How and when to tell your story as a business owner?

When I started my business 6 years ago, I often found myself selling my clients on the value of using more storytelling into their marketing.

Thanks to venues like TED and the rise of narrative podcasts, the landscape has been shifting in favor of story.

This is unequivocally a good thing — as stories are the universal language of connection.

But as small business owners wholeheartedly embrace storytelling as a marketing tool, I’ve started to see the shadow side of story.

When the story becomes all about you.

Online, there is an epidemic of business owners introducing themselves not by sharing their work, or their credentials, but by sharing a rags-to-riches story.

It usually looks something like this:

“I was broke, but now I run a 7-figure business…”

You can recognize these stories when, before you’re introduced to what the expert in front of you actually does, you’ve heard how far she’s come.

This trend has become so prevalent that I’m seeing highly credentialed, talented business owners lead with a struggle story, instead of sharing the results they get for clients.

Dr. Michelle Mazur is a speech coach and a master at effective storytelling.

She’s long railed against the struggle story trend is speech-writing, and now that it’s followed her online in the form of Facebook ads, she’s raising the alarm.

Michelle recently released a podcast on the question of whether telling your story is hurting your speaking cred.

Answer: Maybe. Probably.

Michelle is joining me on Brigitte Rants About Marketing to talk about this problem more broadly.

We’ll be covering:

  • When sharing your story becomes a problem
  • The fast and easy way to tell better stories
  • What you should really be doing to stand out and get noticed

When you join us live for this live show, you can ask questions, participate in the live chat and leave feeling energized about ways you can achieve your goal of getting noticed online.

We go live on Tuesday, June 20th, at 11 am Eastern, 8 am Pacific.

Hope to see you there!

Click here to save your spot.

What a Difference a Year Can Make

Last October, Maggie flew out for our now annual planning tradition, and we tossed around the idea of using a fiscal year of October – September rather than the calendar year.

It’s a little silly, but Maggie joined me in October 2013, and it was such a momentous shift in my thinking about what my business could become that it felt right to honor that moment by creating our own calendar.

Ultimately, we discarded this as a fun idea that isn’t so great in practice. The accounting software I use generates useful reports based on the traditional calendar year, and with tax filings and all that, practicality and ease won out.

But I still can’t shake the feeling that our year actually started in October.

And by that measure, we’re already having the best year ever. That’s why, to kick off the “real” new year, I’d love to share the first piece of good news with you.

One of the things that has long been on my business bucket list is doing more public speaking and live workshops. Over the years, the lack of a speaking schedule has become something of a sore spot, because it’s a cobbler’s daughter has no shoes situation. I have a ton of professional experience lining up speaking opportunities for other people, but I never make the time to pitch myself.

At the same time, I’ve been doing a lot of relationship building. It’s this relationship building that ultimately lead to a situation where I am entering 2015 with not one but two big appearances scheduled early this year.

I’m going to be talking a lot more about one of them next week, because the opportunity is bringing with it a challenge I am sure you can relate to. Stay tuned — I don’t think you’ll want to miss it.

But there’s another event in that I do want to share with you now.

I’m speaking at The Instigator Experience in April. I’m especially excited, because Instigator is a dream conference:

It’s an intimate event, capped at 60 attendees. Srinivas Rao, the mastermind behind the event, is devoted to generating a lot of opportunities for speakers and attendees to interact. I’m a person that feels more comfortable making direct connections, so I can’t imagine a better setup for my first big talk as the founder of my agency.

The theme of the event, Igniting a Movement, is close to my heart and aligned with the purpose driving my agency. I also think an event like this, which brings together a small and dedicated group of speakers and attendees is essential to creating a support system that enables those brave, forward-thinking entrepreneurs, change makers and instigators to break through the barriers and launch their visions into reality.

I am personally excited about the other speakers. Some, like Jadah Sellner of Simple Green Smoothies, I’ve seen speak before, and I’ve been blown away. Others, like Christina Rasmussen, are addressing topics that I can’t wait to hear.

I’d love for you to join us as one of the 60 attendees, because it’s such an intimate event. I’ll be talking about Harnessing the Media to Move Hearts and Minds, and it’d be awesome to see your face from the stage.

Applications are open now, and you can click here to learn a lot more about The Instigator Experience. If you’ll be there, I’d love to hear from you beforehand, so we can be sure to carve out time for one another.

P.S. What I’m doing in this post, celebrating a big win with you, is something I intend to do a lot more of in 2015. Sharing our successes is tremendously important, and it’s my opinion that we, as business builders, don’t do enough of it. Can you think of an opportunity to celebrate with your own community?