The Key To Your Story

Earlier this month, I offered all purchasers of the Business Blogging Toolkit a free half hour Skype call with me.  Today’s caller didn’t want to discuss a particular tool in depth, or even discuss the overall process with me; instead she asked if we could use the thirty minutes to talk about her story.  She knows what her story is, we all do, but she wants to tell it in a way that will demonstrate why her ideal customer should choose her.  And to do that, she has to make it all about them, while still establishing her credibility. At the moment the story on her website is all about her.  She was given the advice that people would want to establish her credentials before they found out more about what she does, but to my mind that’s the wrong way around.  People have a problem they want solved and they want to know that you understand that problem, that you can solve it, how you’ll solve it; and then they might start looking for evidence that you have what it takes.  Sometimes, they just love the solution you bring, and buy without needing to know more.  Other times you need to build a relationship and establish your credibility over time.  It might take longer but you build a more loyal client base by demonstrating your skills, knowledge, and experience over time, than you do by listing your qualifications on your About Page and hoping that will suffice. The key elements of your story that you need to get absolutely crystal clear on, are What You Do For Your Customer, Why You Do...

Five Steps To A Killer About Page

I’ve been hearing a lot lately from people who are struggling to write their About Page.  Which I can completely understand.  It should be the easiest page on your website to write: I mean who knows you better than you?  One of the problems, in my opinion, is that we know ourselves a little too well.  We know what we tell ourselves in the dead of night: that we’re not good enough, that nobody will buy what we sell, that nobody wants to hear what we have to say.  But we are good enough, people will buy what we sell, and what we have to say is important.  But we have to say it in order for it to be heard.  I think we block ourselves because of self-doubt and early lessons in boastfulness: that wicked trait, beaten out of us by parents, teachers, and mocking peers at a young age.  So what to do?  Well, in this post, I’m sharing my five-step plan to get over yourself and write a wicked About Page.  Ready?  Good!  Let’s go!   One: let’s get over the whole ‘I’m not good enough’ thing. In the centre of a bit of paper each, write down ‘Experience’, ‘Skills & Attributes’, and ‘Why’. Around the word ‘Experience’, jot down the jobs you’ve done, projects you’ve been part of, lessons you’ve learned along the way.  And from each of these, draw a line and make a note of your key achievement(s) from each one.  Take some time to remember all of those achievements and what it felt like at the time.  Circle any experiences that help you in your...

How Stories Engage Your Customers

When I was learning to be a coach – yes I’m a fully qualified executive coach, with a certificate and everything – we were told that we must only pose questions, allowing our clients to come to their own conclusions about the best solution to any issues they were facing.  This is probably one of the reasons I don’t practice as a coach: I’m rubbish at not offering up unsolicited advice.  In fact, unsolicited advice is one of my strengths.  But apparently unwelcome in a coaching relationship, and biting your tongue for a long time hurts. But I digress; the fact is, you can take this whole question point one step further.  It turns out that we actually learn best when we pose our own questions to ourselves.  So imagine my delight when I realised that this is exactly what stories prompt us to do!  When you tell a story, and leave it at the story, rather than try to make it into a lesson, people are left to draw their own conclusions about what it means for them.  They naturally ask themselves how it affects them, what it means to them, and how it relates to them and their circumstances.  How cool’s that?!  The more stories you tell your customers, the more they’ll be figuring out how what you do relates to them.  And so your blog, and the stories you choose to tell in become ever more important if you want to be the supplier that your potential customers choose. The point I make about not making your story into a lesson is an important one.  It’s very tempting...

What To Do With Self-Indulgent Bullshit

When I set up my website at samdounis.com, I envisaged a creative online playground, where I could write about anything and generally have fun.  Then I imposed so much structure to it that the original vision couldn’t possibly be fulfilled.  Instead of a free-flowing blog, filled with my musings and opinions and adventures, I gave myself a box for a limited range of posts that kept me in the realms of ‘acceptable’, ‘safe’, and ‘neutral’ from an opinion point of view.  Perhaps deep down I suspect that nobody really wants to hear what I have to say, or perhaps I’m scared of what people will say when they know what I think.  I mean, what if someone challenges me?! I didn’t always shy away from confrontation: in fact I remember a time when I relished it.  So what’s changed?  Am I so fearful that my opinions will chase away potential clients?  Do I suspect that there are so few people who value what I do and what I can do for them that I hesitate to offend any of them?  I doubt that my opinions are so offensive that I will be shunned by society!  Or do I think I’m so boring that I just have nothing worth writing about in my life??  Does anyone else think this is sounding like self-indulgent bullshit?????  Because I do!!!! So I’ve taken a challenge.  Forget the box, the constraints, the rules.  For twenty-eight days straight I’m going to be writing a blog post at samdounis.com, about whatever I want.  Who knows where the inspiration will come from: all I know is that I’ll have...