beseenSometimes we think of self-promotion as a dirty word, but let me ask you this . . . who is the person who cares most about your success?


And yet so many people tell me, “I hate marketing myself/my business.” Now, it’s fine if you dislike doing marketing activities as long as you get help with it or pass it on to someone else. But when most people say this to me, what they really mean is “I hate talking about myself/my business.”

I get it. I’ve spent years thinking “I don’t want to intrude” or “no one wants to hear what I have to say” or “I’m the only one who cares about this”. Thankfully I’m recovered from that nasty little habit.

So let’s do something fun for a moment. Let’s pretend you are Steve Jobs.

You’re tooling around in your garage, designing and creating something called a personal computer that, although you don’t know it yet, will change history and lives forever. You’ve shared your creation with friends and family and they’re amazed. But now it’s time to take it to the masses. Except you’ve got a problem. The idea of taking a stand for this invention gives you the willies. It means standing in the spotlight. It means explaining why you made this thing and what your vision is for it. It means getting behind your work day in and day it. And, you didn’t sign up for that right?


“But Jobs was a marketing machine,” you’re saying. Yes, yes he was. Because he believed so deeply in his vision. If you’ve read his biography, you also know that Jobs was pretty quirky and not equipped with the best social graces. What if he’d let that stand in his way? What if the Apple computer never came to be? What if Steve Jobs opted to just keep tinkering in his garage?

Someone else would’ve come up with the personal computer instead. And by stepping up, they would’ve gotten the rewards. Or, perhaps the words Mac,  iPod, iPad or iPhone wouldn’t even be part of our vocabulary.

To paraphrase the Father of Advertising David Ogilvy: Unless you TALK ABOUT your big idea, it will pass like a ship in the night.

In other words, if you don’t promote yourself, no one else will. That’s because it’s you who cares the most and who has the most stake in your business. So if you think talking up your business is akin to playing dirty, now’s a good time to clean up the story you’ve been telling yourself about marketing and promotion.

The beauty of business in today’s world is that consumers are hot for authenticity. That means you don’t have to be Steve Jobs. You don’t have to pretend to be someone you’re not. Just be yourself. Yes, you still have to market and promote but you can do it in a way that’s natural for you, especially when you’ve built the foundation of your business around an attractive and authentic brand.

What will you do today to make sure you’re seen & heard? Let me know in the comments below.


  1. Krista on January 16, 2014 at 8:59 pm

    Gayle, this is right on! Great post and thank you for giving me (and the other readers) a much needed extra “push” and the permission to promote ourselves. XX

    • storystylist on January 16, 2014 at 9:05 pm

      You’re welcome Krista. I know you’re laser focused on getting more eyes and ears on your business. Keep up the great work!

  2. wendy on January 19, 2014 at 12:36 pm

    Great nudge/push into non-shameless self-promotion. Without getting out and talking about our work, it’s going to be really hard to achieve any money goals (number of new clients, monthly sales goals, etc). January will be over before you know it, best to get off the tushy and get out there!

    • storystylist on January 19, 2014 at 1:47 pm

      So true Wendy. I went from zero prospects this week to four just from one interview where I got to talk about my business for 45 minutes. It really boils down to what’s more uncomfortable — no clients, no money, no freedom . . . or talking about yourself? Plus, let’s really look at the meaning of shameless: without shame. We are building our businesses without shame. I liken it to raising a child, which many of us do without shame. Thanks for the comment!

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