Every entrepreneur has dealt with it at some point: the fear of self-promotion. It’s something which can make us blabber uncontrollably or not get out a word at all. It makes us worry about how we look and what others think of us. At times it even makes us feel inadequate and we wonder if we’re set up to be our own boss. And then it’s so strong this fear that we postpone the launch date again and again because we don’t feel ready. Does any of this sound familiar to you?
It’s not a problem only introverts have. Especially when you’re starting out it can feel awkward to put the spotlight on yourself. It will feel weird to rave about something that you created. But as an entrepreneur, you don’t have a choice. Promoting a product or service is something you can’t avoid. No matter how it makes you feel or how scared you are. Let’s take a look at what’s behind your fear and how to make self-promotion less awkward.
Which fears are keeping you from promoting yourself
At first, you have to address the fears which are holding you back. Because the fear of self-promotion is often disguised as something completely different. It’ll take a lot of courage to do so. And you have to be completely honest with yourself. Before you start to work on a solution to overcome this fear let’s find out what it is.
The one reason which is often on top of the list why we’re afraid to promote ourselves is feeling like a fraud. If you catch yourself asking “Who am I to offer something like this” you’re dipping right into the impostor syndrome so many of us are dealing with. This kind of self-doubt makes you underestimate your own achievements. Impostors are blind to their own successes or attribute them to pure luck. When it comes to self-promotion they either try to avoid it and procrastinate or they overly prepare. Which brings us straight to the next point.
The need to have everything figured out and being prepared even for the tiniest eventuality can make you stop in your tracks. Only showing what’s absolutely perfect can be straight down numbing to your business. Think about it. As perfectionists, we would never demand to be perfect from somebody else. Yet, we apply these high and unachievable standards to ourselves. But if you’re always looking for perfect you’ll have a hard time to create something let alone having someone see it.
Growing up we’ve been taught not to brag and not to show off. And now we attach these actions with shame and negativity. Talking about yourself and what you do is seen as selfish. Plus, you’re adding a price tag on top of that which makes it even harder. Feelings of shame can be the reason you’re always playing small and not asking the price you should. They can also keep you from showing up and speaking about your offer.
Further reading: Find out why especially women fear to promote themselves in this article by Kelly Watson @Forbes
What can make self-promotion easier for you
Now what to do about it? How can you overcome your fears and start selling? If you’re dealing with some of the fears mentioned above or a nice mix of them, here are a couple of tricks to change that.
Prepare and practice
When I talk about preparing yourself, I don’t mean dipping into your perfectionist side. Prepare, not over-prepare. Let’s say you’re pitching your service to somebody. Being prepared means you can explain exactly what their benefit will be from working with you. It also means you’re ready to answer their questions.
The one thing we’re all afraid to hear from a potential client is that we’re too expensive. Be prepared that the client wants to negotiate by knowing how you will react and what you will say upfront. This is way better than if he catches you off-guard and you don’t know what to say.
To make this whole thing easier and less awkward, practice your pitch up front. Ask a friend to play your client and give you some feedback afterward. Another way to practice is by starting small. Instead of promoting in person, which is always the hardest, start by pitching through emails. You can always delete a promotional post on social media if you don’t like it or you feel weird about it.
Know who you’re selling to
Knowing your ideal client can make selling easier for you. Whenever you’re writing sales copy it helps to address somebody specific. Learn as much as you can about the group of people you want to sell to. What they like, what they need, and what their values are in life. The more you get to know them the more you’re writing will speak to them. But not only your writing will improve but also your confidence. When you know exactly what they need you can offer a more tailored solution.
Dismiss the word “promotion”
Words like “selling” and “promotion” always make us cringe. They sound sleazy and like you’re about to rip somebody off. But the nature of your offer is something completely different. You have a skill which can make people’s life easier or you can save them time and money. What you do isn’t sleazy at all because you’re helping others.
Dismiss the word “promotion” and think about how people can profit from your offer. How it can change their lives. Those who really need your product or service, those who will benefit from it, they’ll happily give you money. So you’re not ripping somebody off, you’re providing value and you do the hard work. Don’t be scared to ask for money in return.
Work on your mindset
All these excuses you’re making to yourself for why you can’t go out there and sell your stuff are actually mindset blocks. If you’re scared to ask for money in return for a service or you’re hesitating to launch your product because you think it’s not ready or not good enough. That’s your mind playing tricks on you.
In order to sell with more confidence you have to unveil these blocks. See them for what they are: You, standing in the way of yourself. Because if you could look at it from an outside perspective, I bet you would say “I think you should ask for more money” or “This product is great. It’s ready. Put it out there!”.
Related post: The benefits of journaling
It’s a shame to not promote what you’ve worked on so hard!
What about you? Do you shy away from self-promotion? What is holding you back? Leave a comment below.