Tooting your own horn?

Lemonade Social has been up and running for a couple of months now. I am so excited to be out on my own and working for myself. So far, I have been fortunate and the business is picking up projects. I have also had the opportunity to speak to students at Southern Union State Community College at their 2nd Annual Ready to Work Soft Skills Seminar. And if you have read this far, I have to come clean and tell you that writing the last 3 sentences has made my stomach hurt and caused a scowl on my face that could lead to frown lines and crow’s feet. Everything I have said is true, so why is it making me cringe? Well because I am as southern as a butter bean and anything that borders on “tooting my own horn” makes me come close to breaking out in hives!

There is a funny story about how I chose marketing as my life’s calling. I started out at Auburn as a speech pathology major. I made it through my junior year in the curriculum and figured out that I HATED it. I mean the word loathe would be putting it lightly. So sitting on the bed in 209 Dobbs Hall on a fine spring afternoon, I picked up the phone (it was corded and I used a calling card) and with shaking hands dialed the number to my dad’s office. He picked up and I immediately burst into tears. Once he made sure I was not bleeding and got me calmed down enough to understand me, he sort of caught that I hated my major, that I wanted to change and I had no idea what I wanted to be when I grew up. So he asked me what I loved to do most in the world, through tears and sobs my 21 year old self replied, “shopping and throwing parties.” He chuckled, which was good since I knew he was calculating in his head how much this was going to cost him, and said “Shug, you need a marketing a degree.” So off to the business school I went…

So my love of shopping and party planning got me this degree that pays me to “toot the horn" of others so to speak. I am really good at sitting down with a business owner and talking about what they do and why they are passionate about it. I can put together a plan and shout from the rooftops why everyone in Auburn and Opelika should call them for whatever good or service they provide, but when I sit down to do it for myself I am so afraid of sounding pompous or uppity that I second guess everything I put on paper, say to a group of students or post on social media. Until yesterday, I thought this might be a problem that was unique to me and my business, but apparently it isn’t. I sat across the table from a very successful professional consultant that I hope to make a client. Over the course of the conversation he mentioned a couple of times that effective marketing scared him in some ways because he was afraid of sounding cheesy or like a know it all. I left the meeting excited about the opportunity to potentially work with this gentleman and as I was recapping the meeting in my head a light bulb went off. A lot of business owners, especially those with small town enterprises, must have some of the same fears that I do about “tooting my own horn.” That revelation is huge for 2 reasons, 1) it helps me relate to my clients in a new and exciting way and 2) it helps to give myself permission to tell people that I am good at my job as long as I can back it up with client success stories. So, is tooting your own horn at the next class reunion something I recommend? No, absolutely not. Is tooting your own horn something that I think you can effectively do for your business, or better yet, allow me to help you do for your business? You bet!

Thank you for reading my little walk down memory lane. If Lemonade Social can help you and your business toot its horn, please call me!