Amy Clark

Selling Yourself: Self Promotion

Beginning MomAdvice has been quite the journey for me and I never thought that it would have become a full-time job, but somehow that is exactly what it has become. I originally had started it to share with others my ideas on things and to teach others about how to avoid being scammed in the work-at-home business. I never expected that I would now be fielding calls, getting requests from others to pay me to advertise, to have people join my forum, or that I would begin writing for other sites, but that is exactly what happened.

I wish that I was a woman who had years and years of business behind me and that I could offer loads of wealthy information on how to begin your own business, but I am new to the scene and am just gaining my own spot in the work-at-home world.

With that in mind, I want to share with you what I have learned through my years of sales experience and starting my own new website.

Sell Yourself but Don’t Lose Your Friends

Ever have a friend who has started direct selling and suddenly your friendship becomes about their products and is no longer about their friendship? I know that I am not the only one out there who has become increasingly annoyed with friends who are always trying to push their products onto you so that they can survive in the sales world. Don’t get me wrong, there are times when I am interested in buying things, but I think that you do walk a fine line in friendships when you began selling. With friend’s, I encourage you to take a less pushy approach. Offer to share with them a brochure and if they are interested, they will let you know. Don’t repeatedly continue to bother them or they will likely avoid you so that they don’t have to be subjected to this. There are less pushy ways of going about selling your business. For example, if you sell something that you think your friend would like, get it for them for their birthday. You can hope that they become so dependent on your product that they will continue ordering it from you and then you will still maintain your friendship. There are ways to share your business without losing your friendship, you just need to learn to keep the friendship first and the business second.

Love What You Sell but Not Too Much

When I was in college, I sold AVON products to help me financially during those starving college years. I had always admired the AVON products and thought that this would be a perfect thing for me to share with my girlfriends. Let’s just say that I probably could have made some money, but instead I fell into the trap. You know, the trap where you just have to have all of the products for yourself and what would have been proceeds from sales now becomes just fulfilling your own cosmetic fix. You have to exercise some real self-control when selling these types of products because you end up losing money rather than gaining it. If you really want to have all of their products, then set a goal for yourself of how much you need to make before you buy an item for yourself. I know it is terribly tempting especially when you are getting things for next to nothing, but you must learn to exercise some self-control if you want to succeed in your business. When you begin succeeding and building up loads of customers then that is the time to partake in the goods yourself.

Networking & Advertising

Networking is one of the most time-consuming parts of starting a work-at-home business. I spend hours upon hours a day on every single type of board imaginable trying to get our name out there. When you are first beginning a business, you may not have the funds to pay for someone to advertise your site for you, so you have to begin to think of more inventive ways of getting recognized. There are lots of different ways to do this; one is exchanging advertising with another company. This is usually referred to a link exchange or a banner exchange. One important thing to remember when exchanging links with someone is to make sure that their site is actually a good platform for your own. I also recommend that you not exchange links with sites that are in direct competition with the same audience. For example, I would not sell AVON products on a Mary Kay site because it would hurt both businesses to operate this way.

Another form of advertising is writing articles for other sites. There are many sites out there that accept articles and I submit my articles to a variety of different sites. Some require that your article appear on your own site, others require unique stories that are written only for their site, and others have no criteria. Whatever the criteria, always make sure that you have a very good byline that would attract those readers to your site. Within this byline provide information about your company/services and a web address where they can go for more information.

You can also advertise on different Yahoo groups and chat boards. It is important to know what the rules are for that group/board because you don’t want to be remembered for advertising when it is not allowed. Follow the board regulations and if you have questions about if a post would be appropriate or not, email the moderator or site administrator to find out. One way that you can advertise is just by having your web address and a catchy phrase in your signature line. For example, my signature is:

Amy
http://www.momadvice.com
“Being a mom is more than a title…”

You can also customize your signature lines to reflect the topic to get a more targeted audience to come to your site. It can change depending on the topic, but make sure that what you are saying you offer really is offered. Use words that draw people, but don’t make your tagline so lengthy that people decide not to read it at all. I have seen people on the boards with these enormous signature lines and sixteen links underneath their name, and you know what I do? I don’t click on it because it annoyed me that their signature took up that much space and because I don’t have time to click on sixteen links.

If you do have the funds to advertise then you need to really research the business and ask the right questions about the company before advertising. When choosing an advertiser, you want to make sure that your product fits well with their site. There really is no point in advertising if you don’t have the right target audience. I also chose places that will only accept one representative from a company because that is a better platform for me to sell my business. If there are sixty-five Pampered Chef advertisements on one site, chances are that my site is not going to be clicked as often. I always request that this is mandatory with every site that I advertise with- it is good business to handle things this way because it is more profitable for me as the advertiser.

Networking boards that are solely devoted towards networking are a great place to learn more about where to advertise and often these people that you network with will become your biggest fans. No one can celebrate more with you your successes than someone who is struggling to start their own business themselves. There is much to be gained by these friendships and you never know if one of them will become a great customer for you and benefit your own business. Always remember that networking works both ways though. Do not expect to be on the receiving end, but never offer anything back. It is customary, just as it is in friendships, to be giving too so do what you can, when you can. Offer advice and share your own knowledge so that you are a beneficial partner to network with.

Don’t Give Up

I am no motivational speaker, but I think it is important to never give up. Set goals for yourself and do your very best to achieve them. Maybe your goal is to pay off a car, go on a vacation, or just be able to go out to dinner once a week. Whatever your goal is, make sure that it is an attainable one. Start small and build up your goals as you go along. I find such a sense of accomplishment when I can check a goal off on my list and I know you will feel the same when you have accomplished one of your own “reasonable goals.” Another way you can help achieve these goals is by finding one person in your life who you can share your goals with. Doing this can hold you even more accountable for achieving these goals and can help you strive to reach each and every one of them.

I wish you much success in your endeavors as an entrepreneur and I hope that your success leads to many great things in your life.

Published July 11, 2005 by:

Amy Clark

Amy Allen Clark is the founder of MomAdvice.com. You can read all about her here.

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