Friday, November 13, 2009

Tell Them the Ugly Truth! (how to write a compelling bio)

Here's a fabulous article written by a fabulous lady to whom I subscribe to her newsletter. This one is for anyone out there who is trying to build a business that's based on helping people. It's about writing your bio and how it should tell your story about how you came to be an expert in your field. Not the credentials, but what you went through to get to where you are. The stuff that IS you. I do know this compels people so much more because about 4 years ago, when I was going through another bout of serious depression and anxiety, I blogged all of my "crap" about what I was going through. 

I remember one day reading some of my posts and wondering to myself, who would want to read this s**t, it's aweful! Within a very short amount of time, someone commented on my posts that I was an inspiration to them. My response was utter shock and disbelief..."why...HOW could this crap inspire anyone", I asked. Her response went something like this: Because you are able to speak (in public no less) what the rest of us are feeling, but cannot or will not, express. Because you can do this openly, the rest of us learn that we are not alone, and this is what is inspiring. Wow...that was humbling to say the least. My partner, many times, has said the same thing...that my gift is to say it like it is. So, with that in mind, here's the article...  

By: Suzanne Evans, Helping Professional Expert

I teach my clients the power of telling their own story as they start their own businesses, with this phrase: Your Truth Will Set Them Free. This is one of the biggest neon light mistakes that I see helping professionals make.
They believe that this has nothing to do with them. "I need to focus on the clients and what the clients need. I need to make sure that I'm looking at their problems and their struggles and I'm working towards it." They don't tell their stories.

There's nothing that I hate more than going to someone's website or reading their marketing materials and reading a bio. Everybody goes, "But I'm supposed to have a bio on my website. I'm supposed to have an 'About Me' on my website."

Bios are credentials and, for the most part, pretty boring. What is fascinating, what enables you to connect with someone and enables you to really care about someone and discover empathy, is when you tell your story. This is so vitally important when you are building relationships with potential clients.
Don't tell the Cinderella version, tell the ugly step-sister, the warped version. It is your mistakes that really are going to leverage your clients to their own success. 

For example, I'll share that I did some things in the beginning of my business that, had I known what I know now, I certainly would have done them differently. 

I worked way too hard in the beginning. Way too hard! I put in a lot of hours that were not necessary. I will admit to that. I also took on every client that came my way. If I could nab them, I took them. That was something that didn't serve me well in the long run.
I also followed the marketing "gurus". I believed that if I just do everything exactly their way, this would work for me. The result was that I was exhausted, a little bit confused, and really frustrated. What happened was I didn't have a core message.
I thought, "I've got to have a name. It's got to be cute. It's got to appeal to people. It's got to be as big as Pepsi and Coca-Cola."

That only made me exhausted. It came to the point where I really stopped trying to create this business that seemed like a 24-story building in some imaginary business land. I just said, "This is who I am. The best thing that I have to offer is me." Your truth will set them free. Your journey, your mistakes, how you overcame obstacles and your conclusions, this is the insight your clients are looking for.
You know that your bio is about everything that you've accomplished. Maybe you have 67 credentials and maybe you talk about where you went to school. Maybe it's talking about your kids or your family - and those things are important as well. People like to hear about them. 
But what's most important is: Why you? What's your story? If you're going to work with parents having difficulties with their kids and you're going to be a parenting coach, what's your story in that? Why are you coming to this area? What do you have to bring to other parents?

Was it that you struggled as being a parent and now you really made a turn and now you can share this with other people? Was it that you had an extraordinary parenting situation that maybe wasn't so pleasant but taught you a lot that you can now share with others?
If you're a health coach, what's your story around health? You wouldn't be drawn to something that you don't have a story about or that you don't have a stake in or something in your life didn't bring you to it.

If you answer, "Oh, I don't know what my story is," I ask you to really dig deep. It's there. It may be covered up or it may be something that you're afraid to share, but it's definitely there. Share your story. It is what opens people up to wanting to work with you.