I’m A Marketer But Hate Marketing Myself.

I can’t be the only one, can I?

Self-promotion makes me feel icky. Ever since I was a kid. I hated sharing what I did that summer with the class. I almost never share big life moments on Facebook. I deactivated Twitter because I didn’t want people to know what I was up to. I don’t use hashtags on my Instagram posts because I don’t want to seem thirsty for likes or follows. I just want to exist as a person.

Then I decided to pursue freelancing, and suddenly my perfect bubble of anonymity is in danger of bursting. Honestly, it’s terrifying.

“But Sarah…you do digital marketing and claim to be good at social media and say you want to help clients build their strategies. How can you do that when you don’t even market yourself.”

I know.

I’m learning that while I don’t like “putting myself out there,” I like transparency and helping others. Instead of trying and failing and hiding from the world, I’m learning to appreciate the process and document it. It helps me learn from myself and hopefully inspires others who might be feeling the same way.

Luckily, I’m surrounded by some pretty smart and grounded people who aren’t afraid to tell me to get the F over myself. And it’s starting to work. I’m learning things that seem so obvious now, that had previously been clouding my vision of the bigger picture. Things like…

Separate yourself from your business.
It’s difficult when you’ve chosen the route of using your name as your business entity. It makes it seem impossible to separate the two. Everything I do has my name attached to it, making it feel like if the business fails, then I fail as well. Also, do I even want to be “marketing girl.” What if I change my mind. What if I eventually I change my focus completely.

People evolve. So do businesses.
Jeff Bezos started Amazon to sell books. Last month I bought a panini press. I certainly wasn’t thinking, “well Amazon was originally just for books, so I’m not going to buy this panini press.” I bought the panini press.

People like people who feel like real people.
Marketing is what I do. Not who I am. And If I decide to do something else eventually, that’s okay.

Everyone has imposter syndrome.
I really did think I was the only one. I assumed that everyone who claims to know what they’re doing actually know what they’re doing. Turns out, no one has any clue and everyone is just as afraid of being called a fraud. I thought a switch would flip. That there would be an AH-HA moment where I finally knew I was the expert. But I’ve stopped waiting for that moment. It may never happen. Even extremely accomplished individuals question their legitimacy. We’re really all just faking it until we make it.

All of these things are okay.
Moral of the story: other people don’t care about you and your image as much as you do. Sounds harsh. But it’s true. Everyone is mostly paying attention to themselves, and aren’t super focused on you or your career. Just be authentic, and people will notice.

Originally published here