Thoughts on Self-Promotion

This post is sort of a preface to the one scheduled for tomorrow. Tomorrow I’ll be talking about finding clients as an entrepreneur. I’ve learned a lot about the subject over the last few years but especially so within the past couple months. But I took a break while writing that post to think through a few things. I can’t guarantee everything I’m saying will make sense, but here I go:

Self-promotion is weird.
It’s weird for me, specifically, because I’m an introvert.
I’d rather listen than talk.
I’d rather ask for your business card than give you mine.
I’d rather collaborate for fun first and then work together professionally.
Daily interactions can sometimes exhaust me.
But if I don’t put myself (and my work) out there, we might not make money.
If we don’t make money, I’ll need to get an office job.
If I get an office job, then I’ll be a failure.

That’s my stream of consciousness. Pretty, huh?

It can be difficult and rewarding all at once. To be honest, September will be our most successful month as The Wonder Jam (financially but also feeling really fulfilled by our work). But great months as a business owner can lead to scary thoughts like, “What if next month or the next quarter is a complete bust?!” Sometimes it feels like I’m pedaling and riding my bike uphill all.the.time.

I loved the quote above by Frank Ocean. “Work hard in silence. Let success be your noise.” But how does someone like me balance a life of silence and a life of self-promotion? Hopefully I’ll have a bit more clarity tomorrow on that subject…

[Photos above taken on my iPhone: hand bling (reindeer ring, new mani and a Tattly tattoo), delicious cajun food, photoshoots ALL weekend, the best autumn weather at the park]

 

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22 Comments
  • lesley graham
    Posted at 10:13h, 16 September Reply

    your stream of consciousness sounds a lot like mine! it is SO hard for me to put myself out there. looking forward to reading your tips!

    • Allison
      Posted at 21:52h, 16 September Reply

      Thanks Lesley! Nice to hear I’m not alone :)

  • Kimberly Morris
    Posted at 10:33h, 16 September Reply

    Dear Allie,

    Your current stream of consciousness is looking very similar to what mine is at the moment. I’ve just set up my freelance business, with a brand new website and a brand new set of fears. It will be interesting to read what your thoughts are about drumming up business and how to approach prospective clients.

    I’ve also found that it’s all I can think about now. The all consuming, mind-bender that is being an entrepreneur.

    Looking forward to tomorrow’s post.

    Kim

    • Allison
      Posted at 21:53h, 16 September Reply

      Congrats on the new site! LOVE it. It can be very all consuming but hopefully we can work through it all together…

  • Lisa
    Posted at 12:34h, 16 September Reply

    Do we share the same stream of consciousness? Maybe. Almost. I’m not opposed to getting an office (web development) job, because I know I can learn a lot faster if I’m working with senior developers. But we do share a lot of of the same internal dialog.

    I’m glad to hear business is going well! But, I feel like I should say that if a business or project fails, it does not make you a failure. You made a solid go at it, and something didn’t work. It doesn’t reflect your significance as a valuable human being.

    • Allison
      Posted at 21:54h, 16 September Reply

      Mind twins? :)

      And thank you for your kind words, Lisa! It really means a lot.

  • Lauren
    Posted at 15:20h, 16 September Reply

    Hi! I just wanted to be the fourth to say – I loved reading this post, and your stream of consciousness is most definitely not alone! It’s a got a twin in mine, right over here! Keep doing what you’re doing girl, it’s working!

    • Allison
      Posted at 21:55h, 16 September Reply

      Thanks Lauren! I love seeing that I’m not by myself when thinking through all of this.

  • Sarah
    Posted at 15:31h, 16 September Reply

    Such a great quote! I too can identify with this stream of consciousness, although, I do work an office job, so at least that’s not something I have to fear! Looking forward to tomorrow’s post.

    • Allison
      Posted at 21:55h, 16 September Reply

      Isn’t it a great quote? Easier said than done for sure.

  • Lisa V
    Posted at 15:46h, 16 September Reply

    ummm, I think you’ve been reading my mind! :)

    • Allison
      Posted at 21:55h, 16 September Reply

      It’s true…I HAVE! jk :)

  • Jess
    Posted at 16:37h, 16 September Reply

    So excited to see what you have to say about this! As an introvert with “real” job, trying to build a baby freelance business, this self promotion is the hardest thing. Trying to find the balance between over-sharing links but still promoting yourself…and promoting yourself in a way that actually gets you more than just views and actually gets people engaged. So much for me to think about!

    • Allison
      Posted at 21:56h, 16 September Reply

      It really can be so difficult! Especially when you want to be authentic!

  • Jem
    Posted at 19:16h, 16 September Reply

    You mind-reading blogger, you! I’m in the thick of this right now. My boss is really big on us self-promoting ourselves to her. My extroverted colleagues excel at this but when I do it, it sounds like, “Hey that thing you are paying me to do, I’m doing it. Cuz it’s my job and that’s what I’m supposed to be doing. Can I stop talking and go back to work now? Please??” I started just keeping a log of customer interactions for her now. It’s harder to come across as a beotch in a list.

    • Allison
      Posted at 21:57h, 16 September Reply

      I totally get that Jem! That’s how I feel often too because I love designing and sitting in front of a computer but I have to get out there and be “bubbly” haha. It’s tough :(

  • Christy
    Posted at 01:47h, 18 September Reply

    Oh my goodness. This was a point of discussion just this morning: how to pitch my services without being full of myself…because I totally don’t want to be be ‘that girl’. But seriously, I gotta pay the electric bill. Life is full of conundrums.

    • Allison
      Posted at 12:51h, 18 September Reply

      It’s true! It’s a hard thing to balance. Someday we’ll figure it out, right?

  • Jess
    Posted at 11:20h, 18 September Reply

    Per your post from today, it’s clear you will always have to be looking for new clients, putting yourself out there, but I wonder if there comes a point when your word-of-mouth promotion from past clients brings in enough work that you don’t have to feel like you’re always self-promoting. That will be such a great day and I hope I can help make that happen for you, if even in my own limited sphere of influence :)

    • Allison
      Posted at 12:52h, 18 September Reply

      Aw thank you Jess! Yes I agree – I am actually really blessed at how much I don’t need to pursue or cold call potential clients. I’m hoping to increase referrals/social and decrease relational. Pursuing clients is always a good thing but it can be a hard sell if they haven’t even considered investing the money into their brand.

  • Shayla
    Posted at 12:23h, 20 September Reply

    Hi Allie,
    I am also an introvert and have a really hard time with self promotion, I am terrible at social media because of it; which could be why I have less than 100 twitter followers, LOL!

    I do want to say though as someone who has been freelancing for almost 10 years please don’t EVER think of yourself as a failure, especially not if you ever go back working in an office. You never know you might one day decide you don’t want to work for yourself and find the perfect creative office job with a benefits and consistent pay that will be like a dream to you. To be honest after years of doing this I constantly dream about having a Mon-Fri 9-5 job but I’m working on building my stationery business right now and working full time wouldn’t allow enough time for that. But if that doesn’t work out I will probably go back to an office job and I will feel like a success for all that I’ve accomplished in the past 10 years and look forward to what I can achieve in my new job.

    Anyway, that’s just my two cents. :)
    ps: I LOVE that quote!

    • Allison
      Posted at 01:12h, 25 September Reply

      Aw thank you Shayla! Your words mean a lot to me. And you’re right – we have successes no matter what season in life we find ourselves. Thanks for the comment :)

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