Everyday, people all over the world experience the cringing awkwardness created from necessary evil that is self promotion, and even apologising for doing it; the question is however – should they apologise?
During a recent lunch with a friend, as the waiter left our bill, he invited us to look at his photography, which was hung in the restaurant. He half apologised, saying that the restaurant owner told him to tell all of his customers that his work is featured.
His resistance to proudly market his work struck a cord with me, as it is something I have struggled with myself on occasion and this got me thinking. People all over the world experience this awkwardness everyday; the question is however – should they?
I believe that he should never have felt the need to apologise when you’re an entrepreneur, you can’t afford to apologise for marketing your work, because if you don’t, nobody else will.
We would have never known that among the many pieces hung and sold in the restaurant were his photographs. Often we assume that people know about us and what we do. In reality, most people don’t know exactly what we do or how it might benefit them – be your own walking billboard.
Feel Out Your Prospective Customers
This waiter could probably tell from our somewhat leisurely lunch that we were not in a rush to leave, so we might consider taking time to view the photos.
Although I can never afford any of the pieces shown in the restaurant, I always check them out when I dine there. For a local place showcasing local artists it has has an amazing assortment of pieces for sale.
Keep Telling Your Story
The more people you meet, the more you can share your passion for your business. In this case, this young man was making his living by waiting on us but was gaining his fulfilment through photography. In this instance, he chose the perfect place to tell his story.
He really didn’t have to apologise for telling us about his work. Be proud of what you do, and be prepared to share your story in whatever setting you are in. You never know when you are talking to a person who will share your story or even better, they may become a customer.
Food For Thought
When you publish your blog for example, and you dont have an exciting readership, no social media following and no external ties, links or support (as is the case with most new businesses), you’re essentially publishing content in a vacuum.
The vast majority of online users sadly don’t go out of their way to track down new content, instead they rely on connections that are already established, such as news sources, friends and social media sites. Without any meaningful connections, there’s no way for people to discover your content, and even if that content is a masterpiece, it’s not going to bear any significant effect on your business.
You can think of this as a variation of the “if a tree falls in the forest and there’s nobody around to hear it, does it make a sound?” argument, and that analogy has been made in the past. But personally, I think the more accurate analogy is the tagline to the movie Alien: “in space, no one can hear you scream.”
In effect, you can scream as loud as you want – produce the best content you want – but it’s not going to matter unless you can get that content in front of the right people.