Business & Marketing

How Telling Your Story Can Bring You Clients

Just some of the tools for telling a story.
Just some of the tools for telling a story.

April 27th is Tell A Story Day. Storytelling is a time honored tradition for passing down heritage, culture, values, etc. It’s how fairy tales, legends, and family history have been handed to the next generation. It’s also an amazing way to boost your business. How can you use a story for your business success? The possibilities are endless, but let me give you some ideas.

  • It Can Be Your About Page

Mayi Carles has one of my all time favorite about pages. I know some people say about pages should be in 3rd person. Some people say they should be kept brief, but her about page breaks both of those rules & it’s awesome. She explains who she is, how she got started, and throws some adorable photos throughout it. From her story, you instantly know how you’ll feel about the rest of the site, and who she is.

  • Your Story Tells Why Your Customers Should Pick You

On my about page I let my geek flag fly. Why? Because I don’t just want to work with creatives. I want to work with creatives who are nerdy, or geeky in some way! Maybe you were a band geek. Maybe you read the dictionary for fun as a child. Maybe you’d rather settle in with a good book, than attend the most amazing party in town. Maybe you’re a gamer, or a sci-fi fiend, or a techie. Whatever shape your geekiness takes, if you’re a creative entrepreneur I want to work with you!

  • It Also Gives Backbone to Causes You Hold Dear

Erin Giles saw a powerful documentary about sex trafficking, and her life was changed forever. Because of it, she was driven to start End Sex Trafficking Day so that she could make a difference in the world. Her story separates her, because she’s no longer just another person talking, she’s doing something about it.

  • It Creates Your Brand

Your story shapes everything about who you are. It defines your likes, your dislikes. It directs who you want to work with. It’s the deciding line on how & why you do things the way you do. (Click to tweet that!) Melissa Bolton & Catherine Haugland teamed up to create Revolutionary Branding based on the principle of story-based branding. This allows them to create completely unique concepts for each of their clients, because it’s based on the client’s own story.

  • It Can Give Inspiration For Products

Have you ever had someone use your towel, without your permission? Gross, right? That happened to Sarah Burns, and because of that she was inspired to create Tag A Towel, a system to help the family keep their cooties to themselves.

 

So there you have some inspiration for writing your story! As a creative soul, it doesn’t have to stop there. You could sing your story, or paint it, or represent it through sculpture…the only limitation is your imagination. So please, leave me a comment and let me know how you’ll put this into practice!!!

Don’t Let the Fear of What Might Happen, Keep You From What Could Be

What if?

Have you ever been good at something, but you didn’t want to let that light shine? I get stuck in that territory all the time. It’s been drilled into our heads for so long, that we should be humble. And somehow, humility has been translated as “pretending you’re really not any good at something, even if you’re amazing.” Somehow we’ve embraced the idea that if you know you’re good at something, you’re just being cocky.

This makes things really hard on us, when we get ready to create new business, or launch a new product. All the what-ifs run through our head…what if no one likes it? What if I’m really not as good at this as I think I am? What if they didn’t really mean it when they said I was good at it? What if I put all of myself out there, and I just get hurt?

The problem is, this train of thought hurts more than it helps. Start thinking about all the amazing things out there, and ask yourself “what if this had never happened?” What if chocolate had never been invented? (perish the thought!) What if architecture never progressed beyond thatched roofs? What if medicine was still stuck in the Dark Ages?

Van Gogh's Starry Night
Van Gogh’s “Starry Night”

It’s not that people who do great things do it because someone said they were amazing. Van Gogh was so unappreciated in his time, that he suffered immense depression…it got so bad that he committed suicide at the age of 37. Anne Frank never set out to be famous. She simply wrote. The painters & composers that we love so much now, simply did what was in them to do. They didn’t consult friends & family to see if it would be a winning idea. There was a passion in them that could not be stopped.

You might not be the next Mozart. You might not be the next Shakespeare. But you have something special in you, that only you can give! When you let the what-ifs drag you down, the world around you misses out on something amazing. Maybe you make cards, and one of those cards will cheer someone up on the worst day of their life. Maybe you’ll write an inspirational article that will bring light on a worthy cause. You may not change the whole world, but you can change your world. (Click to tweet that!)

I leave you with this quote. Apologies..it has minor language, but I felt it was worth it. “When in doubt, make a fool of yourself. There is a microscopically thin line between being brilliantly creative and acting like the most gigantic idiot on earth. So what the hell, leap.” – Cynthia Heimel

I love hearing from you! Leave me a comment, and let me know: What have the what ifs been keeping you from achieving? How do you plan stop them for good?

 

“What If?” Photo credit: Marco Bellucci / Foter.com / CC BY

“Starry Night” Photo credit: Christopher S. Penn / Foter.com / CC BY

10 Ways Being an Entrepreneur Is Like Being Pregnant

Pregnant Amanda Sue Okay so after reading the title, you may be wondering…what on earth do the 2 have to do with each other? Or if you’ve been pregnant, you may be nodding your head & trying to guess that the 10 are. This one’s a quick one, so after you’re done reading I’d love to know what you would have added to the list!!!

  1. No one really understands it, unless they’ve been there themselves.
  2. It’s exhausting, and some days you’re just ready for it to be done.
  3. You have to take time just for you, or you’ll get super burned out.
  4. You’ll get a lot of advice..some of it’s great, some of it’s really not.
  5. Quite a bit of the advice will be totally unasked for, and unwanted.
  6. Some of those opinions will come from people who have never experienced the process themselves.
  7. Even if you’ve done it before, there will still be surprises the 2nd & 3rd times around.
  8. Even when the final product is driving you crazy, you’re still fiercely protective of it, and will defend it against what anyone else says, because it’s yours & you love it dearly.
  9. It can give you that wonderful excited glow, or it can make you look (and feel) like crap. And there doesn’t seem to be a happy medium to that. (Click to tweet that!)
  10. Down the road, you won’t really remember the pain, tears, or sweat…you’ll know they were there, but it won’t be the defining moment. You’ll look at your accomplishment with pride, and the knowledge that your hard work made that happen.

How Laughter Can Improve Your Business

April 1st marks the beginning of Laugh At Work Week, and appropriately enough is also April Fool’s Day. Laughter has been considered to be therapeutic, and it can also improve your health by the release of endorphins.

How does this tie into your business? Releasing endorphins reduces your stress levels. A less stressed you, makes for a smoother running business. Reducing your stress also improves your overall health, and can cut down on your sick days! So how can you celebrate Laugh At Work Week? Even better, how can you incorporate laughter into your routine?

Have something fun at your desk. At my desk/workspace, I have any number of whimsical things to add some cheer to my day. I have a comic book, play putty, a bouncy ball, and play-clay (I just love the smell!). Even a whimsical calendar can make a big difference.

Start your day with something funny. Make it part of your routine, so you start your day in the right frame of mind. Go look at funny pictures online, or watch your pet playing, or go look at a video/pictures of your kids being silly. I follow George Takei on Facebook, and he’s always got an amusing post. Tim Hawkin’s twitter feed comes to my phone, so I start my mornings with silliness.

Have a stand by for those days that just don’t come together. Let’s face it, everyone has days where the kids won’t play nicely, or the dog barfs all over your couch, or a migraine cuts your work day short. Have some funny movies/shows available for those days, or a website you can go surf, or comedy routines on MP3…grab a beverage, some chocolate, and just laugh the bad day away.

Surround yourself with humorous people. I am blessed to have a husband who has always found a way to make me laugh.  It was one of the qualities that drew me to him, because when I met him I was going through dark times. My silly children make me laugh every day, and even my pastor has a great sense of humor. Making sure that you have upbeat, positive, funny people around you can give you a much needed boost when your humor resources are dwindling.

I’d love to hear from you! Leave a comment, and tell me – how do you plan to add laughter to your routine?

Photo credit: Alan Cleaver / Foter.com / CC BY

Creating Your Target Market

Hi there! I don’t know about you, but when I got ready to define my “target market” people made it sound so complicated & scary. Do this, think of that, ask these questions. I don’t think it was at all their fault, but it was a combination of problems. First off, I was already overwhelmed. New business, new branding, trying to find clients, make money, make this work…eek! Secondly, not all of them were creative people. Finally one day, I hit upon the perfect technique for creatives to define their target market. We create our target market. Intrigued? Hit play to learn more, and leave me a comment below to let me know what you thought.

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Legacies – How Will Your Creativity Live On?

This has nothing to do with legacies. But it made me smile to make, so I thought I’d share it. You’re welcome. 🙂

The month of August is What Will Be Your Legacy Month. A legacy, simply defined, is what you’ll be remembered for. The piece of you, that will live on after you’ve passed. As creators, we have an opportunity to mold our future legacies. What will we leave behind? What will we create, that will be remembered for generations to come? Will it be kept in the family? Or will it be world-famous?

Dancing, apart to music with a beat, is my legacy. – Chubby Checker

When you think of your creative idols, you think of the things they’re best known for. Did they photograph only in black & white? Did they write poetry with all lowercase letters? Did they change modern cinematography? Did they create new dance moves? Did they revolutionize the music world? What did they bring to the table? That is their legacy.

I sacrifice in my love life and my social life, but those things will be there in three or four years. This is a really important time in my life. I can’t just be the girl who sang ‘I Kissed a Girl.’ I have to leave a legacy. – Katy Perry

You don’t always have to create with a legacy in mind, but to shape your legacy, you should remain true to yourself. Don’t make things simply for money. Make things that you’d be proud to be remembered for. Create with passion. It’s said of writing fiction, that every character has a little piece of the author. That can be true of any artistic endeavor. Don’t let others force you into a mold that isn’t you. When I was a kid, my family knew an artist who did amazing paintings of  trees after a storm. Broken down trees that were colored in vivid splashes of color. I loved them, but I could never mimic that style. I’ve always drawn as realistically as I can. One day, when I was drawing at the table, he tried desperately to get me to break out of that mold. But try as I might, I couldn’t pull it off. It just wasn’t who I was.

My legacy would be that you don’t have to give up anything. You can be chic but have a sense of humor, you can be sexy but comfortable, you can be timeless but fresh. – Michael Kors

So the key to designing your creative legacy? Do it for love. Do it for life. Be passionate. Be sincere. Be you. And leave a comment telling me how you plan to build your legacy. Is it going to be a family legacy? Or will you be remembered by many?

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