Shameless Self-Promotion: An Oxy-Moron?

A lot of marketing gurus talk about “shameless self-promotion.” I saw something the other day that was aimed at entrepreneurs giving them the opportunity to shamelessly promote their products and services. And it got me to thinking, is there such a thing as shameless self-promotion?


Most (not all, but most :)) of the people I work with are women entrepreneurs in serving professions (e.g. coaches, counselors, consultants, virtual assistants, etc.), and they typically have a few things going on:


1) As women, it seems that we have a natural aversion to “tooting our own horn,” if you will. In an effort
at modesty and/or the preservation of the feelings of those who didn’t make the team/get the job/etc., we wave off compliments and praise for jobs well done. Instead of standing in our own brilliance, many of us tend to shy away from the spotlight, preferring instead to lift others up. Which is all fine and dandy…except that who’s lifting us up? The bottom line is that there’s got to be a happy medium that includes a healthy dose of lifting ourselves up right along with everyone else.


2) People in the healing and/or serving professions tend to be abundantly humble and unwilling to take credit where credit is due. This isn’t meant as an insult, as obviously the intentions are good. But here’s the thing: if an entrepreneur isn’t willing to stand in their own ability to help others, why would their customers put their trust (and their money) into that company’s products and services? I’m not suggesting (or advocating) falsity in advertising. But as they say, if you’ve got it, flaunt it, and that means if you have a history of helping people overcome a particular ailment, then I believe you have an obligation to let people know that, to give them the facts so they can make educated purchasing decisions. NOT doing so if very likely keeping those people who need you most from working with you…and getting the help they often so desperately need. Case in point: I have a client who previously worked for several well-known publishing companies and now owns a business helping people create better, more publishable manuscripts. I was surprised to find that she rarely mentioned her previous role as someone who pored through hundreds of manuscripts and knew exactly what editors were looking for (and what sent a manuscript straight to the “no” pile), but she wasn’t talking about that. Even though it established her expertise and put her in a position of authority in her chosen field, she kept it close to the vest I think, in part, to refrain from feeling as if she was bragging or, as I mentioned earlier, “tooting her own horn.” When in reality, it’s simply stating facts about your knowledge and expertise to help educate people on why YOU are the right person to help them ease their pains and reach their goals.


Here are a few tips to help you differentiate between “shameless self-promotion” and “sleazy advertising.” Ask yourself:


1) Am I sharing this information to a) help ease the worries of the people who could truly benefit from my products/services or to b) trick people into making a purchase they really don’t want or need? If the latter, it’s sleazy advertising.

2) Am I promoting a product or service because I truly believe it’s helpful for my clients or because I’ll do whatever it takes to make a buck? I’m willing to bet not a single one of you choose the latter, sleazy advertising option.

So when posing the question, “Is there really such a thing as shameless self-promotion?” I believe the answer is a resounding YES, if you’re doing it from a place of wanting to connect with the people who truly need your help. It all comes down to intent. And if your intention is to serve and heal as many people as you can, then go forth and promote shamelessly, my friend! 🙂


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