Overcoming the Fear of Self-Promotion with C.J. Hayden
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In this eye-opening episode, Caterina welcomes her long-time friend, master coach and fellow philanthropist, C.J. Hayden, the bestselling author of the phenom book “Get Clients Now!” Caterina and C.J. discuss C.J.’s entrepreneurial journey and how her background in science and information technology has helped her develop a proven system for solopreneurs to thrive. C.J. also shares lots of super tips on how to move past your fears of self-promotion so that you can build your confidence and soar in your business! This episode is info-packed.
C.J. Hayden is the bestselling author of Get Clients Now! Since 1992, she’s been helping self-employed professionals survive and thrive. C.J. is a Master Certified Coach, and has taught marketing for John F. Kennedy University, Mills College, and the U.S. Small Business Administration. She writes and teaches about practical ways to build your business without changing who you are.
Connect with C.J.:
Expand Your Fempire Podcast #49 Transcript
Overcoming the Fear of Self-Promotion
with C.J. Hayden
Welcome to Expand your Fempire with Caterina Rando, the podcast for women in business on a mission. Sharing ideas to support you to grow and thrive. Now here’s your host, Caterina Rando.
Caterina Rando: [00:00:00] My friend, welcome back to another episode of the Expand Your Fempire podcast. Today, we have a very special guest C.J. Hayden, the author of “Get Clients Now” a worldwide sensation and a book every entrepreneur on the planet has on their shelf. Or hopefully, if it’s not on your shelf, you’re gonna run don’t walk to put it there now.
[00:00:59] C.J. and I have known each other for about 25ish years. We met at a chamber of commerce event when I was in my previous business, which means it’s more than 25 years, C.J., it’s got to be closer to 30 years.
[00:01:15] And C.J. was not only an early entrepreneur friend., once I got into coaching, very much she was also a role model. A mentor. We partnered on lots of exciting things. And C.J., I am blissing to have you here with us today.
[00:01:33] C.J. Hayden: Thank you, Caterina. It’s always great to see you and great to be here.
[00:01:37] Caterina Rando: C.J. now, because I know you, I know a little bit about your entrepreneurial journey. It’s been a bit of a circuitous route to get you here.
[00:01:46] Take a few minutes. Tell the people about how you got to entrepreneurialism.
[00:01:53] C.J. Hayden: So when I last became self-employed, which was 29 years ago, um, I had reinvented myself as a business coach after having most recently been a corporate productivity consultant.
[00:02:13] And the way I like to talk about my transition is that I was working with companies, helping them get things done. And I realized that the work was great. It’s just that the companies were not where my heart was. That in fact, I liked little companies. Mostly one-person companies.
[00:02:34] So instead of doing that consulting for the mid-sized corporations, I said, “I’m going to work with entrepreneurs” and completely transformed what it was I was doing to work with one-person businesses, self-employed professionals, and never looked back after making that choice in 1992. I found my life’s work with that population.
[00:02:58] Caterina Rando: And C.J. way back in the beginning, you had a location, you had your Wings Center, which I was so happy to teach some classes there and run some groups. And I know that you several years ago, let go of that space. Now, you know me, I have my space here in San Francisco.
[00:03:20] Let me ask you what prompted you to write your book, Get Clients Now, and then let’s give the people a few super tips from it because as I said, it has been quite a worldwide sensation.
[00:03:37] C.J. Hayden: Thank you for that. I’ve really been blessed with having written a book that has not only been successful enough to get to almost everywhere in the world. But has gone into three editions as I’ve revised it as the years have gone by. I’ve been so gratified that so many self-employed professionals have found that book helpful.
[00:03:58] But the way that it began was I was working with all of these solopreneurs, micro-businesses. And when I first started as a business coach, I thought that I would be helping people really in all aspects of their business: strategy, finances, productivity, all of the different areas where we as business owners need help. But what I felt almost immediately was that where people needed the most help was in marketing.
[00:04:31] That was the thing that was really holding back everybody that I encountered. And it’s funny because I had this background in the sciences and in information technology. Years ago, that’s where I’d started out. And so I applied what I knew from those arenas to this idea of how to get clients. I said, “all right, well, there’s gotta be a system.”
[00:05:00] And I started looking for a system that would fit that group of small businesses. And I didn’t find anything. I found lots of books full of great ideas and good suggestions, but no system for putting it all together. And that’s how Get Clients Now was born.
[00:05:18] It started out as a program that I gave to clients locally in the San Francisco bay area. And it moved from being something that I did in person, to being something that I did by teleclass, the predecessor to zoom videos, webinars sessions. And then it became a book.
[00:05:39] And with the birth of the book, it was really able to travel everywhere. And I started licensing other people to use the system. And over the years I licensed about 700 different coaches around the world to deliver, Get Clients Now the program, in their local area and to their client base.
[00:06:01] Caterina Rando: That’s wonderful. That’s quite a remarkable thing, C.J., of extending your brand. The book has been a huge success, and I know also you and your company have run many, Get Clients Now! groups. And then you also now license other coaches around the world to teach your work. Beautiful brand extension. Beautiful massive monetization.
[00:06:31] For anyone that is thinking, C.J., of extending their brand in a way that you have done of taking some of their content and having other people use it for their own businesses, any lessons, any super tips, any “watch-outs for” that you’d like to share?
[00:06:53] C.J. Hayden: So once you start licensing and your baby starts to leaving your hands, you have to decide how flexible you’re going to be in terms of what other people do with it. And I made a decision early on that I would be pretty flexible that people could alter it as they wished and add things to it and take things away from it so that it would really fit who they were trying to work with. And I was quite comfortable with that.
[00:07:22] So it is something that comes up really early though. And if you’re not comfortable with people making adjustments to what you’ve created, you have to be very clear on it.
[00:07:33] Also, you have to make sure that you’re going to license that it’s something you want to stick with for an extended period of time, because if you’re used to inventing something and then it runs its course, and you put it down and you go on to your next thing. Well, once you start licensing, you can’t really do that. You’ve got people to support and people who have expectations from you.
[00:07:54] So I ran the licensing program for well over 20 years until I finally said, “okay, I think it’s time for me to move on to another thing” and had to come to the conclusion that it was time to shut it down.
[00:08:10] It ran a good long course, but I had to make the commitment that turned out to be a 20-year commitment. It’s like adopting an animal. You know? You can’t just say, “oh, I’m tired of you. I want a new one.” You’re committed. So, that’s definitely a caution that I would give to people.
[00:08:30] Make sure that you’re really liking the audience that you work with too. That’s so important because you’re going to be in their businesses. Right? They’re going to have questions for you. They’re going to need your guidance. You’ll be really intimate with the people who decide to become your licensees. So you want to make sure that that’s a marketplace that’s one that’s comfortable to you and that you like hanging out with.
[00:08:58]Caterina Rando: Very, very important, very good advice. Now, C.J., I know what’s on your plate now is that you’re teaching people how to promote themselves. And this is a very important area, especially for women entrepreneurs. I like to encourage everyone to be loud and proud about the value they bring -something that is very difficult for a lot of women.
[00:09:23] And in fact, I’m going to tell you, was it last night or the night before? I was in a Clubhouse room and the theme was, “what’s your secret sauce?” What’s special about you? And even though, you know me, I’ve been doing my thing for so many years, the idea of what I interpreted it as bragging really took me over. And I thought, “wow.” I was feeling shy about being loud and proud about the massive value that I bring.
[00:09:57] And I said to myself, wow. If I’m having that challenge after all these years of doing this, after speaking tons of times and doing podcasts and you know, everything, books and everything. Wow. What about the younger entrepreneur? Not meaning age-wise, but younger in her business. She’s probably having this challenge too
[00:10:22] C.J. so let me start by saying, you know, you could focus on many things cause you have a lifetime supply of value to bring, why did you pick this thing to be your next thing?
[00:10:35] C.J. Hayden: So just as the way that Get Clients Now! came about was that I saw a need in the people that I was working with. In the years of working with Get Clients Now!, what I’ve seen over and over again is people think that the hardest part of getting clients is knowing what to do to get clients. But I actually think that so many self-employed professionals and other entrepreneurs know exactly what to do. And the problem is that they aren’t doing it.
[00:11:06] The average solo pro is not a professional marketing or salesperson. They’re in business to employ their professional skills, whether that’s management consulting or life coaching or graphic design or architecture or whatever that thing is. They didn’t go into business to become marketers.
[00:11:25] So what happens is they have a huge amount of resistance and procrastination around marketing and sales. And so what I decided to tackle was overcoming the fear of self-promotion. Because that’s something I saw as holding people back.
[00:11:46] Even people who had my Get Clients Now! system and liked it and were using it, they too, could produce better results if they could learn to better manage their fear, their resistance, their procrastination, their inner critic about what it was that they were trying to do.
[00:12:04] Caterina Rando: That’s so important and so valuable because you know me, I tell everyone to speak, right? And I see that people say, “okay, that’s a great idea,” but then they don’t do anything. They don’t move on it because of all those reasons that you’ve just mentioned.
[00:12:21]So many people, as you said, know what to do. They’re not doing it. How can we get them more in action?
[00:12:30]C.J. Hayden: Well, one part of the secret for me is what I put in Get Clients Now!, which is having a structure to organize what it is that you’re going to do, and when you’re going to do it. And then to have some accountability around it. Whether that accountability is yourself and a spreadsheet or a business buddy, or a group or a coach, something outside yourself that gives you some accountability for, “this is what I say I’m going to do” and now look back and say,” did I do it?” Because if you don’t have that it’s way too easy to just slip and slide all over the place right around it.
[00:13:12] But then you come up against “all right, here I am. It’s Monday morning. I said today I was going to send out five emails and make five phone calls today. And here it is. And now it’s Monday and now I have to do it” and you’re right up against it. And it’s just so easy to say, “well, you know, maybe I’ll just check social media first.” right?
[00:13:41] And the next thing, you know, half the day is gone and you say, “well, it’s Monday afternoon now. I was meant to do that in the morning. I’ll do it tomorrow.” And so it goes.
[00:13:53] It really boils down to fears that we have about things like being rejected. And if you’re afraid of being rejected, you don’t ask for the business.
[00:14:05] You might choose to hide out behind marketing strategies, like, oh, running a Facebook ad, for example, you don’t have to talk to anybody to do that. Or posting promos for your business on Twitter, right? You don’t have to talk to anybody.
[00:14:19] But those things done independently of any kind of overall campaign that involves actually having human contact, they don’t work. So if you want to be successful, you’ve got to work to overcome those fears, that resistance. Because it’s ultimately totally going to hold back your business.
[00:14:39] Caterina Rando: Absolutely. If you’re not willing to talk to people, it’s a little bit hard to get clients, right? Yeah. Yes, yes.
[00:14:48] And social media is not sales. A lot of people think social media is sales. It’s not many things people do sending out their newsletters and writing their blogs is not sales either. Very, very important. Now it can get us some interest, but we’ve still got to talk to people in most cases.
[00:15:10] C.J., this is so important for everybody. What have you found has been the thing that has helped people overcome this fear of self-promotion?
The thing about fear is that it’s a defense mechanism. Its job is to prevent you from getting hurt. So the biggest mistake that people make in trying to get past their fear is they try to fight it, right? -C.J. Hayden
[00:15:26] C.J. Hayden: The thing about fear is that it’s a defense mechanism. Its job is to prevent you from getting hurt. So the biggest mistake that people make in trying to get past their fear is they try to fight it, right?
[00:15:43] We deny it. Well, we’ll say, “oh no, I’m not afraid.” Or we try to ignore it and just push past it. But I found that fighting fear with things like denial and avoidance, it’s like fighting fire with gasoline. It just makes it stronger.
[00:16:00] Your fear is part of your experience and to change how it affects you, you have to start from where you are. Your fear is a part of yourself that’s trying to protect you from harm. So instead of fighting it, what you need to do is you need to get into Alliance with it, to make friends with it.
Your fear is part of your experience and to change how it affects you, you have to start from where you are. Your fear is a part of yourself that’s trying to protect you from harm. So instead of fighting it, what you need to do is you need to get into Alliance with it, to make friends with it. – C.J. Hayden
[00:16:18] It’s not your enemy. You have to reassure that fear. Find out what it needs and try to provide those things.
[00:16:27] So let’s say you’re afraid of rejection. That’s one of the big ones, right? What would reassure that fear? What would make that fear believe that you no longer need its protection from getting hurt?
[00:16:40] Well, what if, instead of fighting your fear of rejection, you work to build your confidence? If you become more confident, then rejection can no longer hurt you. So that fear begins to loosen its grip.
[00:16:57] Do you remember Caterina back in the days of the Women’s Economic Network? When I had a format where people went around the room and they introduced themselves and they said, here’s something I have to offer. And here’s something I need.
[00:17:13] What women would tell me over and over again, after attending a couple of those meetings was that, all of a sudden they felt more confident about saying, this is my business and this is what my business needs. It was a way of building confidence around that one specific thing that was holding them back.
[00:17:35] There’s a lot of ways you can do that. You could role-play marketing and selling situations with a friend or with a coach and ask them to give you only positive feedback. Every time you try to sell them something have them say, yes, they want to buy from you and they’re excited about your product or your service.
[00:17:57] Or you could make your first marketing call every day to a networking buddy instead of calling a prospective client and have that warm, friendly experience of somebody welcoming your call and making you feel good about yourself.
[00:18:11] So techniques like these help you build up a track record of confidence within yourself and eventually make you no longer need that fear to be your defense mechanism to keep you safe.
[00:18:25] Caterina Rando: I love that. I do that. When I look at my list, I always start with a call that I know is going to be an uplifting, positive call and somebody is going to want to hear from me. That’s the best way to start your sales reach-outs absolutely.
[00:18:40] And you know, the other thing, C.J. that I found. And I think a lot of my clients would agree. Is that when women say no, they actually don’t usually say no, they say “not now.” and usually they, they butter you up so much. “Oh, you’re so fabulous. I’m sure we’ll work together sometime in the future. I so appreciate what you’re doing.”
[00:19:04] So really, if it’s rejection, it’s pretty soft, you know? Warm and cuddly rejection. The way it seems to come through most of the time.
[00:19:15] And that’s something else for people to realize is that nobody’s saying, “are you kidding? I would never want to work with you.” That’s not what people say, right? Even if they say, “oh, I’m so sorry, I don’t have the time.” Or “I don’t have the money,” which are the two that we hear the most, whether or not they’re true, but those really, they don’t have anything to do with us, right?
[00:19:36] People really are putting it on themselves. That’s very important. Even if people went after getting five “nos,” it would take them a really long time to do that because nobody really says no in my experience.
[00:19:51] Wonderful. Well, C.J., this is very exciting and we’ll talk a little bit more how people can connect with you. Before we do that, you know, you and I have had a long, long journey together in a variety of ways. We didn’t even mention that you have another book called, uh, and you have to say the title, but I think it’s “50 Ways Coaches can Change the World.” And you featured me in that book and I’m so honored. Let’s give them one or two super tips from that book.
[00:20:20] C.J. Hayden: 50 Ways Coaches can Change the World is the book. And it’s a collection of literally that- 50 different ways that you as a coach can be world-changing, whether that is as a citizen or as an entrepreneur, or specifically as a coach. And for each one of those 50 ways, I defined it, I gave examples, and then I use real people and what they’re doing in their businesses to show “here, you could do it like this. Here’s somebody out there in the world, just like you, who’s wanting to make a difference and they’re doing it, and this is how.”
[00:21:00] Caterina Rando: That’s beautiful and you know, C.J., you, and I believe that whatever our business is, that we want to embrace philanthropy and use our business for good.
[00:21:13] And you and I started, I don’t even know how many years ago it is now. We started our giving circle together, and then we wrote a book together on A Woman’s Guide to Starting a Giving Circle. And we have raised a ton of money together for the four charities that we support, Saki for Girls’ Education. Initially, we raised money for the Nepalese Youth Foundation. Now we raise money for Saki for Girls’ Education. And I know you’ve taken on doing a lot with that organization.
[00:21:53] And we also raised a lot of money for the TRIFC, which is The Rose Foundation for Children. Although our special project was raising money for Deaf Women’s Empowerment. And also the Power of Love in Zambia. And then we added Girls Up Uganda.
[00:22:15] And now I raised money mostly through my events for these charities. And you have taken on really focusing on Saki, the organization in Mumbai, India that empowers girls and say a little bit about that because of all the charities, well they all have a special place in my heart and your heart I know.
[00:22:40] C.J. Hayden: Yeah.
[00:22:40] Caterina Rando: Why did you partner with Saki? And let’s tell the audience a little bit about it, and even more importantly, how they can support Saki for girls’ education?
[00:22:50] C.J. Hayden: Sure. Well, this is the book that you and I wrote together, the Women’s Giving Circle Guide and there’s some of the beautiful faces of some of the women who were in our Giving Circle.
[00:23:03]And we profiled in that book, Saki for girls education. So, Saki is run by a wonderful woman named Aarti Naik, and she is herself, a girl from the slums of Mumbai, India. She has a learning center for girls like her who are growing up in the slums.
[00:23:24] And even though India has free public education, girls don’t get a fair shake. In the public schools, in the poorer districts, all the attention is paid to the boys. And very often the girls are discounted. They are not given what they need to be able to pass the exams that allow them to progress in school. So they’re really locked out of anything except menial labor or becoming mothers. Those are the only options in their lives.
[00:23:57] And because of that, a lot of girls drop out of school very early. Their parents sometimes pressure them to leave school, “I’d like you to go to work.”
[00:24:07] Caterina Rando: Right.
[00:24:08] C.J. Hayden: And I personally. I know that you know this Caterina. Once upon a time, I was a high school dropout. I was a teenage runaway. So I was very much like one of these girls who just didn’t think enough of herself to be able to continue on and get a higher education and be able to do something important in life.
[00:24:34] Now I got lucky. I live in a country where advancement is more possible than it is for these poor girls in the slums of India. And I had the advantage of being born, speaking the dominant language in my country, which these girls are not.
[00:24:52] Many of them grow up speaking the local language of Marathi. They have to learn to speak Hindi. And then in order to really progress, they need to learn to speak English too. So they need help with education. And my heart really went out to these girls of their situation and to Aarti because I felt such a kinship with her.
[00:25:13] And as the pandemic broke last year, these girls became in such a dire situation because for American kids, a lot of them had access to school from home.
[00:25:28] Caterina Rando: Right.
[00:25:29] C.J. Hayden: But for the girls in Mumbai, there were no computers in their homes. There was no internet service. There was no local library where they could go and use a device. Typically there’s one cell phone per family that belongs to a parent and the child would be lucky to get access to that phone for 15 minutes a day.
[00:25:51] So what Aarti decided to do, just on her own, was to start getting tablets to girls and internet signals to girls. And she built up this whole structure for girls being able to continue their education, despite the fact that they were unable to go to school.
[00:26:12] And that even wasn’t enough because there were so many girls that she couldn’t reach with the tablets. She started doing a project where the girls would get a story to listen to every day to develop their language skills. And she had them recorded and delivered by WhatsApp right on their parents’ cell phone. So the parent could play the story off WhatsApp for the child every day. It was just amazing, the level of ingenuity she showed in this situation.
[00:26:44] So I am all in on supporting her and what it is that she’s doing. You can find out more at www.Sakhiforgirlseducation.org, and Saki is S-A-K-H-I.
[00:26:57]Caterina Rando: Wonderful. Thank you, C.J. for that. And you know Aarti has come to the U.S.
[00:27:05] I know that you tried several years ago to get her to come to the U.S. and then she wasn’t able to get a visa. And finally, her involvement and your support, and we got her to come and we did a special event with her here.
[00:27:20] Such an amazing woman, doing exactly what I hope all women are doing with their businesses, which is lifting other women up as we become more successful and established in our business.
[00:27:37] C.J., you have been such a support, a role model, a sister in projects, whatever the project du jour has been over the many, many years. And I am so happy to have had our many years of association and we’ve done a lot of great work together for women in business and for women around the world.
[00:28:04] I’m hoping that the story of Sakhi has inspired other women, the women listening… you, whoever you are, that’s listening… to look at how you can embrace philanthropy in your own business.
[00:28:18] Because C.J., when we started that project, that was, I’m gonna say maybe 12 years ago and we didn’t worry about, “well, I have to focus on my business and put all my energy in my business.” and I really want to say that our philanthropy activities has greatly enriched my life and the life of all the women that donated to these charities.
[00:28:44] And I want to encourage everyone to not wait until you have hit your financial goals or not wait until you’re retired, that you can be a philanthropist today. You can take our book, the Women’s Giving Circle Guide and get started, or have it prompt you to do your own thing.
[00:29:06] There are so many ways that you can uplift lives through your business, and I’m hoping that our discussion with C.J. today will be a catalyst for you to do so.
[00:29:17] C.J. let’s tell everybody how they can connect with you. And then I’m going to ask you for any final words of wisdom.
[00:29:27] C.J. Hayden: So you can always connect with me at ww.CJhayden.com and Hayden is H-A-Y-D-E-N. So CJhayden.com. No punctuation there. And find out about everything that I’m up to.
[00:29:41] I have a blog there. I’m on three social media channels. So that’s a lot of different places that you can find me. Please do check out this home study course “overcoming the fear of self-promotion.” I think that’ll be very helpful to a lot of your listeners. And of course, my book Get Clients Now. It’s available on my website and it’s available at any online bookseller that you choose to work with also.
[00:30:09] Caterina Rando: C.J., you are a wealth of information, any final words of advice for our listeners in their entrepreneurial journey?
[00:30:19] C.J. Hayden: I think the most important thing, no matter what it is you’re trying to accomplish is to simply start from where you are. You will never be completely ready. It doesn’t matter what you’re trying to do, you will never be completely ready. Start wherever you are.
I think the most important thing, no matter what it is you’re trying to accomplish is to simply start from where you are. You will never be completely ready. It doesn’t matter what you’re trying to do, you will never be completely ready. Start wherever you are. – C.J. Hayden
[00:30:40] Caterina Rando: That’s beautiful. C.J. I love that. I like to say ready is a myth, right? Stop getting ready to get ready to begin to think about getting going and get in action. Beautiful.
[00:30:51] Okay. We’re going to leave it there, everyone. This is Caterina Rando with the Expand Your Fempire podcast and we will be together again next time.
We hope you enjoyed this episode of Expand Your Fempire with Caterina Rando.