I’ve used the word ‘trick’ here on purpose because everyone has similar fears and collywobbles about promoting themselves and showing off what they do. Of course there are days when it all seems to flow easily, but ultimately, self promotion can be a challenge. We might feel awkward talking about our achievements or daft listing our skills or perhaps you squirm at the very thought of talking about you so hide away behind your business.
However, all micro businesses include a degree of self promotion and your customers need to know what you bring to the party, how experienced you are or what your skills are. It’s ok, in fact necessary, for us to really understand what our magic is and share it. How else will your customers understand why buying from you is a great idea.
So here are a few ways to self promote that feels easier, more natural and gives you confidence:
Start by logging everything
My first business mentor called this a 'brag file'. I had no idea what the significance was at that point but I started one anyway (mortified that it was called this!) - a simple word doc on my laptop with all that I had done. Every time I worked with a new organisation or a new type of project, I would throw it in there. For now no one needs to see but it ensures you don't forget what you do or overlook any part of your experience as not important. Include new skills you have gained, experiences you have had in previous (seemingly unconnected too!) careers or jobs or new techniques you have implemented. You will be amazed just how skilled, experienced and bloody brilliant you are!
Build an elevator pitch
This is an old school, but super useful, trick to have up your sleeve. Imagine you are in a lift and you're not sure how many stops you have to tell someone about what you do. List 5 to 10 things about you and your skills, experience and business with the most important and 'all in one' statement coming first (assuming that your 'pitch' only lasts one stop). What would you say about yourself if you only had one lift stop to share it? The difference is that instead of saying, "oh, I run my own business, working with other businesses, doing some coaching and mentoring and um, I also have a club and I also work on some other projects....." it might be something more like, "I'm an accredited business coach, mentor & trainer with over 20 years experience working with a range of different clients from micro to large public sector organisations". Feel the difference in confidence.
I was recently at the UK & Ireland Micro Business Awards final and the overall winner was a nutritional health business with a slightly confusing name. I didn't really know what they did. The owner came up to receive his award and was asked to say a few words. He blew me away. Instead of talking about the ins and outs of his business, he simply told his story. A diagnosis at 15, a series of failures, an epiphany moment, years of self education and the successful launch of his business that had changed his life and health. WOW. Write your story down, practice it, be confident with the parts you want to share and never assume folks aren't interested - it's where your business comes alive.
Ask a critical friend or check your reviews
Find a trusted and critical friend who knows your business and really understands you. Ask them to write you a letter or list about what they see as your superpowers and skills (maybe return the favour to avoid embarrassment!). This can be eye opening for micro business owners who might not get an annual review! Alternatively, go back to reviews or emails you've had from customers and clients and pick out what they appreciate most about what you do. This will give you an insight into you that you may not have understood before.
Hopefully after completing some of these tasks, you will have a list of things, experiences and stories about you staring back that are likely much more interesting and compelling than you first thought. Now it's important that you share this consistently. Go back to your 'About Me' section fo your website, your LinkedIn profile or Insta bio and check again hat you say about yourself. Can you tweak it to include new experience or can you create one sentence that says more in a better way?