Tame Your Self-Marketing Fears and Build Your Business!

Whenever I talk to "creative" types, I love watching the reaction when I initiate the "self-marketing" discussion. Dozens of sets of eyes all calculating the distance between their seats and the door. Brows furrow. Throats gulp. Teeth practically chatter.

Okay, enough already. It’s just not that bad. I humbly offer my simple definition of self-marketing:

The successful self-marketing of a freelance commercial writing business is simply letting prospective clients know you’re out there – on a consistent basis, in a variety of ways, and with a message they can hear through the clutter.

If you can effectively reach enough of the people who can hire you, and you do that until you have as much work as you want, and then repeat the process (with good results) whenever you don’t have work, I say you’re a successful self-marketer.

However, for many copywriters, this can be one of the most difficult tasks to accomplish. It has something to do with our feeling funny about saying nice things about ourselves. But successful self-marketing has absolutely nothing to do with ego … and everything to do with exposure.


As a single guy, I occasionally surf over to one of the online dating sites. The cliches there are rampant. Here are zillions of people, looking for the most important relationship of their lives, and barely one in a hundred takes the time to craft a message that is even remotely creative and original.

Virtually every ad lists such commonplace gems as "I love moonlit walks on the beach" … "Romantic, candlelit dinners" … and my favorite one to hate, "A man who’s as comfortable in a tux as in blue jeans."

All of these ads are just like everyone else’s. None stands out from the others. None attracts attention.

I always want to ask: Do you think you’ll attract the opposite sex by blending in with everything around you? That’s called camouflage. People in the armed forces do this when their lives depend on NOT being noticed or standing out in any way.

If you want to be seen, you HAVE to draw attention to yourself. And precious few commercial writers do regular mailing, phoning, or networking campaigns that elevate themselves above the din.

Getting noticed isn’t all that hard if you’re one of the few who make the effort to stand out.


I know. You hate drawing attention to yourself. That’s … immodest.

Listen. There’s not a darned thing immodest about drawing attention to yourself when you have a legitimate, high-quality contribution to make to the marketplace – a professional offering that’s in demand by every successful business under the sun.

There are a lot of companies in Atlanta that are glad I made it my business to let them know I was out there in the marketplace. And they acknowledge the difference I’ve made every time they pick up the phone and call me for another job. And every time they pay me.

I hate to say it, but you’d better be willing to draw some attention to yourself or you’ll need to find another line of work. You’re not selling some Veg-o-Muncher on late-night TV. You’re a professional who is marketing a professional service to other professionals.


Want to know the simple key to success in this business? Keep showing up.

Assuming you’re competent, creative, and reliable, it’s all about multiple impressions. The small-biz folks who built thriving businesses just kept showing up in front of their clients and prospects in a variety of ways. And kept knocking on new doors. A "last man standing" sort of thing. It’s that simple.

Jump in – the water’s fine … and very profitable.

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Published: May 2, 2005

2 Responses to “Tame Your Self-Marketing Fears and Build Your Business!”

  1. This is the truest and the most honest thing I have read about becoming a copywriter. All the selling up in other articles is a waste of paper, if someone is unwilling to do this!
    Quoting PeterBowerman. "I hate to say it, but you’d better be willing to draw some attention to yourself or you’ll need to find another line of work. You’re not selling some Veg-o-Muncher on late-night TV.You’re a professional who is marketing a professional service to other professionals".
    You must sell yourself first.

    Guest (Dimitri Solakofski)

  2. I agree this article is a true and honest. It is encouraging. He slaps you across the face with your own fear. Knock it off and stand out in the crowd. It's good for business! It sounds simple "keep showing up"!

    Julia Zakrewsky

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