Leveraging Your Story to Tell & Sell

Your Story

One of the biggest challenges we face as entrepreneurs is establishing our authority; yet at the same time remaining relatable to our clients, prospects, and raving fans. Learning how to share your story effectively will make this challenge much easier to overcome.

Unfortunately many entrepreneurs avoid telling their story. Knowing this, if you take the time to put together your own compelling, well told story, it can pay huge dividends as you build and position your brand.

When I start working with a new client I always ask,

“Do you want to be the face of the business?”

This question is normally followed by an uncomfortable silence because they don’t know how to answer. If they came from a corporate background I understand why. When I started my entrepreneurship journey I had no idea I should be putting my story together. In conversation I did tell the bits and pieces I felt my clients needed to hear – but I never sat down and really put it together.

Yes, You Do Have a Story

It took me years of flying blind until eventually I learned everyone has a story, including me. So now I tell my clients and fans…

“Everyone has a story. And everyone’s story is important.”

Once you get past the shock of,

“I have a story?!?!

it’s time to dig deep and frame out yours.

As with many things in life, stories are often kept secret largely out of fear or embarrassment. In a recent interview I had a very successful person tell me for years he told 98% of his story and did ok. It wasn’t until he completely opened up and shared the last 2% that the parts and pieces seemed to fall in place. In this case those parts and pieces weren’t just monetarily related, but also lifestyle and a newfound ability to fulfill his purpose.

Why is Your Story Important?

To help overcome the fears I find it easier to start my teachings with, “Why is Your Story Important?” Let’s break that down into some key points.

  1. People prefer to do business with people they know, like, and trust.
  2. To be relatable it’s important to share both your wins and losses. Life is not perfect.
  3. Your story levels the playing field by defining not only who you are today but where you came from.
  4. Something has to drive you. You story will help your audience understand why you do what you do. This make you much more real and authentic.
  5. Once your audience can relate to you at their level your ability to inspire and empower becomes much easier.
  6. If you don’t have a story you are leaving it up to others to fill in the blanks. In this case you can guarantee they will always be wrong. When the curtain falls whatever you’ve created under false pretenses is in jeopardy.
  7. It’s your story – Own it!

Basic Questions to Ask Yourself

As you start thinking about your story here’s some basic questions to ask yourself. Don’t repeat the mistake most entrepreneurs make. Write it down! Put your thoughts down on paper. You’ll revisit your notes multiple times and continue to adjust as you test and master your story.

  1. What’s my story?
  2. Can people relate to my story?
  3. Does my story pull people in?

Parts of a Good Story – The Hero’s Journey

Many entrepreneurs eventually realize it’s time to share their story but don’t know where to begin. The Hero’s Journey, coined by Joseph Campbell, provides an excellent framework to get started and lay out the steps of your journey from start to finish.

Your job is to relate each of these steps to your own personal journey. It doesn’t matter the current status your journey. Everyone’s journey is unique so you could be anywhere in the process. When you put together your story it’s important to include the steps you’ve already taken as well as predicting those you haven’t yet lived through. This will help you establish the key performance indicators (KPI) to make sure you stay on track.

It doesn’t matter where you are. What matters is that you take the initiative to get started taking action in congruence with your desired end result. For this exercise we’ll assume you already worked with a coach or consultant to solidify your mindset and help establish your desired result. If you need help with this front end work you can reach out to me. https://the10factor.com

The Hero’s Journey

  1. Ordinary World: This is your comfort zone where you likely are living when your journey starts. Many people never leave this stage.
  2. Call to Adventure: You experience a pattern interrupt to your comfort zone. It could be to follow a calling, protect family, etc.
  3. Refusal: If you get stuck in this stage it can leave you with regrets and unfulfillment towards the end of your life. You feel the call but need to overcome your own fears and second thoughts.
  4. Meeting the Mentor: Often the mentor has already accomplished something similar so they use their story to help inspire and their experience to guide. This is the turning point when you lean on them to help push you through your fears.
  5. Start Taking Action: You push past your fears and second thoughts and commit to go all-in.
  6. Tests, Allies, Enemies: Once you start taking action you find out who your friends are; and also your enemies. You learn some can be trusted and others cannot. This is the stage when you upgrade your circle of influence to align with your journey.
  7. Approach to the Inmost Cave: Your mentor and upgraded circle of influence pay huge dividends when you face a terrible danger or an inner conflict you will need to overcome.
  8. Ordeal: During this stage you face and overcome the dangerous physical test or deep inner conflict.
  9. Reward: This is the prize for overcoming your ordeal and seizing the sword.
  10. The Road Back: Once you have the reward the return home often requires one last push. This is a transition stage where the journey becomes bigger than you and is now about a bigger cause.
  11. Resurrection: During the return home your journey climaxes when the hero (you) must face your final and most dangerous encounter with failure or death.
  12. Return with Elixir: You return back to your ordinary world  but are a changed person. This is the final stage.

Now… If you throw in a love story you’ve got the makings for your next Hollywood Blockbuster.

Testing Your Story

Once you frame out your story it’s important to reflect back with an open mind to answer the basic questions you asked yourself at the beginning. I recommend repeating this reflection each time you adjust your story as you continue to test and master.

  1. What’s my story?
  2. Can people relate to my story?
  3. Does my story pull people in?

Before taking your story public it’s important to go through some testing. First and foremost you need to gut check yourself. Once you answer the basic questions above ask yourself these questions.

  1. Am I being completely transparent and honest?
  2. Did I leave out any parts because I’m scared to share?
  3. Did I leave out any parts for another reason?
  4. If the roles were reversed would I believe my story?

Next, I’d recommend testing among your Circle of Influence. Ask for completely honest and candid feedback. A strong circle will have your best interest at heart and will help pull the rest of your story out. Remember, telling your story is a challenge for almost everyone; but it gets easier and easier. Once you start telling your story you’ll likely feel a weight lift from your shoulders and you’ll be on your way.

Always remember this… There is a fine line between sharing your story and really making it about them.

Now What?

Once you have your story framed out and tested here’s what I’d recommend to perfect it.

  1. Write it down – script it out.
  2. Read it out loud.
  3. Record yourself and listen to it.
  4. Practice it and continue to test it. Ask for feedback.
  5. Include it on your website, on social media, on marketing materials.
  6. Your story is now part of your brand.
  7. Be proud of your story and leverage it.
  8. Own it!

Each time you tell your story it will get better and easier. The more natural you are the better it will be received. 

And never forget…

“Everybody has a story. Everybody has a Hollywood script of a story.” – Tim Meuchel

Tim Meuchel
 

Tim Meuchel is the bestselling author and podcast host of The 10 Factor: From Struggling to Thriving Business in 10 Months. Like many successful entrepreneurs, Tim failed his way to success. He gave up $334,200 in 2008 after resigning from a twelve-year corporate management career to pursue his side business full-time. The business quickly grew 8X and within four months Tim's wife quit her job as well. Several years later a bad business deal left Tim's company almost bankrupt. Tapping into emergency funds, he fought back and restructured the business; resulting in a new profit producing model requiring less than 40% effort. Seeing an opportunity to give back and help other struggling entrepreneurs Tim reverse engineered his process, validated it with top entrepreneurs, and created a ten-month roadmap - The 10 Factor.