I now live in a regional location and to help me fit in I watched and listened to other small business people who have lived and worked in the region. I was told “You need to blend in, not make waves, build relationships, don’t bring your city attitude to the country.” One person even told me my clothes made me stand out and showed I wasn’t a “local”.
Regardless, when I first moved I attended meetings dressed in a business suit with all the trimmings. Often I would call into the shopping centre on the way back to the office to collect my mail from the post office, where people looked at me as if I had two or three heads. I immediately thought I must change the way I dress because I don’t fit.
And, what did I do? I did as I was told and got exactly what I deserved. My self-esteem slipped when business was extremely slow to get off the ground, despite being in business for 16 years, my professionalism faltered and even the smallest problem seemed to be as big as Mount Everest.
No more. Self-promotion isn’t about fitting someone else’s mould, it is about promoting you and what makes you different from the rest. You want to stand out from the crowd, be a leader, not a follower; set the trend, and where you think it is appropriate, buck the system.
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Think of self-promotion as your own personal branding exercise. If you were helping a client with branding products or services, you wouldn’t advise the client to have a mediocre logo, plain grey anything, be small and insignificant. No, you would want your client to be the best in that particular industry. In the first place it makes the company feel good and secondly, it boosts your self-esteem and reputation.
Strange how we don’t usually give ourselves the same respect as we show to our clients.
Go out there, promote yourself; show people why you’re different and why they should do business with you. Set the trend and watch while your competitors scurry around to catch up.
What do you have to lose?