“It just doesn’t feel right for some reason.”
One of my business writing clients had just spent time with a talented speaking coach. Someone who was helping her craft scripts for videos on her website.
The coach had helped her put together a great story. I read the script and was drawn in. there was drama, tension, and a climax with a turnaround and choice point.
There was absolutely nothing wrong with the story.
Except that it wasn’t the RIGHT story.
It wasn’t the story that had drawn this woman to start her business. It wasn’t connected to the fire and the passion she felt for her clients.
If you’ve looked into story telling for your business, you may have found yourself in a similar situation. You can come up with an interesting story, but somehow it doesn’t feel like the right story. It isn’t the story you’re really passionate about telling.
I’d already helped this client with some website copy and several blog posts, so we’d chatted. I knew her professional backstory from the bio I’d helped her craft, and I’d listened to her talk about her business.
I reminded her of one line in the bio we’d created.
“Wasn’t that your big A-ha! moment?” I asked.
“Yes. Absolutely,” she responded without a moment’s hesitation.
“Then that’s the turning point. That’s the climactic crux we want to structure everything else around.”
I could hear the relief in her voice as we started to talk through the story. As her About Page came together, she told me again and again that THIS was the story. This was why she’d started her business.
How do you know it’s the right story to tell?
Here are some markers that will help you spot it.
- It’s a story you find yourself sharing with potential clients or when you network. It feels authentic and natural to tell. It’s a story you really identify with. It feels part of you. Like the origin story of a superhero.
- It shows how dedicated you are to what you do. Maybe that’s because you had to fight an uphill battle to get where you are now. Or maybe it’s because you had to take a risk — like leaving a secure position to go out on your own and follow your passions.
- It positions you as an expert. It might show your education and training. It might show that you’ve been where your clients are now and you know how to help them get through to the other side.
- It showcases your special sauce — the way you do things that sets you apart. Instead of just telling the reader how you approach and solve problems, it shows them concrete examples. Maybe it shows how savvy or intuitive or resourceful you are — whatever skills you have that are particularly valuable.
The right story will feel like you.
That’s important because you want it to resonate with the customers you want to work with.
A great story that isn’t true for you will attract customers who aren’t a good fit.
Here’s what that looks like:
The client I mentioned above works with people to build their dream careers in big organizations. The story that didn’t feel right to her talked about leaving the corporate life as this really freeing moment. (I’m sure you’ve heard this story from at least one entrepreneur — it’s a pretty common theme: leaving the rat race to follow your dreams.)
But her ideal clients are people who are excited to join the ranks of large businesses! They don’t want to leave corporate life; they want to kick ass at it! They want to build career paths that help them rise to the top of their fields and make a huge impact.
If she had shared a story about the shackles of corporate life, what message would she be sending to her clients?
She would be unlikely to attract her ideal clients — ambitious, thoughtful, career-minded professionals — and more likely to attract people trying to start their own businesses. Not the population she’s trying to coach.
And that’s what her instinct was telling her.
Her spidey-sense was telling her it wasn’t the right story. Even though it was a good story.
She hadn’t been miserable at her corporate job — on the contrary, she’d excelled at it and thrived. But she’d also gained insight into how young professionals could be even more successful if they had the kind of training and coaching that she knew how to deliver.
What’s your instinct telling you?
Are you sharing the wrong story? Does your story resonate with you? Will it resonate with the people you want to serve?
If you’re not sure about the story you’re telling — or if you aren’t telling a story at all — let’s talk. My superpower is drawing out your story. I’ll help you tell the story that makes your ideal customers fall in love with you and your business brand or the book you want to write.