This article is for you if:
• You find it hard to approach people and talk about your work
• It's difficult for you to represent the value of what you do
• You cringe when you have to go for the "ask," or offer a service or product to people
• You freeze when people ask you what you do, or you have to introduce yourself and your work to new communities
• You avoid opportunities to share your work or business
• You shrink from connecting with partners to promote your work
• You're uncomfortable asking for support in getting your business out into the world
Marketing, at its root, is about connecting with people to communicate your value or the value of what you're offering.
Chances are that even if you're not the owner of your own business you still have to put yourself and what you do out into the world to boost your performance.
Here's the funny thing about being in business for yourself-- if you're not comfortable with visibility it can be really hard to put yourself and your business out there in a way that attracts new clients.
Marketing can be painfully uncomfortable-- and here's the piece that you're never going to learn from Harvard's MBA program (or any well- known business program)-- how you show up in the world as an adult has deep roots in what it meant for you to be visible when you were a kid.
So it's helpful to look at how it feels for you to be visible-- are you comfortable? Scared? Sick with anxiety? Excited? Focused?
Bottom line: if you have deep-seated fears or old beliefs that it's not safe or comfortable to be visible, it's going to be very hard to show up comfortably reppin' your business.
The inner pieces of why you do what you do in your business are as important (if not even more so) than the external pieces, which is definitely exemplified in looking at how difficult marketing can be if you have old fears or beliefs that hold you back from shining your true self.
Once you have your visibility piece sorted out (and this is an inner piece that is especially valuable to get professional support with- it's such a business investment to rid yourself of fears that hold you back from being loud and out there with what you do!), THEN we can move on to marketing without the "yuck" factor.
Here are a few valuable tips for you to take away on marketing without feeling like a door-to-door-encyclopedia salesman.
1. Stay connected to the "why" of what you do.
This is an important one- the more connected you are to the reason you do what you do, the better you'll be at conveying that excitement and passion to the person in front of you. People respond when you get excited- that energy ripples outwards and people want some of what you got.
So if you have a vision and mission statement, make sure it's up to date and joyful to you. Read it-- a lot. Re-visit it periodically and make sure that you're doing what you love, what you're good at, what you care about-- and if you're not, make tweaks to keep your work fresh and exciting and aligned. Because if you're not excited about it, it's going to be hard to get other people excited about it.
2. Stay connected to the benefits of your work
I once had a marketing coach assign me a list of 30 benefits women get from working with me. It felt really difficult, but you can bet for damn sure that at the end of that list I was SUPER clear about the value of working with me. And so is everyone I talk to-- because I keep that knowledge front and center when I talk to people about what I do.
One way to stay connected to the benefits of what you do include writing your own 20-30 item list of what people get from your work. A second tool is to ask for and save client testimonials or stories of client successes from your work with them.
Once you have these two things, spend a week or two reading through them every day until you really feel you've absorbed them and can cite them quickly and easily. Re-read though some before you have to show up in any business or networking situation to bring them to the surface again and tap into their value (and yours!).
3. Check yo' energy.
If you don't believe in yourself, ain't no one else going to-- I learned this one the hard way so spare yourself the trouble. The more I shine my confidence the more people feel the value of my work, and the more they're attracted to working with me.
Conversely, when I get stuck in a rut of fear, scarcity mentality, or self-doubt (yup, happens to all of us from time to time, Oprah -- can you sound in on this, please?), people turn around and walk the other way.
So energy management is another tool I teach that you're not going to learn in your average business program-- and it is one of the MAIN tools of a successful, joyful business. Really.
Now, go get visible and shine yourself and your awesome work out into the world!