self promotion

How To Stop Hiding and (Finally) Grow Your Business

By Jessica Ruprecht

Here’s what I know to be true: growing your first business or blog is scary. It asks you to show up in public in ways you’ve probably never dared to before and to make yourself visible before a larger audience than you’re comfortable with.

Growing a business is not for the faint of heart!  But here’s the thing: some of you might desperately want to start a blog or a business, but feel stuck because you’re equally afraid of being seen. For years this was me. I desperately wanted to grow an audience for my blog and launch an online business, but every time I put myself out there I got so scared I eventually gave up. It was too much for me – too uncomfortable, too scary, too difficult.

I felt like I was never going to be brave enough.

The courage that I saw in the women around me successfully launching and growing their online businesses just didn’t seem to be accessible for me. No matter how hard I tried I just wasn’t able to fight my way through my fears and “do it anyway”. The truth is, trying to force myself to act more bravely than I felt never made me feel courageous. It only ever made me feel smaller, more cowardly, and less worthy.

The good news is that it doesn’t have to be this way.

It took me years to figure out that there’s a way of working with your fear that doesn’t involve holding on for dear life and trying to fight your way straight through it. I learned to navigate my fears in way that was gentle and compassionate – and it was learning this that ultimately made it possible for me to stop hiding, show up in the world, and build my business.

You can learn how to navigate your fears, too. Here’s how.

The first step is to learn to recognize when fear is present.

The purpose of this step is simply to help you become more aware of when fear (or the avoidance of fear) is motivating your actions. To do that, it is helpful to learn to recognize what fear feels like in your body – do your palms sweat, does your heart pound, does your belly clench, or do your feet itch to get up and go somewhere?

Fear wears many disguises: it may look like apathy, exhaustion, procrastination, avoidance, restlessness, distraction, or numbing. But no matter what disguise fear might be wearing you’ll always know it if you become familiar with the sensation of it in your body.

The second step is to listen to your fear and honor it.

When we try to force ourselves to take action in spite of our fear we are not honoring fear’s purpose – which is to alert us the presence of danger. Instead, when we try to white-knuckle our way through fear we are ignoring how scared we feel and disregarding our own intuition.

Our fears are not silly or foolish – they are doing their very best to protect us from getting hurt. The trouble is that sometimes our happiness is worth running the risk of getting hurt. Unfortunately, our fears will never understand that we might be willing to risk a few mean comments for a chance to share our message with the world.

The truth about fear is that most of the time it really just wants to be heard. Your fear wants you to be aware that danger is present. Most of the time your fear only wants your attention – it wants to let you know that it perceives danger, so that you can be cautious as you take action.

Step two is about engaging with our fears in an honest dialogue. It’s about acknowledging that our fear serves a useful purpose and is never malicious. Step two is about asking ourselves what about this situation is my fear reacting to? And what does my fear need from me in order to feel safe?

It is important to ask these questions because this is how we allow our fear to protect us – by acknowledging that danger is present and acting to first meet our own needs in order to help ourselves feel safe.

For example, regularly publishing content to my blog is a way that I choose to grow my business; however, if I am afraid of publishing content because I’m worried that I will say the wrong thing and upset people, then publishing content to my blog is going to be a constant battle. I’ll perpetually be resisting actually doing it even as I pressure myself into blogging because I know that I should.

But here’s the thing: my worry about what other people will say isn’t foolish – it’s about protecting myself from getting hurt. What I’m really afraid of is that if I receive criticism for my words that my feelings will get hurt. So then the question is how can I protect myself from getting hurt and still publish my blog post?

This is what I can do: I can choose to not let someone else’s criticism or praise change my own opinion of myself. I can choose celebrate the courage that it took to publish my thoughts no matter what someone else does or doesn’t say in response. And I can choose to take care of myself if my feelings do get hurt – I can soothe my hurt feelings with my own affection.

When I do this, my fear eases because it knows that I have seen the danger and have taken steps to protect myself from being hurt, no matter the outcome of publishing my blog post.

As we learn to listen to our fears and honor their wisdom, we no longer have to fight our way through them in order to achieve our goals – which makes attaining our goals so much easier.

The third step is to have compassion for yourself as you struggle with fear.  I used to see my struggle with fear as cowardice. I’d tell myself, If only I were braver… then I’d be able to achieve my dreams. This approach never helped me move forward; usually, it only made me feel worse.

So this third step is an invitation to embrace your glorious humanity and be gentle with yourself as you navigate this process. You are allowed to find things frightening. You are allowed to feel uncomfortable.

In no way do these feelings detract from your inherent worth. This process doesn’t always work overnight. Sometimes our fears are deeply seated and it takes time to soothe them.

But if you keep showing up to listen to and honor your fears and keep having patience with yourself as you struggle it will become easier to step outside your comfort zone, stop hiding, and take action in your business. Because the truth is that the courage you need is already inside you. You just need to learn how to wield it.

Jessica Ruprecht is a life coach and writer at http://jessicaruprecht.com. She works with women entrepreneurs and creators who have big dreams, but whose fear of sharing their work with the world is holding them back. She helps women trust that their work is good enough so that they can finally stop hiding and start living. Her new ebook, Practical Courage: A Heart-Centered Guide to Achieving Your Dreams, will be released this spring. Sign up here to receive her free newsletter, designed to help you live your life with less fear and more courage – plus, be the first to know when Practical Courage is released!

How To Be a Shameless Promoter Without Inducing Eye Rolls

In an era of Kardashians and Kanyes, selfies and borderline obnoxious status updates, it seems like humility is a lost virtue. (RIP, modesty: it’s been real.)

Makes sense, right? Well, kinda. In these Tinder slash Twitter slash Instagram times, it’s all about showcasing the best of you with the best visual and in as few characters as possible. It’s also easier to have a certain arrogance when posting on social media, because you literally have no filter (not to worry, by “no filter” I mean no reservations).

And even if it means shouting your accomplishments from the rooftops (or in Yeezy’s case, with consecutive ALL CAPS TWEETS), promoting yourself is necessary because if you’re not going to do it, no one else will do it for you.  The trouble is, being boastful and plugging yourself constantly on social media and in person can get annoying AF to your audience -- but being humble might cause you to miss out on opportunities. And that’s no fun.

It’s a case of “don’t hate the playa, hate the game.”  And it is, indeed, a game. So play by the rules, promote yourself with poise and come out a winner with these 5 tips:

 

SHOW, DON'T TELLWhether you’re selling merchandise or your personal brand, hard facts speak volumes. So instead of posting that “You’re the best PR person in the city” on Facebook, opt for sharing photos of recent sold-out events you’ve organized. LinkedIn is the ideal platform for sharing news coverage about you, awards you might have received or listing recent achievements. Save Twitter as a playground for “quick hits,” such as any media coverage about you, recent articles you’ve written, or upcoming conferences you are speaking at, for example.

You can also leverage platforms like Levo to showcase your experience and your portfolio. Levo is an awesome website for creating personal profiles, where you can “tell your story” by adding all the cool projects you’ve worked on and connecting with your network.  

Tip: Focus on the “why?” So when listing your accomplishments, always demonstrate the value added to your potential clients and why you stand out from the competition. For example, if you’re a publicist, post your client’s media coverage and showcase the buzz your client’s product is receiving. 

 

GIVE PROPSShouting out to people on your team, and anyone who helped you “make it happen,” is critical. For starters, the ability to give credit is a huge step toward being a successful manager, leader or entrepreneur.

The magic of paying it forward on social media is also a key component to earning social capital. So if someone in your network tweets about an accomplishment, “heart” it and comment with a “Slay, girl. Slay!” (Feel free to insert relevant emojis.)

Go a step further and tweet about a female entrepreneur you know who’s killing it in her field, just to spread some love.

Giving credit to others on social media can even work with strangers, not only personal connections. They will appreciate the kindness and many people might even return the favor. It’s all about social media karma!

BE A CONNECTOR
Knowing how to connect people to business opportunities or jobs is an amazing skill: it proves that you’re resourceful and have a vast network. If you’re the person in your squad who has this skill, use it! Your reputation as a master connector of people and ideas will spread -- and it’s not something you need to shout from the rooftops either. Your clout will be clear.

AVOID CORPORATE JARGON
One of my personal pet peeves is when people spew corporate buzzwords in presentations and on their resumes, thinking it makes them sound credible. It goes something like this: “I suggest we deep dive into some blue sky thinking that's high level so we can take a holistic approach.” It makes you sound like a robot, and more importantly, it takes away all authenticity. (More on this in a minute.)

While it’s key to sound savvy and relevant in your posts and social media presence, it’s also important to sound genuine. And yes, you might think you sound real smart with your corporate buzzwords, but they induce all kinds of eye rolls in my books.

 

BE AUTHENTICAuthenticity is the most important part of knowing how to promote yourself with class. Not to get all Dr. Seuss on you guys, but no matter how you’re hustling, there’s a key mantra to keep in mind: no one else is YOUer than YOU. Others might have your skills and your experience, but no one else has your brand DNA: you know, all the things that make you, well, you.

Leandra Medine a.k.a. the Man Repeller is a great example of someone who has stayed true to herself. Her best-selling book Seeking Love. Finding Overalls and Man Repeller blog and brand are direct reflections of her personality, so when she promotes herself, she still seems real and slightly self-deprecating. This is part of her shtick and what has helped her gain celeb status.

So when speaking about yourself and promoting your recent wins, always make sure to stay true to your brand and personality. Authenticity is super valued in this era, so use it to your advantage. 

 

THE RECAPThe truth is, you need to be boastful, confident and plug yourself constantly. Because if you don’t tell your story, someone else will. And in a sea of other bloggers / freelancers / creatives / career women / entrepreneurs, etc., standing out is critical to your success.

Now go forth and self-promote!

This post originally appeared on Create + Cultivate. Karin Eldor is a coffee-addicted copywriter, with a long-time love for all things pop culture, fashion and tech. Ever since she got her first issues of YM (remember that one?) and Seventeen in the mail, she was hooked on the world of editorial content. After earning her Communications degree, she spent 6 years honing her craft as a Senior Editor for AskMen.com. More recently, Karin enjoyed gramming and strategizing as Social Media Manager at ALDO. Today, she is Chief Content Writer at 818 Agency and a social media consultant.  

Are you holding back from self-promotion?

By Kate James

Have you ever noticed that some of the most clever, creative women are the ones we don’t see enough of?

In business, they often hold themselves back from self-promotion and they’re too humble to tell you how good they are for fear of overstating it. They’re the same women who are brilliant at what they do but they have a tendency to be super hard on themselves.

If you’re someone who holds herself back, you’re probably also aware that at the heart of the issue is self-judgement. We judge ourselves harshly because we don’t want to appear full of ourselves and we definitely don’t want to come across as too pushy.

Reign in your self-criticism and build your confidence by working through the following six steps.

1. Tune in to your self-talk

This takes a bit of practise so it often helps to start by writing down your thoughts. Over the next few days, try doing this for fifteen minutes when you first wake up or just before you go to bed. Your thoughts are likely to go something like this: “There are so many great designers / coaches / makers out there. How am I ever going to stand out from the crowd?” “Other women are so confident. I wish I could be as articulate as them.” “I wish I was prettier/ taller /thinner /smarter /funnier/ more interesting.”

2. Make peace with your flaws

Don’t feel that you need to force those negative thoughts away – it’s almost impossible anyway – but rather, adopt an open, curious mindset as you observe them.

Start to be interested in the validity of different thoughts. Some of your self-criticisms may be accurate but it helps to remove the judgement. For example, it would be true for me to say to myself, “I’m overly sensitive at times.” I know this is part of who I am. But instead of making this a harsh judgement, said in a tone of criticism, I can choose to say, “I’m a sensitive person” in a kinder way. Then I can start to think about how I want to manage that sensitivity in practical ways.

If we use this technique with any of our flaws, we create an enormous amount of compassion for ourselves. What if it were true that you are not as witty or as confident as others? What if it’s true that you’re ageing and carrying a few extra kilos? All of us are imperfect, but those imperfections won’t stop us from getting out in the world and doing what we love.

3. Balance the negative self-talk by actively engaging in positive self-talk

For many people, this is difficult. Because the negative bias of the brain, you’ll find yourself drawn back to self-critical thoughts time and again. However, with practise, it gets easier to create some balance. Write a list of positive statements about yourself that feel believable (this is really important so that you’re not going to immediately negate them). If you find it difficult, ask a few friends what they believe are your strengths (or take this strengths test if you’re not comfortable to do that). For example: “I’m a great listener.” “I have a good eye for colour.” “I’m intuitive.”

Set a reminder in your calendar to look at your list. This may sound contrived but remember it’s going to take this kind of repetitive practise to balance the way you think. Repeat at least three of the positive statements during your day.

4. Learn to be your own best friend

Most of us rely on external feedback to boost our self-esteem and to feel good about ourselves, but we need to learn to do this for ourselves. Next time you find yourself in negative self-talk, replace criticism with kindness and instead say whatever you’d say to a good friend who was struggling: “You did ok, even if it wasn’t perfect.” “You might not be your ideal weight but you still look great in that dress.” “You may not be the wittiest person in the room but you’re generous and kind.” Or maybe most importantly, “You’re not perfect and that’s ok.”

5. Take baby steps outside your comfort zone

Changing our thinking is one thing but even more important is that you start to push yourself out of your comfort zone. Remind yourself that there are people out there who need what you have to offer. Your job is to let them know you’re here – and how you can help.

Create a simple plan for self-promotion (regardless of those niggling doubts) and make it happen this week. Submit a guest post to one of your favourite blogs, share a win on social media or reach out to other women who share your audience and talk to them about collaborating.

6. Embrace other women

Take the time to learn from the women who are confident with marketing themselves. Seek out common ground and celebrate their successes so you see them as new friends rather than competitors.

Enjoy being in the presence of amazing women and recognise that you’re one of them, rather than feeling that you don’t belong. 

Kate James is an author, coach and mindfulness teacher who helps her clients discover authentic, creative and purposeful lives. Kate draws on 14 years experience with clients in her latest offering, the Life Purpose Programs.

You’ll find Kate’s books, Believe in Yourself & Do What You Love and Be Mindful & Simplify Your Life and info about her services at totalbalance.com.au. Join Kate’s community on Instagram and Facebook or drop her a line on email.

The delicate art of self-promotion for bloggers

By Nina Hendy

So, you want to be a blogger. Or maybe you already are. Presumably, you hope to make a bit of money out of it. But have you considered how you’re actually going to get found for work? After all, there’s some healthy competition in the blogging world, no matter what niche you choose.

As you’re probably aware, being blogger is different to a lot of other industries. You need to consider what your own branding looks like. How much you’re prepared to divulge about yourself in your blogs. You’ll also need to make it clear what you blog about, and why. After all, there’s nothing worse than posts that seem to waffle about everything else than the one thing they actually promote that they’re about.

Here’s some elements to make sure you’re handling your self-promotions with style and grace.

Be confident

If you aren’t inspired by your actions or ideas, others won’t be either. Be confident in what you stand for, and what you’re about. Talk about it with pride. Make your vision as clear and concise as possible. Remember, while your idea mightn’t be new, your expression and approach can be.

Branding

Behind actually being able to string a sentence together, your branding is the next most important element of successful self-promotion as a blogger.

Don’t forget, there’s more bloggers out there than you can poke a stick at. If your branding is memorable and says something about what you do, you’re going to have a far better chance of being remembered by potential clients. This is not a DIY step – it’s always best to hire a specialist such as a graphic designer and web developer able to give you an edgy brand, because it’s got a better chance of being remembered. Same goes for photography – make sure they’re professional and you’ve got a good variety of shots.

Steer clear of those sites that make freelancers bid against each other to get your branding created, because driving down price will affect quality. Accept that you need to pay for quality and seek out a freelancer that get define a branding that feels like a natural fit for you and create it for you.

LinkedIn

Of course, a decent LinkedIn profile an important step, but make sure you take the time to get this right. The mistake many make is not using the summary section of their profile to outline the sort of work they want to land and what their special skills are. This summary should be used to sell what you do well, as opposed to what you’ve done in the past. Some relevant posts can work wonders, too, so consider sharing your blogs on LinkedIn.

SEO

Once you’ve got your website built and you’re off and away with your blogging, how do you actually get your website found? Google may or may not deliver someone searching for a blogger like you to your website on any given day.

Be warned that paying for SEO can be expensive, and that the goalposts change regularly thanks to Google’s ever-changing algorithms.

Blog about blogging

You might also be committed to your own blog schedule, but squeezing in a few extra blogs here and there to share your knowledge and experience is a great way to generate traffic to your site and showcase your specific writing style and area of expertise. Try and share these with relevant titles.

Be an expert

If you’ve been blogging in your niche for a while, you can pretty much call yourself an expert these days. Therefore, look for opportunities to comment on articles and other blog posts on the subject matter you’re proficient in. Or, send out press releases to the media about trends in your area of expertise. Networking is also a great way to position yourself as an expert.

Other spots

If you’re going to monetise your blog, you want to find places to build your online profile.

Nuffnang’s Bloggerati offers a profile page to its top bloggers.

The Freelance Collective also offers talented bloggers the chance to create your own profile page in your own words, a link to your website, social media links – the works.

Profile holders also get a weekly newsletter of tips and freelance advice, access to private Facebook group for support and the chance to find new collaborations.

So remember. Blogging is only one element of your writing career. Self-promotion requires some time and effort so that you’re telling your story succinctly and giving your blog a fighting chance to stand out above the legions of others in the same boat as you.

Nina Hendy is the founder of The Freelance Collective, which gives bloggers and other creative freelancers the chance to create a profile on the site listing all their skills and add samples of their work, allowing clients to reach out and contact them directly with offers of freelance work. Freelancers in 23 categories are listed here, including journalists, bloggers, photographers, videographers and graphic designers. All bloggers are vetted before being made live on the site. It was created after an ongoing frustration of a lack of places to promote their skills to clients at the point at which they’re on the hunt for a freelancer.