During one of my Voice-Over Workshops for a voice talent last week, we reviewed some of her marketing challenges and internal struggles. She is a talented voice talent and a generally gracious human being — all wonderful traits that I aspire to.
But her marketing kryptonite is tooting her own horn â€“ marketing herself (which is her brand) out to the marketplace. She finds it awkward, braggadocios and lacking humility (my words not hers). Like I said, she’s a gracious person.
Let me repeat a secret I have shared here beforeâ€¦horn tooting or self-marketing IS awkward, braggadocios and lacking humility â€“ no matter how subtle you try to be (be warned, a subtlety overdone can completely water down a marketing message).
I have grown a bit more accustomed to it now, but when I started out in my voice-over business, I felt REALLY weird about marketing my brand: me! Using â€œIâ€ in sentences, talking about MY work, me writing a press release about me. Yuck.
How self-absorbed, how egotistical, how arrogant! Just who the hell do I think I am?!!!
I feel your awkward pain frightened horn tooters but now Iâ€™ll share with you the epiphany that allows me to toot my horn with less (not none) awkwardness.
Who the hell do I think I am?
I am a small business owner who has kids to feed and a mortgage to payâ€¦and that money does NOT come in unless I am out there telling people what I do and how I do it and how what I do will help their business. And I AM the company. Whatever the tag line, no matter the iconography, at the end of the day I, as the professional voice-over talent, am the brand. I am selling myself â€“ just not on a street corner…yet.
So I toot (and if youâ€™re 5 years old, you are now giggling uncontrollably at my unintended fart jokeâ€”thatâ€™s cool, fart jokes ARE funny).
But since I am doing the promotional work (writing, choosing media outlets, targeting the messaging etc), I can control the message that gets put out there, I control the tools and images I use to promote myself. Some people feel more comfortable using a 3rd party to do this…hey, whatever gets the job done for you.
It is a necessary evil in a free-lancers life â€“ this self-promotion.
So hereâ€™s is my little imaginary trick for dealing with this unsettling process of self-promotion you must do: pretend as you going through your marketing tasks that you are marketing for another company. Not another person, another company. In your head replace your name with Acme Voice-Over Company. This psychological game with yourself might give you the distance and perspective to get the horn-tooting starting and keep it going.
Listen, you are not egotistical, you are not self-absorbed.
You ARE a freelancer. You ARE small business owner or now what people are calling a Micro Business (soooo teeny tiny like me).
And you have my personal blessing to grab your horn and toot. Itâ€™s not only OKâ€¦itâ€™s a requirement!
P.S. I did ANOTHER Voice-Over Workshop on Saturday and wouldnâ€™t you knowâ€¦another frightened horn tooter. It looks like we may have to hold a telethon! But again, now allâ€™s well for him too. So all you frightened horn tooters…you are not alone.