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Summary:

If there’s one thing I’m figuring out, especially lately, it’s that you have to be willing to make the approach. You have to be willing to ask for what you want. Ask the person to be a guest for your blog or podcast. Ask to be covered on another person’s site or radio show. Ask someone to join you for lunch or coffee. Just ask.

When I was fourteen I was falling fast

For a blue-eyed girl in my homeroom class

Trying to find the courage to ask her out

Was like trying to get oil from a waterspout

What she would’ve said I can’t say

I never did ask and she moved away

But I learned something from my blue-eyed girl

Sink or swim you gotta give it a whirl.

- John Michael Montgomery, “Life’s a Dance”

I’m surprised sometimes by business owners who turn down opportunities for promotion. We can all feel intimidated by the thought of putting ourselves or our ideas out there, but whenever that happens to me, I stop and ask myself, “Are you serious about this?”

If there’s one thing I’m figuring out, especially lately, it’s that you have to be willing to make the approach. You have to be willing to ask for what you want. Ask the person to be a guest for your blog or podcast. Ask to be covered on another person’s site or radio show. Ask someone to join you for lunch or coffee. Just ask.

Maybe they’ll say yes. Maybe they’ll say no, but who cares? There are a million other people to ask.

It’s nerve-racking, spine-numbing and absolutely intimidating to get out there and tell the world about yourself and your business, but at some point, you have to ask yourself just how serious you are and how willing you are to let go of your fears and inhibitions and just do it.

The point is, you’re not going to get anywhere by staying holed up behind your computer screen tweaking, thinking, lurking or waiting. You have to take the initiative. Marketing, promotion and publicity – it’s all intimidating, and very few people are comfortable with it. That’s OK, though. If you admit that you’re nervous, people will be quick to support you and will actually see you as a real person who messes up and has feelings and is just like them, and that’s what you want — to make a connection with others.

What’s the best thing you ever accomplished by putting yourself out there?

Image from Flickr by geeknerd99

  1. Great advice!

    I think this is the single most valuable thing anyone can do with their lives. Productivity fixes and life hacks are nothing if you don’t put your self out their and take risks.

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  2. Thanks, John! I completely agree. When I first went into business for myself, I obsessed over all the wrong things – all the filing systems, gadgets, and gizmos that (I thought) would help my business succeed. When all that didn’t work, it became clear that all that really mattered was putting myself out there.

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  3. I was recently asked to speak at a small conference and since I’d never done it before was pretty hesitant…but then I realized, what better way to promote yourself and your business then by getting up in front of a group of people who are willingly there to listen. It was not nearly as bad as it seemed in my head and I made some really great contacts. Just gotta put yourself out there.

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  4. What’s the best thing you ever accomplished by putting yourself out there?

    For me, it is not one best thing – it is marvelling at the snowball effect. One step often results in a multitude of possibiities that occured when I simply asked.

    It is interesting that we get so hung up on no. What does it really matter? It was just not the right fit of person —> idea. There are a lot more people out there and even more ideas.

    The motto that I have carried with me for many years: So, what is it you would do if you were not afraid?

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  5. [...] Be Willing to Put Yourself Out There See All Articles » The Future of Work: From Bits to Atoms [...]

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  6. [...] the past, I’ve gotten caught up in perfectionism, procrastination, fear (of both failure and success), over-planning and analysis paralysis (to name just a few of the [...]

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  7. Great points and comments. People want to work with someone that they feel a connection to and putting yourself out there certainly helps accomplish that. As others have said, you have to take risks to accomplish great things.

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  8. You know, this is a very timely post for me. I’ve been in business 9 years and have gotten most of my business through referral rather than through my direct efforts. That means I haven’t had continual clients because I wasn’t the one that was originally contracted with. That has to stop, as I’ve been thinking about it all weekend, and this post reinforces that.

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