Michele KueglerI’ve been in the startup world for almost a decade, and one of the hardest things for me to do should have been the easiest: talk about my business.

In the world of marketing, it’s common to hear the phrase word of mouth marketing. It’s a useful way to promote your business, and it needs to start with you. You can’t expect users, clients, or customers to shout your message from the rooftop. You need to be the start of it.

I built my food blog, Think Tasty, in the summer of 2007. At that time, I also held the role of a second grade teacher in a public school. I wasn’t fully certain that my district would want me to promote my second job of sorts, so I kept it quiet. Plus, I knew more than likely I’d leave education within the year, so I kept my side gig quiet.

In the summer of 2008 I left education and plunged fully into the world of online publishing, creating PeKu Publications. As I was trying to grow a collection of two dozen online publications and learn new roles, I focused on writing, editing, and running a business. Yes, I talked about what I did but not all that loudly.

As PeKu grew, I also began to be more vocal about my startup and what I did. However, in hindsight I didn’t truly own the personal marketing of my brand. PeKu had a good ride, with many incredibly profitable years, but as many other publications have experienced, the atmosphere changed. PeKu now is really just a shell of what it was.

When I downsized PeKu from a publishing collective to just Think Tasty, I thought about how to market this food blog. There are so many out there; I didn’t want to be just another voice shouting into the wind. One way that I could do this without having to throw many dollars at ad campaigns and social media buys was promoting myself.

I actively talk about what I do. On all of my social media feeds I include the logo, my food, and me. Think Tasty isn’t only recipes; it also is the story of me and my love for food.

As you grow your startup, find the passion that drives you to excel at what you do and share it with the world. If you truly love what you do, make sure others know about it. If you’re passionate, you probably also have some expertise in that area. Be sure to kindly offer advice and insight into these areas.

At the end of the day, not only are you trying to sell your business, its products, or its services, you’re also selling you. Be sure that others know how great you and your business truly are.