I want to share with you a little story that happened to me this week about the power of self marketing.
This post was originally written for Classy Career Girl.
I recently returned from spending nearly 2 months in Bangkok. The first week there, I went to a lunch meeting for a philanthropic organization here. Was I invited? Nope. Did it matter? Not at all.
At the lunch, I talked to several Bangkok locals and explained to them that I thought I would be here for a while and would love tips on more local activities. As it turns out, one of the women I spoke to was going to the Bangkok Symphony Orchestra a couple days later. She generously invited me to come along.
Fast forward to the night of the concert. After the show, I left the venue and saw a woman with a cello case outside who I knew had just performed in the symphony. I ran up to catch her so I could congratulate her. After about 15 minutes of small talk, she told me that she just moved here recently from Brazil to join this orchestra and she was looking for a native English speaker to tutor her three children. Long story short, I am now tutoring them 3x a week, making enough money to cover my living costs.
You can read this story and say I’m lucky. I am lucky, but you can be too. The truth is opportunities are all around us, and with self-marketing, you can really take advantage of those. This story wasn’t just me floating around Thailand. There’s self-marketing that went behind every step.
Always Carry Business Cards
I am 1000% confident that things went smoothly at that lunch because I had business cards. These people were professionals in Bangkok. Handing them my business card when I met them made them instantly take me more seriously. They handed theirs to me, too, so that exchange put me on a more even playing field.
Have a personal website
Even if you have a blog or your own business, you need a website that is essentially your online resume and portfolio. This site should go on your business card, your e-mail signatory block, and your resume. I am also confident I was hired to be an English tutor because the woman could go home and easily search my name via my website. It helps you become much more personable much faster.
Have an elevator pitch
They’re not just for businesses. When people ask you what you do, you shouldn’t just revert to your professional position. Explain who you are. What you care about, how you spend your free time, and try to incorporate your goals in that. Coming up with a simple pitch for yourself isn’t easy and can take time, but it’s an investment in yourself to have one.
Don’t let those beautiful business cards sit in your wallet. When you meet someone new, e-mail them even if just saying how nice it was to meet them. You need to remind them of who you are and why you were happy to meet them. I keep a spreadsheet of business cards I collect and update it every week or so. I have different tabs for different locations, and I keep track of when I sent a follow-up e-mail in that spreadsheet.
Whether you want to start a blog, post on third party platforms like Medium, or publish on your personal website, have publications online. This makes it easier for people to find you based on your interests and opinions. It also adds to your online portfolio. You don’t need to be a writer to benefit from online publication. The key is to write what you care about and express your interest in a certain topic.
Join a group or club
Among the most classic (but ever effective!) methods of self marketing is by joining a group or club. This can be a book club (which I’m a huge fan of), a volunteer club, or a young professional network. Not sure where to find a club that’ll fit you? Even better! That means you can start your own.
If you start implementing these self marketing strategies, you’ll be amazed at the doors that open for you! On a real note, self-marketing can be scary. It’s not easy to put yourself out there all the time. But just ask yourself what you’re more scared of, self-promotion or mediocrity? Let the world see what you’re made of.
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