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 bloggy friends, is that I don't do enough to self-promote. Sure, I tweet the things I write, but I don't get out there and call myself an “expert” and I don't chase the high-paying jobs or the major media interviews.

What Am I Afraid Of?

I like freelancing, and I 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 has provided a basis for my own thoughts about money.

Where I run into trouble, though, is when places like Wise Bread label me a “financial expert.” What makes a financial expert? The fact that I write about money four to five hours a day, five days a week? I had someone once tell me that all the research I've done, and all the writing I've done makes me at least as qualified as many credentialed “experts,” but I still feel a little out of place.

I feel like I'm on firmer footing when it comes to professional blogging and freelancing, but there are still concerns. What if I'm not as knowledgeable as I think? What if I can't answer a tough question? What, really, beyond a M.A. in Journalism, are my qualifications?

These are the sorts of doubts that I have sometimes about my freelancing work. I can totally relate a post by Ross Gale about fear. It's a short post, and a very personal look at what fears many of us have. I fear that with self-promotion, and getting “out there” more, I won't measure up.

A Prism of Shadows: Self-portrait in Front of A Brick Wall

Overcoming the Fear of Self-Promotion

In an effort to pinpoint and overcome my fears about self-promotion and my freelancing business, I read a great post on Freelance Switch. Some of the tips offered for getting over the fear of self-promotion include:

  • 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, and you might feel more comfortable about 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 (I still sometimes feel shame at my Associated Content days), 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, and that includes 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. I've started out by answering a few HARO requests, and trying to be more accessible for things like the awesome #CreditChat I did last week. I was a little out of my comfort zone, but it was fun, and I learned a few things about promoting myself.

If you want to grow your freelancing business, people have to know you're there. And that means you have to get in front of people, and do a little self-promoting.

Even if you aren't sure you measure up.

0 thoughts on “Freelancing: Do You Have a Fear of Self-Promotion?”

  1. It’s not that I have a fear of self-promotion, it’s that I find it unattractive (from a variety of angles). My lack of desire to be more of a “personality” or to pump my image up has probably kept me from certain opportunities but it means I still feel good about myself in the morning. I’ll let other people promote me.

    I’ve also seen that people use their personality to make up for a lack of substance. If the substance and value are there, you don’t need the flashy “look-at-me” attitude to get yourself out there. But then again, the flashy stuff seems to work, and people are certainly successful when they care more about how they look than what they say, so what do I know?

    1. I think you make a great point! I also have a problem with trying to be a personality. I’m not really much of an extrovert with people I don’t feel like I know well.

      You also make a great point that you have to feel good about yourself in the morning. Maybe I don’t need more self-promotion. 🙂 As always, you have a way of getting right in there and giving me something else to think about.

  2. Hi Miranda,
    It’s tough for small businesses to reach their full potential without an effective marketing campaign. Like it or not, promotion is a necessity. Thanks for sharing this post with the BizSugar community.

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