people don’t really care about what you’re doing

In building a business, creativity, inspiration, motivation, personal brand, sales by Jay Clouse

…and that should be a totally liberating reality.

Yesterday I wrote about developing a thick skin being essential to being an entrepreneur or creative professional. That only happens by creating “friction” by putting yourself out there.

And, yes, some self-promotion.

Self-promotion is a polarizing idea — some people really demonize the idea of self-promotion. And I think it comes from a natural place of insecurity.

I’m surprisingly insecure for someone who writes a daily email to a whole bunch of people. And when I am promoting my work, whether its Unreal Collective membership opportunity or one of the other projects I’m a part of, I feel the initial tension against “self-promoting.”

And if I allow that tension to censor me from promoting my work, a part of me resents other people who I see self-promoting effectively. It’s not about them — it’s about my own failure to do the same with confidence.

Luckily, I’ve gotten much more comfortable self-promoting, and it comes down to a couple of things:

  1. I’ve seen results and clients have told me the price of admission was well worth it
  2. No one else is going to regularly promote for me
  3. People don’t actually care that I’m self-promoting

The first item is obvious: if your clients see a positive return on investment, you should feel obligated to offer that same value to other people. When what you are providing is worth more to the customer than the resources spent to have it, you are both winning.

The other two come down to one simple truth: people don’t really care what you’re doing.

One of my favorite pieces on Tim Urban’s blog Wait But Why is an article titled, “Taming the Mammoth: Why You Should Stop Caring What Other People Think.”

The article explores the evolution of the human species and our social survival mentality, leading to “an irrational and unproductive obsession with what other people think of us.”

When it comes to self-promotion, because we are so naturally self-obsessed, we are able to keep a running tally of all of our “selfish” self-promotion. We incorrectly assume that other people are keeping that same running tally and silently judging us for all of the cumulative self-promotion we are doing.

But in reality, things look a lot more like this:

No one is paying that close of attention. We don’t really care — we’re stuck in our own self-obsessed worlds. In fact, you’re lucky if you get us to notice your self-promotion at all.

Much of the world is a numbers game, and much of the world is a confidence game. Some people get lucky and stumble into unique circumstances through a special intersection of time and and space.

But you’re probably not that person, and you certainly shouldn’t count on it.

So it’s best to get out there and bark. It’s best to start creating a thick skin. And it’s best to start manufacturing better odds for yourself by shamelessly sharing with the world the awesome work you are doing for them.


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