We’ve talked about getting started online, creating a digital income source, and have identified several obstacles entrepreneurs face. Check out these blog posts for more: Here, “2 Reasons”, and this one (“Can I Make Money Online?”), and here (How Hard Is It To Start My Own Business?)
Today I want to look deeper, at what’s inside, what you control about your online journey.
There are books and videos that will teach us (if we take the time) how to do the technical pieces of registering a business entity, set up tax structures to keep the most income, help us build a list, drive traffic to that list or to an offer to build a list of potential buyers, and so on.
But the one thing these tools can’t do is personalize your outreach for you.Connecting with your buyers means thinking about what makes YOU unique. That's what makes your story! Click To Tweet
This is a useful activity as you’ll use your story in many different ways.
Is this a grey area for you? Or have your tried to create a compelling story only to get tangled up?
I’ve gotten so many questions on this that I am creating a course specifically to teach this start to finish- today we’ll take a high level view that should get you well on your way.
Too often entrepreneurs blindly follow the guides that offer “swipe” mail templates, pre-designed pages and send it off, never adding any personal touches at all.
That’s a huge red flag to buyers! (Hopefully you’re not in that situation!) It isn’t that those products are bad, it’s that people don’t take the time to personalize them for their specific niche or circumstance.
So let’s talk a little about what a story is and why it’s important for you.
Getting Yourself Out There: Dos & Don’ts
When it comes to pulling the trigger on an email campaign for the first time, or doing something new, most of us have felt that momentary case of nerves and adrenaline jitters.
Having confidence in your story, why you’re doing what you’re doing, comes from knowing your story, what in your background has led you to this point is necessary to carry you through the implementation point.
It’s what compels you to offer this solution to potential buyers experiencing the same issue you did once. You feel their pain and want to help- that’s your why!
Or, at least it should be.
Read this quote below and tell me in the comments how this makes you feel- would you buy from this guy?
Can you tell from this short question what his focus is? How does his approach make you feel? Even though this is just a question, what can you understand about doing business with him?
Okay, I love the concept of Affiliate Marketing, but for me, though internet and advertising savy, it’s just a concept.
Would love some highly successful affiliate marketing guru to teach me the ropes. Anybody that wants to do something fun, like teach a 53 year old the how to of this fantastic system? I’d be forever greatful : )
I just lost a huge chunck of money with an account that just dropped of the map. Need to put something solid together quickly that’ll pull in at least a grand a week. Anybody up for the task? Thanks,
Ok, what’d you think?
Now, let’s look at another example.
(Just FYI, This business has been sold and is no longer available for sign ups, though if the video does its job well, you may wish you could!).) Watch this one and take some notes and tell me what stands out for you on this one.
This video clip of Chris has the story elements that connect well with an audience. He has sincerity, humility, and concern. You feel that Chris is not talking down to you, but sharing a story with you.
Make sense so far?
Sharing You: The Framework of an Effective Story
There are any number of patterns that writers use to craft an effective story, but each method uses a similar, basic framework:
- A Broken World
- The Humble Hero
- The Mentor
- A Magical Gift
Now before you laugh and say that sounds too froo-froo for you, let’s put it another way:
Better? Does that sound more like you?
It’s the same concept, but in the second version there is the potential to overlook putting “you” into the mix. I’ve seen many newbies look at that standard format and make it all about the product, and forget that it’s meant to be about them. As we discuss this framework, keep in mind that YOU are the secret sauce, not your product. This is key.
People Don’t Buy Products, They Buy YOU
Think back to Chris’ video.
Can you identify the broken world (the problem)?
Right… it’s the people struggling, down on their luck, looking for a way out.
And the Humble Hero (Solution)? It wasn’t his iPAS system. It was his heart.
Russel Brunson has often said, “An entrepreneur is someone who takes responsibility for a problem.” I like that.
You as an entrepreneur see a problem (a broken world) and take ownership of providing a way out, a better life.
Let’s keep going…
In Chris’ video, who or what is the Mentor (Method)? Were you able to identify the turning point for the Hero?
Sure… the guy who had been where Chris was and had the idea of a system. Chris took that information, and then integrated it with his vision of helping people.
In my life, I had what I call my Scarlett O’Hara moment (the one where she is on the hill, hungry, and shakes her fist at the sky, saying, “As God is my witness, I’ll never be hungry again!”).
I was newly divorced, frustrated, feeling powerless being outside the United States and couldn’t get back home.
Never again! I decided then and there to make changes and help others avoid that feeling of not being in control of their own lives. It took me 5 years to recover, but step by step through a lot of weird twists and turns, my story has a positive outcome. I survived to tell it and teach you how to thrive as well.
But… What If I Don’t Have a “Moment” To Build On?
Believe it or not, I have had people tell me they’ve had nothing unfortunate happen to them. (Lucky you!) Does that mean they don’t have a story?
Not at all. Your story doesn’t have to be a rags to riches, or homeless to mansion, ordeal. It only has to be what motivates you to be in business. What’s your purpose for starting an online business?
If you’re telling me that the only reason you are in business is because you want to make quick money, good luck!
Connecting with people is all about caring about them and their issues. If you don’t really care, it will be evident and the bad reviews will mount up quickly.
If you don’t have a turning point moment to build on, think about why you chose the niche you want to build your business in. Is it a craft you like? Are you a jewelry maker, skin care consultant? A Realtor? Do you have a Shopify store selling e-commerce products?
Without a higher purpose, the chances of getting frustrated or bored are pretty steep.
Think about what it is you want to do for your customers. Why should they buy from you?What separates you from the next guy is your heart, your connection and ability to meet your buyer's need. Click To Tweet
Look back at your journey and see if there is a memory of the moment when you decided to start this kind of business. You likely had some thought why this and not something else. Hang on to that thought.
Writing My Own Story: The Process
In writing my story, I thought I didn’t have a Moment. I have never been on drugs or alcohol, never skipped school, never got into trouble with the law- what could I possibly have to write about?
Where did this passion for helping people come from?
This tip, #5 in the upcoming “Be The Hero You Are Meant To Be” course, was really helpful in sorting out all the conflicting ideas in my head.
Here’s the process I used to figure it out…
Create a story board or notebook- or use sticky notes to make notes of your memories.
Starting in your early childhood, think back to memories that stand out for you, ones where you remember learning something or realize that it affected you in some way. Write each one down in any way you want as long as you can sort them out easily as you work. Sticky notes worked well.
Here’s what came up for me…
my dad preferring my little sister and me not knowing why
being punished for not doing the dishes “right”
having a Saturday job at 13 cleaning house for an older couple- I made $5, and always worried that I wouldn’t do a good enough job
being welcome next door- the first place I felt no judgment
the shame of nearly failing a math class- after being so advanced that they skipped me a grade
Don’t worry if you remember sad, or bad things. It is often that we are changed by adversity more than cheerfulness. And, don’t feel bad reading my list, there were good things too. I managed to be outgoing and social- I just kept a lot hidden away. These just shaped me along a different path than I would have had otherwise.
In my case, it was clear that I became a survivor who wanted to help others survive, thrive, and avoid pain.
I wanted to help others gain confidence and achieve their version of success. I realized the reason I was so afraid of taking a risk was because I had been punished so harshly for making any kind of mistake. I wanted others who are shy or worried about making mistakes to learn the ropes and gain confidence.
Six key memories out of a lifetime aren’t much, but from these I saw a pattern, enough for me to see where my “Broken World” was and to understand that I had come out of all that with a mission to teach others what I had learned.
I sorted memories into categories as you’ll see in the workbook. For me, things I learned fell into rough categories of family, failings and successes, influencers in my life, and other strong reactions that left a mark (never again, and repeat this often)
Looking back I also recalled:
My Grandmothers were both writers- which meant words were important
Plays I put on with neighborhood kids for our families
Creating make-believe “stores” by collecting cans and empty food/cereal boxes
Going to summer camp in the mountains- working with my team to win points
I led games and taught other kids how to do things (apparently I was smart and bossy as a kid)
At age 12, being in charge of buying groceries and preparing dinner each night after my mom and dad divorced
From those memories I saw that I had early leadership potential, organizational skills, vision and drive.
There were patterns I can continue to see at different points in my life.
So how does this create a story?
From these sticky notes on my board, I could see my broken world.
I could understand my passion for helping others avoid the pain I felt, I had a couple of mentors who showed me that I could do things well, and this all added up to…
The magical gift (offer)…
It took a while to be able to distill this down to the take away. If I had had this process laid out first, I think it would have been more easily apparent. But dealing with both the process, going through the memories, and with figuring out what it all meant at the same time took a little more effort.
Now though it is clear that the gift was understanding I was here to help others who lack confidence. I have always felt my talent was in being an encourager, but never knew how or in what way I could use that. Now it makes sense.
Once I had gone through this process, and identified the memories that shaped me, I gained confidence that this was something I was capable of doing, and even more clear, that I had a way of making a difference for others.
Take a look at my About page here on Strategy Links/About. Can you see this story in that text? It’s always been about helping those who aren’t able to succeed alone.
Now It’s Your Turn…
Download the workbook and learn how to write a compelling story to use in your Bios, About pages, use snippets in emails, blogs, and more.
Using this framework ensures your story will be consistent across the board, building more authority for you as people read and learn about you!
Good Luck! Let me know how it goes, and especially if you have any questions or issues downloading the workbook…