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You are good, now what?

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A.B.A. ▼ | February 28, 2010
Self-promotionEvery business consultant heard the following question more than once: "Nobody knows me, what should I do?" If you conduct even the smallest research, you will find that even great professionals can be shy and without self-promotion.


In every industry there are recognizable persons described as leaders or gurus. They are known to everybody, not just to people from the industry but to general population, too.

However, there are a lot of professionals and small businessmen out there doing a good job but no one knows anything about them. They are true professionals but they have one serious flaw: they don't know how to sell themselves.

From the conversation with many great professionals from different industries, one common characteristic comes to light: they think that their work speaks for themselves.

Unfortunately, that is not the case. The typical statement is: "Why should I talk about my achievements? I am good, my work is good, and people will recognize that". The other statement is: "I am very uncomfortable speaking about my work".

Those statements need to be changed if someone wants to achieve the highest success. Think about well-known experts in your field.

Does Bill Gates hate to speak about his achievements? No. Does Jack Welch hate to speak about his earnings? No. Does any business consultant hate to speak about the problems he solved? No. So, why do you hate to do that?

There are several reasons for that and two most important are fear of speaking too much, and lack of knowledge what to do.

Shy professionals think that their words will sound like "Damn, I'm good! I so unbelievable great! I'm the master of the world!" They also think that their achievements are not worth enough to be presented to general public. Those two statements are completely wrong.

The thing here is that you must put yourself in your client's shoes. You may solve someone else's problem just like that, in five minutes, but your solution may save a lot of time and money. Your time spent is not important, what really counts are how much you contributed to someone else's business.

An example: you made a small website, nothing fancy, nothing complicated, but that website means that your client has a web presence and it will bring new customers and new contracts.

So, your little effort may mean a tremendous profit to your client.

The other important fact and very often overlooked is that inexperienced person can't solve anything in five minutes. If you think that five-minute work is not worth to be talked about, try to recall how many years you spent learning and working. You don't sell just your time; you are selling your experience.

So, assuming that you are good, how to start? First, you must overcome the problems in your head. Go through all work you done and ask yourself what it means to your clients.

That may be a higher profit, a solved business problem, a better website, a useful advice, or anything else that contributes to your clients. Do not pay attention to your side of the coin; try to think from your client's perspective.

Second, go and do something. The easiest way is to visit forums of highly-profiled newspapers or magazines, go through posts and leave a comment here and there. One comment on, say, The New York Times, will make no difference, but several of them may lift you among qualified speakers on a particular subject.

Write press releases. You don't know what to write? That's easy: write down your opinion about some hot topic. You may encounter a press release with the title "Our CEO's statement on recent industry events", and that's exactly what you should do.

Pick a current topic from your field of work and write about it. Publish it on a free press release website and do that regularly. Publish the same article on your website for free. This is the first step toward establishing yourself as a valuable speaker.

Try to arrange an interview. Don't worry if the publication is small, every interview counts. Try to approach your industry association newsletters, local newspapers, local television or radio.

Start small, be satisfied with a sentence or two, but try to appear in media regularly. Small start is good because it will start to build your public presence and you will slowly lose the fear of public speaking.

Those small steps will not hurt you and with time they will make a great difference. The most important thing is to start.

As any beginning, it will be hard, but results will come. If you pick any industry you will see the same faces over and over again. Your place is among them, isn't it?

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