Many of us put off creating or overhauling our marketing materials until we have "time." But with all the responsibilities we have, who on earth has time? In my experience, the time excuse is very often a smokescreen, covering the fears hidden underneath.
And what of these fears? Well let's face it. When you're selling yourself, there's something scary about putting yourself "out there" and putting yourself "out there" in a tangible real piece of marketing, does seem to make it something final. We worry about being misunderstood.
We worry about not living up to other people's expectations. We worry about "getting it wrong". We worry about offending people. We worry about appearing over confident. We worry about making claims that we can not live up to. It's no wonder we can not find the time. Who would want to find the time to when there are so many ways of getting it wrong?
In spite of the fact that those fears exist and they're getting in the way, we really just have to thumb our noses at them. You simply have to say to yourself, "Yes, those fears may be there, but I'm going to create my marketing materials in spite of them."
My favorite method for blasting through these fears is a technique I call the "anti-brochure". Before we go any further I want you to grab a pen, and a sheet of paper and at the top write, "The reasons you SHOULD NOT become my client". Now as quickly as possible, write down all the reasons why someone should not hire you.
Do not worry, we will not be publicizing these, what we are aiming to do is to get these sentences out of your head where they can cripple your creative process and onto the page where they lose a great deal of their power.
Here are some examples that have come out of this exercise:
"I'm not good enough."
"I tell a good story, but I do not walk my talk."
"If I'm so great why is my own life in such a mess?"
"If people knew what I was really like they would not want to hire me."
"I'm afraid I will not live up to their expectations."
"The only reason I have any clients is because I fooled them all."
I love this technique for blasting away the doubts and fears that will otherwise really interfer with your creative process. Once you've got the words out and onto the page, they become a lot less effective at holding you back. Last year I ran a course with a partner, and we sat down and did this exercise together before writing the brochure.
We titled it, "The reasons you should not book onto this course". We each spent 5-10 minutes filling a sheet with our insecurities and errors and when we were done, we compared notes, then threw the lists away. That's it. That's all you need to do. Do not agonize over what you've written. Just write it, read it through and throw it away.
Some people like a ritual burning, but to be perfectly honest I think that's affording too much significance to what just amounts to a bunch of false fears. Just screw up the paper and toss it in the wastepaper basket. Try this. It really works.
(c) Bernadette Doyle, 2008. Reprints welcome so long as by-line and article are published intact and all links made live.