David Rowyn @davidrowyn: What has been your most effective method of self-promotion?
The most effective method of self-promotion is more self-less promotion.
There is no good method of self-promotion. If your focus is on getting yourself noticed then make a sex tape and “accidentally” distribute it. For 10 years I wrote about stocks, appeared on TV, managed money, wrote books, and started a company about stockpicking which I sold to thestreet.com. Did it promote me? Perhaps a little. And when the market went down, everyone hated me. When the market went up, people liked me. I very much enjoyed being liked. I very much hated being hated.
CNBC’s Erin Burnett show, where I had a regular spot, dropped me in early 2009. The Financial Times dropped me in early 2009. Thestreet.com dropped me in early 2009. Yahoo Finance dropped me. On and on. And when the market started going up again, they all wanted me on again. Even thestreet.com, made up of people who actually hated me, asked me to start writing for them again.
This has been pretty hard being rejected by everyone. And not only that, during that exact period I was going through a divorce, I was rebuilding the relationship with my children, I was trying to survive financially, I was still regretting going broke repeatedly in the 00s. 20 years of fighting the fight and suddenly everyone hated me. I had fears of going broke again. Just like everyone, I had fears of the financial world bringing the entire world down with it.
In November 2010 I decided, screw it, I just want to say what’s on my mind. I wanted to say I was scared also. I wanted to stop pretending. We now live in what I call “The Choose Yourself Era”. I’m sick of relying on other people to choose me. Starting in 2010 I chose myself.
I started writing on this blog. I started making new friends. I started building new business opportunities for myself and meeting new groups of people. Not just people who were going to have me around to suit their own purposes but people who respected what I had to say because they knew they were getting honest answers based on my limited experiences in a variety of areas.
I told people it was okay to fail, because everyone fails. That it’s ok to be disappointed in yourself. Okay to be angry sometimes. Okay to not always achieve every goal and that there are other ways to find happiness. Okay to sometimes be sad because life is mostly about failure and sadness, punctuated with occasional success. I gave my own methods for networking. I described my different businesses, the successes and the failures. The things I was ashamed of. It made a difference. Without planning it, I built trust.
Sometimes it’s even alright to hate what you’ve become, to realize that 20 years of hard work have put you in a place where you feel stuck and lonely. Everyone feels this way sometimes. After working 100 hours a week for 15 years, I was mentally and emotionally lost. I had to rebuild. Writing this blog helped me with that.
And when you relate to what everyone feels, and help them find permission inside themselves to feel that way, and express this in forums and formats that everyone reads (blogs, twitter, facebook, comments on other blogs, syndicate to other blogs, books, etc) then this is effective self-promotion. You don’t need one million followers. Snooki needs that. You just need one person that you really, sincerely help. Then they will share that help with someone else. And so on. And if you keep persisting with the thought in mind that you are a radio transmitter for the feelings that are always out there, always in the ether effecting everyone, then people will tune in and hear your message. That is self-promotion.