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If you have to apologize for what you're promoting, you shouldn't be promoting it.

If what you're promoting really is useful, valuable, helpful, problem-solving, life-improving, business-bettering, then you shouldn't be apologizing for promoting it.

If you start your promotions with, “I'm sorry to bother you with this…” or “I hope you'll excuse this promotion…” then that's exactly how your message comes across: as a bother that needs to be excused. If your promotion is a bother in need of an excuse, why are you doing it?

I know, I know: “But people complain about me being ‘salesy' when I do any promotions to my mailing list / on my web site / on my Facebook page!”

Unless those same people are personally helping you to pay your rent, buy your groceries, put fuel in your car, pay your medical bills, and care for your family, their preference that you never promote anything that you offer in exchange for monetary compensation doesn't really hold much water. It's lovely of you to offer free advice and information, and you probably need to do so in order to build a solid foundation of trust and rapport with your audience.

But at the end of the day, you are building, running, and nurturing a business.

You have products or services to provide to people who are served and bettered for using them, in exchange for a sum of money that is resonant and sustainable for you. It is neither rude nor inconvenient for you to participate in this arrangement or to speak publicly about it in the form of “promotions.”

There will always be a certain percentage of your readers or fans who believe that you ought to provide unlimited free information and advice without ever producing a service or product for which you charge. And they will believe that if you absolutely must produce such a service or product, it is indecent of you to ever speak about it without apologizing for your audacity to attempt to earn a living.

Those people do not matter.

I mean, yes, they matter in the sense that they are human beings and we're all sharing this earth and so on — but in terms of your aspirations and plans for your business and the people you want to serve through your business, those people do not matter.

Ignore them. Let them unsubscribe from your mailing list, un-like your Facebook page, and stop commenting on your blog posts. They will either find their way back to you when they're at a place in their own journey where they can recognize and appreciate the value of what you're offering — and how you're choosing to charge for it — or they will find some other individual from whom to unfairly demand an imbalanced exchange of free time, attention and energy.

A brief list of things that do not require apology:

  • Making products or offering services that solve a real problem, improve peoples' lives or businesses, or fill a need in a useful, helpful way
  • Offering those products or services in exchange for a resonant and sustainable fee
  • Your efforts to let the right people know about the service or product you're offering

If you know that the product or service you're offering requires an apology, then immediately stop promoting it. In fact, stop offering it entirely, promoted or not. If the means you're using to promote the product or service are unethical or unsavory in such a way as to require apology, immediately stop using those means of promotion. Learn better, know better, do better.

Here is the magic formula for promotions that require no apologies

  1. Make (or do) good stuff.
  2. Exchange the good stuff you make or do for resonant & sustainable compensation.
  3. Repeat.
  4. And for bonus karma points, do it all with love. Hint: If you're following steps 1 and 2, this will come naturally.

To your unapologetic service and success,