Welcome to the Gathering Spriggs "Make it or Breatk it" weekly dialogue report. This is an ongoing column I am creating (as I go) to help us connect with other creatives and share our insights and information on crafting a successful creative life.
Many of you responded last week to the call for action and involvement in such a series, so I am taking my role as a facilitator quite seriously. Besides, it might lead to other ventures (that I have up my sleeve).
So today I bring to the table the topic of Self-Promotion. I don't know about you, but the first thing that pops into my mind is the phrase : " Shameless Self-Promotion". Now, I am not a big fan of the word "shame" in any form, so in order to take this concept and transform it with a more positive connotation, I am renaming it : " Self-Respecting Self-Promotion"
So now that that's cleared up, what do you consider "Promotion" exactly? Here is the Oxford American Dictionary Definition:
Promotion: Activity that supports or provides active encouragement for the furtherance of a cause.
"Active encouragment" is a pretty hefty phrase. So how do we actively encourage our own work? I will share a few of my personal beliefs on creating a promotional presence.
1. Take pride in your work
I believe it starts with coming to terms with yourself and your work first. Giving it your best effort and then (although it may not be perfected yet) taking a deep breath and giving yourself a pat on the back. Then when you are positive hopeful and trusting yourself and your work, others will notice right away and want what you have. Your respect for yourself and your work are attractive.
2. Don't listen to the lies.
This to me is the hardest step. I can feel confident one moment then like a complete failure the next. But I have found the more I recognize those thoughts as lies, as an attempt to defeat me, then I gain a little more power to move forward. And if we live in honesty, we find that nobody really has it all together.
3. Make business cards and use them
This has worked for me so many times, when I actually had myself together for a moment and didn't leave my cards at home. I can't tell you how many times clients have asked for a card, and I didn't have them with me and I just want to kick myself. Although we live in a digital age, there is something about the physicality of those little cards and they work magic.
(I design my own and order them through Overnight Prints.)
4. Talk about your work wherever you are.
This is one aspect of self-respecting self-promotion that I (honestly) suck at the most. I am very introverted. And when I am having days where I don't take pride in what I do, listen to the lies, AND accidently leave my cards at home, I ALWAYS fail at this one!! It is still a struggle, but lessens with every year. When I first started my decorative painting business nearly 8 years ago as a complete newbie, I could barely speak words to my clients let alone offer color suggestions or advice or talk about my techniques. Now I do color consulting and speak with much more confidence than ever as I have learned what works and doesn't. What to say and what to leave at the door. Practice makes perfect.
5. Network with a community
This is a great way to build an online business. There are so many many ways to be involved online with unlimited resources. If you sell on Etsy, there are forums, groups to join, blogs to read, etc.. I suggest taking online classes, because that was my best networking tool by far. Here are some good ones:
Holly Becker's Blogging Your Way
or Read / Attend the Conference for The Art of Non-Conformity (it is changing my life currently)
Plus, if you haven't already joined these other social networking sites, then its just pointless. Go join Flickr, Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter . They will only help you broaden your horizons. And don't be afraid of them. I was nervous too but they don't take long to learn and they will bring countless people into your life that will enrich it.
Blogging is key too. You may have noticed that continued blogging increases your audience and then taking time to comment on the blogs you love will only lead more readers to your site (blog, etsy, or otherwise). Many times I end up featuring folks whom I never knew before they stopped by and left me a comment.
So.... (that was aLOT of words for me.) I am ready to listen. And so excited to hear your thoughts.
What would you add to this list? How do you do your version of Self-Respecting Self-Promotion??
image: orchard cards