How to sell yourself.

If someone knows, by all means give me a ring.

Since starting my own business, I’ve solicited a lot of advice from people who know more about doing this than I do.  Smart people have told me to network, network, network.  Write, write, write.  Speak, speak, speak.

But what no one told me is how much harder it is to get the work than to do the work.  I’ve worked for two organizations since graduation and was at each for more than five years.  I made a faster-than-usual climb up ladder and received a lot of head patting and back slapping along the way.  I had gold stars on my forehead, the right cards in my wallet, and a mind half stress, half swagger.  Now, I’m writing to people I’ve not met, attending networking events, talking about myself and asking for things.

I don’t like asking for things.  I like being asked for things.  But here I am.  Those who know me professionally reaffirm that I’m special, that I’ll make a go of this, that it just takes time.  But what it also takes is an appetite for rejection.  For being ignored.  For allowing that it doesn’t matter how capable I am if I only have two clients.

I will continue down this path and push until I succeed.  But for those at the head of the path, be warned: it seems so easy with the first clients.  Work life is better in every way than when you were at a big company.  But the path isn’t lined with flowers.  For every pointless meeting you had at your corporate job, now you will attend a useless webinar about branding and social media.  For every client call you didn’t want to answer, now you will hope that the potential client is the one answering the phone.

The work is all its cracked up to be.  Unfortunately, this business is about more than doing the work.


How to sell yourself.