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How To Market Your Work When Self-Confidence Is Low

You know that brief moment of hesitation at the dinner party that makes you miss the window to say “Hey, that’s what I do!” before conversation moves on?

Or closing the tab on the ‘speaker application’ page of a conference, with a “Maybe next year?” 

When you do creative work, even a slight dip in self-confidence can seriously halt your business, or at least shrink your footprint.  Your work is so tied up in you, that any crisis of feeling not quite good enough can create hesitation to promote it.  Even a half-dozen tiny moments a month can directly translate into fewer clients.

I have something for you to try when self-confidence teeters right when you need to promote what you do.  You might even call them magic words.  Not quite as direct as “Accio, client!” but almost as potent. 

Repeat after me: 

“Actually, I teach a tiny class about that!”

Oh, the doors this will open for you.

Let me explain:

Even if you’re having a moment of wobbly confidence in yourself, most creative people never waver in their belief of the overall value of what they do. 

No matter how you’re feeling about yourself today, I bet you still know with absolute certainty that, say – a great headshot can advance a career, or that photos hung in homes can boost kids’ self-esteem, or that there’s no way a pet owner should go without having beautiful images of their fur-family.  That belief is in your bones.

So here’s what you do.  You take whatever you believe in with iron confidence, and you dig into it a little deeper.  How do headshots benefit people?  How do photos build self-esteem in kids, and by the way – what else does?  What impact does having good pet images really have on people? 

It doesn’t matter how you search, just do what interests you: Poke around for scientific research.  Find documentaries.  Interview people.  Check out three books from your library.  Whatever you do, yank on the thread and unravel the subject a little.

As you dig, you will uncover at least three small yet fascinating pieces of information that you think more people should know.  When you’ve got ’em (and you will), you create a tiny class out of those three points. 

Three ways to strategically place photos on your website to increase sales.  Three ways to middle-school-proof kids’ self-esteem.  Whatever it may be.  And they don’t all have to do with photography!

Say you firmly believe headshots can advance careers, so you delve into that belief more. 

You find more on how to use headshots to your advantage online, but also come across two other interesting things – say, how to respond to negative online reviews, and how to clean up old, irrelevant Google search results for your name. 

You can create a tiny class that teaches all three (your own words, and citing sources, of course) – perhaps, Three Things You’re Forgetting About Managing Your Online Reputation. 

You might put the part about photos last.  When someone gets to that point in the class, their natural reaction is going to be “Man, I’d love to do that too, but I don’t have a great photo.”  Boom.  You can help them with that, and you don’t even have to hard pitch the idea.  THEY brought it up!!   😉

Where do you teach this class, you ask?

There are so many places looking for people to bring a fresh angle:

  • Podcasts
  • Local business conferences (not in your industry!) and monthly business luncheons
  • Library and university event series
  • Regional + industry magazines read by your target client

But really, here’s the secret sauce:  You also teach the tiny class via your email list.

Create an autoresponder so they get it piece by piece as a welcome series.  This isn’t a new idea to you, but I wonder if you’ve considered the ways this is useful beyond just getting people on your list when they land on your website.

For example, when you teach on the podcast, you might only do a deep dive into one of your three items.  At the end you can say – “Hey, want to hear the rest?  Sign up for my emails.”  Now you’re pulling podcast traffic over to you, for keeps.  Instead of just maybe visiting your website, they’re raising their hand to keep in touch – a whole different ballgame. 

And on a more personal level:

When you are at the dinner party, and the topic of LinkedIn or Google reviews comes up, but you’re feeling too uncomfortable to blurt out “Hey – I’m a headshot photographer!” – you can now say “Actually, I teach a tiny class on that!”

People are super intrigued when they hear this.  “Really?  You teach a class?  Where?  Wait, what do you do?  Where can I sign up?”  As you tell them where to go, it’s a natural fit to tell them more about your work.

Ahem!  To be clear!  I don’t think there’s anything wrong with directly promoting yourself!  What I’m saying here is, if you’re in a situation where you’re feeling awkward bringing up your business, these magic words let you create valuable connections ANYWAY.  Magic.

Know what else is magic?  When you see how interested people are in what you care about, you just might find that your self-confidence rises, too.

Need help figuring out your tiny class?  Straight up, I have a lot of experience doing this – for myself and for other people.  I’d love to help you!  I’m teaching a summer class called Irresistible Email: It’s Time To Gather Your People.  It’s more in depth than a tiny class, but it’s wildly efficient with your time, I personally help you though any tough spots, and by the end of June you’ll be fully up and running. 

Registration closes Thursday, and class already half full (…wait, or is it half empty?  Either way – there’s still room for you!) 

But whether you jump into my class or not:

Please oh please consider creating your tiny class.  It empowers you to speak up on your own behalf in settings you would never have dreamed of.  It gives you ideas about new places to publicize what you believe in.  It creates opportunities where people seek you out. 




Irresistible Email: It’s Time To Gather Your People

This class runs June 3rd – June 28th. 

You get feedback and 1:1 help, without having to be anywhere at a certain time.

You don’t have to log into social media to reach an audience.

You can train people to open your emails.

Your emails can have a purpose so clear you actually want to keep sending them.

Marketing can feel like helping more than marketing.

Last day to sign up, here!


Registration closes Thursday night, or when all 25 seats have filled.


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  1. Eric on December 19, 2019 at 2:30 pm

    Thank you for the article. I go through this issue quite a lot, my low confidence is really affecting my work and my motivation to go out there to market myself. I wish I could meet some people like me to discuss it. But thank you.

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