Book Review: Show Your Work!

Being ambitious about your career, whether you work for yourself or someone else, means you’re constantly learning new things.

Like how to publish a blog post. Or how to use Google Hangouts. Or how to keep your dog quiet when she wants to chew on her loudest, squeakiest toy right in the middle of an important client call. But maybe that’s just me…

One huge lesson I’ve learned is how important it is for me to constantly promote my business. If people don’t know I exist, then I won’t get followers or sales, and that means no business!

That’s why I’m so excited to share a book review about Show Your Work! by Austin Kleon.

In today’s video, you’ll learn 2 of my favorite techniques from Show Your Work! for getting used to putting yourself out there.

The video transcript is below for your convenience.

Grab your copy of Show Your Work! today and put yourself out there!

Video Transcript

Hey there! I’m Sage Grayson, and I help ambitious career women edit their habits, routines, and mindsets to balance their happiness at work and home. I’m a Life Editor…and so are you!

Today, I have a book review about Show Your Work! by Austin Kleon.

Let’s go!

No matter what your job is, whether you work for yourself or someone else, there comes a point where you can’t hide in the background anymore. If you want to be taken seriously and reach that next level, then you gotta put yourself out there for everyone to see.

This can be scary. Believe me, I know! But you’ll never know what you’re capable of unless you tell the world, “Hey! I’m here, and I have something to say.”

Today I’m reviewing a book that I shared in my Quarterly Care Packages for my clients a few months ago. Show Your Work! is a little book with a big message.

If you’re not familiar with Austin Kleon, he’s a writer, poet, speaker, and motivator who’s best know for his blackout poems and handwritten illustrations.

In Show Your Work!, he challenges us to put ourselves out there no matter how rough and unpolished our work might seem.

As he says, “you must be findable.” If people don’t know you exist, then they’re not going to buy from you or hire you.

I have 2 favorite parts of Show You Work!: (1) If you want fans, you have to be a fan and (2) Think process, not product.

First, if you want people to like your work, then you must show that you like other people’s work. This means commenting on other blogs, Liking people on social media, and sharing links to other people’s work that you admire.

For me, I share links to tons of articles that aren’t my own on social media, and my weekly Editor’s Notebook blog posts are roundups of other people’s work. Many of the opportunities that I’ve had in my life and business have come from me being a fan of an influencer, and many of my subscribers have come from me leaving comments on other blogs.

Next, think process, not product. If you’re an entrepreneur, this means blogging weekly, sending your weekly newsletter, and being active on social media. For other professionals, this means doing your work and showing your manager that you’re making progress every single day.

Daily progress adds up to big results, but it does take time. Start with whatever small step you can take today, and eventually, it’ll grow into something much larger. But you gotta stick with it.

If you want more tips for how to stay visible, please check out Show Your Work! by Austin Kleon.

Thanks for watching. I’ll see you soon.

This post focuses on Step 3 of the Life Editing Process, Add Good Habits and Routines. For more about life editing and what it can do for you, click here.

3 Simple Steps to Become a Productivity Superstar

Dump your excuses, transform your habits, and become the most productive person you know.


  1. Lori on July 5, 2015 at 10:01 am

    Putting myself out there is the hardest thing for me. I never like to feel like I’m coming across as a “salesperson,” but if I’m going to build my business, then I’m going to have to get over that, right!?

  2. Amber on July 5, 2015 at 6:33 am

    This is a great post! It’s so true… I think a lot of people expect “overnight” results, but building a business takes years! It doesn’t really matter what kind of business it is, either. Being visible is super important to business- you have to get your name out there!

    Great post 🙂 I like your blog! It’s my first visit here 🙂


    • Sage Grayson on July 5, 2015 at 8:34 am

      Yep, growth takes time so keep putting yourself out there consistently. Thanks for commenting, Amber! 🙂

  3. Gisele Grenier on July 2, 2015 at 11:43 am

    This one is bang on Sage! It’s all about relationship building which leads to people liking and trusting you. It does take time, but using tools to help manage social media helps a lot.

    • Sage Grayson on July 2, 2015 at 1:29 pm

      I agree, Gisele. My favorite tools for managing my social media updates are CoSchedule and Buffer.

  4. Kerryn Hewson on July 2, 2015 at 4:53 am

    Ooh, this is so timely! I’ve recently recommitted to being super intentional about my days and weeks. One of my goals is to grow my list and talking process, not product I’ve set myself the goals of: commenting on 3 new blogs, commenting on 3 existing blogs I follow, commenting 9 times across the core facebook groups I love. AND, just tonight I’ve sat down and done all three! It’s definitely made me feel more connected and that’s motivation enough to keep it up!

    • Sage Grayson on July 2, 2015 at 1:27 pm

      Woo hoo! These are awesome process goals, Kerryn! Keep it up and you’ll start to see results. Consistency is key.

  5. Cathy Colangelo on July 1, 2015 at 7:27 am


    I love your video! You always inspire me. I jotted down “be a fan of your influencer” as I was watching. My biggest struggle with commenting on other blogs is that I get so caught up in the search for the perfect blog that it takes me forever. I am going to look for my “influencers:”. Great advice.

    P.S. Thanks for being one of my “influencers”!

    • Sage Grayson on July 1, 2015 at 12:52 pm

      You’re so welcome, Cathy! 🙂

  6. Georgie on June 30, 2015 at 9:24 pm

    Yay, I love a Sage video! I remember you mentioning these ideas when we were doing coaching together. I’m definitely consistent on the regular progress, but as always need to work on getting my work out there. You’e inspired me to schedule this in and also read Show Your Work! Thanks as always 🙂

    • Sage Grayson on July 1, 2015 at 12:54 pm

      You’re welcome, Georgie! Yep, we must be our own promoters and let everyone know how great we are–but not in a conceited way! 🙂 When we show our work, then we’ll attract more positive opportunities.

  7. Jennifer Kennedy on June 30, 2015 at 2:37 pm

    Alright, Sage, this book is next on my reading list! 🙂

    I’ve fallen off the blog commenting and am getting back into it. I really love reading and connecting with others that way. Another goal of mine is to be more present in Facebook groups. In some groups, I tend to to read instead of contribute. So, I’m going to make it my mission to share more! 🙂

    I’ve been diving into the book, the Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer, which is also a good read about putting yourself out there. It’s about asking for what you want or need, building community, and being authentic. Highly recommended.

    • Sage Grayson on July 1, 2015 at 12:59 pm

      Sounds like a plan, Jennifer! And thanks for the book recommendation. 🙂

  8. Lucy on June 30, 2015 at 5:57 am

    You’ve made me realise that I am making big strides in showing my work. Just yesterday, I submitted a post to the Huffington Post (fingers crossed they publish it, but they weren’t going to unless I made a submission!) and published my first YouTube video. I’m also getting more intentional and strategic on Instagram. I need to comment on more blogs, another thing toad to my to-do list!

    • Sage Grayson on June 30, 2015 at 9:40 am

      That’s wonderful, Lucy! Fingers crossed for you. 🙂 Yep, you’re right, if you don’t put yourself out there then you won’t get the results you want.

  9. Katherine on June 29, 2015 at 8:21 pm

    “You must be findable”- that’s going to be my quote of the month!!

    Thank you for sharing this book, Sage. I’d never heard of it before. Just checked it out from the library after reading your review : )

    I recently started a new website so sharing content is going to be a BIG priority in July. With my original site, I always focused on quality posts- something fun to read + informative- and never thought much about networking or being findable. After a few years of that, I feel ready to be more active in finding an interested audience for my new site, mainly using ideas you mentioned here.

    July goals: publish 8 new posts, attract 50 new readers (subscribers), look up 8 language-learning directories to submit my site to, find 15 new language bloggers to follow, and leave 30 well-thought-out comments on their work. One goal feels massive and out of my control (50 readers) but I know that I can accomplish the others myself.

    Looking forward to your next book review! : )

    • Sage Grayson on June 30, 2015 at 9:38 am

      These are awesome goals, Katherine! Getting subscribers is somewhat out of your control (after all, they have to input their email addresses), but you can increase your chances of getting subscribers by offering a fun freebie for them when they sign up. You can also add as many opt-in boxes to your website as possible so they can sign up no matter where they are on your site.

  10. Erika on June 29, 2015 at 7:55 pm

    I love this book, Sage! I have my own copy. I need to go read it again! 🙂

    I’ve started leaving more comments on blogs and scheduling posts for FaceBook. I’m trying to get more regular on Instagram, too. Some times it seems like so much to do!

    • Sage Grayson on June 30, 2015 at 9:36 am

      Yes, it does seem like a lot to do, and I get overwhelmed by it all sometimes. I actually cut back on the number of social media platforms I’m on just so I can focus on the ones that I like best. That makes sharing easier and less of a chore.

  11. Susan on June 29, 2015 at 4:37 pm

    OHHH, I have that book. Not done with reading it yet. That might be because I’m reading “Steal like an artist” (paperback) at the same time. Or it might be because the book is a kindle book??? But I’m loving them both. Oh and to put myself out there, I’m sending out emails asking if I can guest post. So I would say that’s really putting myself out there, don’t you???? Any idea where I could guest post 🙂

    • Sage Grayson on June 29, 2015 at 7:35 pm

      All of Austin’s books are great, and I love his illustrations and quirky poems. And yes, guest posting is an awesome way to put yourself out there and promote your business. I’d say reach out to blogs where your ideal customers hang out (not your competition), maybe productivity blogs, organizing blogs, self-development blogs, etc. You can do it! 🙂