I don’t know how to talk about myself/talents/business
- I feel really uncomfortable promoting myself/my business
After reading this, it’s my hope that you will be more comfortable and confident knowing how to market yourself.
Debunking Some Marketing Myths
Marketing doesn’t have to be synonymous with being an obnoxious salesperson. At its core, marketing is nothing more than a conversation with others. We all know something about communicating — we do it every day. Repeat after me: Marketing yourself is simply a form of communication.
Not only that, but marketing is a helpful conversation. Why are you marketing in the first place? It’s because you have something to offer, right? And if this is the case, does your offer help people or solve their problems?
If not, maybe you need to go back to the drawing board and make sure your service or product is adding genuine value to your potential client/customer, or at least solving a real problem they need help with.
A potential employer is sitting across from you asking about your strengths and why you want to work there because you could be a great asset to them. An interview involves marketing yourself — it’s simply a conversation stating how you can be most helpful to them in running their business.
Marketing your services and products as a freelancer or blogger is no different. You are having a conversation (in person, online, via social media) about how you can best serve other people, and what you have to offer that can accomplish that.
If you can reframe the task of marketing yourself and your business into offering others amazing ways to solve problems and help them, this will erase that obnoxious salesperson image you may have.
Related: Best Business Mindsets for New Bloggers and Entrepreneurs
Throw Off Impostor Syndrome and Market Yourself With Confidence
Don’t let feelings interfere with your confidence
Most marketing woes stem from a sense of unworthiness — feeling like we don’t accurately represent what we’re “selling” about ourselves. I’ve definitely faced feelings of being an impostor at times. It’s a battle you’ll likely face more than once as you build a business or service from scratch.
Part of the startup process for a new business owner, entrepreneur, blogger, freelancer etc. is learning your craft. You’re not an expert right away, but with dedicated training, courses, research, and practice, you’re definitely on track to becoming an authority in your niche. Take time to notice and celebrate when you’ve developed enough expertise to add real value to people’s lives.
You will always know more than someone else
There will always be people who know less than you do, or lack your certain skills, and are very grateful for what you’re offering them. People are generally very thankful for help. I definitely appreciate people who can navigate computers better than I can!
At times, you may have to force your mind to stop doubting your skills and step out in confidence by embracing the “fake it till you make it” mentality. Push against the feelings of impostor syndrome when trying to market yourself. Present yourself or your business confidently to others regardless of how you feel inside.
Use strong terms such as experienced, knowledgeable, authority, accurate, dependable, superior communicator, helpful, prompt, guarantee, let me help you, etc. These are all words that describe a person who is dedicated to quality and doing their best possible work. Don’t be afraid to promote yourself with these kinds of terms.
How I Worked Through Feeling Like a Fraud
Last year I was relatively new to personal finance blogging, but I decided to attend a very large finance convention in Dallas. My first official business trip as a blogger in the finance space. To say I was intimidated is putting it mildly.
In fact, another awesome finance blogger was also new to that conference, and we joked ahead of time about hiding behind any faux foliage we might find there. If overwhelm and feelings of not belonging threatened to be our undoing, we could simply hide in the bushes.
I was really worried about representing my little old blog among these financial blogging giants. I definitely fought feelings of being an impostor. One day of fantastic workshops, taught by extremely gracious and knowledgeable finance experts and bloggers, was all it took to change my mindset.
Honing my skills changed my mindset
I was there to learn — and that is what made me qualified. Any time you are crafting your skills, you are gaining experience and authority. Own that, and add it to the feathers in your cap.
Everyone I met, of the almost 1500 attendees, was amazingly generous and helpful. Guess what? They were all new at some point as well. The ones who are bringing in a few million bucks a year or $10k a month — several of them started less than 3 years ago.
Going on that business trip was the best thing I could have done. It served as a great affirmation in my mind that I am officially self-employed. I deserve each success, and I’m good at what I do. My badge proudly hangs on the lamp in my office to remind me that I can confidently market my skills as a genuine business.
Practical Tips for Marketing Yourself
Write and practice an elevator pitch
An elevator pitch is a short mission statement that describes in exact words what your business or service is about, who you serve, and how. We are in business to serve and provide value to others. Create a precise description about how you’ll do that. Here’s a great article about writing a powerful elevator pitch.
Marketing practice makes perfect
- Write down a list of your skills, expertise, training, strengths, talents, what you have to offer, areas where you’re most knowledgeable
- Get comfortable reading, writing, and saying these things out loud — your mindset is often your biggest obstacle
- Create an updated resume including these qualities — even if no one will see it, at least you’ll have one and it’s a great affirmation
- Take time to really think and meditate on the fact that your time and work are valuable; the time you put into building the services YOU offer matters
- Now take one baby step into marketing yourself by telling a few people you know — maybe friends or family — about your business (practice your elevator pitch)
- Reach out and make at least 3 LinkedIn connections today if that’s applicable to your business — don’t forget to focus on being helpful
- Learn how to market yourself on social media by contacting a few Pinterest group board owners and request to join by highlighting your blog/business strengths and your ability to serve their audience — or reach out for some Instagram or Twitter follows
- Network with other bloggers or businesses in your niche and practice telling them “who you are” — fight those impostor feelings and remind yourself you’re just as qualified as they are to run a business and be a success
- Practice marketing (having conversations) with possible clients — maybe they’re not your exact target client/audience, but this helps you get more comfortable talking about yourself/your business
- The best tip I can recommend is to join a business group of some kind in your local area — regular gatherings and networking with others in your field is priceless as far as practicing your business conversation (marketing) skills and building confidence
A support network is everything
If you’ve never heard of Meetup groups, you’re in for a real treat. These are groups (all major cities should have them) of people who gather to have fun, network, and participate in activities with others that have similar interests, businesses, etc.
These groups often meet regularly (attendance is always optional), and they provide great support, networking, and camaraderie…and tons of fun! After my divorce several years ago, I joined two dancing Meetup groups and had the time of my life. I also met my Swiss husband on the dance floor a year later…but I digress.
Here’s a screenshot of a small handful of business/entrepreneur groups that came up in the search for my area. Check out the Meetup website here and type in your city/area to see what’s available. You just may meet some lifelong friends and business colleagues (or your future spouse)!
Marketing yourself doesn’t have to be a dreaded task on your business calendar. Acknowledge what you already know, and the skills you have to offer, and practice writing them and talking about them.
Remember that marketing is helpful communication. You’re providing tangible answers to people’s problems and needs. That’s a good feeling.
What holds you back the most from marketing your business or services?
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