Self-promotion feels really awkward to me. I barely post on my personal social media accounts and I struggle to talk up the things I’ve done, even to friends and family. In the past I’ve managed social media accounts for organisations with large followings, but when it’s my own work or under my own name, it feels different. Needless to say, having this blog with my name and photo on it sitting on the front page of Hacker News the other day was kind of nerve-wracking!

If you want to start a business, it’s pretty difficult to get noticed and find customers if you’re not putting yourself out there. As we’ve made our first efforts to promote the things we’ve built, I always feel drawn to the least obtrusive ways of doing that, like paid search ads targeting people who are already looking for similar services. Clearly, this is not a great approach – the way to do it seems to be joining Facebook groups, spamming people on Twitter, and the like.

I also wonder if our privacy-consciousness and lack of a social media presence leaves us at a disadvantage – would it be easier to launch something and get feedback if we had thousands of Twitter followers to share it with?

I’d like to get better at being less of a lurker and talking up our efforts, but I want to do this in a way that feels authentic. I don’t want to be one of those people trumpeting themselves as a ‘thought leader’ online, or bothering potential customers by obnoxiously cold-calling them with a sales pitch.

I’d be interested to hear from online business owners who struggle with this too. Have you managed to overcome it? Do potential customers maybe not mind as much as I would, being called up with a sales pitch?