Is Self-Promotion a Dirty Word?

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Two months ago I had a wonderful website created for my yoga business by a local graphic designer.  I am absolutely thrilled with how it turned out but have yet to show it to anyone or even post it on my Facebook page.  I’ve justified this to myself with a number of reasons – I want to get the blog portion populated first; I want to wait until I know a lot of people are going to see it.  But the truth of the matter is, I haven’t publicly launched my website because it feels like total self-promotion.  And self-promotion feels like such a dirty concept to me.

For years I worked in fields that required self-promotion for success.  As a career counselor, I would repeatedly tell students that they cannot sit and wait for an employer to come to them and hand them a job.  Rather, you have to go out and sell yourself as the only person who can meet an employer’s needs.  While running a summer basketball camp alongside my husband, the entire existence of our camp relied on getting the word out through media outlets and word of mouth.  For years, I practiced self-promotion and preached the importance of it.   But for some reason when it came to my new career as a yoga teacher, self-promotion seemed so ‘un-yogi’ to me.

I have a feeling this sentiment is shared by many in the yoga community.  The vast majority of yoga teachers I know do not have their own personal websites but instead rely exclusively on their studio to promote their classes.  And I also see this extending to yoga studios – there are countless studios doing amazing things and featuring amazing teachers.  Although they may have a website, they rely on people finding them rather than seeking out new clients.  I think that is why the yoga studios and teachers that promote themselves effectively are often the ones that are most successful – even if other yoga studios and teachers are offering a comparable product.

There are numerous reasons why teachers should have their own personal websites – if you are interested in teaching at studios across the country or hope to present at a conference, a website provides you with legitimacy and a venue to present what you could offer.  But even if you are only teaching locally at studios, a website is still critical – it should be a joint effort between both studio owners and individual teachers to get students into classes.   The reasons why studios should be creatively marketing themselves within their communities are just as numerous – as the popularity of yoga grows and more and more studios pop-up, effective branding is what will make your studio succeed.

Although I recognize and appreciate the logic behind having a website and marketing oneself, when it came to me I still felt uncomfortable about the whole process.  I just couldn’t stop feeling that self-promotion and yoga don’t mix.  But it was my husband – who has never even practiced yoga – who provided me with the most yogi-like reason for promoting my work….

My husband, Brian, fundraises for a collegiate athletic program.  In all my years working in the field of career services, I have never met someone who loves what they do more than Brian.  He works all the time – on the weekends at sporting events, at nights at networking events – Brian is always fundraising.  When I asked him, doesn’t it make you feel uncomfortable asking people for money?  – he responded by saying absolutely not.  He said that if he was asking for money for himself, yes – that would be very uncomfortable.  But he’s not – he’s asking for money for a program that he believes so passionately in and that people gain so much from.

As I thought about his response in relation to my own reluctance at promoting my website, I realized that his thinking is the exact reason why self-promotion is so critical in the yoga world.  As yoga teachers and studios, we are not promoting ourselves or our studios through websites and marketing.  Instead, we are promoting yoga – a practice that we all believe so passionately in and that people gain so much from.

To me, there is nothing more ‘yogi-like’ than to share something you know will positively impact other’s lives.  So here it goes…. Check out my website at www.rachelgerrity.com

 

 

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