A review of our January networking event by Deborah Valentine of a hand in The Hague.
It was a full house at the January networking event – it took a while for the brief introductions – but it was worth the delay to meet so many new members for the first time, and be reminded of the wealth and breadth of our members, and their guests. This is one of the invaluable benefits of being a member of the WBII, and is part and parcel of marketing what we do …..which led seamlessly into the topic of the evening.
Noa BrumeOnce the intros were done, we were introduced to Noa Brume, whose talk, was entitled: ‘Fall in love with self-marketing’. True to her style Noa was engaging, entertaining and left us with a cliff hanger. (Note to self: try and employ similar technique when speaking in the future. It was great!).
Confirming that many of us were, like her, a ZZPer she gently reminded us of what many may sometimes forget: we NEED to self –market, whether we like it or not – because we ARE our business. Seemed obvious. But there you go, sometimes the obvious needs to be re-stated in order to be confidently rehearsed.

One with our business

Noa reminded us that marketing was no more than being seen, being heard. And, since we are ‘one’ with our businesses it is ourselves we have to put out there. And that is where some squirming started. Those pesky gremlins many of us who struggle with self-marketing have. Those voices which whisper loudly in our heads wanting us to believe that someone else is better, that we may not be as qualified as another. Thoughts that would have us believe we should not ‘bother’ someone with our passion our business.
Noa pointed out, these gremlins play on our self-image – how others perceive, or we believe them to, perceive us. It was this self-image which held many back. Consider this though: consider working on self-esteem instead. She quoted the following to help us get to where she wanted us to go: “An inner belief that I am equal to all other people and I deserve happiness. I have the ability to deal with the challenges of life.”
There was air of suspended pause in the room. Everyone present took that in differently, and based on some of the discussions following the presentation, I would say there were those who responded from their gut – and were receptive to the direction we were headed in – and those who are perhaps more pragmatic in life (more cerebral if that makes sense), and the message did not wholly resonate. How was this going to contribute to falling in love with self-marketing, and more importantly perhaps, provide me with the tools to self-market, with confidence?

Each unique

But actually, that difference is all the more confirmation of what Noa also shared. We are, each and every one of us unique. Exceptionally unique. There is NO ONE who can do what we do: really. No-one. Know why? Right, because the way I do something, even though others may also do it, will never be the same. No two coaches are the same; no two writers; no two photographers. How we embrace our uniqueness – with pride, conviction and respect for others  – will reflect in how we are able to market our individuality. And, given that we are our businesses means this is at the crux of being able to market what we do, and who we are.
“It is self-esteem,” Noa said, “which is the tool to help us carry on, full of energy, and achieve. Not self-image” And, since we are our businesses, in order to market confidently we also need to identify, and work on not simply our self-esteem, but that of our businesses as well. Remembering, always, my business is unique & special; my business, through its products/services has value to add to my customers/clients; and it is my responsibility to make my business known to others.

Two final tips

Having to close this review of Noa’s talk somewhere (I could go on) I chose two added tips she left us with to help us find our marketing comfort zone:
Stories touch and resonate with people. Market your self- your business with a story, share it.
Collaboration saves energy. Stay out of competition by appreciating what you can do, what others can do and act responsibly towards your clients, and yourself. If someone else can serve them better, allow this to happen. Staying in competition all the time is energy draining.

Deborah-ValentineDeborah Valentine is an English language copywriter. She writes for several expat oriented magazines; helps entrepreneurs with their web and marketing texts and edits material prepared by non-native English language speakers.