8 Highly effective ways NOT to promote YOU

background image courtesy of Ricky Kharawala and Unsplash
background image courtesy of Ricky Kharawala and Unsplash

There are a number of things I am good at, however, self-promotion is not one of them. Ask any of the people who comment on my posts regularly. Heck, ask pretty much anyone. Chances are they will agree. As a firm believer in the concept that there is always something to learn, some additional skill to master, I rarely consider myself an expert in anything, but if there is one thing I deserve an honorary Ph.D. in, it is in how NOT to self-promote.

So I hope you will sit back and enjoy these tried and true tips from Dr. Potts.

  1. Treat your interests and hobbies like state secrets, better yet, treat them better

Don’t share anything that you do for fun with anyone. When people ask you to tell them a little about yourself, convince yourself that they are only looking for a way to bring the conversation back to what it is they do or what they sell. Stick to the expected script. Only tell them about surface level things such as your day job and never expand upon your hopes, goals, and dreams. Limit your networking to only watching shows on TV.

If you actually let it slip that you enjoying painting, for example, your sibling might call to ask you to help with a mural on a child’s wall. Even worse, someone not related to you might actually make you an offer to be *gulp* paid professionally for your hobby.

2. Keep your smiles to yourself

If you find yourself doing a job that makes you want to smile, bury that joy deep down. If it looks like you are actually having fun performing a task that others view as work those same others might start thinking of additional ways to make you smile. If you aren’t careful, you might just be asked to paint another mural in the not too distant future. Or worse, your connections might just introduce you, and your skills, to their other connections, and what did we just cover about networking in tip number 1.

3. Never accept compliments

That beautiful thing you just created. It was a pure fluke. If it hadn’t been that spasm in your back keeping you from adding additional brush strokes or the sun blinding you at just the right time, you would surely ruin it. It certainly had nothing to do with skill or honed practice. Those are gifts only possessed by the professionals and this was just something you do when you don’t have anything else to do and you got lucky. Make sure you emphasize the word ‘just’ repeatedly. ‘It’s just a hobby.’ ‘I’m just doing it for fun.’ ‘I just got started.’ Deflect, deflect, deflect

4. Destroy the evidence

Be like Tibetan monks and treat your interests like the Sand Mandala. Enjoy your hobbies simply for the moment and then get rid of any trace of evidence the minute the task is over. Under no circumstances should you actually save things in a way that someone might misinterpret as a portfolio or resume. Someone might misinterpret that sort of thing as credibility.

5. Convince yourself that timing needs to be right

Success is all about being in the right place and the right time. If you can just be patient enough to wait for that perfect time to call yourself a qualified expert, your name is bound to be in the headlines. The fact that those headlines may be in the obituary section is only a minor detail.

6. Never publicize your accomplishments or other interests on social media

That’s the sort of information that can be used against you. The next thing you know, you will be hit by all sorts of spam bots showing advertising for products you actually might be interested in buying, classes that might help you hone those skills, or even worse. What if some stranger actually contacted you about your not-so-secret skills with genuine interest? Didn’t your parents always tell you not to talk to strangers?

7. Don’t treat yourself as a boss or your hobby as a business

They say that the day you start doing what you love, you will never work another day in your life. Do you really want to put yourself out of work?

8. Associate your self-worth with the success of your business or product

Never remind yourself that even the most valued companies have product flops. A failure today is proof that you could fail tomorrow.


But… a failure today at least means you tried, and that you is worthy of promotion.

68 thoughts on “8 Highly effective ways NOT to promote YOU

  1. This piece made me laugh AND cry. We live in a self-promotional world, like it or not. Like you, I am not always comfortable with that, coming from “old-school,” where it is polite to show interest in another, and check your “me, me, me” at the door.The humor of your post captured the essence of what I so often feel about making myself the star of the show for the sake of self-marketing. That being said, a blog is a good beginning. Kudos for that. And I like your stuff even though you’ve never badgered/hammered/asked or otherwise insisted that I do. Cyber hugs.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I force myself to do it because I have to, but self promotion just doesn’t come naturally to me. Maybe one day I’ll get the hang of it, though I rather hope I never will. I think I prefer myself this way. And thank you, I like your stuff as well!

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes tip 9: if you do find yourself doing something suspiciously like promotion, make sure you use an image that doesn’t make sense. I was going for a shy mouse, but somehow or another those chubby hamster cheeks found their way onto the image instead.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Heh, yeah, a mouse would make sense. But I still like the hamster. Random images of cuteness do draw traffic, so it’s all good. Maybe you could claim that the hamster is meant to represent the hard work that goes into self-promotion – you know, hamster wheel and all?

        Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m half convinced there is a bear trap that will spring on my finger if I click on a post or tweet button if the update might remotely come across as braggy. It makes me twitchy just to think about it.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. It is hard to promote. My online personality is vastly “split” from my hermit-like, cocooning real personality. In fact, you could say you are connected to a character I created to stand in for the introverted author. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. That was so great, starting with the ridiculously adorable hamster. My fave, though, was number 9. And by the way, I painted murals on my kids walls and posted them on FB, and no one wanted to hire me. What’s up with that? (Maybe they weren’t that great. *I* was proud of them, though, darn it!)

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh I thought you meant 9 from an earlier comment about the use of a hamster instead of a mouse. Yeah 7 is a super easy way not to self promote.


    1. It really is such a cute little thing and it looks so stunned I had to use it. I use the term mural somewhat loosely as my nephew was only asking for hills for his dinosaur decals to go on. I am very afraid of what the new project will entail. My niece is more…um…visionary.


  4. Thank you Dr Potts – I’m pleased to know I’m not alone in finding self-promotion terribly difficult to do. Especially that whole thing where I have to talk about writing, etc – even though I love writing. And the bit where I have to call myself an author 😀

    One day, maybe. One day…

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Yes. My work is a Sand Mandala. Absolutely. It’s the process, right? And no one needs to see that result. Because it’s just a hobby, anyway. Don’t put that up on social media and, if you do, share once then, and only after sharing other people’s work, delete yours. (Yup. I’ve done that. I really have.) “Pathetic” comes to mind. But, well… This stuff is torture for me. Especially #1, 3, 4, 5, 6…never mind. All. We should have a club.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes! If you find yourself being forced to promote yourself on social media (say as in you lost a bet or otherwise got bullied into it by demanding friends who seem to want you to be successful or something) definitely bury those updates under other people’s posts.

      Liked by 2 people

  6. Great job! It is a shame how we now live in a world where we only see the “best” of everyone. I’ve been to three hairstylists now, by the way, and not a single ONE has asked me what I do for a living. Or even one question about me at all. They’re all too willing to talk about themselves, though. How do we live in a world where nobody even cares about anyone else at all anymore?


    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m not a huge chatter at the stylist. Have they all been at the same salon?

      I do have to remember that people, to your point, are only ever showing their “best” and that there is a whole ocean of experience just out of sight.


  7. Hilarious and also not. I think this deserves a punishment in itself! :p, however, you added a photo, with your web address, so I’ve pinned it, and therefore you have redeemed yourself… JUST. bloody woman! :p :p


  8. Ha! I love the tongue-in-cheek nature of your post.

    Self-promotion is definitely a weakness of mine, as well. Why can’t we just finish a book and have people come flocking to us to buy it? Isn’t it enough to have written the damn thing in the first place? Rudeness!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. This post is excellent… I find that sharing too much of the stuff you mention above to be such an annoying thing… I Give more credit to objectivity, 😉 and not too much to the diva attitude

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Me too. I’m much more comfortable sharing other people’s accomplishments not because I’m not proud of mine, but because I like to let others how much I recognize and appreciate the effort that went into theirs too.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Excellent article. The only way I do is by pretending I’m someone else. Play the part of a confident author who is a great writer. I’m talking about myself you don’t need to pretend to be a great author. I do the same at work I pretend to be a good teacher, it gets me through the day.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s an excellent tip 🙂 though exceedingly contrary to helping to instruct people how not to promote themselves.

      If you see me promote myself, chances are I lost a bet, but I’ll try to keep your advice in mind.

      Liked by 1 person

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