As creative professionals, we are constantly met with obstacles that challenge our motivation to market ourselves effectively. Whether it’s lacking energy and focus, or believing that we are “not good enough” in the face of competitors, our drive to take action in promoting ourselves and the work we do can sometimes take a beating. Fortunately, there several ways to regain a sense of confidence and purpose, so that self-promotion doesn’t feel like a chore.
Here’s a step-by step-approach for getting fired up and getting organized to market yourself in the short-term and the long-term – an essential task that too many of us neglect.
1. Write down five strengths.
Physically write down five of the best elements of the work you do, including your skills and talents. Doing this will confirm how competent you are and will get you motivated to build on your current successes.
2. What are your reasons?
Think about your reasons for wanting to promote yourself. Really focus on things that excite you here. This could be landing a huge client, supporting your family, selling more of your creations, or gaining renown in your industry. Now write down five of the primary reasons.
3. Define a single self-marketing goal.
Think of the one thing you would like to achieve, in either the short-term or long-term, that is in line with your marketing reasons as above. This can be to book a new client, or to contribute a piece of work to an upcoming exhibition, for example.
Having a realistic goal written down in your calendar in this way will put your brain to work on seeking ways to achieve it, motivating you in the process.
4. Write down the self-promotional activities that will lead to success.
For a self-marketing goal, identify all the activities likely to help you get there. Use past successes to help determine the most fruitful and necessary tasks. Write these out in a brief step-by-step list.
5. Define your rewards.
Next to each major action step on the list you just made, as well as next to your self-marketing goal, write down a reward that you will give yourself on completing the step. Make the reward proportionate to the size of the step.
6. Tell others about your commitments.
Announce your goals to your friends and family or through an online announcement, such as a blog post or tweet, for example. Sharing your goals will add a little supportive pressure to your marketing commitments.
7. Just get started.
I’ll leave it to leadership guru John C. Maxwell’s quote to explain the value of this:
“The whole idea of motivation is a trap. Forget motivation. Just do it. Exercise, lose weight, test your blood sugar, or whatever. Do it without motivation. And then, guess what? After you start doing the thing, that’s when the motivation comes and makes it easy for you to keep on doing it.”
Illustrator and designer Alex Mathers publishes regularly on the blogs Red Lemon Club and Ape on the Moon. He just released the eBook “10 Steps to Powerful Online Self Promotion,” an in-depth guide to effective marketing, winning regular clients, and making sales using the internet.