Now that you have decided to become a freelancer or are wanting to grow your freelance business, you have to self-promote.
I know, it doesn’t sound like fun!
A little background:
When I was at my corporate job one of my tasks was attending networking events. I have to attend different business networking events to build the company brand and build the business, I was salary and commission, so the more I sold the more money I made! That was an incentive for me to network more.
This was something that in the beginning was a little hard for me. Everyone that knows me thinks I am an outgoing person and LOVE to talk to people . . . well, inside I was terrified!
I would go to events where I already knew people and they would introduce me, then it made it a bit easier. Over time this networking thing became easier for me because I was promoting a corporate company. I wasn’t selling myself, I was selling the business, so I thought. . .
A few years of doing networking events and working as an Account Executive for a women’s online magazine, I decided to take off on my own. I had met a lot of people and grown a large support group, so when I decided to start my own business I already had 6 clients!
Now the fun part
I thought, WOW, this is easy, I am already getting clients!
Boy, was I wrong! It is a lot different promoting yourself instead of a corporate, established company. Over the 3 years, I was an Account Executive and networking I didn’t realize I was actually building my own personal brand. People were doing business with the magazine because the knew and trusted me!
This is what made my self-promotion task a little bit easier for my own business. The support group that I have been unknowingly growing for the past three years wanted to see me succeed, they were doing business with me, referring people to me and by word of mouth my business was booming!
This obviously gave me a heck of a lot of confidence to get out there more, BUT and a big BUT I was ONLY going to events where I knew people. I have found that I am a BIG comfort zone person. I find my tribe and I stick with them. This is a good quality to have, and at the same time, I was limiting myself from reaching new people, expanding my business into other cities, and making more connections.
I would find new networking events on MeetUp, drive to that event and then create an excuse in my head why I couldn’t go in:
I didn’t feel well
I should be at home
Oh, I forgot to email someone
I will come next time
What if they don’t like me
What do I say to start a conversation
Why am I here
Whatever that excuse was kept me out of a lot of events and away from potential clients. It took me a couple years to get over that fear.
I finally started finding groups that I “fit” into. Groups that were focused on growing your business, had a structure, not just open networking. It was the open networking piece that terrified me.
Finding Your Mojo
Usually, within a few months of attending these events, I ended up helping out with them or even running a few events. That was my AH HA moment, when I am in the driver’s seat of the event, I am running it, I am the leader, that allows me to have the confidence to speak with everyone that walks through the door. They want to know me, they look at me as an expert and leader.
I already knew I was a very good public speaker so that part wasn’t the problem. I know that doesn’t make sense, right? I can’t go to an event with open networking, but throw me on a stage and I can talk about anything!
Fast forward 10 years I have successfully lead over 6 different networking groups for different organizations and ran them for a long time. When I moved to Florida it took me a year to figure out how to start a group of my own. I was in a new place with people I had never met before, I thought I could just sit behind my computer and still get clients as if I still lived in Colorado. I knew that I had to start a group of my own because that’s where I thrive. I love building relationships with people, learning their stories, connecting others and still being in the driver’s seat. Yes, I am a control freak!
You have to find out what your superpower is for self-promotion. We are all going to be nervous when it comes to promoting ourselves, whether that be in person or online. Networking events to sharing blog posts, videos, and even social media postings. We have to get rid of that negative self-talk and just push through that fear.
Here are 4 tips that I have found to help me get over the fear of self-promotion
1. Be clear on your tribe
When you set off on your own it is important to know who you want to work with, who is your ideal client or target market. Know the type of services you are offering and who they would be best for. Knowing your target market will help you not only find your clients or customers easier, it will also help you find the type of networking events to attend, the type of Facebook or LinkedIn groups to be involved in. The goal with being very clear in your target marketing is anytime you need to promote yourself either online or offline you know “who” you are talking to.
2. Know what you’re fearful of
Self-promotion can be a little intimidating for sure! Taking a moment to sit with yourself and identify what scares you will help you move forward. For me it was more of what others would think of me, did I dress ok, will people want to do business with me, more of that self-confidence is what I had to get over. For others, it could be how do you handle more than one clients, or client onboarding, they want to work with you now what? Fear of rejection or failure.
One thing I have learned and honestly am still working on, is when it comes to business, nothing is personal. This is a motto I heard on a podcast, nothing is personal. If someone rejects you, that doesn’t mean they don’t like you as a person, it could be they can’t afford your work, or they are not in need of your services right now. When we work for ourselves we tend to take everything personally and that stunts us from wanting to promote ourselves further.
If you cannot face the fear, fear will win and you will end up throwing the towel in, we don’t want to do that. Each failure or rejection is an opportunity for us to grow. Maybe you were unclear in your 30-second commercial, or too pushy in your video, maybe there wasn’t enough value. Whatever it may be, work through it. Sometimes it helps if we ask that person that said no, why? You would be surprised in the answer, always be willing to look inside and make a change to better yourself.
So, what are you fearful of when it comes to self-promotion?
3. Work on your commercial, don’t sell.
People like to call this your elevator pitch, I am NOT a huge fan of that term, I also don’t think it should be called a pitch, you should be focusing on building relationships that turn into clients, not just selling someone. I hate being sold! When you think of your commercial this can be for both online and offline. This is about educating your tribe on who you are and what you do, but more importantly, how can you help them?
If you are attending in-person networking events know if your commercial is 30 seconds, 45 seconds, or 1 minute, that will help you determine what you can fit into your commercial. I always like to ask questions on social media and then turn that into a commercial, you want to give value as much as you can.
One thing that worked for me s I would type out my commercial and then print it and practice it in front of my husband or friend to make sure I was sticking to the correct time and also that they understood what I was saying! Remember you are an expert in what you do, so show it!
As you become more confident in your commercial you always want to come from the place of value or education and not selling them. Have you ever walked into a networking group or received a message on social media with someone trying to sell you something, and they are so pushy about it?
People want to do business with people they know, like, and trust. Be authentic in your commercial, show them who you are!
4. Trust and believe in yourself
This one seems so easy, but can be the hardest one. This could be one of your fears from tip #2. It is important that you trust yourself. If you believe in the service or product you are selling then you believe in yourself. Coming from your heart and knowing that you can help others will help you gain that trust.
Being a freelancer is such an exciting journey, you grow so much as a person and that allows you to grow as a business.
Knowing your core values and your roots allow that belief in yourself to be stronger. Core values play a big role in your business, more than you think. It is important to be yourself and have fun, you want to work with people like you, and have things in common, similar core values, people you can trust.
Trusting yourself is more than putting yourself out there, it is about providing people with help, answers, a solution. Think of your “why”. Why are you doing this business? Trust yourself, trust your intuition, and move forward, go on, build your business!
Are you ready to start self-promoting?
If you want your business to grow and be a success you have to work through your fear and put yourself out there. Network, create videos, use social media, brand yourself.
If you want to learn how to create core values for your business sign up for our free workbook below: