“It’s hard not to like someone once you know their story.”Mister Rogers
Who doesn’t love a good story? I know in our house the bedtime story is an important part of the day (ALMOST finished the Prisoner of Azkaban with my son), when you meet a friend you want to know what’s going on in their life and they share their stories – a narrative of what’s happening in their world. When I start working with a client I like to learn their story – how they ended up doing what they do.
People like to hear stories. The saying that people buy from people is used for a reason. It’s true. Why do you think people use their stories to sell? Fabienne Fredrickson talks about her 3am no client sweats, Dani Johnson talks about living in a car, Bob proctor talks about how his income grew in just one year after he started studying Napoleon Hill – there are some amazing stories out there. Rags to riches, panic to profits, people love to hear about how others overcame problems and made their success.
Of course you might not have a story that’s as extreme as some, but you do have a story and people want to hear it!
Sharing your story helps people to like you. Maybe not everybody – that would be really hard – but it helps the people who count to like you and to feel that they know you – and they just might become clients. Does sharing your story mean that you have to become someone who shares every detail of your life? No of course not. You can definitely be authentic and share your story without giving the world everything, but at the same time I’d say it’s important to be honest and transparent. It’s that other saying – know, like and trust.
It turns out it’s quite a while since I shared my (not at all extreme) story. Here’s a super short run-down of how I became a Brand Explorer:
When I was a child I always loved drawing and writing stories. I used to make newspapers of things I was into – birds and dinosaurs I remember particularly, I made up clubs and invented the newspapers and used those little pencils you get in Ikea as freebies to give to my non-existent customers. When I was in middle school I designed the posters and tickets for Grease because being IN it.. wasn’t gonna happen. When I was in High School I took Design Technology. Everyone else made bookcases and stools.. I made a kids book about “Mr Bin” to encourage recycling (including a cardboard character which my parents kept and used to use to remind them to put the bins out!) and designed a juice carton.
After High School I went to college to do a Foundation Degree – I specialised in Graphic Design. A highlights of this year included making images with toast and lettuce which was a bit embarrassing to photocopy in the City Library… then I went to University to study Graphic Design. I got to do loads of fun things including making Fimo spacemen, drawing with strong, visiting Barcelona and Amsterdam design studios, designing a colouring book (this was how I learnt to use Adobe Illustrator) and photographing lots of staircases. We had to do work experience of course, so I arranged that at a really small agency and loved it. I knew they were thinking about employing someone else, so after uni I gained more experience there and nagged them pretty much every day until they gave me a job 😉
I thoroughly enjoyed working there, learnt a ton and worked on some amazing projects. It was a great place to work. Then I had a baby girl, and while I was on maternity leave I was made redundant and for a whole day I thought the world had fallen apart.
My husband and my parents encouraged me to set up on my own. My parents offered me my old bedroom as an office and bought my office furniture for me.
That was in February 2010. I worked when my daughter was in nursery and later at school, and when my son was born I took him to the office with me for a bit. I have worked – and continue to work – with the most interesting and lovely clients. I’m very lucky 🙂 I’ve also developed my skills to be a brand strategist as well as a graphic designer, because making things pretty without purpose is pointless. I’d much rather spend time gathering information and creating something with more intention that will benefit my clients so much more both visually and through their actions and content.
I’ve ran events, launched courses and memberships, I am still involved in running networking events (which have always been so useful for finding friends, support and clients) and along the way I’ve had a couple of other businesses alongside this one – a paper cutting business with a subscription box, a goal setting membership, part of a social media agency, I’ve been a director a couple of times (a business forum and a networking group) and now I am one third of Brand Makery alongside my own business where we have courses for product makers to build their brands.
That’s a very potted history.. the main point is that I have spent time with amazing people and that continues to be such a gift. If you happen to be one of the people I’ve met along the way then that includes you 🙂
I’d love to know your story.. please join my group and share it.