6 Ways to Get Over the Fear of Self- Promotion


As  unique and varied as artists and creatives are many of us have unifying thoughts and beliefs...especially when it comes to sharing what we do with others. I am not different in you in that I love to do my art (acting, filmmaking, writing) but I don't necessarily like a lot of attention. (I know, sounds weird coming from a performing artist, right?) So many times I find myself saying:

"I'm good at making things, not at telling others what I make."

That's my catch phrase when I'm talking to someone about one of my projects who I think might be good at promoting what I do.

Secretly I'm hoping that I can push off the job of being a marketing/promoter/advertiser onto someone else that I feel is more qualified to do that type of job. Usually I can get some encouraging advice, or information out of them but at the end of the day it's what they do for a living and I'm not toting a lot of advertising dollars just yet.

But when I do encounter someone who catches the vision and wants to be my "marketer" I immediately have a spike in my heartbeat and I worry about letting go of anything that has to do with the vision of my brand. Whether I like it or not I have a strong sense of the message I want to communicate to others. The few times I've actually let go it resulted in things not turning out the way that I felt aligned with.

So either way I'm sunk. I want someone else to promote what I do AND I want to be in full control of how I'm promoted.

Does this sound like you?

If you are an independent creative or artist you most likely are the one in charge of your own branding and promotion (at least in the beginning). And I want you to know THAT'S OKAY. Over the years I've learned that getting comfortable with promoting myself is really about mindset, not getting a bigger ego. 

Here are 6 ways to change your mindset and get comfortable with promoting yourself.

1. Focus on what you want people to feel.

Many times we worry about bringing attention to ourselves and that creates a blockage for promoting what we do to others. Instead focus on how you want people to feel when they encounter what you do. For example if you are a fine artist and you work with pastels - imagine what you want someone to feel when they see your art. Imagine yourself in their shoes holding your art and feeling incredible every time they lay their eyes upon your creationLet that joy drive you to share what you do knowing that you are making someone else's life better for it.

2. Let your passion over ride your fear.

If you are an artist or creative you know that making things is your life blood. It literally drives you to keep working even when you are hungry or tired. It's what you think about day and night while you are at work or cleaning. Heck! Maybe you skip cleaning to snatch a few moments to work on your project (guilty). 

Ever since I was little I've wanted to be an actor and filmmaker. It takes a lot of courage every time I get in front of the camera to bear my emotions to the lens and to the crew that is watching. It takes courage to engage with another actor, look them in the eye and not hide anything. It takes courage to share my script with someone else for feedback.

I could let fear stop me or I could let my passion for my work over ride my fear. What will you choose?

3. Learn to accept criticism.

Many people are afraid of  self- promotion of their work because of criticism. But we are artists on a mission so we must learn to accept that criticism is a real part of this creative journey. We must learn to decipher between constructive criticism that will help us improve and criticism that is coming from just plain old silly haters. When you can do this you will feel so empowered!

Decide that you are going to keep going no matter what anyone else has to say. Choose to be humble in that you will always be improving your craft but be confident in that process. You might have many different responses as you promote your work but they don't have to derail you from your dreams and goals.

@@I love to think about it this way...great people don't reach the mountain top without overcoming the valleys.@@

4. Remember you are not alone.

It's really easy to get stuck thinking that you are the only one out there struggling with the idea of self- promotion. It might even sound fun to get on photoshop and design invitations to your own pity party (and then not send them because you're worried people will judge them.) But I want you to know that you are not alone. You are in great company.

Try working alongside some of your friends who are on a creative mission for moral support and motivations. Encourage each other to share their work and be proud. Practice your introductions and elevator pitches with each other until you feel confident to share them with others. Practice giving and receiving feedback without judging yourself or others.

When you can function in this flow, knowing you are not alone go ahead and step over the line you have drawn in the sand and hit publish, record, share, go live - whatever it is for you.

5. Get more education.

Self - promotion, especially online, can seem really confusing and complicated. There are a billion different social media platforms out there these days. Not just different platforms but different mediums to promote your work. Here are just a few:

Photos - Instagram, pinterest, flickr, facebook

Video - Instagram, Vine, Youtube, Facebook, Vimeo

Live Streaming - Periscope, Facebook Live, Google Hangouts, Webinars, Babble

Audio - Itunes, Sound cloud, Sticher

Not to mention paid advertising on all of these and more platforms.

Thinking about self - promotion and social media can trigger the image of brains spilling out of your ears for some people. If you are one of those people I would consider getting more education on the subject so you don't feel so overwhelmed. Consider this an investment into your creative business so you can sustain doing what you love to do.

6. Decide you are the best thing since sliced bread

Okay, okay I don't mean literally walk around and tell people that you are the best thing since sliced bread - although if you are reading this you must be awesome!

I want you to remember that you have something really special to offer this world because you are YOU. If you are worried about self - promotion take a step backward and take the time to understand what really makes you stand out from the crowd. Figure out what you have to offer and think of it as a gift.

I love the singer Adele's voice. It's unique, raw, and soulful. When I hear her voice it's like I get to live vicariously through her. Even if I'm not going through thing situation she is singing about I still feel like I "get it" you know? I would be so upset if she chose to hide in her basement and not share her voice with the world. What she has is a gift.

Think about your favorite singer, artist, or musician. What have they contributed to your life and creative journey? Did their music help you get through a rough time in your life? Did they inspire you to get started doing the work that you currently do? What would your life be without encountering their art?

You, my dear, are equally as amazing. You know it deep down inside. But remember it's not just about us as artists, it's about the people that will come into contact with our work. It will change their lives, make an impact  or even change our culture for the better. Decide that what you have to offer is a gift for that special someone and self-promotion is your way of giving it to them.

Lastly, I want to let you know that I understand the struggle first hand as a fellow creative person. However, remember that we live in an AMAZING time where we can take our promotion into our own hands for the first time in history! There are places to distribute our work and ways to build our own audiences without relying so much on the gatekeepers. Take advantage of these gifts to us and run with it!

What are some ways that you have overcome your fear of self-promotion?