Self-promotion can come across sounding like a dirty word, especially to people who are shy, humble, and have a hard time with the concept of standing out from their fellow entrepreneurs. But, the reality of the world is that quiet hard work often isn’t enough to get one noticed (and indeed, others may try to take credit for it if you remain too quiet), and first impressions do create vital opportunities.
Successful self-promotion is all about striking the right balance between appearing both confident and down-to-earth; if you’re stuck on how to find this happy medium, here are some examples that may get you out of your rut and back into the entrepreneurial game.
• While hard work may not be enough by itself to guarantee that you get noticed, it’s still the basis on which you should begin. Think of your hard work as the solid foundation underlying your self-promotion, the “product” you wish to market. Nothing sells like a quality product, right?
• Focus on other people’s needs. All good marketing fills an existing need and answers existing questions. Marketing yourself is no different. Developing strong, mutually beneficial bonds with people who have (had) their own business as a way to learn and advance. Everyone, regardless of their position in life, wants to feel useful. The key is adding value to someone’s life while, at the same time, promoting your own value and purpose in a useful way.
• Never stop learning. The best way to promote yourself is to be a fountain of knowledge; people will come to respect you without you having to talk about yourself excessively.
• If you help someone, such as by answering a question, or have some information (e.g. a phone number) that they need, write it down on your business card and hand it to them. Always carry business cards, and hand them out liberally.
• Show an interest in what others do. Nothing generates new clients like asking other people about their own businesses, finding out what they need and are not getting, and discovering how your services are the perfect fit.
• Referring clients or friends to your own clients is a great way to generate goodwill and keep people remembering your name while possibly passing it on to new leads.
• Network, this may seem like obvious advice, but its value really cannot be overstated.
• Be a team player. Let’s face it, everyone wants you on your team when you’re good to work with! Nothing beats the direct approach—if you see a potential project, lead the charge. Even if nothing comes of it, your get-it-done attitude will keep you top-of-mind when other opportunities do present themselves.
Knowing how to promote yourself is essential to getting the recognition you deserve as a woman entrepreneur.