Sharing stories about your products or services is the way to deeply connect your customer with you and your business.
In this article I explained three reasons why sharing stories was so important:
- People love stories.
- Stories change objects into something better.
- Sharing your story gives your customer something to share.
And I also said:
Sharing your story is a way to connect you, your creative work, and your community in a deep, magical way.
So, let’s connect you, me and my work in a deep, magical way. Let’s share my story.
I’m not going to start at the very beginning, because no-one wants to hear about a nerdy-looking baby who didn’t have any hair until she was 18 months old.
And I’m not going to start at adolescence because no-one wants to hear about a nerdy-looking teenager who dressed in black a lot and thought it was cool to smirk and not like stuff (while secretly really liking stuff).
Let’s start at the end of 2014, when I decided to quit my job and was still pretty nerdy-looking.
Working full time in marketing for about four years had equipped me with extensive skills, in-depth knowledge and significant appreciation for the way communication between business and brands worked.
It had also given me crippling self-doubt and sadness.
Marketing is a tough business. The creative industries like to show off about their ping-pong tables in the office, beers on a Friday and free sweets/massages/insert treat here for staff, but a lot of the time that comes with unspoken agreements: work long hours. Be on call on the weekend. Don’t talk back to clients. Go with the boss’ whims. Party hard, because you’re working harder.
Some businesses get people to work extra-long and extra-hard with the carrot. Other businesses use the stick. In the name of productivity, they accidentally end up building a culture of self-doubt and negativity. People’s work is unrecognised, so they start to believe the work isn’t any good. Sticking your neck out gets dangerous, so people become timid. Workers get institutionalised in a very real way.
I’d worked hard for my colleagues and clients. I’d also been difficult to manage. I am honest, clear and direct – which means I can be brusque, rude and impatient. I’m strong and brave – which means I can be pushy and impertinent. But after several years working in these environments, I’d ended up believing that I was brusque, rude, impatient, pushy, impertinent…and nothing else.
I felt like the work I did, and the person I was, wasn’t worth anything. I had no confidence in what I was doing.
I had two options: stay secure and rot, or risk failure and flower.
I decided that I would start a creative business, my own business, where I would feel proud of the work I did. I would value my own work, and so would other people. I would leave sadness and self-doubt behind.
The most important aspect of this business would be that the work I did would show other people how valuable they are. It would give other people the confidence I had yearned for. It would be a business where people knew they were worthy of love and belonging.
I saved up my money until I had just over three months of living expenses, I started contacting people about work I could do, I bought myself a golden stapler and I quit.
Every time I write an article…
Every time I hold a one-to-one session…
Every time I run a workshop…
Every time I design a marketing strategy…
Every time I do a talk on running your own business…
… I am giving people like you the confidence I never had.
I’m letting you know how valuable you are, how much you already know, how much you can achieve, how much potential you have.
I’m saying “You can do it”, because I know you can.
Your business is never ‘just’ your business. We all bring our unique stories into the work we do, the emotions and hang-ups and beliefs and behaviours long-embedded into our lives.
My story is one I want other people to have, and I decided to run my business to help make it happen: to go from self-doubt and sadness to feeling confident and valued.
My challenge to you is to share something of your story in the next seven days. Do it on your website, social media channels, email newsletter or in store. Share your story and see how it can connect you, your creative work and your community in a deep, magical way.