Getting Past the Fear of Self-Promotion in Your Jewelry Business

Jewelry Business Insider:
Rena’s Exclusive Interviews with the Experts

Interview with Bonnie Marcus by Rena Klingenberg

Bonnie Marcus - interview on getting past the fear of self promotion

Bonnie Marcus, M.Ed., CEC, founder of Women’s Success Coaching


RENA: Why does the idea of promoting ourselves and our jewelry creations make us feel afraid or uneasy?


BONNIE: We feel afraid and uneasy because we feel vulnerable.

It’s one thing to sell someone else’s jewelry, but we are most vulnerable when we are selling our own creations.

We tend to take the rejection personally and so we are afraid to really put ourselves out there because we don’t want to have people reject our work (and reject us).

It’s way too personal.


RENA: We often give ourselves very legitimate-sounding excuses to delay or avoid promoting our business.

How can a jewelry artist recognize when the true issue is fear of self-promotion?


BONNIE: Marketing or self-promotion needs to be a major part of your weekly activity.

I would suggest blocking out time during the week when you are devoting your time to marketing and not creating. Once it’s on your calendar, it’s harder to overlook.

Also, you can recognize when your true issue is self-promotion if you recognize intellectually that you need to do this for your business, but emotionally you cannot do it.

You will do almost anything but promote yourself – and as a consequence, your business will fail.


RENA: If you were a jewelry artist held back by the fear of promoting yourself and your art, what specific action steps would you take right now to get past that fear?



  1. Think of marketing yourself as having conversations with people. There is give and take in a conversation where you are asking questions and getting to know someone and vice versa. Don’t worry about making a pitch or formal presentation and just let the conversation flow.
  2. Write out your personal story and what you love about what you do. How is your personal story related to your work? What prompted you to do jewelry design? These questions can serve as the basis for creating an interesting story about yourself and your work that really attracts people and interests them. People love stories and they remember them. Create your story.
  3. Don’t focus on the outcome. Stay in the present and engage with people and build relationships. Let them know what you do and your story. Make it personal. Making jewelry is a very personal art form and the purchase of jewelry is also very personal. Don’t worry about whether or not they are going to buy. Instead focus on the relationship and getting to know them and letting them get to know you. People buy from people.
  4. Understand that you have a unique gift to offer the world. This helps to change your mindset. Instead of trying to convince people to buy your products, you are letting them know about your special gift and how it can benefit them. Let go of trying to sell everyone.
  5. Collect testimonials and review them to get a better perspective on what is your unique gift and talent.

RENA: Thank you, Bonnie, for giving us these strategies for getting past the fear of self-promotion!

About Bonnie Marcus

Bonnie Marcus, M.Ed., CEC, is a Certified Executive Coach, author, and professional speaker. As the founder and principal of Women’s Success Coaching, Bonnie assists professional women to position and promote themselves to advance their careers. honored Women’s Success Coaching in 2010 and again in 2011 as one of the top 100 websites for professional women.

Bonnie’s weekly radio show, GPS Your Career: A Woman’s Guide To Success, provides practical tips and resources for professional women to succeed in business. She is also a contributing writer for, and has been featured in the Wall Street Journal and CIO Magazine.

Bonnie has held executive positions in startup companies and Fortune 500 companies.

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  1. No. 3 resonates to a degree I would not have believed possible a few years ago. There were people who looked longingly for a year or two at the things on my table; we talked and talked and talked, but they never ever bought. Now they are frequent buyers.

    Paying focused attention to someone and listening intently to them is so profoundly important.

    We’re in the happiness business and jewellery is simply the vehicle, the physical manifestation of that happiness we bring into many people’s lives, not just that particular customer’s. Testimonials? You betcha. I hear back all the time now how happy people were to receive my jewellery as a gift. There’s a German lady who visits family here every summer and after the first success three years ago she comes every summer to the market to buy all her souvenirs and gifts from me.

  2. I can so relate to “you can recognize when your true issue is self-promotion if you recognize intellectually that you need to do this for your business, but emotionally you cannot do it”.

    That’s exactly how I felt when I first started my jewelry business. I really wanted to have a successful business – but I just could NOT make myself call any shops or ask for show applications.

    Finally I got to the point where it was harder for me to have a business that was going nowhere than to actually pick up the phone and take action.

    So finally I called a shop to make an appointment to show them my jewelry.

    And I discovered that those calls I’d been dreading were actually astonishingly easy – and that the people I dealt with were usually very pleasant!

  3. Thank you Bonnie this article gave me a better outlook on my jewelry business. I wil definately use the strategies.

  4. I was blessed to be one of the 25 who got a coaching session- and her feedback was challenging and insightful. Thanks, Rena, for interviewing her, and allowing us the opportunity to be on the receiving end of her expertise. I have a LOT to think about!

  5. You are very welcome! I’m so glad you all have benefited from Bonnie’s insights!

  6. Interesting reading! The information was helpful and insightful! Thanks!

  7. Kathy Spiers says:

    OMGoodness Rena! Does Bonnie know me or what? Unfortunately, I can’t focus on just one number as I totally relate to it all. Thank you so much for giving us this great info! Really appreciate it!! Now, hopefully, I can move forward at least a little bit. Kathy

  8. I’m taking classes and working on #2 my story and more engagement, rather than sales, even though I keep making designs and buying beads.

    It’s hard to not want people to buy, but I’m learning that people buy from stories. I’m kind of a shy person, but trying to come out more at shows.

  9. This is a great article and great insight. My husband and I have always had a hard time promoting our jewelry because we didn’t want to sound “pushy”. Now that we have been making jewelry for about 6 years now, we are more comfortable talking with people about our craft. Because we work with stones, we show at rock and gem shows and find it very comfortable to talk with people because we all love rocks. I think it helps when you are around people who love the same thing you do. Thank you for this great article!

  10. This has been my experience, as well, Nancy. After six or seven years trying everything I can think of to market and sell, I’m finding I sell my higher end finished jewellery far, far more easily at rock and gem shows, too. I was shocked the first show I was at where it happened. I’d included maybe a dozen finished pieces of jewellery in order to show the beads I sell in action, so to speak, and they flew off the table. My thinking is that it’s because people attending these types of shows understand what they’re looking at in terms of the cost per bead in a necklace, bracelet or pair of earrings as well as more easily recognising the quality of the workmanship. This is what I’m frequently told both verbally and in subsequent emails, which also underscores what Bonnie says above about about collecting testimonials.

    I have another gem, rock and mineral show coming up in July, so I’ll be testing my theory with a larger selection of finished jewellery available.

  11. This article really resonates with me! I have been making jewelry for 4 years and promoting it has been a HUGE challenge. I am slowly improving but it is hard work. I will be coming back to review these tips often and I will try the conversation style of promoting this weekend at a show I will be in! Thanks for a very useful article!

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