Your Story, Your Brand: Embrace your Unique Story to Create a One-of-a-Kind Business
Do you worry that everything you teach or promote has been “done before”? Do you think you have nothing new to add to the conversation, or that everyone has “heard it all before”?
This kind of thinking is the number one killer of new businesses, and it is absolutely not true.
Wendy’s hamburger chain was conceived long after McDonald’s already had a huge piece of the fast food pie.
Dominos and Little Ceasar’s exist in the same niche quite well (as do many, many others).
Marie Forleo, Carrie Wilkerson, Denise Duffield-Thomas and dozens of others all help online entrepreneurs find success.
Clearly, if there were only room for one superstar in any given field, many of our most-loved businesses would not exist today.
So what’s the lesson here? First, there is absolutely room for you.
But let’s take a closer look. If you think about it, these “competitors” are unique individuals. You won’t find a Quarter-Pounder wanna be on
They are very, very different, and because of that, they appeal to completely different audiences.
For new (or even established) business owners, this is a powerful lesson. In order to stand out from the crowd, you need to embrace your unique story, too.
Step 1: What’s Your Why
The first step in your journey to your one-of-a-kind business is to discover your “why.” This is an essential question that all successful business owners must be able to answer.
Some ideas to get you started:
I want to spend more time with my kids while they’re little
I want to home-school my children and I can’t do that if I work outside the home
I want to support my parents as they age
I want the freedom to travel
I want to support a charity that’s close to my heart
I want to live a certain lifestyle
I want to write a book
What does any of this have to do with business? Everything!
Only when you can define your unique “why” will you be able to build a business that you truly love, and that you are passionate about. That’s why so many heart-centered entrepreneurs feel like a failure at a job—they simply aren’t passionate, and it doesn’t feed their “why.”
Only your own business has that power, and it’s up to you to discover your unique meaning in life, so you can build a business that allows you to achieve your goals.
Exercise: Create a Vision Board
The best way to discover your why is to create a vision board. It’s easy and
Here’s what you’ll need:
Coloured pencils or markers
Coloured paper, ribbon, or Washi tape
Begin by leafing through your magazines and cutting out any pictures that appeal to you. You can also gather pictures of your family, friends, favourite vacations or anything else that will help define what you want your ideal life to look like.
Arrange your images on a large piece of paper. Get creative with notes, goals, favourite quotes, or anything else that helps inspire you. Then post your completed vision board on your office wall, where you’ll see it every day and where it will serve as a constant reminder of why you do what you do.
Step 2: Your Story Matters
Along with your “why,” comes your story.
Your unique background will appeal to your ideal client in a way that no one else’s will.
Again, we’re not necessarily talking about business here (we’ll get to that story in the next step) but instead, we want to focus on your personal life.
What struggles have you overcome?
What hardships have you faced?
How have you impacted someone else’s life?
How has another person impacted you?
Everyone struggles at some point, and when you meet your ideal client in Step 4, she will resonate with your story, and you might just become her inspiration. Where no other coach has been just the right fit, you will be.
Exercise: Write Your Personal Story
Using the questions above, spend an hour (or more) writing your story. Share the details of your life, why you chose this business model, and how that affects your clients and customers. What
Please be as detailed and forthcoming as you can. No one will read this but you, but it’s important to know what truly drove you to start your business. You’ll be sharing bits and pieces of this story in the months and years to come, and it will help connect you to your ideal client.
Step 3: Write Your Mission Statement
At its most basic, your mission statement defines who you are, what you do, and for whom. Potential customers should be able to read your mission statement and immediately know whether or not you’re a good fit.
But a well-thought-out mission statement is so much more important than that. It’s the point on the horizon that will keep you focused. It’s the litmus test to which every new idea or strategy must stand up. And it has everything to do with your unique story.
You may choose to use your mission statement on your website, in your marketing materials, as your tagline, or elsewhere. At the very least, print and post it near your desk, where you will be able to see it every day. You can keep it completely to yourself, using it as a “touchstone” to guide every business-related decision.
Thinking of creating a new self-study program? Considering branching out into a related area? Intrigued by a hot new social platform? Test it against your mission statement first, and you’ll instantly know if it’s something you should pursue.
Your mission statement will also help you make difficult decisions about potential clients. Sometimes clients come our way who simply
Exercise: Write your mission statement.
Here’s a basic template you can use, but feel free to write it your way, in your voice and style:
__________[company]_________ provides _________ [service or training] _________ to _______[market]_________ to assist with ___________[goal]___________.
Need some inspiration? Check out some great mission statements:
Step 4: Your Unique Offer
Here’s where a lot of new (and even established) business owners get stuck: Determining your “USP”—or Unique Selling Proposition.
In other words, what sets you apart from all the other coaches, service providers, trainers, and product sellers out there? Why would someone buy from you, when there are so many other choices?
The answer is simple, really: Because none of those other people
None of them
None of them
None of them
And none of them
Truthfully, it’s that last one that will resonate with your ideal client. By sharing your story in an authentic, personable way, you’ll make an immediate connection with your audience.
Maybe you overcame a hardship and eventually found success in your field. This will encourage others like you to reach a little further. Maybe you taught yourself a complex marketing strategy through trial and error and can now share your knowledge with others who are also struggling. Or maybe you’ve had the privilege of training with high-end, well-known coaches in your industry, and now feel ready to lead as well.
Whatever your unique story is, there are those for whom it will resonate like no one else’s will. Remember, we can hear the same advice time and time again, but it won’t sink in until we hear it in just the right way, from just the right person.
And for a certain audience, that someone is you.
Exercise: Share Your Business Story
Ask yourself these questions, and think about the answers. Don’t worry about saying the right thing or writing like this is a sales page. Just share from your heart. You’ll eventually want to use this information in your sales pages and other marketing materials, but right here is just for you.
What has been your biggest struggle in business? In life? How did you overcome it?
- What was your biggest “win” in business? How did you celebrate?
- What’s your biggest regret in business?
- What’s your biggest business goal? Life goal? How do you plan to achieve your goals?
Step 5: Attracting Your Ideal Client
Perhaps the biggest mistake new entrepreneurs make is in thinking that their product or program or service is “for everyone.”
That’s simply not the case. Your ideal client is as unique as you are. In fact, as counterintuitive as it might seem, the more narrowly you can define your audience, the more you can charge, and the higher your profits will be.
Here’s why: When you and your products perfectly resonate with an ideal client, you become recognized as the go-to expert in your niche. Your experience is focused, your education is laser targeted, and your products and coaching programs are exactly what is needed by your ideal client, making for a perfect no-brainer sale nearly every time.
The only question is: “Who is your ideal client?”
You’ve probably heard the often-repeated advice about gender, age, socio-economic status, family relationships, business models, and more.
And those things are certainly important.
After all, if your coaching programs are designed with “
But demographics aren’t enough.
You need to dig deeper, and really get to know your perfect customer. Think back to your story questions from Step 2. How would your ideal client answer those same questions? What makes her heart sing? What drives her crazy? What does she struggle with? What comes
When you can confidently identify your ideal client, everything you do—from writing a blog post to creating a five-figure coaching program—will become infinitely easier. And that includes building your product funnels.
Exercise: Create Your Ideal Client Profile
Think about those clients you most love to work with. Perhaps you have a current customer who truly fits the bill. You enjoy her business model, her personality, and would go so far as to call her your friend.
This is your ideal client. Spend a few minutes (or even a few hours) and describe her. Give her a name, describe how she looks, how old her kids are, whether or not she attends church or volunteers at the animal shelter.
In short, tell her story, but tell it in her words, as she would. Put on your creative writing cap and really have fun with it.[HINT: Revisit this description each time you create a new program or sales page, and ask yourself, “Would this program work for her?”]
Step 6: Your Story Becomes Your Unique Products and Programs
Each and every one of us is unique, but many of us have shared experiences. Your story—the experiences you’ve had—will help connect you with your “tribe.” Those life struggles you’ve faced are the same ones challenging your audience right now. Those business disasters you’ve overcome are similar to the difficulties your clients are working through.
Think about it this way …
Who is better able to help a single mom build a coaching business than another single mom?
Who knows better the difficulties of bootstrapping a business startup than someone who lost everything and was forced to start over?
Even more important, these “character building” setbacks are the perfect inspiration for your products and programs.
By keeping in mind that others have shared your same difficulties, it’s easy to design products that solve the exact problems your ideal client is facing, and to present it to her at just the right point in her journey.
Exercise: Using your experiences and story and what you know about your ideal client to brainstorm at least 20 problems she will face at some point in her business or life.
These don’t have to be huge, life-altering problems. In fact, it’s best if you have a good mix of small issues (these become opt-in gifts and other low-cost offers) and catastrophic dilemmas (these are your high-ticket coaching programs).
Pro tip: Got your list? Now rearrange them in the order your idea client will face these challenges. That list becomes your marketing funnel. It will present to your follower the exact help she needs right at the moment she’s most likely to need it, making it a no-brainer to turn to you for help, since you’re obviously so tuned into her needs!
Step 7: The Best Marketing Comes from Sharing Your Story Authentically
Here’s the truth about business, whether you’re a coach, a service provider, a seller of digital products, or the owner of a local grocery store: not everyone will like you. If you’re posting updates in an effort to never offend or to attract the largest audience, you likely won’t attract anyone at all.
But when you’re consistent and authentic in your marketing efforts, enough of the right people will absolutely love you.
That starts by being bold and telling your truth everywhere you go.
There’s nothing quite so bland or disingenuous as a solopreneur who spouts corporate marketing messages in an effort to sound like a larger company. It’s much better to just be yourself (just like your mother advised you all those years ago).
That means infusing your personality and story into all your marketing pieces:
Your blog posts
Your YouTube channel
Your Facebook page
Your Instagram photos
Your email marketing
Invite your audience to have a candid, backstage look at your life and your business, and most importantly, keep it consistent.
This will come across to your followers in:
The words you use
Your political and social beliefs
The funny posts you share
The good deeds you do
The photos and anecdotes you share
Exercise: Spend some time studying the social media accounts of those you most admire and connect with.
Pay attention to how their personalities shine through. There’s a reason these superstars have huge followings—and it’s all about their stories and authenticity. You can build the same kind of rapport with your tribe, too.
While you’re at it, pay attention to your own social media updates. Which ones get the most engagement? I bet you’ll find it’s the ones where you really “let your hair down” and share from the heart.
NEED PROFESSIONAL BRANDING &
Full unique and beautiful branding package to help your business become unforgettable to all the right people … plus amazing, creative web design to ensure your business is attracting the right clients.
Step 8: Unique Stories Turn Competitors into Colleagues
As we’ve already discovered, no one shares your unique story, beliefs, personality or goals. Likewise, you don’t share your competitors’ stories or goals either.
And that makes for ideal collaboration options—even among those you might consider your competitors. Here’s why:
We all reach a slightly different audience, and some in that audience won’t perfectly resonate with us—but they might with a well-thought-out JV partner.
So rather than dismissing others in your niche as competitors, instead consider pooling both your unique stories in a way that will speak to those members of your audience who don’t quite click with you?
You might choose to:
Invite competitors to host you on a webinar promoting your non-competitive product
Invite competitors to email their list about your unique offer (with an affiliate link, of course)
Create a new program with your competitor as a partner—with the right mix, this will appeal to both your audiences!
And while you’re at it, think about which programs your competitors
Exercise: List Your Top Competitors and Brainstorm Ways to Work Together
Accomplished coaches and service providers know that true success is found in that magical space where your passions, your goals, and your personality meet. Only when you take the time to get to know yourself well—when you do the “internal work” necessary to discover your unique story—will you find business growth to be nearly effortless.
And for a coach, that means a business you love, working with people who are more than just clients—they’re friends, too. Imagine the joy of waking up each day looking forward to “work.” That’s exactly what you’ll find when you uncover your unique story.
Love & Light
Your Empire Creation Queen 👑
3 Ways Coaches Can Use Their Site To Get Even More Clients
3 WAYS COACHES CAN USE THEIR SITE TO GET EVEN MORE CLIENTS Coaches have a big challenge when seeking clients. They are selling the unknown ... By unknown ... I mean that most people who can benefit from coaching, whether it be business coaching...
4 Secrets To Creating An Awesome, Engaging Brand
4 Secrets To Creating An Awesome, Engaging Brand! When you think of creating a new brand, it's easy to think about advertising managers sitting around a conference room tossing around ideas with caffeine-fueled creativity. But, often times, the most powerful...
50 Website Must Have’s To Attract More Clients
Ok ... buckle up ... brace yourself ... this blog is LONG! ... But's it's pretty awesome so definitely worth the read! Your website is your storefront. In many cases, it provides a prospect’s first impression of your company. You know what they say about first...