Freelancing: Do You Have a Fear of Self-Promotion?

I don't promote myself or my freelancing business very well. But I'm looking for ways to get better.

One of the issues I have, at least according to some of my freelancer and online business friends, is that I don't do enough to self-promote. Sure, I tweet what I write and try to share my work regularly. I've been trying to post more on LinkedIn, appear on podcasts, and give media interviews.

But I don't chase a lot of high-profile promotions, and I'm terrible about asking other people to hype my stuff. I've been told I need to ask people to do things like … promote and share my book. And ask them to give me good reviews to drown out that single one-star rating on the second edition of my book.

What Am I Afraid Of?

I like freelancing and do a reasonably good job of it (at least my mom tells me I'm great). Additionally, my many money misadventures and the insane amount I have written on the topic have provided a basis for my own thoughts about money.

In the past, I used to get upset about being called a “financial expert.” I used to wonder: What makes a financial expert? The fact that I write about money four to five hours a day, five days a week? Someone once told me that all the research and writing I've done makes me at least as qualified as many credentialed “experts,” but I still felt a little out of place. Part of the reason I went for an MBA was to get some type of “credential” related to finances. I'm currently considering getting a financial education or coaching designation.

I feel like I'm on firmer footing with professional blogging and freelancing, but concerns remain. What if I'm not as knowledgeable as I think? What, really, beyond an M.A. in Journalism, are my qualifications?

These are the sorts of doubts that I still have about my freelancing work. I know my systems can work for others. Also, I know what I share about freelancing in a course I created with two other six-figure freelancers can help beginners land their first clients. But in the back of my mind, I worry that people might not get the results they want. So it's hard for me to “guarantee” anything.

Overcoming the Fear of Self-Promotion

To pinpoint and overcome my fears about self-promotion and my freelancing business, I started looking into these tips:

  • Let go of old mindsets: Realize that you're worth it. While you don't want to be arrogant, you do need to point out that you are worth it. Plus, promotion is a time-honored business practice. Look at it in that light; you might feel more comfortable putting yourself out there.
  • Put it out there: Make sure you have portfolio pieces to point to. Freelancing is all about showing what you can do. While you might not be comfortable with all of your work, you need to show something. Eventually, you'll have other work to showcase.
  • Figure out what works for you: Step out of your comfort zone a little bit, and figure out what works for you. Freelancing is about doing things on your own terms, including self-promotion. Make little changes, and try something small.
  • Practice: Get a little practice with self-promotion. The more you do it, the better you'll become. Back in the day, started out by answering a few HARO requests. Today, I'm trying to do more on Instagram and LinkedIn to get in front of people.

People must know you're there if you want to grow your freelancing business. And that means you have to get in front of people and do some self-promoting.

Even if you aren't sure you measure up.

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