Welcome to this big long explanation of how you can do your own marketing.

Expectations! Commitment! Work Overload! I’m Too Busy!

People ask me “How much is it going to cost me to get rolling on Facebook, or Twitter, or YouTube, or Instagram, or……you name it.

What they’re really asking is:

“Hey, how much time is it going to take to set my business up with active social media exchanges with my followers?”

A follow up comment is typically, “so…..Twitter, Pinterest and all the social media platforms just mentioned are free, right? (assuming you don’t assign a dollar value to your time) So I should be able to get going really well for something under a hundred bucks, right?” (meaning a couple hours of my time to help get them underway.)

So right now, some of you are probably thinking “Now, McGinnis is going to tell us that’s not the case at all and if we’re smart we should hire her to do the whole shebang and expect to pay a couple grand.”

But nope. That’s now what I want to say AT ALL.

You can do everything yourself!

You can set up and run your own effective, impactful social media accounts. It ain’t rocket surgery. All it takes is:

  • Perseverance
  • Commitment
  • Clear messaging

I have discovered that ANYONE can be motivated to be e a decent marketer for a week to a month. That’s the average amount of time folks who are swamped in their own work load stick with their good intentions of, perseverance, commitment and clear messaging. Usually at about day 10 it’s becoming a grind and the thrill is gone. You haven’t seen a whole of return on your investment yet and you begin to wonder “Why bother?”

So you’re left with feelings of doubt, about the advice you got, your own skills and the attention span of your audience members. There’s just a whole bunch of residual negatives as you let it all go.

So how did it happen that I discovered how to stick with this stuff? Here’s some backstory.

Let’s go back.


Right about here! I have a decades old Masters degree in marketing. So I was drawn to this stuff early on, because my parents told me they wouldn’t pay for art school. They had my best interests at heart. So I got out, started up doing the marketing for the Des Plaines Park District in Illinois. Then one of my sisters died, at age 30, of brain cancer. It shook me to my core. I decided immediately to start tackling things on my life’s Wish List.

I joined the Peace Corps and went to the Fiji islands. I created a 100 page comic book on the topic of health education named “Adventures In Health: Worms & Germs” using a grant from the World Health Organization. This is how I transitioned from marketing to become an artist/design professionally.

I came home and began creating art and selling on the outdoor art fair circuit. Basically you follow the sun north to south and back again. It’s a grind, but I was doing my own thing and loving it!

I ramped up, through one of those crazy lucky breaks we all get from time to time, and entered the wholesale arts and crafts shows. Soon enough I was flying from my studio in Chicago to both coasts offering my creations to gallery owners who would fly in to buy from hundreds of us at wholesale prices.Early on, as an independent working artist I learned in order to be successful, I was going to have to spend a significant amount of time and money on promoting my work. Those shows I did in New York? They cost about $10,000 – $15,000 a pop, in 1990’s money.  I was selling items I made myself, one by one, priced between $15 and $50. Do the math. I was an art-aholic! But I was succeeding. Making a profit even. But I spent at least 30% of my annual gross income on promotion and exposure.Me in my Chicago studio in between shows filling order. This was my Tin Toons phase, I ended up working through all kinds of different media!

The Internet Will Change Everything
Then they invented the internet. Promotion was all going to be free! Free except for the time I spent learning how to build a website which I did, for my art. I was one of the first. Fun fact: up until that moment I was doing business as Martoons. So I went online, with the help of a computer savvy friend, in 1992 and tried to purchase the domain name www.martoons.com. Darned if some cartoonist named Martin living on the east coast beat me to it. So I had to think fast, and HappyArt was created. My art has been HappyArt.com ever since. I have been learning and staying up to date with online marketing ever since, too.As my body was starting to show signs of the wear and tear of all that art production, other artists were starting to ask me to help them set up their websites. So I did. And for the past 20 years I’ve been keeping up to date with all the aspects of online marketing that are useful to businesses, though I still am very much devoted to my art (check it out happyart.com).I spend anywhere from 2 – 4 hours a week keeping my own websites and social media accounts updated and actively engaged with my various followers.I also spend at least 2 hours a week reading up on trends, changes and ways to optimize online effort. This has all made me very effective in my own promotions and useful to my marketing clients.

Not Brain Science
But like I said earlier, this isn’t brain science. I just put the time in. Then I follow through. Easy peasy. You can do the same. You SHOULD do the same. And if you:

  • don’t want to
  • don’t have the time
  • can pay someone else to do it for you

you should hire others to help you. I’m no longer available, but there are plenty of others you can select from.  Make a clear plan and turn it over to any number of eager beavers on various freelance sites.

Make sure you’re very clear with your assignments and goals. Then give them your steady work!

It takes time. Think, bare minimum 1 – 2 hours every single week, for reals. I said minimum. Every single week. To grow a trusting, engaged audience who believes in you and your authentic and purposeful messaging. Build slowly, seldom make asks and keep your followers:

  • entertained
  • informed or
  • inspired.

I said something there. Did you catch it? “Seldom make asks.” This means entertain, inform or inspire 95% of the time and ask them to look at, purchase, evaluate, share, etc only the other 5%. Ok, look, if you’re a BIG name with a BIG offer, you can get away with a lot more self aggrandizement and selling. But, well kiddo, you’re not. You need to be a lot more polite, a lot funnier, have a lot more useful information because you have competition out the whazoo. Pop stars, national icons, Games of Thrones actors do not. Though to be sure, when they were starting out, guess what. They spent a time of money and effort on their promotion! And, in fact, most still do or have people who do on their behalf.

The Competition is Fierce My Friend
It’s a world stage and you are sharing it with a ton of other people who are reading up and learning how to engage the same people YOU want to connect with. Better get good fast! Or hire someone who can help. But remember, I say you can do this. You don’t need me. Matter of fact here’s a half ton of super useful info I compiled for do-it-yourselfers right here. Then info in this post took many, many years to gather, evaluate, test and boil down. Use it!

Forever and Always
If you don’t want to, any reason, I’m not here to judge,
then count on hiring someone for at least several hours a week in the beginning and a bare minimum of an hour a week forever after. That’s right, I said forever. And plan on some weeks requiring more. Maybe even a lot more. Cost of doing business!


You CAN do this! You are NOT LAZY. You may just be feeling overwhelmed. Maybe burnt out or simply disinterested. If you can afford to, pay for professional help! No, I don’t mean a shrink, I’m not qualified to give advice in that department. I mean for your marketing. See the freelancer sites listed above. Good luck! And much success!

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