Let’s time travel back to Christmas 2019 for a moment.
It was around 10 am in the morning. I was eating my avocado and egg sandwich and watching some TV. There was an interview with Katie Whetsell who plays Dory in Finding Nemo The Musical. She was sharing the reason why she chose to work at Disney.
Her story boiled down to this:
Katie’s mother, Karen, was diagnosed with cancer when she was nine years old. When the doctor told her the cancer was terminal, they decided to take a family trip to Disney World. They spent a week in the parks, sightseeing and interacting with all the Disney characters.
Despite Karen’s battle with cancer, she had the time of her life. After seeing her mother’s face full of joy and hope again, Katie knew she wanted to work with Disney.
I was moved. She shared her story in an emotionally powerful way and it shows that she’s more passionate about working at Disney compared to a person working at Disney just for a paycheck, making her stand out in the company.
And that’s a common problem businesses have to deal with too. Standing out from their competitors. Whatever business you’re in, I guarantee there are hundreds of thousands of other businesses that are just like yours. When you’re competing against that many people trying to get the attention of your target audience, it can be hard to stand out.
This is where you can leverage the story behind your business. Don’t be afraid to share it with your audience, no matter how vulnerable it’ll make you feel. Because with stories…
It’s one of the most powerful ways to make you stand out.
It’s a great way to connect with your audience.
It builds trust.
Your business story is one of your greatest assets. Use it to its maximum potential. At this point, you might be asking, “How do I craft my own unique story that’ll make me stand out?”
Don’t worry, I’ll get to that right now.
The first thing is to identify the ‘why’ of your business. Why did you start it in the first place? And dig deep. If your answer is, “I want to be my own boss,” or “I want financial independence,” that’s kind of a given for anyone who wants to start their own business. You’re not digging deep enough.
Once you’ve identified that, write down everything that happened in your life that led to the decision of starting the business you have now. And feel free to go as far back as you need to.
After that, follow this 12 step storytelling framework to craft your unique story. Now, this isn’t a new method, it’s been used in books and films for many years. So here’s the…
Hero’s Journey Storytelling Framework
1. The ordinary world: The life of the hero before their adventure starts.
2. Call to adventure: Something happens to the hero that makes them want to start the adventure.
3. Refusal of the call: The hero refuses to go on the adventure for whatever reason.
4. Meeting the mentor: The hero meets someone who gives them guidance and prepares them for the adventure.
5. Crossing the threshold: The hero starts the adventure.
6. Tests, allies, and enemies: The hero’s strength is tested as they meet new friends and enemies.
7. Alternate approach: The hero experiences a setback and comes up with a new approach to their challenge.
8. Ordeal: The hero goes through a huge problem, possibly a life or death situation.
9. Reward: The hero survives the ordeal and completes their adventure.
10. The road back: The hero starts to go back to their ordinary world.
11. Resurrection hero: The hero faces one final test before returning to their ordinary world.
12. Return with Elixir: The hero returns to the ordinary world and brings back an “elixir,” or solution to help everyone else.
That’s pretty long, and if you tell your story at that length, you’re going to lose your audience. So I suggest you trim it down and just use these five (with two optional) steps:
1. Ordinary world
2. Call to adventure
3. Refusal of the call (Optional)
4. Meeting the mentor – For this step, it doesn’t necessarily have to be a person. It could be anything that inspired you to start your business 5. Tests, allies, and enemies
6. Alternate approach (Optional)
7. Return with elixir
Now let’s put this into action
To see how this works, let’s pretend there’s a person who wants to go into the coaching business. Here’s how the outline would look:
The ordinary world: Regular person who works in a corporate financial institution and is burnt out from her career.
Call to adventure: Certain events happened at her job that she realizes she doesn’t like working under other people.
Meeting with the mentor: Attended networking events and met a business coach that helped her start a blogging business.
Alternate approach: Abandoned my blog project. Transitioned to the coaching business.
Tests, allies, and enemies: Met new people through networking events that are also going through the same thing she went through.
Return with Elixir: Built her business based on helping other people start businesses they actually love.
Now after a bit more detail, the whole story would look something like this.
Amira always knew she wanted to work in the financial industry. She was one of those kids who grew up with parents who work as high up financial managers. And just like the stereotypes you hear about finance workers, she would read anything and everything finance-related, she’d constantly play the stock market simulator, and study finance geniuses like Warren Buffet.
After she finished college, she got her first fulltime job at a bank located in Wall Street. Even though it was cutthroat, she loved working with everyone there! But there were certain experiences she went through that made her quit and realize that she did NOT want to work under someone else for the rest of her life. Fast forward a few years, she met a business coach at a local networking event. And with her help, she started her first online blogging business in the personal finance niche.
However, the first six months were absolutely terrible. She spent so much time making her website look pretty and creating pages of content just to see zero visitors. Then one day she decided to look for ways to gain traction for her website. She studied SEO, guest posting, getting featured on podcasts, etc.
A few months later, she started to see an increase in organic traffic to her website and started earning money from affiliate promotions and ad revenue. With all that consistent traffic, she was able to earn enough money to support herself full time.
Throughout the months, she still goes to networking events and she started to notice a pattern. She has been meeting a lot of people who are going through the same thing she went through. Having a full-time job they thought they’d be satisfied with just to find out they hate working under their bosses.
After three years into her blogging business, she decided to put it off and go into the world of coaching.
Because she wanted to help the people who are going through the same thing she went through a few years ago. She wants people to do what they love and still be able to earn enough money to support themselves and their family. When she started her coaching business, she knew exactly what she wanted to do: Teach other people how to start their own blogging business.
Fast forward to today, she offers many different types of programs. Everything from laying the foundations of a blogging business, scaling it, building an email list, and private coaching.
And that’s how you do it. Now you don’t have to follow the elements in order. If you need to do some rearrangement to make it flow better, go for it. Whatever helps your story makes sense and gets people to join and support your mission. But I hope this helps you out. And if you’d like to read more content like this, I send weekly copywriting tips, business tips, and promotional emails to my readers. I also give out an e-book you can download for free called “5 Steps to Create Money Generating Emails.” The book teaches you step-by-step how to write compelling sales emails.
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About the author:
Hi, I’m Ellisen and I’m a copywriter. I help businesses make more sales by building relationships with their audience through old fashioned email. I have a website called EllisenWang.com. When you go there, you can opt for weekly copywriting, email marketing, and business tips. I’ll also send you a free e-book called “5 Steps to Create Money Generating Emails.” It teaches you step-by-step how to write converting and compelling sales emails. If you don’t want to optin, you can also read through my blog and listen to my audios for more marketing content.