I was contemplating the last eight years of my business (whilst planning the celebrEIGHTions!) and realised that I have a post to write about telling your story! Last month I was fortunate to hear Lynn Huggins-Cooper speak on this topic and it was very inspiring – I knew it would be – so I want to share what she said.
Lynn started by telling her own story, which I am not going to do because there is no way that I will give it justice – but I will say that it was an emotional whirlwind through working in law, crime and teaching, tied in a bow with writing, crafting and family. Lynn is one of the very nicest people I have ever met, with a big heart, attentive ears, just the right words (naturally) and a passion for helping others. She’s lovely.
She started off by saying that as female entrepreneurs we have a passion for what we do and that’s why we’ve chosen to do those things. Telling our story is about translating and showing that authenticity.
We have problems writing content for our business, it’s a weight that we carry about with us because we don’t know HOW to talk about things.
As women, we are naturally people pleasers and go along with that. We have strong messages that we need to put out into society.
Copywriting is a very specific skill and there are some great copywriters out there. I can think of several off the top of my head, and they are all amazing – but Lynn likes to teach people to hone their own skills. We can ALL write, but sometimes we need a bit of help and guidance.
As women, we are very good communicators. We make things better for people by talking. We explain things ALL the time to our kids (often many, many times over..) and some of us are married to husbands who struggle to talk, when that’s all we want to do.
When writing for business we should be as authentic as possible.
You chose your business because you love what you do, it fires you up and speaks directly to your hear. If it doesn’t do this – find a different one. Your business should be something you’d do for free (but you don’t because of course you can’t live on nothing – and you deserve to be compensated for your skill and passion.) It should be something you love and something that just clicks into place with you.
What we do in our work affects the people we are.
If you’re coming home feeling soul-sucked, it affects your whole life.
Your business should be the business of your heart. It should feed you and fill the bucket you can use in the world.
When Lynn is asked what hobbies she has, she says “work and family are everything” – she is not martyred to an altar that is work. She LOVES her work. She loves to write, she can’t NOT write. She loves finding the best way to say things. The way that things will connect with other people.
Think about what your core values are – not your mission statement.
Here are some examples:
Truthful. People can say ” I was ill, I didn’t do that, it didn’t quite work”
Family Orientated. Lynn likes to know that other people are also family orientated. The family group is important – in whatever form.
People who live lightly on Earth. Organic living, home ed, downshifting being central to their world view.
Positive world view. Likes to know that people have believe there’s good in the world.
Excitement. That other people are excited about what they do – and what Lynn can do for them!
Teach and share skills. She loves is when people have learnt something new and gets a buzz from this.
Variety. Lynn likes to try different things to keep it interesting. She shared about her work with the Millin Charity, an Enterprise in Newcastle. She works there in two ways;
One, with immigrant women who are learning a new culture in a different place with a different lifestyle. There could be ten different languages around the table, making things whilst Lynn is teaching about women’s enterprise. They talk and make and there is a timelessness of women sitting around a table.
Two, raising women’s expectations by giving them a chance to become self sustaining and self supporting. Helping women who’ve often been taught to have poor expectations to realise that there is another way and there are things that they’re good at.
These feed into Lynn’s core values of family, positivity and teaching. Through this, teaching excluded children, writing, helping others to write and teaching felting and textiles, she is filling her bucket.
Being an entrepreneur is not just the icing on the cake, it is mixing the cake and helping it to rise.
We were encouraged to do that. To mix it up. To look at what aspects of life give us lots and lots of pleasure AND make us money. Finding out what makes you want to leap in and do. To sparkle and tingle and love it. What makes you feel – when you’re doing it – that this is what you are MEANT to be doing?
How do you then communicate that to the outside world?
It’s about finding your tribe.
When you’re talking authentically, you’ll find them. Your words will catch their eye and connect with them. It’s not just about humour, it’s about recognising that no-one is perfect. On social media, we can seem to have a perfect, glamorous life which isn’t necessarily seen as being authentic. Normal peoples stories are what click with Lynn and make her want to connect with people.
Connection is key to writing. Whether it’s for a book, copy for a website or social media.
Let people in to know you a bit. You don’t have to air your dirty laundry and open a vein. People want connection – it’s very important that you feel a sense of integrity from the people you’re working with.
Your writing will WORK when you’re enthused.
So try to tap into that thrilling thing. Your writing does not have to be perfect.
We think “I’m not a writer”.. however, when your glow and enthusiasm SWEEPS through into your writing people will want a piece of that. You’re selling the lifestyle, not just your products and services.
If work enthusiastically fills your life then ideas will never dry up.
Keep a stack of notebooks in useful places. No idea is ever wasted.
It’s fine to be YOU. Just be you.
There is vulnerability in being authentic.
Write to make meaning.
Only blog if you have something to say.
People love a more conversational style. It’s a little window into your life – people want to get to know you.
There is nothing more important than making real connections.
Whatever you need to write – make some notes
1. What’s it for?
What are you trying to achieve? get people to splurge out, attract buyers or teach people to do something more easily?
2. How do my core values fit into this?
What makes it important to me? What message do I want to give out to the world?
This will attract your tribe because they will connect with you.
Some Caddis fly lava protect their body with cases – they whack stuff onto the case for protection. Make sure that the things you add to YOUR case are the things that enrich you rather than the things that weigh you down.
This post was written up from the notes I took when Lynn was speaking. You can find out more about Lynn on her Facebook page.