Guest Post: The Resume Is Dead, The Bio Is King

storyThis article was originally published on The99Percent.com and went viral with 6,000+ retweets/shares. It has been republished on LifeHacker and across the web.

Written by: Michael Margolis      Illustration: Oscar Ramos Orozco

If you’re a designer, entrepreneur, or creative — you probably haven’t been asked for your resume in a long time. Instead, people Google you — and quickly assess your talents based on your website, portfolio, and social media profiles.

Do they resonate with what you’re sharing? Do they identify with your story? Are you even giving them a story to wrap their head around?

Gone are the days of “Just the facts, Ma’am.” Instead we’re all trying to suss each other out in the relationship economy. Do I share something in common with you? How do we relate to each other? Are you relevant to my work?

That’s why the resume is on the out, and the bio is on the rise.

People work with people they can relate to and identify with. Trust comes from personal disclosure. And that kind of sharing is hard to convey in a resume. Your bio needs to tell the bigger story. Especially, when you’re in business for yourself, or in the business of relationships. It’s your bio that’s read first.

To help you with this, your bio should address the following five questions:

  1. Who am I?
  2. How can I help you?
  3. How did I get here (i.e. know what I know)?
  4. Why can you trust me?
  5. What do we share in common?

Your bio is the linchpin for expanding your thought leadership and recognition, especially online. It frames the conversation and sets the tone. It’s your job to reveal a bit about yourself and how you see the world. Do this well, and people will eagerly want to engage with you further.

Here’s the challenge: who taught you how to write your bio?

Admittedly, most of us never got a lesson in this essential task. You’re not alone. Even the most skilled communicators get tongue-tied and twisted when trying to represent themselves in writing. We fear the two extremes: obnoxious self-importance or boring earnestness.

It gets further complicated when you’re in the midst of a career or business reinvention. You have to reconcile the different twists and turns of your past into a coherent professional storyline.

The personal branding industry has only muddied the waters. It’s easy to feel turned off by the heavy-handed acts of self-promotion that the various gurus out there say you’re supposed to do. We’ve been told to carefully construct a persona that will differentiate and trademark our skills into a unique value proposition.

That’s mostly a bunch of buzzword bingo bullshit.

Instead, share more of what you really care about.

And then write your bio in service to your reader, not just ego validation.

Imagine that: A compelling reason to tell your story beyond bragging to the world that you’re “kind of a big deal.” Embrace the holy-grail of storytelling: tell a story that people can identify with as their own – and the need to persuade, convince, or sell them on anything disappears.

With all this in mind, here’s a few key pointers for reinventing your bio as a story:

1. Share a Point of View.

You’re a creative. Having something to say is the ultimate proof. What’s missing from the larger conversation? Speak to that. Don’t be afraid to tell the bigger story. We want to know how you see the world. Show us that you have a unique perspective or fresh vantage point on the things that matter most.

2. Create a Backstory.

Explain the origin for how you came to see the world in this way. Maybe it was something that happened to you as a kid or early in your career. Consider your superhero origins. How did you come into these powers? What set you off on this quest or journey? What’s the riddle or mystery you are still trying to solve? When you tell the story of who you were meant to be, it becomes an undeniable story. Natural authority is speaking from the place of what you know and have lived.

3. Incorporate External Validators.

Think frugally here. To paraphrase the artist De La Vega, we spend too much time trying to convince others, instead of believing in ourselves. Nonetheless, if you’re doing something new, different, or innovative — you have to anchor it into the familiar. Help people see that your novel ideas are connected to things they recognize and trust. That might be your notable clients, press, publications, or things you’ve created. Just enough to show people your story is for real.

4. Invite people into relationship.

Now that you’ve established you’ve got something to share, remind people you’re not so different from them. Vulnerability is the new black. Share some guilty pleasures. Describe what you like to geek out on. Reveal a couple things you obsess about as hobbies or interests. This will make you more approachable and relatable. You’re human, too. Help people find the invisible lines of connection.

To revamp your bio, start with these simple storytelling principles and questions above.

In the process, you’ll discover a greater potential to shift how you see yourself and how the world sees you. Your story sets the boundaries for everything else that follows.

If you’re having trouble being heard, recognized, or understood, it’s probably an issue related to your story and identity.

SAMPLE COPY ADDED to promote webinar:

The good news? I want to help you tell your story.

Join my friend Michael for his new FREE webinar called, RE-STORY YOURSELF: How to Attract Your Future with a Better Bio.

This webinar will teach you simple storytelling shortcuts to creating a standout yet authentic bio that attracts more of what you want. Discover the right tone, structure, and how to craft an interesting point of view. You’ll learn how to use story to position your work, attract opportunities, and get paid for being the real you.

Click here to sign up for my FREE webinar now!

It’s never too late to reinvent your story.

Story on!

 

Guest Post: How To Make Your “About Me” Page Irresistible

My Storyby Schuyler Kaye

You’ve probably heard how important it is to have an awesome “about me” page. As the saying goes people buy you, not the product or service. Yet it can be one of the most difficult pages to write.

I mean how do you capture “you” on a single page? 

And even if you could capture “you,” what if people don’t like it?

Many “about me” pages try to be something they’re not… 

I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face as I pulled off my rollerblades. I’d just been on a fantastic first date and was sitting on cloud 29 as a result. (That’s 20 clouds higher than cloud 9!) It lasted for about a week until I realized she wasn’t going to return my calls. 

Unsure of what happened, I asked my friends for advice… It was decided that I wore my heart on my sleeve, and I needed to keep her guessing about what I felt. And so I learned the dating game, when to show I cared and when to pretend I didn’t.

It totally worked! I got called back. I went on more dates. Soon she wanted to be in a committed relationship… only something was off. I was exhausted always trying to figure out when I was allowed to care – constantly worried that if I stopped this game, she’d lose interest.

What pressures or expectations do you feel influence your “about me” page?

Should you be professional? 

Do you need to stick to the facts and credentials? 

Maybe you feel bashful and so you try to be overly modest? 

Is there pressure to share everything or to remain a mystery?

Are you worried you might scare off your customers if you share the personal hippy side of you? 

I’ll be honest. Chances are if you show up with a personal story, there will be people who decide they don’t want to work with you. But don’t worry! They’ll be the unhappy customers that you can’t seem to please and leave you feeling drained.

Help your customers decide early on if you’re the right fit

You know things didn’t work out with that girl I was dating. In truth all the games did was make it take longer to realize we weren’t a fit. You can only pretend to be something else for so long…

Years later after repeating this process many times, I decided to take a chance. I dropped the games and sure, I tasted rejection again… But soon enough, I found myself in a positive healthy relationship for the first time.

By sharing your hippy story on your “about me” page, you might lose the interest of some people, but you’ll naturally become irresistible to the people who will LOVE working with you.

Pick the story that best shows off your unique hippy-ness

Step 1: Identify the “why” of your life. To make it simpler, here are some categories of what you might value:

  • A sense of excitement, adventure, or just plain ol’ fun?
  • How about a realization of a long-standing belief or conviction?
  • Maybe it’s a better understanding of who you are or what you want in life?
  • Is it love, friendship, some kind of companionship?
  • Or to receive healing, balance, happiness, peace or freedom from something in your life?

Example: I’ve always envied people who knew what they were meant to do… my life has been a constant search for that sense of knowing and belonging to a purpose that engaged my heart.

 

Step 2: Think of a story in your life that has prepared you to make the world better with work you do. Then use it to introduce yourself to your customers through your “About Me” page. The following questions will help you think of a story that resonates with the core values you identified in the first step.

  • How did you decide to do the work you do?
  • How did you overcome the problem you solve for your customers?
  • If you could be known for just one thing in the world, what would it be and why?
  • What’s your greatest challenge or accomplishment? How’d it play out?

Example: I’ve been in the shoes of my customers, and I found a way out… here’s the story of how it went down.

 

I’d recently broken up with the Fortune 100 Company that I worked at for 6 years and was “dating” five different business ideas at the same time… Unable to be successful at any of them because I was unable to meet the expectations of all of them, I found myself lost and depressed.

Having no choice, I explored my own life with reckless abandon to find a way to leave the expectations of others behind and discover my own path. 

Uncovering my story revealed my purpose, and that clarity has effortlessly guided me since. Now I apply what I learned to guide small business owners in finding a brand that feels authentic to their hearts and is effective at attracting the right customers with their online presence.

If you want an “about me” page that’s irresistible to the customers you love, then share the story of “why” you do your “hippy” work.

Want to take your story to the next level?

Sign up for this no-cost learning series on how to attract more customers with your “about me” page beginning on September 24.

 

Schuyler-HeadshotBio: I help small business owners who want to make a difference, and need to attract more customers with their online presence. You see I’ve been in the business of branding since I decided being a short, fat, nerdy high schooler wasn’t the way to start college.  After leaving a Fortune 100 Company, I found myself “dating” numerous business ideas at the same time hoping one would uncover my passion and grant the freedom of any lifestyle I chose. It didn’t work… In truth it was uncovering my story that revealed my purpose, and that clarity has effortlessly guided my business since (purposecompass.org). Now I help others use their story to build a business they love and that attracts the right customers.

if i had to start again

I just saw this video from my colleague Nancy Juetten. She’s someone I’ve featured on my blog a number of times, especially around writing your bio.

I wanted to share it because I think it’s a great example of a few things . . .

First of all, it’s a super cool format – having things be handdrawn and mixed with photos.

Second of all, I think it has a very important lesson in it about achieving financial sustainability and a mistake that a lot of people, myself included, have made.

Thirdly, these kinds of videos can be a great way for your clients to meet and get to know you. What I love is the story she shares in the beginning about her struggle and how her business came to be. It’s so relatable and honest. I totally felt for her. The story made her immediately much more human and warm. The tone was slow, not hyped up, not trying to ‘convince me’ of anything. Just some honest sharing and story telling.

Here’s my only critique (in case you’re thinking about doing a video like this).

After a minute or two I found myself wondering, ‘What’s in it for me?’ Was this just going to be a video of Nancy sharing her story or would it be something that would help me. I would have loved to see it be a bit clearer. If this was a video for her bio or ‘about me’ page, that’s perfect.

If it’s going to be more of a ‘viral’ video she’d hope people might spread around I’d love to see it start with ‘Hi there, my name is Nancy Juetten and, in this short video, you’re going to learn three critical lessons about growing your business, things I wish I’d done when I started.’ That kind of thing.

 

getting ready for the spotlight – free download

A few weeks ago, I interviewed a colleague of mine, (the beautiful woman to the right) Nancy Juetten about PR. She write the brilliant workbook ‘Bye Bye Boring Bio‘ that I recommend at all of my workshops. We talked about how to make sure that, when the spotlight comes, you’re ready for it. Nancy is one of the most polished people I know. If you’re playing at a beginning level, you don’t need to even worry about this. But, the higher up you go in the media chain the less forgiving the media is. If you feel like you’re finally ready to ‘go big’ and you want to make sure you’re ready – Nancy has some important thoughts to share with you. Most people just plain aren’t half as ready as they think they are. You can download a recording of the call here:

http://www.mainstreetmediasavvy.com/tad-hargrave-1-25-12-webinar/

Ten Story Revealing Questions

Whether it’s a product or a service – people are very curious about and reassured by stories. Your story is often at the heart of your credibility. They want to know what makes you so good at or so passionate about what you do. Stories humanize things. Stories connect people. No one wants to hear pitch (maybe Donald Trump, but the man isn’t well . . .). People want to hear stories.

1)    What got you started doing what you do? What drove you to do this? What was the moment when you realized you just had to start this business?

2)    Why did you choose to go about it the way you did?

3)    How did you go about developing your particular approach to the problem?

4)    What were the major obstacles or hardships that got in your way as you built your business?

5)    What have you experienced in your life that gives you the ‘street cred’ to do what you do?

6)    If you’re David with your business – then who is Goliath?

7)    Why are you so passionate about what you do?

8)    Who has been your Obi Wan Kenobi? Which mentors or teachers have most inspired you in this work?

9)    As you look back over your life – what are the primary questions you’ve sat with, struggled with? What are the different elements you’ve been trying to balance or weave together?

10)    If you had to sum up your life in three chapters, what would the chapter titles be and what would they each be about in one sentence?

 

If you’d like get cool posts like this in your inbox every few days CLICK HERE to subscribe to my blog and you’ll also get a free copy of my fancy new ebook “Marketing for Hippies” when it’s done.

 

Marketing for Psycho-Therapists

I just met with a therapist today for lunch.

We were doing a consultation and it really reminded me of something . . .

If you’re a therapist it can kind of seems like you’re screwed in the marketing department.

After all, ethically, you can’t even ask people for a testimonials sometimes. You can’t really build a community amongst your clients since confidentiality is so important. And there are often a lot of strict relationship boundaries at play too.

Hardly sounds like the warm, relationship building kind of marketing that we’ve come to know and love.

So, what to do?

Here are my top tips for therapists:

online video: give people a chance to virtually ‘meet you’. This could look like a welcome video on your website, or you talking about a topic that fascinates you, it could be you in conversation with or being interviewed by someone else, it could be you showing people your office where you work. So many things. The content is important, but, surprisingly, the fact that they can get a sense of your vibe just from how you are is just as important. Don’t underestimate the power of ‘vibe’ in marketing.

a blog: write about things you’re passionate about. Write about your critique of the counseling industry, share your own journey, write about the worst and best counseling sessions you ever received and what you learned from them, write about how cooking a good meal is like healing work, write about how what you learned mountain climbing made you a better counselor. Let them get to know you and how you see healing and therapy.

free talks: Do as many of these as you can. Get out there in front of people. Tell them your opinions on things. Talk about the topics you’re most passionate about. Are you passionate about masculine/feminine dynamics? Talk about those. Are you passionate about the idea of the shadow? Talk about that. Are you passionate about movement and healing? Talk about that. Get. Out. There. This lets people meet you in a very safe way.

write a book: Being an author gives you instant credibility and it’s kind of the best sales letter you’ll ever write.

anonymous case studies: if you and your clients are okay with it – why not share stories of some of the clients you’ve helped. You can change the names, dates and details as long as you get the heart of it across. These kinds of ‘before/after’ stories are incredibly powerful.

free sessions: most therapists do some version of this. because it works.

a great photo: if you’re all about warmth and understanding in your practice but your photo seems cold, austere and unforgiving . . . I can’t even begin to tell you how much money you’re losing. Find a good photographer and get a photo that really captures you.

a kick ass bio: go and get Nancy Jutten’s Bye Bye Boring Bio ebook. Your bio is likely the most important piece of marketing collateral you have.

think niche markets: sure you COULD help everyone. But it’s useful to think about the groups you’re BEST able to help. Pick your top three and really focus on those. To read more thoughts about identifying your niche click here. To watch some videos, click here.

connect with other hubs of those niche markets: Who is already connected to those niches? Who do they already trust? Doesn’t it make sense that if those people knew about your practice that they would refer you more business? Click here to read some more about hubs and to watch some videos click here.

 

If you’d like get cool posts like this in your inbox every few days CLICK HERE to subscribe to my blog and you’ll also get a free copy of my fancy new ebook “Marketing for Hippies” when it’s done.

 

Does your bio have all four of these critical elements in it?

Since I sent out the promo for the spring sale  of my colleague Nancy’s kick ass bio ebook “Bye Bye Boring Bio!“, I’ve had a few people ask. “What about youuuuur bio Tad?”

Uhhhm . . . I’m working on it? Will totally share it when I’m done.

Perhaps we can all work on ours together? (high fives)

 

The Four Critical Elements of a Kick Ass Bio:

 

So, today, I thought I would share with you what Nancy (The Bio Whisperer) considers the four ‘must have’ elements of a homerun bio (you may have never considered some of these before).

CRITICAL ELEMENT #1: Stunning Results

Your stunning results are the most compelling benefits you deliver for your ideal client.

Here are a couple of quick examples:

– Bette James Laughrun’s Isagenix nutritional supplements business was the #12 income earner in the company for much of 2008.

– Patricia Fripp is an award-winning speaker, sales presentation trainer, and executive speech coach who delights audiences, electrifies executives who speak, and transforms sales teams.

– Marci Shimoff is the woman’s face of the biggest self-help book phenomenon in history, Chick Soup for the Soul.  Her six best-selling titles in the series have met with stunning success, selling more than 13 million copies worldwide in 33 languages and have been on the New York Times bestseller list for a total of 108 weeks.

CRITICAL ELEMENT #2: A Succinct Story

This is a short, concise story that gets to the heart of your passion for your business and grabs attention in a compelling, memorable way.

Here are a couple of examples:

– Even as a young child, Dennis Conner was aware of his environment.  He noticed that by pushing furniture and accessories around, he could affect how his space felt.  This passion for three-dimensional space has been a driving force behind his career and life choices … If you’ve looking for help in selling your home, wanting to make your home or office feel and look better, or need assistance with holiday space planning, call Dennis Conner at Design Dialogue.  After all these years, he’s still pushing furniture around.

– Publicists need to be able to keep a secret.  Publicist Nancy Juetten often tells her clients that as a nine year old, she figured out how many licks it takes to get to the center of the Tootsie Pop, and she’ll never tell.

This is a memorable, compelling, and engaging way to build trust and invite new opportunities to be of service.  It works very, very well.

CRITICAL ELEMENT #3: A Sassy Sound Bite

This is a memorable, compelling, engaging way to build like, trust, and respect with your ideal client.

– Kim Duke of www.salesdivas.com believes that cold calling is best left in the freezer.

– Credible quotes from the media can also serve as sassy sound bites.   For example, Meetings and Conventions magazine calls Patricia Fripp “one of the country’s 10 most electrifying speakers.”

CRITICAL ELEMENT #4: Social Information to Help Your Clients Know, Like and Trust You Immediately

Don’t keep your bio strictly business.  Add a comment or two to help your ideal client like you on the spot.

For example:

– Emmy Award Winning TV Show Host John Curley can make balloon animals and grow a beard in less than a week.

– Viva Visibility Blogger Nancy Marmolejo is fun, friendly, smart as a whip and prone to creative outbursts.

– DIY Publicity Expert Nancy Juetten‘s son Kyle says that if there were Olympic medals for cleaning, she would earn the gold.

 

If you’d like get cool posts like this in your inbox every few days CLICK HERE to subscribe to my blog and you’ll also get a free copy of my fancy new ebook “Marketing for Hippies” when it’s done.

 

Is Your Bio Doing You and Your Business Justice?

I want to tell you why I will likely not be helping anyone redo their bios anytime soon.

(If you are an independent professional such as a coach, consultant, solopreneur, aspiring and thriving author, speaker or infopreneur – pay attention – Even if you aren’t this could me more relevant than you might think)

It’s about your bio.

But to rewind . . .

I was just in California for a pretty amazing meeting of some of North America’s top business and marketing coaches.

I’ll tell you about it sometime. Pretty cool.

While I was there I met a lady who has been referred to as a “bio whisperer”.  She helps people take their mediocre bios and make them ‘wow’ worthy. In the last year I’ve come to understand how our bios are one of the most overlooked and undervalued parts of our marketing. So, a few months ago I totally redid my bio.

And, since she was sitting next to me, I pulled out my laptop and I showed it to her.

I thought it was really good!

She did not.

Within five minutes, she had given me a whole new understanding of what my bio could sound like. She lovingly, expertly and yet ruthlessly eviscerated, critiqued, took apart, reworded and re-imagined my life story.

I was sold. You need to check her out.

Her name is Nancy Juetten, and she is the author of the popular and well-reviewed “Bye-Bye Boring Bio Action Guide”.

I just bought it. It kicks ass. It’s one of the most practical, high value ebooks I’ve ever read.

If you want to jump right to buying it – you can go here:

CLICK HERE

But before you do – let me give my pitch on why your bio matters. A lot.

Why your bio matters more than you think:

We live in a day and age where people are more skeptical than ever about advertising, marketing and business. Cynicism is rampant. Dealing with faceless corporations in the age of facebook is losing its luster.

In the age of social media – relationships matter more than they ever have. People are no longer buying from ‘companies’ they are buying from ‘people’. And the beginning of the relationship is them being clear about who you are and what you’re all about.

Relationships matter. So does authenticity.

People smell bullshit faster than ever before.

And attention spans are shorter than they’ve ever been.

To sum it up: we live in an age of A.D.D. cynics.

So you have to capture their attention FAST. And they need to get that you’re ‘REAL’ extremely quickly too. Within seconds of seeing your marketing materials (e.g. brochures, business cards, websites, posters) they will decide if you are relevant to them and whether or not they like and trust you.

Harsh but true.

Your bio is the place they look to learn about who you are and what your story is.

Your story is what they will or won’t connect to. If they connect to your story – they will overlook a lot of marketing gaffes.

There are three possible scenarios with your bio:

  • SCENARIO #1: No Bio. This is terrible. Suddenly your business feels cold. Bureaucratic. Antiseptic. A bit too clean.
  • SCENARIO #2: A Bad Bio. This might even be worse. I have read bios that come across as resumes, or too quirky and no substance – some that make the person seem incredibly arrogant. If you’re making reference to your “extraordinary capacities” as a “prodigy” and citing your “exemplary achievement” – I might consider cutting those bits out. Regardless of ‘how’ it goes wrong – a bad bio will lose people faster than anything. After all, if you’re they’re going to be getting the support from you but they don’t connect with you . .
  • SCENARIO #3: A Great Bio. When you have a great bio people’s hearts will leap. It will become immediately clear whether or not it’s a fit. They will feel your humanity and already have warm vibes towards you – before you’ve ever met. A rockstar bio will also share your story in such a way that you earn expert status and media attention. More and more people aren’t buying products or services – they’re buying stories. They want to feel a connection with what they’re buying. Your bio is central to that.

And there is no product on earth that I know that can help you create an inspiring, clear and powerful bio like Nancy’s ebook.

When people ask me for help with their bio I will send them to her ebook.

Why is it so good?

Her ebook (and I think this is the best part) is paaaaacked with examples of real life bios that work. It’s one thing to hear the concepts and hope they work – it’s another to read a bio and feel the impact of it.

It’s also packed with step by step instructions on how to craft your own.

So, go check this out and let me know what you think:

CLICK HERE

warmest,
tad

 

If you’d like get cool posts like this in your inbox every few days CLICK HERE to subscribe to my blog and you’ll also get a free copy of my fancy new ebook “Marketing for Hippies” when it’s done.