“I’m really bad at selling myself.”
I hear this all the time from creative professionals. But what exactly does it mean?
Are you bad because you don’t know how?
Are you bad because you haven’t taken the time to practice what you’ve learned?
Are you bad because you’re lame and don’t have the ability to become good at it?
This came up most recently in a conversation with fashion photographer, JC Candanedo, who reached out to thank me for the Marketing Plan + eCalendar, which he calls his “self promotion bible,” and which he says was “one of the best things that ever happened to me.” (I do appreciate the sentiment, but I hope that’s not true!) (Here’s one of his blog posts where he writes about how he has adapted the plan to fit his life.)
He said, “I’ve always failed at the business side. I didn’t learn this in school. They didn’t teach it. I was doomed from the start because I didn’t know how to do it.”
But there’s a difference between not knowing and actually being bad at something — trying something over and over and just not getting it.
In fact, in my recent podcast with photographer and filmmaker, Michael e. Stern, he also asserted that creatives are bad at business. “That’s why we have to learn!”
If you’re not getting the work you want, “I’m not good at self promotion” is a handy excuse. But it’s also really lame.
Almost everyone I work with is smart and has the ability, if they put their mind to it, to learn how to find their own self promotional style, without sounding like the cliched slimy car salesman, and get the work they want.
There’s a lot more to say about this and it’s one of the topics I will be addressing in my new live coaching program with direct response copywriter, Bob Bly. It starts October 7 — and is filling up fast. Sign up here.