Regardless of what product or service you’re selling, you will have a number of competitors so it’s vital that you stand out from the crowd with your marketing activities – you need to make it clear why people should be buying from you!
You also shouldn’t be afraid of injecting your own personality into your business and marketing as we like to buy from people, NOT faceless organisations.
This is where you need to create what’s called a compelling story. This is where you share with your perspective clients about your expertise. Why do you do what you do? Have you got any life-defining moments? What was the inspiration for starting your business in the first place?
To give you an idea, I can share with you what my compelling story is just so you’ve got a bit of a framework to work on. I can break it down and tell you why it works after.
My story is that I know what it’s like to be overwhelmed about starting a business.
I have been doing ‘my thing’ since 2005 when I decided that there was no way I could continue to work for my employer any longer and haven’t looked back!
Over the course of the last few years, I have been developing my skills and experience so that I can help other mums create their own family friendly business.
I know what it is like to dread going to work every day, wondering what the day had in store and what mood my boss would be in. Would I get shouted at today, blamed for mistakes other people made, belittled in front of colleagues? My health was being affected and my confidence hit an all-time low, I started doubting my own abilities – a stark contrast to the person I was when I first started this ‘exciting’ new job!
It came to the point after one particularly bad verbal attack from my boss blaming me for her taking the wrong turn on her way to a meeting, I knew that I could no longer go on and made the decision to resign, with immediate effect.
It was a great feeling to be out of that situation but then I had to figure out what I wanted to do – find another job and risk another bad boss or pursue my long held dream of working for myself. I decided to go with the dream and started my route into self employment with my first business as a Virtual Assistant.
Not long after starting the VA business, I was pregnant with my first child which brought itself a whole lot of challenges when she was born. I now had to find the time to do the client work, market the business for new clients and look after a newborn – to say my juggling skills were put to the test is an understatement!
When you become a mum for the first time, you have no concept of what your life is now going to look like. Your days go very quickly with feeding, nappies and entertaining your baby. This is a full time and stressful job on its own.
Now I’d decided to add running my business into the mix. When you first start your business, it is really exciting as you get to make all the decisions but there comes a point where you realise you don’t know all the answers.
Some people said I was mad and shouldn’t have done it but I disagreed (and ignored them)! It was the best decision and it meant that I could spend time with my new baby daughter taking care of her myself AND build a business that I could run round her.
But I was split in half as I felt I didn’t have enough time to do both my ‘jobs’ well. When I was with my daughter, I was thinking about what I had to do in the office so that I got paid (very important part of running a business!). Then when I was working, I felt guilty that I wasn’t spending quality time with my daughter.
This is when I realised that I had to do whatever it took to make my business successful and I knew I had to make some serious changes if I wanted to be the mum and business owner I wanted to be.
I’m not going to lie to you, it didn’t look very pretty at first as I had to make the mistakes, learn to make it work for me – luckily it did! I knew my business could be truly successful so I started learning everything I could about marketing, attracting my ideal clients, leveraging my time.
Now, my business life looks a lot different. My VA business runs without me, I’ve created a virtual assistant training business with a great business partner and now focus my time on The Mumpreneur’s Mentor coaching and training other mums to run successful family friendly businesses.
I earn a full time income whilst working only 25 hours a week. I was no longer feeling guilty about the time I spent with my daughter or working.
I’ve also added to my family with my second daughter born in August 2012. This means juggling business with the school run and social life of an 8 year old mixed in with taking care of a demanding toddler – it definitely keeps me busy but I wouldn’t have it any other way!
I’m even adding baby number 3 to the mix (due in September 2015), so life is going to get a lot busier, but also a lot more fun!
I’m not telling you this to brag, but to show you that if I can do it, you can as well. I am passionate about helping other mums do the same and learn from the mistakes I’ve made – that’s why I focus my time coaching and training other mums like you to realise your dreams.
That is my compelling story, now let me go through the different elements for you:
- Why I started my business in the first place, what inspired me to start up, and ultimately it was working for a bully boss
- I then covered what my struggles were because that is actually the same struggles that my clients have, so I am demonstrating that I can relate to them. I’m saying that, ‘I have gone through those issues. I know what it’s like to be in your shoes.’ Your compelling story needs to do the same
- I have shared my defining moments where I made the change because I was feeling guilty about the quality time with my daughter and working. I knew I had to get paid, but I knew I wanted to be a good mum to my daughter. I wanted to look after her. That was my defining moment that I knew I had to make a change
- I shared a little bit about what changes I made
- Then I shared how my business looks now. Because I’m showcasing my experience, I’m showcasing the journey I’ve gone through, I am demonstrating that I understand completely the struggles and the issues that they have faced. I have provided hopefully a bit of inspiration to share that, ‘You know what? If I have done it, you can do it.’ It’s not rocket science. It’s nice and simple. As I have said before, we tend to overcomplicate things, but if I have done it, you can do it.
That is the sort of basis of my compelling story and the comments that I always get is that I understand people and that I have been in that situation, ‘You are doing what I want to do.’
Your action plan
Now it’s your turn. Take the different elements of what I have just said of my story and create your own compelling story.
- Why did you start your business, what was the inspiration behind it?
- How can you relate to your clients, have you gone through the same struggles they have, experienced the same issues they have, have specific expertise?
- What are your defining moments, when did you become clear on what you had to do and how this helps your clients?
- What are you passionate about, what do you love to do? This is important as being passionate about your business will make it easier to market and network to shout about what you do
- What obstacles have you overcome in your life? This may sound a weird question but often, our personal experiences come through in our work and it helps people identify with you more
- What is your why? This is a biggie as this is the motivation and reason behind working hard