“I’m not as good as THAT photographer.”

“People won’t like my work.”

“I’m not worth what I’m charging.”

Sound familiar? Are you afraid to put yourself out there?

These are the negative thoughts that sabotage your chances of marketing yourself effectively.

As an artist, it’s difficult not to view your work as an extension of yourself. You have so much involved emotionally, and when someone doesn’t like or value your work, it’s very easy to fall into the trap of taking it personally. “She doesn’t like my work, so she must not like me.”

In order to begin marketing yourself effectively, you must be able to separate yourself from your work. Doing this requires two characteristics that may seem mutually exclusive, but they actually work very well together. Humility and confidence.

Humility is not low self esteem. Humility is knowing your place. We are all people. Each of us is nothing but a small fish in a huge sea of service providers. Anyone in a service industry provides a service, and it’s up to the consumer to decide whether or not to hire them to provide their service.

Are you going to be offended if someone chooses not to use you because you’re female and they want a male photographer? Probably not.

Will it hurt your feelings if someone doesn’t use you because you’re located in Oklahoma and they live in California? I sure hope not!

So, why are you offended when someone doesn’t use you because your style is not their style? Why do you decide that you have to completely revamp your pricing just because Sally said you were a bit too high for her budget?

You are you, and you can only do what you can do. You cannot please everyone, and therefore you are not meant to serve everyone. That’s it. You can only highlight your strengths when presenting yourself to your potential clients, and they will decide if your service and your offer satisfies their specific needs. If it does, they will be your client.

It’s difficult to realize that not everyone is going to love you and the service you offer, but humility makes that okay.

Find your confidence:

Confidence is the part which will allow you to portray yourself in your best light. Confidence is going to give you the ability to show people why they should use you over your competition.

You are not the only photographer in your market, and therefore, the consumer has options. Nobody is being forced to use you. If someone uses your service, that means they like what your service promises. For whatever reason, they decided that you were the right service provider to fulfill their specific needs. They chose to use YOU, not anyone else. So stop feeling bad, and don’t be ashamed to tell other people why they should use you as well.

Take a minute and think about what separates you from your competitors. Do you have a unique style? Do you have a gift with children? Do you have a physical studio when most of the other photographers only work on location? Do you have any special training or education? These are the things you are going to talk about when speaking with potential clients.

If you aren’t already special, make yourself special. And then scream it from the rooftops. Make yourself stand out, and don’t be afraid to say, “I’m really good with children, and my gift is in capturing those fleeting expressions that speak true emotion.” This is you. This is why someone should use you. It’s okay to tell them. If your strength is something that appeals to them, they will be interested. If your strength isn’t something that appeals to them, they will not be interested, and they will find another service provider that better suits their own needs. (And remember, because of humility, that’s okay.)

Attracting a client based on your strengths and what you can provide for them will be more fulfilling than attracting clients because you said you would match any other photographer’s price by 10%.

Think about it this way: by not speaking highly of your strengths and by not marketing yourself with confidence, you are actually doing your market a disservice. There are people out there looking for exactly what you provide, and by you not showing them where and how to find you, they are not getting their need filled.

Don’t make a potential client’s decision for them. Confidently show them what you’ve got, and, with humility, give them the ability to decide for themselves.