Many creatives hate marketing. You want to make and do your work and earn money with it… but you hate promoting yourself. How do you deal with this? Most of my clients have a love-hate relationship with putting themselves ‘out there’. They love creating, and they love helping people. But marketing their business online, well, it just feels horrible and sleazy. And, in some ways, I agree. A lot of marketing tactics we come across daily are not ‘pure’, nor authentic, and highly unpleasant. I do not advocate for that. But not wanting to make yourself visible can also have underlying issues. Let’s dig a little deeper.
You may be an incredible life coach, or a very talented artist, but if nobody knows about you, you are not going to make any money. Simple. Now, if you don’t care about making money, then that’s fine, but when people book a free call with me, they want to start earning a living doing what they love. Do you want to earn money?
If the answers is yes, that means crawling from underneath your rock, and showing up to an actual audience. Shout about your products, build a tribe, and showing face. Is that pushy? Sleazy? No, not at all, if you approach marketing in an authentic way. Is it scary? Perhaps. But those blocks can all be overcome.
“I hate marketing and self promotion”
Today I had someone calling me for help. A podcaster who loves publishing a show each week about very interesting topics, but without many listeners. What could he do? I could immediately think of a number of tactics to grow his audience, but then the truth came out:
“I have an aversion to marketing, which I consider to be psychological manipulation, and I don’t want to spend time on social media or do other forms of marketing, advertising or self promotion”.
Right. OK. That’s clear then. Now what?
I could have said:”Well, then I cannot help you”. But instead, I instantly sensed that there was more to the aversion and cynical attitude than he let on, and I wanted to know more. The real issue soon surfaced. He did not want to appear and “look like some sort of big ego”, and did not want to “bother people” begging them to listen to his shows. “I want people to want to listen to me, not be persuaded by some advert”. And then the big one:”And what if the podcast becomes successful…how do I deal with that? Or what if I just receive negative feedback and lose it all?”
Ha. These were the real issues at play. Sure, we agreed that the hard-selling marketing techniques used by commercial brands were not something we would want to be using in the promotion of a podcast. But what was really at play here, was fear. Fear of rejection. Fear of failure. Fear of success. And fear of being visible.
Fear of success and fear of failure
Most of us start out as entrepreneurs, and we grow a little, start to successfully sell our products and services, become more established as a business…and then we freeze. We know we are ready for the next step, ready to level up, but we are scared. We don’t know how to level up, and the whole idea of growing our business to anything more serious freaks the hell out of us. Investing in systems and software, spending money, hiring a team or a mentor, outsourcing tasks, or even the simple fact of becoming more serious about marketing and showing up as a leader or expert (“because am I even good enough?”).
All of this is based on fear, and these are all lies.
These lies are nothing more than manufactured stories we are telling ourselves. Nobody else thinks of us like that, but we tell ourselves that we will not be able to do it, that we will probably fail, and that it is best to stay small. We don’t need more, we’re fine. Right? We believe that people will think we are big-headed or a show-off if we post videos and professional head shots. We are scared of success. What if it suddenly goes really well and we can’t handle it? What if we get overwhelmed? What if we lose it all? We tell ourselves it is safer to stay put, and earn less than we are secretly dreaming of.
I believe in sustainability. Not just in terms of the environment, but also in terms of business growth. We don’t need to push ourselves to become millionaires by next year, or earn $10k months as soon as possible. What does that mean? Success is different for everyone. So I help my clients to understand what success means for them, and what it looks like. We plan for their business development in a measured way, and something they feel good about.
I am their professional buddy, and together we identify what is realistic and achievable to action on. Take the pressure off, but still move forward at a pace that feels doable. I do push people out of their comfort zone, but in a supported way. Because if you build a business mindfully and sustainably, you have a much higher chance of succeeding – and still love your business in a few years time. No quick fixes or quick-rich schemes, but working on your future and self-development as well as selling your services.
You cannot hate authentic marketing
I also believe in authentic marketing. What this means? It means that you approach advertising your business and products not as something pushy and manipulative, but as a way of offering your services to people who are already looking for this. Because there really is an audience out there right now waiting for you to come and help them, inspire them or offer them something that they love. You just need to find those people, connect to them, and tell them that you and your product exist.
“I want to be the person I needed when I was young”, my potential client said today on the call. Then find those young people who need you, I replied. Build a following, offer services they love and need. When you see selling as helping, how can you feel bad about this? You are not selfish for promoting your product, you are selfish for keeping it hidden from the world. The financial transaction is nothing more than an energy exchange to help you to keep going and help others too.