How (and Why) to Brag Online Without Sounding Like a Jerk — 6 Ideas

Mixture of 9 different pictures of Marsha and friends

I got famous among this group of friends pretty early on. I hadn’t even really done anything.

Back in 2013 when I started my business — and by “started my business,” I mean “decided that maybe I could possibly start a business where I was coaching, threw up a very basic website and started calling myself a coach” — I made a new group of local friends. All of us had done B School, Marie Forleo’s (brilliant! life-changing!) online business and marketing course, and we decided to meet once a week for coffee. Being an entrepreneur was a brand new experience for me, and I loved hanging out with other people who got it.

Pretty soon, something weird started happening. I would arrive and, inevitably, someone would say, “Marsha! Your business is KILLING it!! Congratulations!!!”

I’d always feel confused, but smile and say, “Thanks!”

And secretly, I would think, Um, could you please tell my bank balance?

My business was not killing it. Eight months in, I’d had one client (at price: $99), the husband of a buddy of mine, who I’m pretty sure felt sorry for me.

But my friends in this group — people who knew me in real life! — were all convinced things were going fantastically well. So what was my secret?

Bragging online. In a way that didn’t make me look like a jerk.

And the benefit?

Within a few months, I discovered that, when people think you’re killing it, it spikes your credibility. Potential clients think, “Well, her work must be good if she’s that famous.” Plus I started getting invited on a LOT of podcasts, which led to even more clients.

Here are my top 4 tips for how to make yourself a bit famous online and still come across as someone people want to hang out with:

1. Be self-deprecating

Often, this just involves me putting up stupid-looking photos of myself. But they’re stupid-looking photos on stage or in the recording studio or with celebrity friends — the brag is in the content, even if the visual lacks some glamour.

2. Be honest about the fact that you’re bragging.

I’ve done this before with Facebook posts — saying, “This isn’t a humble brag. I’m just straight-up bragging. Here’s a testimonial a client just gave me.” And I do it pretty much every time I post a photo of myself doing a voice-over job.
It’s harder for people to accuse you of bragging when you accuse yourself first.


This tends to be my go-to. When I’ve done something that was a big deal and it went well, I am genuinely thrilled. Rather than saying something BS like “So humbled by the response of the crowds,” I try just to be honest about how excited I am.

4. Don’t only post about your achievements

Even if you do a great job of not being a d*ck when you’re bragging, if every single post is of some other success, you will make people feel inadequate. When I’ve been feeling low, I’ve unfollowed (lovely!) people for this exact reason. So make sure you’re peppering your feed with normal stuff, and sometimes vulnerable “I don’t always feel totally amazing” posts.

5. Accept that some people will think you’re being an a-hole

People have different perspectives on the same things. Just by being on social media at all, some people will think you’re being braggy or over-sharing. Accept that then, if it happens, it’ll be less likely to catch you off-guard.


The other day, I went into a supermarket downtown to have a trashy lunch in their canteen (one of my guilty pleasures is mindlessly eating trashy supermarket canteen lunch while reading things on my phone). As I’d entered, I’d noticed a giant sign on the floor saying DAVE’S BREAD. Walking through the store, I noticed more signs everywhere: DAVE’S ORGANIC BREAD. NEW!

Wow, I thought. Dave’s Bread must have really spent a lot on marketing to get this many ads posted around the place. Also, what a terrible name. So not for me.

As I sat down to eat my trashy lunch, there was a giant display. DAVE’S NEW ORGANIC BREAD.

After 20 minutes, I finished eating and went to grab some groceries. As I wandered the aisles, I caught myself thinking,

You know, maybe I should buy some of that Dave’s Bread. It seems like it’s really good.

Woah, right? THIS is the power of just getting inside people’s eyeballs. Some say this is partly how the current US President got to that hallowed place; because he was in the press all of the time, people started to equate “visible” with “potentially a great leader for the country” (or “not a terrible despot who will ruin and end countless lives”).

I would like you to use your powers for good. This means finding reasons to post on your social media pages, and show up in groups where your potential clients are. Be useful, be funny, or just be relatable. But just by showing up, you can start to create your own fame.



So that’s it! Huge thanks to Karen Yankovich — it was my appearance on her (excellent) podcast Good Girls Get Rich that inspired me to start talking publicly about this stuff in the first place. If you’d like to hear that interview, click here:

Any of these things you’re doing already? Or do you have another to add? Let me know in the comments below! And if you know someone who wants to big themselves up on social media more but isn’t sure how to, you can share it with them using one of the round buttons below, or click HERE to share on Facebook.

You rule!

xx (Yes Yes) Marsha

PS want even more advice like this, plus stories and secrets that I won’t put on the internet? Come and join the Yes Yes Family. It’s free! Just pop your details in below:


  • Christine D Shuck

    Reply Reply September 10, 2019


    I love this advice! As an author, I try and do exactly what you have suggested. I know that I personally love the inside look into another person’s life – hot mess, warts and all – I think we seek other like souls. And even if we aren’t a hot mess ALL the time, seeing someone else who is willing to show fragility and foibles really helps validate that we aren’t as screwed up as we might think.

    p.s. Met you at TRIBE and thank you for the card/message you wrote. My daughter was delighted to get a Yes pin and hear about me meeting you just as I knew she would be!

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