When I’m in launch mode of a course or service I’m offering, which is one of the most out there moments you can be in your business, I feel particularly ungentle, even when it’s promoting the lovely gentle life course I run.
Part of running your own business is to pitch and promote it in the right way – there being no ‘right’ way of course, but one that resonates with the audience you work with and partly, of course, who you are as a business owner.
Since creating the gentle life course, off the back of seeing most of the people I work with struggle with overwhelm and being more compassionate to themselves, the topic has felt like it resonates in many areas; my own business practices included. Marketing and PR are different things but we still need both when we’re trying to get our businesses known, liked and trusted. The typical shouty, salesy approach most of us have witnessed and squirmed at (both on- and offline) is held up as a shining example of exactly how we don’t want to come across as business owners nor feel as consumers, yet ‘gently does it on that PR’ said no-one ever.
So how to show your business and offerings proudly but gently, in a way that feels right for all parties?
Here’s my top 5 tips
1. Be self-assured in the product or service you’re offering
If you don’t truly believe in the product or service you’re offering it’s likely that you’ll feel hesitant about letting others know about it. Likewise, if you don’t feel you can be authentic in the words you’re saying, you’re probably less inclined to get yourself on TV or radio to talk about whatever it is.
Now, it’s not like we didn’t all try to fake it to make it a little along the way, but when you run your own business INauthenticity shines through because there’s nowhere to hide and the first person who’ll pick up on it is yourself.
Just to be clear – there’s a difference between believing in the business, and message, you have and feeling ready to get out there. You can believe in it 100% but still be utterly scared to promote yourself or it – that fear is actually a useful driver to work from. But fear or not, if you don’t believe in what you’re PR’ing, you’ll soon unravel in the message you’re trying to get out there and how you truly feel about your work and the people you work with. So before anything, get comfy with what you do and offer and work from there.
2. Have a target in mind but be flexible
Are you going for numbers or quality in your promotion, launch or service, and what does each look like to you to say you’ve been successful? Getting clear on this will prevent a whole lot of anxiety in not knowing what you’re aiming for. It also means that if you reach your definition of success you can choose to quieten down your activity if that’s what you want. This means you don’t feel like you’re constantly pushing something, however amazing and needed that thing is. It also means you have periods where you can re-group as a business owner which are vitally important for your sense of wellbeing and control.
3. Remind yourself that most people who promote anything feel like this
It’s easy to look at other business owners promoting their services and think they have it all together. But when we get honest and behind the scenes, we discover even those who we’ve held up on pedestals let us know their promotion, PR or launch stresses or failures.
The resilience it takes to consistently show up, show off and be present is under-estimated in self-employment but the more we can be open about the insecurities is can bring up the more, I feel, it enables people to try to step up and put themselves out there – which helps more of us access the wonderful services and products that these people have created.
It feels vulnerable to admit that the numbers for our courses are low, or that the feedback we’re getting on something is less than glowing, or that we don’t know how to promote ourselves to the local paper when everyone seems to do it easily but it’s human, it’s real and many others feel the same way too.
4. Follow a guide from trusted people but don’t compare
We’re all guilty of downloading free stuff to get us started from that new coach or signing up to a webinar from a massive guru that we don’t watch. I’ve found essentially just two people in my whole coaching journey that I consistently go back to for their brilliant advice, guidance and support – Rebecca Tracey and Janet Murray.
I feel eternally guilty that I have yet to actually buy something from Rebecca (super fan does not pay bills) but having been a member of Janet’s Soulful PR membership this past year I’ve pushed myself further and more than I ever would have done. I most recently followed, with modifications, her excellent launch blogs and guides and had emotional and practical support from the other members which was invaluable. But I also stuck to my own numbers, quietened from my mind how others were doing in their own launches or how far I could be if I did this other thing a little more. I looked at my goals for the launch, stayed flexible and am just coming to the end of a truly moving 5 weeks with the latest course participants which is my version of successful.
5. Figure out the way that works specifically for you
Taking all of this above, to promote and market yourself and/or your business, you need to know what resonates for you. We push ourselves out of our comfort zones a lot in self employment and perhaps until we’ve pushed and known we felt nervous, anxious, vulnerable or similar we don’t know we’ve gone a little too far.
If you’re a sensitive person (HSPs for the win!) this can feel even harder. The irony of promoting my gentle life course, particularly with a facebook ad, that partly helps people get offline and back to basics, was not lost on me, but I continue to learn the best ways to discuss being gentle, and getting out there with my services. Learn a process, try it out for size and then adapt it to suit who you are as a business owner – you don’t have to do it feeling nervous or anxious all the time. You can do it with gentleness in mind, I promise.
So now, I’m gently taking myself to Janet Murray’s Your Year in PR in a few weeks whilst I continue to practice these principles for ongoing promotion. Feel free to watch the results emerge by following me over on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.