I feel stupid now, but one EASY change improved my online presence

This didn’t come naturally to me. In fact, it was antithetical to how I lived my life.

I thought you could build a brand online just by being nice.

I thought you could share your ideas and sit back while others noticed them and then engaged you, supported you, and wanted to join forces with you.

Oh, how naive I was.

Recently I asked a local entrepreneur of a successful start-up to say what he considered the number one thing to which he owed his success.

“Sales,” he said. He didn’t even skip a beat. The words left his mouth before I had even finished my question.

This wasn’t the answer I was expecting. I don’t know what I was expecting, but it wasn’t this.

I didn’t want it to be this. But, deep down, I knew he was right.

I encouraged him to go on.

“Selling is everything. You’re constantly selling your business, your ideas, yourself. Everything is sales.”

He’s right. And I was wrong.

I was going about trying to build an online presence in the wrong way.

I’m also finished with a graduate degree in social work. My last two jobs have been in the mental health field.

Dealing with emotions comes much more naturally to me than sales.

For me, the word “sales” has always had a negative connotation.

But “sales” is one thing that, after having come to terms with it, has produced exponential results in my ability to spread ideas online.

The same could be true for you.

Here are some of the ways I have benefited from adopting this mindset

1. It has changed how I approach social media

Humans are social creatures. We are hardwired for connection with others.

We evolved by relying on others. We never could have made it this far if we decided to go it alone.

That being said, each person has unique gifts and must learn to market those gifts. Each person must sell who he or she is in order to be successful.

Of course it is this way. If you don’t sell yourself, your ideas, and your vision, who else will do it?

By integrating this wisdom, I moved from being reactive to being proactive.

On social media, now my intent is to sell myself and what I have to offer.

That doesn’t mean I’m not genuine in my actions and intent.

It means I take responsibility for what value I offer and create opportunities so others can reciprocate.

2. It has changed how I write

If you look back at some of my older Medium posts, you would probably laugh. I know I have.

I used to write in a way that was more suited for the now defunct — or at least I think it is — Live Journal blogging platform.

Remember that thing? Wow, those were the days. That was when it became cool to overshare and pour your heart out on the Internet.

Now I write with purpose. I am always asking myself, Why am I writing this?

What do I have to offer?

What do I hope to get out of this post?

How am I producing value for those who will read it?

This simple shift to a selling mindset has led to much more attention, positive feedback, and success on Medium.

Give and you shall receive. Create value for others, and they will be drawn to what you are doing.

3. It has altered how I approach collaborative opportunities

Again, I was very naive when I first started to promote myself and my ideas online.

I thought I could write in a journal-like way and everyone would be enthralled with my quirky, reflective musings.

No, that was dumb. And no one cared.

Now, I write to engage others.

I comment with genuine feedback, and I do it in a way that demonstrates what I have to offer.

By being confident in who I am, I am allowing myself to be seen as worthy of collaboration.

I do this online, but I also do this in person.

It’s how I scored my first guest-blogging post.

Here’s how it went down. I happened to be at a meeting with a mental health blogger who I knew about from having followed her online.

I introduced myself and genuinely told her how much I appreciated her work.

Normally I would have stopped there and called it a day.

But I had become invigorated by connecting with folks online, and I had adopted a selling mindset.

So, very naturally, I said to this local blogger, “I’m really passionate about mental health as well. I write about it on my site.”

Her response: “Oh really? You should write a post for me!”

That’s all it took.

But I wouldn’t have gotten to that point had I not sold myself.

4. It has changed how I think about myself

Finally, and this is a big one, becoming comfortable with the idea of selling myself has led to a shift in how I think about myself.

First it was subtle. I played around with the idea of becoming more sales-oriented and made minor changes to my life.

Then, as I noticed the success I was having, I started to change more and more.

Until, after a week or so of making small changes, I felt a fundamental shift in my mindset.

And with a shift in mindset came increased confidence.

That increased confidence has empowered me to increase my output and, therefore, increase the number of opportunities I have to connect with others online and in my day-to-day life.

But what about you?

You could easily do this as well if you wanted to. I’m not a genius, and I don’t have special gifts.

I just committed to trying out an idea that, at first, felt foreign to me.

For me, the foreign soon became the familiar.

So let me ask you: What is holding you back from trying this?

Have you already made this mental shift in your life? How is it working out for you?

Regardless, I’d love to hear how it’s going, so leave me a comment below.

Remember, what you have to offer is the best tool you have available to you.

Disagree? Sell me on it.

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