Why are good people, so bad at selling themselves?

I have never felt comfortable selling my services, even though I know I’m good at what I do and am making a positive difference in the world.

But it still shocks me to see other people with the same problem.

The extent of the problem has really hit home in recent years, as I’ve met some amazing people on courses, seminars or networking events around the UK.

I’ve never been a big fan of networking. It probably stems from my first ever networking event where an older lady very kindly pointed out that “I could be pretty… if I tried”. Which is why at most networking events you’ll find me alone in a corner, staring deeply into a cup of tea.

However from time to time I end up being joined by an actual human being. And sometimes that human being actually turns out to be on an incredibly exciting quest to make a difference in the world.

Perhaps they are running a social enterprise, bringing a community together in a way I’d never have imagined. Or perhaps they are a coach or health practitioner, inspired to help others the way someone has helped them in the past.

The fact that they are hiding in a corner like me, means that the conversation might start a little awkwardly. But once you finally get these people talking about what they do, it is hard not to feel intimidated by the strength of their enthusiasm.

I often leave an event inspired and ready to follow a person and their mission closely, only to check the web address they scrawled on a napkin for me and feel massively let down.

The problem isn’t just that I am a designer, with a penchant for pretty stuff. The problem is that this person – as talented and enthusiastic as they were in person – has completely failed to communicate any of their brilliance online.

The words, the messaging, the products, the imagery and the colours – so rarely live up to the vision and purpose that makes them so compelling in the first place. Which is such a shame, because this stuff should be doing all the work for them.

It made me question – why are people who are doing good, so bad at communicating or selling themselves?

Is it just that they are so focused on doing what they are doing, that they haven’t even thought to focus on the sales or communication side? Or is it that they feel bad about selling or communicating what they do?

Branding, marketing, sales… it doesn’t have to be sleazy!

There certainly seems to be a lot of people who believe that ‘branding’ is for big (unethical) businesses, and that if you are doing good you don’t need that stuff.

The truth is that people who are doing good need ‘branding’ even more.

Because the playing field is not level. And in a world with so much bad stuff happening, the world needs what good people have to give even more. But they can’t get it if we are all playing small and hiding ourselves away.

So I decided to help good people make a bigger impact.

At first I reached out to a few of the people I had met at various networking events, and helped them fix up their website or get clearer on their messaging.

It turns out I wasn’t just helping others to believe in the people I was helping. I was also helping them believe in themselves.

Eventually I recognised that this piecemeal approach could only help so many people, and that the problem was much wider spread. So I set my mind to working out how I could give these people the help they needed for an investment they could afford.

Challenging to say the least. But finally we are here.

I’ve researched, experimented, planned, built and used all the systems that a socially minded solopreneur needs to kickstart or revive their brand.

I’ve been busy building an alliance of creative solopreneurs who are hungry to be able to do work that serves a bigger purpose in the world.

And in May we’ll be launching a DIY version of The Brand Box to help those with even the smallest budgets make the difference they dream of making.

The irony is…

…that helping other people to sell themselves has helped me get better at selling myself. Because when you are completely focused on what other people need, it isn’t about you anymore.

Which all feels rather good! And I’m excited that my difference, is to help good people make an even bigger difference.

What about you?

Do you struggle with putting yourself forward or communicating what you do? What would give you the confidence to actually go out there and live the purpose you are meant to be living?

Cat Townsend

Cat Townsend

Brand Strategy & Design

With a background in branding and information design, Cat setup The FeelGoodAgency, to help passionate solopreneurs to understand their brand and how to wield it effectively. Oh, and to make the world a better place. It always comes back to changing the world!


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