Lessons from the Road of Life: As a Life Coach, a few things I’ve learned about selling and marketing myself

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Photo: Verne Ho

 

Do you ever feel like you’re hiding something about yourself?

I do. Sometimes a bit more, sometimes a bit less.

And maybe it’s less hiding than not really revealing the fullness of myself.

And it’s not everywhere in life that I feel this way. For me, it mostly shows up when I attempt to market my services as a life coach.

You see, as a small business owner I have the pleasure and obligation of making myself, my services and my business known. And let me tell you…this one piece of my business has brought up more self-doubt and insecurity than any other part of it. Seriously!

For example, here are a smattering of thoughts/feelings/fears I’ve had with regard to marketing myself over the years:

  • If I’m good at what I do, I shouldn’t even HAVE to market myself. People should just hear about the AMAZING coaching I provide and come knocking on my door. And since that’s not happening, I must not be as good as I thought.
  • Whatever I post on social media is being scrutinized by The Committee of People Cooler/Smarter/More Knowledgeable Than I. My posts aren’t good enough. I’m not smart or talented or good enough. I should just give up.
  • Or, the fear of posting on social media goes 180 degrees the other way: “I’m better than that. I don’t want to be like those people who shamelessly market and sell themselves all over the place. Oh no sister – not me!”
  • If I’m talking about myself, especially if I’m selling myself, people will think I’m a totally shameless, self-centered and shallow person.
  • I’m too old to even have these fears and doubts. Ugh. I mean, shouldn’t I be over this kind of stuff by now? I’m an adult after all!

(you can see why marketing can be so difficult…at least for me 🙂 )

So, if you can relate to any of these fears, what to do?

I’m by no means an expert, but there are some things I’ve learned over the years that have made the whole process a bit easier for me. They aren’t magic fixes; sometimes you just gotta face your fears and jump into the flames. But these ideas have helped me, and I hope that perhaps they’ll be helpful for you, too.

5 WAYS TO MOVE THROUGH THE FEAR OF SELLING, MARKETING AND/OR JUST PUTTING YOURSELF OUT THERE

Know your Why. This is by far the biggest idea of them all. For me, when I know why I’m doing what I’m doing – I mean, really why, as in, ‘why-did-I-come-here-to-this-planet?’  and ‘What’s my life all about?’ kind of why – putting myself and my services out there in the world is much, much easier. In knowing my why, I have a foundation to stand on, as in, “This is who I am. This is what I believe in. This is what I’m about. This is why I do what I do.”

Service.  Right next to Knowing your Why, being of service is monumental when it comes to sales and marketing. Ask yourself, “How can I serve this person right now, even if I never see them again?” By coming from a place of service rather than sales, you put yourself in a position of helping rather than wanting to “seal the deal.” This is big. People can feel it.

Just One Person. Think of one specific person in your life. What does he or she struggle with, and how do you know YOU could help them?  Ask yourself these questions:

 

  • Who is the one person I know who has this problem? Or, who is the one person I really want to serve?
  • What problems do they have?
  • How do they think, act, feel?
  • Why am I the one to help them?

Answering these will give you a clearer sense of who and how you can serve.

 

Collect “No’s”.   Just like anything we fear, the more we shy away from it, the bigger the fear will grow. So, if we’re afraid of marketing ourselves or putting ourselves out there, do the opposite! Ask someone for the business, fully expecting a no. Invite someone(s) to try out your service. Make an outrageous offer and expect a no. Even better: make it a game for yourself. Try to collect a certain number of no’s each week. The more you get, the better!

DONE is better than perfect.  As Seth Godin would say, “Learn to ship.” It’s better to ship (i.e., put your thing out there) than keeping your thing to yourself and constantly trying to perfect it. If you have a creative project or product, put it out before you’re ready. Just ship it, put it out there, and let the world decide.

These five ideas probably won’t erase your fears, but perhaps they’ll help as you start putting yourself out there.

Marketing ourselves and our very own personal projects and products is vulnerable work, but with practice and taking small one action at a time, it gets easier. Promise.

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