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If you hate talking about yourself, you're screwed. Here's why:
Last Updated May 8th, 2014

Self-promotion SUCKS. It never feels right, and it makes people – AND ME – feel uncomfortable, naive, and worse intolerable.

How can I truly say, “I’m going to empower 1,000,000 entrepreneurs to get ahead in business and life” with a straight face to someone I just met?

I can’t.

That’s why I’ve always liked Dale Carnegie’s sage advice: “Talk to someone about themselves and they’ll listen for hours.”

And when I meet new people, that’s my GO-TO strategy. But here’s the BIG problem with that:

How to Be Self-Promotional (without making people hate you)

You’ll make people like you, but they won’t necessarily respect your work. They’ll like you, but they won’t refer clients to you. They’ll like you, but they won’t work with you.

And that’s the problem.

How can you eliminate this nasty problem?

By becoming self-promotional. Not the obnoxious kind of self-promotional – you’ll trigger people’s “full of crap” radar – but the RIGHT kind of self-promotional.

I cover this in my new video:

What To Do If You Hate Talking About Yourself

I’m concerned.

I’ve met a surprising number of people who HATE talking about themselves and what they do.

And I understand.

Being self promotional has a bad rap these days.

Especially when you’re dealing with some people who shove business cards in your face every chance they get.

You NEVER want to be THAT guy.

But here’s the truth:

I’m Derek Halpern, the founder of Social Triggers. And if you want to get ahead in life and business, you better start getting comfortable being self promotional

And in this video, I’ll show you how to do it the right way.

First, let me set the record straight:

If you want to start (or grow) your business, land your dream job or get a promotion at your current job, or make some extra money on the side…

You MUST get comfortable with self promotion.

How else do you expect to get noticed for your talents, get more customers, and build the career and life that you want?

The question is: how can you do it without being “that guy?”

Let me tell you a story.

Back when I worked in Corporate America, I knew I had to differentiate or die in the sea of other people who wanted to get a raise or get promoted.

That’s when I noticed an unusual opportunity to brand myself in a way that would make me stand out instantly.

Here’s what happened:

I was an analyst. And a lot of the reports, powerpoints, and numbers I dealt with required a lot of manual work on my part.

I thought, “there must be a way to automate this.”

So, I started to teach myself advanced Excel and Powerpoint skills to make what I did easier.

That’s when I realized… If I was told to do this manually, I bet other departments were told to do it manually, too.

So, I decided I wanted to be known as the guy who automates excel reports.

How did I become that guy?

I’ll tell you what I didn’t do:

    • I didn’t create a business card with Automation Guy below my name.
    • I didn’t send out mass emails telling people, “hey guys, I’m the automation guy.”
    • I didn’t become one of those obnoxious self promoters that everyone hates.

So, what did I do?

I developed a marketable skill that was in demand in my workplace. This meant I needed to read books and LEARN that skill.

And after I learned that skill, I did something very simple:

I reached out to people who I knew could benefit it and offered to help them.

I’d get straight to the point, too. I’d say something like:

“Hey, I know you run this report. I recently found a way to automate reports like this, and it saved me almost 5 days of work each month. I’ll gladly show you it if you’re interested.”

Everyone was interested, naturally. Who doesn’t want to save time?

And I showed them what to do.

In some cases, I even did it for them.

If this meant I’d fall behind on my work, and would have to stay late to complete my work, I’d stay late.

Eventually, after doing this a few times, word got around: “Derek is the automation guy.”

Now, take a second and think about what I did.

I was emailing people and telling them I know something they didn’t, and I could help them.

Does that seem like slimy self promotional tactics that you’re so accustomed to hearing about?

Absolutely not.

Did it work?


Because when you do self promotion the right way, no one ever feels like you’re being self promotional. They feel like you’re helping them and they’re HAPPY that you’re doing it.

And guess what?

I benefited from it greatly. Shortly after getting hired, I got promoted in like 6 months. Most people wait about 2 years for their first promotion.

Now want to know what’s funny?


If you’re one of the long time Social Triggers readers, you’ll know that I got started by doing conversion site review videos with other big name bloggers.

That means, I randomly reached out to people I didn’t know, promised them I could increase their conversions, and offered to show them how to do it.

And what happened?

I immediately got positioned as the conversion guy.

I didn’t go around telling people, “I’m Derek Halpern, the conversion guy.”

I simply found a few people, helped them with conversions, and they wrote about it. And within 30 days, I became the conversion guy.

And that’s because, when you want to do self promotion the RIGHT way, you can NEVER talk about what you do in an obnoxious way.

Instead, just go do it for other people for free. And eventually, you’ll become that person.

It’s that easy.

Now you’re probably wondering, how can I start doing this for myself?

You need three things:

1. You need to find a marketable skill that other people who have the audience you want to reach can benefit from.

2. You need to go learn that skill.

3. You need to go USE that skill and help the right people.

Let me share another example:

Back when I ran a celebrity gossip blog, networking with other large celebrity gossip blogs was one of the KEYS to my success.

How did I get my foot in the door?

I actively learned the ins and outs of search engine optimization, something completely unrelated to celebrity gossip

And then I offered to help some of the largest gossip bloggers with their SEO for free.

That got my name on their radar, and before you know it, they were linking me and sending me a TON of traffic.

They were also recommending that people check me out.

It was THAT easy.

Now the question is:

How can you do this without coming off like that slimy, self promotional guy?

Here are a few things to consider:

Don’t just randomly email people who don’t know you and offer your services to them. Their “full of crap” radar will go wild.

As an example:

This guy I met at a conference emailed me about his new book. He attached a digital version of it for me.

He said, “you’ve helped me a lot, and I thought of a way to repay you. You can email my book to your entire Social Triggers readership. Just my way of saying thanks.”

Well, first of all, this book had NOTHING to do with what I talk about on Social Triggers.

And, second of all, SERIOUSLY?! Your way of saying thanks to me is by asking me to email more than 140,000 people your book?


That’s how you DON’T do it.

On the flip side:

Recently, I noticed someone was testing out payment plans for their business. I know a little something about payment plans. Like the one payment plan you should NEVER offer because it’s horrible.

And I noticed this guy I wanted to meet was offering this HORRIBLE payment plan.

What did I do?


Meaning, what I’m sharing needs to be relevant to the person I’m sharing it with. It needs to benefit THEM. Not their readers. It needs to BENEFIT THEM.

I sent an email:

“Hey, I’m Derek. Congrats on your new launch. I noticed you were using that payment plan. I know you don’t know me, but I ran some tests on payment plans and I discovered that payment plan is horrible. Here’s my data.

I’m hoping you see different results, but I just thought I’d share this with you so you can keep an eye out.

Good luck on your launch.”

Guess what happened?

They thanked me, and they’re now keeping an eye out for a potential disaster.

The best part?

Now, I’m building up the brand that I know a little something about payment plan optimization AND I’m meeting people who I want to meet because of that skill.

Basically, I keep doing the same thing in different ways to continue to build my brand.

And I’m revealing it to you today because you should start doing the same thing.

So, to recap:

1. Find a marketable skill.

2. Develop that skill

3. Strategically offer it to people who can benefit from it at the right time.


If you dug these insights on being self promotional, leave a comment and let me know. I’ll read every one. And if you know someone else who could benefit from these insights, PLEASE pass this video along to them. You’ll be helping them out, me out, and even yourself out.

And if you’re new to Social Triggers and want more videos just like this on how to get ahead in business and life, be sure to hop on my newsletter and subscribe to my channel.

Until next time!

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102 comments Leave a comment
Janis Kopriva

Early in my job one of my mentors stated “Words symbolize thought”. What I view here is material that I concur with as it is properly structured and most definately properly studied. So complements on a properly researched record that has contributed to my understanding. I will return in future to read the articles as I am sure to again discover something contemporary.


It’s not just
Give. Give. Give. Ask
It’s also…
Give. Give. Give. And they will give back.
(that’s the optimist in me!)


Derek, I’m new to your videos. This was engaging from the start. Seems to me there’s something about the fear of “giving away the shop” and stories about worth and value that keep us from giving, giving, giving, [ask]. A relevant and timely reminder that reaching out and helping strategically is a very palatable approach to self promotion.

Naomi Catalina

Thanks for the video Derek. I’ve hated self promo when trying to sell something I wasn’t passionate about, earlier in life. It’s easy (easier) now that I have something to share that I live, breathe and love to my core.


always inspiring!!!! What do you do if you offer your expert skill and it isn’t accepted? I did that with a CEO that I know that runs several businesses- I offered to review some of their projects and even re-work part on one for no fee – to show him how to make it harder working and more profitable….nothing…..do I re-offer?

Randy Stuppard

Now I’m the third person who has asked about that horrible payment plan. Come on, give it. 🙂

Love the idea about being relevant. I’ve had people offer me their free stuff – which has nothing to do with what I do or my clients. Something to keep in mind when I reach out.


One thing I couldn’t help but notice is that when Derek mentions the payment plan email he writes to the site owner “This plan is horrible. HERE’S THE DATA” (backs up why it’s horrible) and then advises the reader to “KEEP AN EYE OUT”. That is crucial as it comes off as more “here’s what the data shows so just watch out for it” and less “you’re an idiot and I know so much more than you!” Even when someone is going to make a mistake in their business no body like to be called stupid especially by someone they don’t know. Derek never says “don’t do this.” He simply offers data and a warning that this person might not get optimal results.
That was my analysis at least.


    That’s a really good observation Kelley.

Jamie Goddard

Hi Derek,

Great advice. I have done this at more corporate job for years and it drove me to create LifeLeash. One of my favorite quotes from Albert Einstein sums this up nicely.
“Try not to be a man of success but rather try to
be a man of value” – Albert Einstein


Great video Derek!
Wish I would have waited to blast emails for my launch affiliates… Now I know better.
Any advice on sending an email similar after being a douchebag?


I’m not a marketer, nor the son of a marketer, but I still stalk you. That’s how good you are.

James Zedd

I do much of the same approach with martial arts schools – email them, give them some ideas, and then see if they’ll have a quick phone conversation with me.

Awesome video Derek. Thanks for all the helpful information!

Rob Orr

two key take-aways: skill set with which you can provide help, and being generous in providing valuable help to those who need it.

Outstanding Derek.


Brilliant work Derek…. keep them videos coming….. Do you do any conferences or Talks in Australia ?


Hi Derek,

You said your idea could also be applied in life as well as work, but can it? Because I’m a natural helper and giver, I help friends when they’re stuck with work or relationships, with skills like listening and empathy. I’ve become known as the go-to guy if folks need a sounding off board.

But I’ve found people just take and take and never give back or reciprocate. Am I doing something wrong here?


    Mckenna Hallett

    Jon, the only thing you need to do is ask for their help back. So you help them with a problem, gain their trust and respect and then…. Hey Friend, can you lend a hand?

    YOU have to ask. And you need to have a reason for them to want to give back. So, back to business:

    Just know that you are creating trusting relationships and then TRUST that those relationships will – WHEN ASKED – reciprocate.

    But this video is not about making friends like you, this is about making business friends like you AND want to buy your skill/info. You ALWAYS need to be asking for the sale (or the relationship or the introduction or whatever).


      IMHO I think that people really think that being a sounding board or a person who gives advice has little value. I would think that they think that people who give advice receive their reward in doing just that, giving advice, because everyone wants to give advice. Everyone wants to be heard, so when you become a sounding board, you are fulfilling someone’s need to be heard. Everyone wants to think they are worth listening to and the reward you get is the wisdom they expound to you. They don’t expect to pay you for listening to them. They think the very words they spoke have value.

      I tatally agree with Mckenna. If you think that what you do, you should make sure it really does have value or perceived value. You can ask the people if what you did for them is valuable to them. If they don’t feel it is or they don’t appreciate it, then you shouldn’t bother doing it. Secondly, if they do, you can say to them that you need help to. Show your vulnerability and tell them what you need help with in a friendly way. You might be surprised at what people will do. I don’t know you’ll have to try it out.

      In the end, I think you should throw away the idea that you know what is helpful to people. It’s like patting yourself on the back. Ask them to let you know what is really helpful. If what you are doing is really helpful, then most likely they will be willing to help you in return.

Judy - Cut the Crap Solutions

As I mentioned above: I keep coming back.
I keep thinking about the point Derek raised: RELEVANCE and this reminds me of the following episode that I have often pondered over or years.

We were selling our 4 room/3rd floor apartment. It was listed with two agents with two different sales styles. One, let’s call her Dorothy was a pusher. She showed our apartment to everyone whether they were interested or not. They wanted a one bedroom, she showed them our apartment. They wanted a house with a garden, she showed them our apartment. And then there was George. He was more conservative and showed our apartment only to potential buyers: those who were seeking 4 room apartments. (Okay, he was a bit flexible and didn’t limit his sales pitch only to the 3rd floor …)
And who in the end sold the apartment? Scroll down ….

Go figure.

Judy - Cut the Crap Solutions

I second (third? fourth?) AJ & Serenity Services support of Derek’s point that you should pitch to those “in pain”, who can benefit from your services by focusing on their Wii FM.

My problem is that in my case, actually those who need my services the most, don’t know it and if they kind of get the inkling that something isn’t working for them, they tend to misdiagnose the problem.

I am an Instructional Designer – I help people make money by sharing their knowledge with others by transforming their subject matter expertise into marketable product. The point is that while people recognize that they can’t design a logo or even need a bit of help marketing, it rarely occurs to them that they don’t know how to “teach” what they know!

Any suggestions?

And do you know how I know that Derek’s stuff is good? I keep coming back 🙂

AJ & Serenity Services

Hey Derek I really enjoyed this video. I firmly believe that there’s a right way and a wrong way to be self-promotional.

Instead of merely pitching your product/service to random people, you should spend time with those that can actually benefit from what you have to offer. My partner and I are involved in logo design, WordPress website creation, and SEO assistance. We believe in developing a rapport with the other person first to see if they’re even a candidate for our services.

Derek, something you hit on very well is finding the other person’s problem/pain/predicament and then showing how you can help with that (as in the case of SEO help). I also agree that if you offer your service for free and do such a great job that they’ll tell others about you, that word of mouth marketing can be worth so much more than other forms of marketing (PPC, article marketing, online classifieds, etc.).

In our case we offer a free e-course on the basics of starting an online business (doing market research, coming up with an online business name, what’s involved in setting up your own website, etc). After providing genuine, educational value we’ll promote our services within our email signature. We’ve also learned that if you take care of your prospects, take care of your customers, and do something above and beyond (like an unexpected bonus), then the rest will follow.

Charlotte Crowder

I give everything away for free. I just feel bad taking people’s money for what I think “if I can do it, anyone can”. But that obviously won’t make me any money, plus, the more I show people how to do things the more I find out that not anybody can do everything I do. I am still working on it, so that is what attracted me to your article. Right now (prior to watching your vid) I am just trying to up sell my self to me. I have to KEEP telling myself, “I AM talented, and my time deserves compensation as much as the next guy!”


So, what makes Derek so lovable apart from his “cut the crap” charm?
Why does he nail it time and time again?

Because his learnables are always 3Cs:
Don’t believe me? Read the comments 🙂 (OK– so not the one about his haircut …)

Hooked on you, Derek!

Sara Young

Very awesome. Thanks so much. I can think of at least ten people who need this. And that is because I am not trying too hard.

Shelley Sackier

Good heavens, Derek, every time one of your vids come into my mailbox I go through the same ridiculous routine. I say, “Ugh. I don’t have time for a ten minute video,”–and then I force myself to press play–and then I realize that was the most well spent 10 minutes of my day.
My gratitude abounds, my thick-headedness persists.

Aljoscha Laschgari

Great as always! Thank you for your effort!

Anthony Tran

Another great post Derek! You’re offering value to other people first without asking for anything in return. They are happy to return the favor later… Great video!


This is some of the best self promotional advice I’ve heard yet. Very powerful. You’ve done it again Derek.


Some great points – it’s not self-promotion if you’re helping someone.
It’s all about how you do it.
I’ve got the answer for people who are feeling depressed or that their life is lacking direction. I find these people, offer them my book or services and let the word spread from there?
Is it that easy?

Lucy Parsons

This makes perfect sense for promoting your service or skill. What about promoting a physical product?


Hey Derek,
That was awesome advice.. You make it sound so simple.

I’ve tried helping people, but they get turned off. Thanks for clarifying that relevance is key. I’ll go out and try that.

Love the FULL OF CRAP radar 🙂

Jezus Santos

Basically let your actions speak for themselves

David Cunningham

Thanks Derek, I love this video. All of your videos are actually helping make my blog much better. So thank you!

Beatrix Willius

Allow me to disagree: in corporate america you get promoted because you do some stuff which is visible to your boss. The report guy will always stay the report guy because that’s so very helpful for the boss.

That said self-promotion by helping others is really a good idea (outside of corporate america).


Thanks for the video Derek! That was a great email script you gave at the end. I wrote it down and put it in my “swipe file.”

What would you use as the subject line for an email like that?

Lisa Horlor

Your good! Very good. I love your work/info. That is all. 🙂

Gail Robertson

Thanks, Derek. Another insightful blog and video, and greatly appreciated.

Self-promotion has always been a problem area for me, in that I know I need to let certain people know what I can do and/or have done, but never knew how to do it correctly. Now I do, thanks once again to you.

All the best,



Hi Derek,
Great video! Great insight! And no you didn’t mess your hair, lol. Thanks for the great advice, it was exactly what I needed to hear. Much success to you, Marie Garbo

Samuel Osborne

The 7 simple things I learned from Social Triggaz advice that worked like a charm:

(By the way total visitors for the blog’s first month which was April, around 500, visitors for the first week of May over 600 and growing, which should equal 2000 for the second month, right?)

1 .I renamed all my blog articles by looking at trashy magazine headlines and just changed the keyword to my topic.

Did you know National Geographic magazine tests all their article headlines before releasing each edition. Why not tweak them for your articles and see if they work for you too?

2. I started each article with short sentences, wrote with easy to get language and used headings throughout the article.

Another thing Derek says is to get the reader to do something, don’t just have them read your article and think, that’s nice and see ya later. Get them thinking, ask them a question, set them a task, tell them to get a pen and paper and write something down. Get them to stick that piece of paper up for a week and tell them to look at the question and their own answers. Tell them to write new answers when they think of new ones. Train them to self-reflect.

3. Emailed total strangers (with an established following) who I thought would benefit from a single article. (I also used the script from Derek’s webinar).

4. Asked close friends (once) if they would share a specifically targeted article with their friends on Facebook. This proved to be gold.

5. Wrote for other blogs.

6. Made friends with my followers and asked them if they wanted to be on the podcast, especially international followers.

7. Was not pushy. Was authentic and upfront with people and had a lot of fun.

Rebecca Brosnahan

Thank you Derek, this was timely content to watch.
The more I learn the better I am getting at enjoying putting myself out there and doing the self promotion. You and social triggers have been along for the ride and it awesome!!
The hair still looks great!


Thanks for another great video Derek! I’m starting up a site…soonish… and will be using this info to help me. Thanks again!


I just used three of Derek’s ideas in succession, collaboratively with my wonderful personal trainer.

I’m a pain relief specialist, and have just launched a new design business: Practical Sanctuary, Spaces that Heal. I needed a really good case study.

So I went to my personal trainer, who is also my bodywork client, and offered to redesign her space for barter. We did an in-depth discovery session about her vision and goals for her business, and worked collaboratively to pick the best colors and themes for her space to support that vision.

Meanwhile, I promoted her to my clients by offering them a free training session from her when they bought a package from me, employing Derek’s “Don’t give discounts, give bonuses” principle. I sold a bunch of packages, she got several new clients.

And finally, I got some fabulous “before” and “after” photos for my website, which can be seen at the link above. She got a complete branding upgrade, and is attracting clients left and right. I’m also getting training for half a year. Win-win-win!

Joe Simmonds SEO

My experience has been that people react really well to stories. If you can make your ow story entertaining and engaging instead of just ‘look how f&*cking great I am’, people will actually want to hear it 🙂


Loved this one! And I’m one of those people who just stuck a business card in your mouth. Sorry about that but thanks for setting me straight. Would love to see more on this subject: “How to/not to self-promote.” It really is a very difficult, and important, subject.

Love your Stuff 😉

Michael Swaleh

Derek, been following since I met you (with Pat) in the Lou, and this was one of the better episodes I’ve seen. Thank you! It seems to come down to validation. In today’s world of endless options, endless availability of information and misinformation, and constant vying for our attention, showing what you can do before asking for anything in return validates your trustworthiness. That validation is usually the key difference in someone deciding to follow you, buy from you or promote you.

Jordan Coeyman

Good stuff Derek.. I love how the the production value ups, ever so slightly, per episode.

Ever think about trying to be on television? I see you headed there..


self promotion is difficult when you are a single person startup. you don’t have the resources to put into marketing and fancy websites, so youre reluctant to tell people about your services because you fear they wont take you seriously. this is tough because you know you are skilled at what you are pursuing, but know that most people that come across you won’t give you the chance to prove your potential value to them.

thanks for these videos – love what you do.

Lisa Noble

I can relate so much to this video. I am really good at what I do, but man, I am so uncomfortable promoting myself. This video will me an others I’m sure. I find ways to push through, but I know I need to get better at it. Derek you look like you have no fear! Thanks for the video. I may have to watch it again and again. lol

Lou Johnson

I have been performing magic at my local COOL Coffeehouse called SIP THIS for FREE. Once a week. It was crazy, but it’s paying off. People find out about me and they end up hiring me. Thanks for the videos, Derek.

Michael O'Brien | MKOB

This is why I subscribe. Thanks Derek! May your day be full of chocolate.

Elliot Goldenberg

Hi Derek,
Video on self promotion is very to the point. I’m a fan of Dale Carnegie’s ideas in terms of meeting someone for the first time, & I certainly try to self promote in the appropriate venue. However as I concentrate on a very ‘narrow’ niche, I don’t always bump into dentists per se on a daily basis. As a result must rely more on calls and emails to existing and potential clients. We use testimonials to project our main competencies, but being more direct without the BS, sounds like a good way to change our approach.

Marsha from YesYesMarsha.com

*facepalm* – “Did I mess up my hair?” – LOVE IT!!

Brilliant advice. So often, people ask me, “But what can *I* offer someone else?” Love the idea that you should *actively learn a new skill.


Jennifer Haston

Good Stuff Derek!

Give, Give, and give and then Ask. Someone else said the same thing I was thinking. I have lots of personal coaching clients that have “paid” me by referral. Can you talk to your readers about how to make that graceful transition from free to fee? Or is it advised to expect to offer free for a while to get the word spread and then you can charge people?
Keep up the good work!

And since you asked, my comments on self-promotion are as follows:
1. If it is accurate, it’s not arrogance.
2. If you don’t sing your praises, you can’t expect someone else to do it for you.


So enjoyed this Derek! It’s actually really validating.

As a UI/UX designer I have several “just the design” packages but sometimes clients don’t know how to implement the graphics and use code to make sure things fit in just right so I’ll offer to either clean it up, walk them through it or just do it for them – at no extra cost. It used to make me scared I was giving away too much but it really makes me proud when clients are super hyped their sites look as good as the mock-ups!

Thanks for this!


Your videos are so funny, but to the point. Love them all!


I never knew how to do self promotion the right way and have read and studied “How to Win Friends and Influence.” Any time I talk to someone, especially a new person I try to focus on them and let them talk about themselves. “Full of Cramp Radar” – funny, funny, funny!

I send a weekly email campaign to my list so I’ll start there with self-promotion the right way as you just taught. Thanks Derek!.

Shawn Dady

What’s the bad payment plan? Now I HAVE to know!

Patty Ann

Good one Derek. Got a suggestion. Do a segment on converting these freebie promos over into paying customers. You know like discussing graceful tactics on how to bow out of doing freebies and replacing it with real $$. Just a thought.

Keep up the good work!

Willaim B.

Thank you for another great tip Derek! And I agree, self-promotion doesn’t have to be like everyone imagines it – something bad. As long as you are providing relevant value you should be good.

Ed Ryder

Love the “full of crap” radar graphic Derek! Brilliant & funny…


Thanks Derek. Great practical advice that works in business, relationships and life.

“Did I mess up my hair?” That was hilarious.

Sundae Schneider-Bean

What isn´t beautiful about “giving” as a smart business strategy. Love it. Now I have to actually get out there and stop waiting for people to come to me… (drat!) 😉

Mckenna Hallett

My fav part of your videos is your passion. So to your short list, I would add a forth ingredient: passion. CARE about the people and show that you care by being focused on your:

Passion to help
Passion to share
Passion to make a difference in people’s lives.

It’s a key part of what has made you successful and makes me stop everything and race from my email box to this page! I love your passion!!!

With all that passion pushing our content sharing, how do we keep from Over-Sharing?! I have no problem sharing my skill-sets and getting respected. But crossing that bridge and beginning to charge for our services (and no – I am not afraid to ask for the sale) is a trickier transition.

Any thoughts?


Well done Derek! I completely agree with your advice in this video. I worked for Procter & Gamble for 36 years and one thing ALL the most successful people had in common was the ability to brand themselves as you’ve discussed here.


You need to always be marketing but picking your spots. I see it the same way as the 80/20 rule in creating and sharing content but in engaging with other people. I spend 80% of the time talking about them and just 20% about me when it applies.

When your good you tell other people about it, when you’re great they tell you


I loved your example of how this worked for you in corporate, and how you translated it to your own success.

I have a similar example (Hey, I can help you with data visualizations) in corporate, but I’m working on building a more marketable skill for an online business. Thanks for the tips 🙂

Frank Schwarz

Excellent video. I had to watch it twice in a row so I could jot some notes.
Thanks for the insight. Now to give more away!

Frank Schwarz

Duncan Meadows

Great video. I agree with some of the people comments on here. Help only certain type of people who look they want advice or want to be helped. A lot of them are stubborn especially here in California due to job security blah blah blah. For me I look young, but hardly anyone know my age and for me to help people I have to make it a different approach because of how young I look. Self promoting yeah I like it have to look great, but then again there is a difference I use self promoting on establish clients and have them promote me. Also in the other video that you put out Derek about showing customers the before and after picture helps too with this video because right there your work is shown. Great job thanks for the tips.


I used a ‘show and tell’ method back in my headhunter-for-hire days. This was before social media so you really had to know where to look for qualified candidates and have a persuasive phone presence.

If there was technology company I really wanted as a client I’d sometimes offer to “make a few calls” for free. When those calls resulted in a hire (and they often did) they could save potentially $25,000 in fees right out of the gate. I got tons of long term contracts that way. (LTV per client = $100-$250K.)

It’s hard to know what to give away free. Investing a few hours in doing something that comes easy to you can have huge payoffs.


Bryan Clark

Awesome video Derek 🙂
You’re an inspiration, and a wonderful mentor! Keep them coming.

Jessica Castle

Did Derek do a video on that horrible payment plan you shouldn’t be using? I’d love to get the link!


Much like what’s been said before:


I find in my line of business BECAUSE there are so many charlatans, and BECAUSE there are so many snake-oil salespeople, and BECAUSE there are so many people out there who will happily take advantage of poor saps and relieve them of their hard earned money without blinking an eye, I had to find a way to differenciate (sp?) myself from the “CALL ME NOW!” psychics out there.

The way I did it (and continue to do it to this day) is be more concerned with my client’s well being and spiritual growth rather than being a “Walking Magic 8 Ball”. I try my best to steer my clients in the direction of living the best life possible rather than a machine that spits out answers to the future. Do I still read cards and advise people on their future? Of course. But in the time I spend with them I make SURE to get them to really think about the spiritual implications of what I say and how the information I give will help them live the best life possible.

Not only does going about it that way free me from the “ick” factor of self-promotion the wrong way, but I go to bed at night and sleep well knowing I’ve TRULY HELPED someone rather than being a “Human Magic 8 Ball”.

Spencer Nadolsky, DO

Very good Derek. This is very relevant to what I am currently doing right now!

Frank Daley

Good stuff, Derek!
I’m having some difficulty implementing it because my field is self-development, especially self-knowledge, and it’s not exactly a skill that can help people with an easily identifiable and fixable problem.

It’s more an understanding of life processes. I’m having difficulty coming up with small or short solutions (for a traditional funnel) because my clients’ problems mostly defy fast solutions (choosing the right career, fixing procrastination, finding a life partner, etc) that can’t be fixed in a downloadable document that can be absorbed in an hour for $37 buck!
Because of your research methodology and learning, you of all people, know that.

I’m working on one that is “The 3rd best way to choose a college program!” for students who are failing at school or at-risk re dropping out of college (or even senior high).

That “3rd” thing might be at least counterintuitive as a sales pitch if not outright disastrous, but it actually makes sense.

The best way is knowing yourself (in which case there there is no problem!).

The 2nd best way is by taking my course to learn about yourself (but that’s a longish program and people don’t know me so are unlikely to buy it at first–until I can persuade them it is in their best interest).

The 3rd best way is to get my short product which can show them how to choose a program well enough to get them set up for first year, get them started on the right track. There is also the possibility of the upsell–the bigger, more complete course on self-knowledge.

I agree with your procedure. Makes perfect sense. I’m just trying to make my thing fit it properly. And I’m not afraid of self-promotion in the right way.
Thanks, Frank


This is so true. To sum it up a little differently: don’t just tell people what you’re good at – show them. Then, their referrals are way more effective than you going around being “that guy”.

Just today I had a call from a lady who needs help with her website – she was recommended to me by a previous client of mine. She wanted to talk to ME specifically because she heard that I had done a great job for someone she knows. I didn’t need to be pushy in the slightest and the call ended with a meeting in the diary for next week. The more I find ways to thoroughly impress the clients I work with, the more I get phone calls like that one.

SEO Expert Dagmar Gatell

I just love Derek Halpern 🙂 What a great internet marketer and expert to learn from!

David Gadarian

Thanks Derek. I remember you doing those site reviews (and even vaguely recall there used to be a link to them on your sidebar – BTW the ones that I saw were really good!)

A career ago I was on the opposite side of this coin and was way too averse to self-promotion (not that I’m a master at it now) but the result was when the economy slowed I was in a world of hurt. I like to think of this now less as being self promotional and more along the lines of developing a personal brand.

Right now I’ve developing a few “big ideas” for this year and I plan to use the strategy you used for those site reviews (helping and showing) – it is on my list right below another tactic you introduced me to called that I call the Derek Halpern Slipstream Approach (that’s not BS). So now apparently I need to officially name this one as well – maybe the Dererk Halpern Online Audit Approach…

Keep up the great work!


Steve Farber

Great, as usual, Derek! Just wanted to say how much I love your vids.

Alexander Sebastian (streamism)

Great Content as always.. Giving always pays off in the long term!
You touched on a few approaches I am implementing in my own venture so nice to get some reassurance on my path!


Great video.! I agree self promotion is important to success, but I always get in my head and think that I am going to be associated with slimeball loud mouths. I just recently launched my personal coaching site, and when it came time to tell my friends and network. I got scared. In my head I thought there would be this big back lash of people with pitch forks banning me off social media. I got over it, did my announcement, and it was a hit. Im glad I didn’t let the fear hold me back, cause I would have missed out on a huge opportunity to connect with an engaged audience while I am considered new.

Thanks for the tip on how to reach out to people. I’m going to give it a try as part of my guest blogger strategy.



This is great knowledge Derek. Thanks for the video. They’re actually pretty fun to watch.


Derek, I always appreciate your clarity and this time have to chime in to say your advice is right on. The connection has to be personal or at least personalizable to the person, which is what I do, so that’s a variation. I offer a process each person customizes to their own situation, and they get results that affect their own lives. So I’ve helped them before we ever meet. Those who really like it can do more. When you have something truly, or even astonishingly helpful, people talk (in a good way). Thanks for distilling it down.


(1) Find a skill: Science, Art, and Storytelling
(2) Learn a Skill: Storytelling and Entrepreneurial Skills
(3) Sharing my passion for living, learning, playing in the Ocean: Feel-Good Ocean Stuff : No More Fear-Mongering

Thank you!! – Clarification is priceless

Chris Wechner

Hi, Derek.

Not that you need my “validation,” but I’m really impressed with your points.

Someone (who is really smart and amazingly ambitious) recommended that I subscribe to you, because you have so much to offer.

Of course, I did what mostly everyone else does. There is SO much info on the Internet, new info gets pushed to the dreaded “I’ll get to it someday pile” that never gets read…or viewed.

THIS time, I decided to watch.


Your email title got me, “If you hate talking about yourself, you’re screwed. Here’s why:”

So I finally watched this video.

I have to give a talk later this evening, and I WILL show the audience this video. Even if they don’t care much about what I have to say, they SHOULD get plenty of value from the idea you share here.

It’s consistent with the “center of influence” marketing I discovered by accident, and my mentor keeps reminding me of it.

Thank you very much. I look forward to learning enough about you so that I can figure how to help you with something you find to be relevant.


Totally agreed. If you establish yourself as the “go to guy” for something, people will start noticing and you’ll start becoming in demand. When you offer a good service that people need and they know about you, they won’t mind paying for your services. I like Simon’s comment “give, give, give, give, ask”


Great video again. Self promotion is something I (and most other Brits) really struggle with so this is a great way of doing so without being cringey! After I watch your videos I go and change something almost every time whether it’s adding a pop-up to my site, 3 pricing options instead of 2, before/after pics ….you know your own blogs! Thanks for all the great (free) advice.

Jeffrey Smith

Gotta love the law of reciprocity in action. Thanks Derek, it worked. Already have me thinking of ways to give back.

All the best!

Andrea Veda - LifeAfterBread Health Coaching

This couldn’t be more perfectly timed for me (you seem to do that a lot, Derek, did you install a brain slug or something???).
I just launched a video and opt-in for my upcoming book that’s pretty unique in my market…

Find a Skill – check
Develop it – check (taken a long time!)
Offer It – Arrrrrgh! When is the right time, Derek? When it’s finished? Some other factor I should consider???

Your advice about approaching others – that I really need to work… thanks for the reminder.



There’s never a good time to self promote yourself because it comes off as, “whats in it for me”.

I remember an individual was bragging about all the stuff he knew about the creative industry, although his intentions wasn’t to come off douchy and self promotional, it did unfortunately, and everyone that was listening turned a deaf ear.

Never a good time to self promote and the only way to get noticed about a particular skill is to help those that are in need of your particular skill.

Like you said, relevance is key.

Fantastic video Mr. Halpern.

W. Lee Warren, MD

Great post, as usual.

Anyone in the digital information business, writers, speakers, etc., struggles with this. But if you believe in your products and yourself, you can use find ways to make yourself relevant to your prospects. Derek’s advice is sound.

Not so relevant if you’re a brain surgeon- people come to you. But in online business, there’s so much noise that everyone who’s saying, “Listen to me!” finds their voice buried in the cacophony (there’s one of those big words you hate!).

It’s only when you define who you need to serve and serve them with purpose that people start listening. Simon’s comment is spot-on.

    patricia Love

    Great Video…and completely agree…will figure out the best way to promote my “Positive Online Convention Website”!! without having it all about me! Thank you
    Patricia Love
    Life’s Cheerleader


How do I feel about self-promotion? Well, I’m a Leo, so that should give you a clue, lol. I think self-promotion can go a long way, as long as you do it right and don’t turn people off, as you said.

As a healthy food blogger, I follow a lot of others who do the same but just do it all wrong. Especially the ones who constantly brag about things, show off, or judge others for their habits. Easy way to get passionate haters.

And then on top of that, they respond negatively in public (sort of veiled criticisms) at other when they receive criticism in return. I believe that it’s easier to reduce the amount of criticism if you’re not judge-y or too “hey look at me!” in the first place. Followers can feel it in everything you put out there.

On an unrelated note, I wanted to say that now that I’m doing your Start Your Blog Right course (completely blowing my mind) and I’m super familiar with a lot of your techniques, I love how this video is a lot of recap of what you’ve said before but gives different perspectives of it and how it can be used. Thanks for reiterating your success points in different ways like this.


Tamara Lackey

Your haircut really does look good, Derek. Another great video : )


This is perhaps one of my favorite ST videos ever. So simple and practical. Love it!


I love this. I am a Massage therapist who unconciuosly did this straight out of school to great success, but I only did it once. Now years later in a new town I am looking to go out on my own once more and am trying to think of ways to follow this principle.


I used to have trouble being self-promotional until I realized that if I never explained the benefits of what I do and how I do it, I’d never get more clients! Duh! Same thing with pricing. When I explain how an investment of $3000-$5000 in a business plan and strategic consulting can not only produce hundreds of times the ROI in loan or investment funding, but also provide an incredibly useful tool to guide the launch and growth of a new business…well…my conversion rate naturally increases.

I predict a really long comment thread of people being self-promotional. Nice one Derek 🙂


This reminds me of your How to talk about yourself without being a bragger.

Link for people.


Nice work, bud.

I spent 60 minutes on the phone with a reader helping him make a smoothie. Yes, for free. Yes, 60 minutes.

Next thing I know, he says I’m the REAL Vitamix customer service. Then, he’s tells me about the ab-flattening program he’d be interested in.

Give, give, give.

It works, AND it’s satisfying.


    oooh, Lenny your comment made me think about what current clients have said and reminded me to keep notes of that. A few new clients have told me that they called me and booked sessions because I took time to speak with them first, 30, 60 + minutes and that I was accessible whereas they’ve tried reaching a specific company (the essential oils that I use) and have never gotten through. Thank you for that reminder! Give, Give, Give…don’t expect to receive but put yourself out there ;). Derek, your videos always make me laugh. A sense of humor trumps all 🙂

Simon Green

My cliff notes:

“Give, give, give, give, ask.”
“Keep it relevant and timely.”
“Don’t be an obnoxious networker.”

    Lisa Robbin Young

    Reminds me a lot of Gary Vaynerchuk’s book title “Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook”

    As a musician, I see a lot of people expecting “free” – so I try to do it in different ways. When people come to my shows (which they pay for), I usually give them a surprise bonus that they can take home with them. I’m making a name for myself and my shows in that people never know what to expect (or what they’ll get) beyond really great music that inspires.

      Kamila Gornia

      Oh yeah, I was gonna say that reminded me of Gary Vaynerchuk.

      Great video (love the effects, haha) but even better content. Give before even considering asking.

      I love the idea of giving people a surprise bonus too, Lisa.

      Simon Green

      That’s great Lisa. Musicians have a lot to improve in live shows in terms of interaction. So many get it wrong. It sounds like you’re getting it right.

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