Using 'Shameless' Self-Promotion to Grow Your Business If you're not sold on yourself, no one else will be either. Here's why learning to shamelessly promote yourself is nothing to be, well, ashamed of.

By Debbie Allen Originally published

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The following excerpt is from Debbie Allen's book Success Is Easy. Buy it now from Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Apple Books | IndieBound

In business, you understand that if you don't promote and market, you can't succeed, right? No matter how great your service is or what amazing value you offer, if prospects don't know about you, you're not going to have a chance to do business with them.

To gain some clarity on this point, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do I feel passionate about helping prospects and customers get the best experience possible?
  • Do I feel our services and/or products are better than our competitors'?
  • Do I want to help others?

If the answer is "yes" to any of these questions, promote these facts. When you don't promote your services and products, you rob people of the opportunity to do business with someone who has the customer's best interest in mind.

Do you feel passionate about your business, career and/or what you have to sell? When you passionately believe in yourself, your value, your service and your products, you also believe prospects should do business with you instead of your competitors, right? If the answer is "no," I suggest finding your passion before going any further, or success will become challenging for you.

It's easy to promote yourself when you believe in the value of what you offer. To move to a higher level of success, you must practice promoting and selling in ways that may feel uncomfortable at first. Next time you experience a feeling of discomfort in self-promotion or the feeling of rejection creeps in, move toward it instead of away from it. Go ahead and feel uncomfortable. It's only a feeling. Step outside the limitation zone, and go for it!

Related: 5 Beliefs About Success That Are Going to Help You Fail

Learn to never give up

Growing up in a family business, I learned early on that I had to self-promote on a daily basis if I wanted the business to succeed. Since my family had many different businesses, we were always promoting something new. Most of our businesses started out with little or no investment, so self-promotion was essential to getting them off the ground.

My father taught me that the first step toward marketing success was to believe in myself and my ideas. It doesn't matter if others don't believe in your ideas as much as you do, you must be strong enough to never give up!

Back in the mid-1970s, my father ran across a mini-storage business while traveling in Texas. It was a new concept at the time and intrigued him, so he stopped to inquire about it. The owner was proud of his new business and openly shared the details of how he got started. After my father talked it over with the family, we decided to start a mini-storage business in our home state of Indiana.

The next step was to get a bank loan to build the facility. That should have been simple, especially since our car rental business was already successful. But the banker wouldn't go for it. He said, "I've never heard of a mini-storage facility. It sounds like a fad to me. I don't think it'll work."

One bank after another turned us down, but my father never gave up. Finally, we got approved for a small-business loan, although it wasn't quite enough to complete the entire project.

My father and brother jumped in to help the construction crew assemble the storage buildings to save money. As I ran the day-to-day of the car rental business, I started promoting the mini-storage concept to our existing customers. Before the project was even completed, we had a long waiting list of interested customers. As soon as the storage units became available, every space was rented.

Finally, the bank started believing in our business and offered to fund a second location. Within a few years, we sold our successful company to a large self-storage corporation, Public Storage. This experience taught me to always believe in my ideas, to promote them to the right people and to never give up!

Related: Figuring Out What Success Really Means to You

Here are five no-nonsense action steps to help you become a shameless promoter:

1. Accept that if you don't do shameless promotion, you'll end up with nameless promotion. If you don't promote yourself, no one else will. It's challenging to succeed if you're not will­ing to let others know that your business, products or services exist. Choosing to become a successful self-promoter requires working to create more positive experiences and seek better results. You can choose to change your beliefs and create a new reality starting right now.

2. Promote yourself more often and always in the service of others. When done effectively, self-promotion is an art form. It comes from a place of service. It comes from your passion and commitment to support others first. Effective self-promotion is natural when words and actions connect our head and heart. When you promote effectively, more prospects are readily open to doing business with you. Simply put, effec­tive self-promotion is good marketing!

3. Speak up and get noticed. Don't allow the voices and opinions of others to drown out your true "inner voice." Summon the courage to share your opinions and promote your gifts. It's important to remain true to yourself at all times. When you promote your knowledge, skills and ideas, you give others something to cheer for and a cause to support and follow.

4. Understand that resenting self-promotion will become a huge obstacle to your success! People who have issues with selling and promoting rarely succeed. To excel in this area, you must become absolutely sold on yourself, your abilities, your prod­ucts, your services. Before you can sell yourself to others, you must first be sold on you.

5. Learn to live by the "Three Rules of Shameless Success":

  • Rule #1: Have your own personal style. Dare to be differ­ent!
  • Rule #2: Never give up even when others don't believe in you or your ideas.
  • Rule #3: Stand out. Position yourself in front of the right people to get noticed.
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Debbie Allen

Speaker, Business Mentor & Author

Debbie Allen’s decades of entrepreneurial wisdom and business building experience have allowed her to successfully mentor a diverse group of small business owners, entreprenuers and franchise owners in growing their companies.  Her years of expertise comes from building and selling numerous highly successful companies of her own since the age of 19. 

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