Go ahead and tell your story

Go ahead and tell your story

If you don’t tell your story in one form or another, you leave your audience to fill in the blanks, and you have no idea what they might imagine about you. When you write your story, you have some control over how your brand is perceived. However, people will always infer their own beliefs onto your story and that is okay, too, so long as you are consistent with your messaging, otherwise they will get confused and stop listening.

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The BIG why

The BIG why

Why do you do what you do? Have you ever thought about it? Have you been asked about it and not known what to answer other than “So I can do the school run”, or “I need the income”? Unfortunately, your ideal clients aren’t really interested in you being able to collect your kids from school or the fact that you need to pay your mortgage.

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Imagine if your business was a magazine

Imagine if your business was a magazine

If your business was a magazine, your name and logo would be the title on the cover, your services or products would be the feature headlines. But what would the reader find inside the magazine? Would the contents match the cover? Do you even know what articles the magazine might run? And what about your readership?

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Setting up a business when you know NOTHING about business

Well, I say nothing, both my degree in languages and my master in communications had some business studies attached. However, one thing is learning the theory of business (nearly 20 years ago as well), it’s another thing entirely applying it in practice. So, I’m basically starting from scratch. Nevertheless, I had this idea for a business, and after four years of being a stay-at-home-mum, I was ready to make a go of it. It’s not a unique idea that’s going to make me a millionaire (I wish!), I know I’m not the only one offering brand strategy consultancy, but here I am, trying to get a foot in the door.

How do you know what sort of business is for you?

I’m a mixture of introvert and extrovert, as in I like to know what I’m doing, before I throw myself in at the deep end, but I also kind of like throwing myself in at the deep end without thinking too much about it, (yes, it has got me in trouble before). I’d like to be the kind of person who thinks before they speak, but so often I find myself doing the opposite. Luckily the extrovert in me can speak and think at the same time ;) I really enjoy meeting new people, but I also like “me time”. This is why my business set-up is ideal for me, because it means meeting new clients which is exciting and interesting, but also working for and by myself when I’m creating a brand strategy for a client, which is equally important to me.

Where do you start?

Some people would start by, well, just starting! Getting a client and worry about the details later. Because I like to know what I’m doing (kind of…), but I also like “just doing”, I started by having a client. And that was when I had the epiphany of “I should be a brand strategist”. It was a little backward and it’s maybe a stretch to say it was a client, but she set me off down the path to setting up this business. So, I started for real by writing a load of documents on what a client would need from me. Then I tried doing my own brand strategy (it’s a journey, as you would know, if you’ve read about my packages), and began building my website. Working on my website really helped me focus on what I have to offer, and how I would go about letting potential clients know about my existence. So, a lot of thinking and writing was really where I started.

Joining groups on fb

Once I had and idea of what I was going to offer, I started talking to friends and family about my business and getting their views. They will perhaps not always tell you exactly what they think but they will build your confidence and assure you that you have what it takes. One of my friends, who has her own reflexology business, suggested I join a group on facebook for women entrepreneurs, which I did. Another friend suggested even more groups to join. The facebook groups are great, because they make you feel like you are not alone in starting or running your own business. There’s always tips and advice and people asking the exact question you were about to ask. They are also a great way of meeting other people in business in real life at networking events or other business-building events.

Networking and working on a business plan

I was invited along to a networking evening, which turned out to be when my business started to feel really real. I had to present myself and my business – and being a bit extrovert in these situations, I hadn’t prepared and so I just ended up saying what came into my mind at the time. I really wished I had thought about it beforehand, but hey ho. And have I written something down yet to pull out next time I go to a similar event? No, of course not. I did, however, go home and sign myself up for a business plan workshop in order to feel more like I was actually trying to run a business.

Wow, if I felt unprepared for the networking evening, did that pale in comparison to the business plan workshop. Turned out starting a business, when you don’t know anything about business, is a lot more involved than I had ever imagined. So, the next step in my journey to becoming my own boss, is writing my business plan, or at least making progress on it.

Getting real

It’s definitely getting real now, but there’s still many tasks on my list to tick off, before I feel ready to throw myself in at the deep end. Luckily, I can swim so when I do jump in, I know I’m going to be fine.

My life - in 1000 words or less

So, my husband didn’t want me to share quite so much about me and my life. He feels I’m over-sharing. Maybe it’s just because he’s a very private person. I’ve got nothing to hide (not that he has - neither of us is really that interesting). But I am more of a “what you see, is what you get” kind of person. And I think it’s important to share your story, for other people to see that we’re really not all that different to each other when it comes to it.

What do you want to be when you grow up?

So, here goes…. When I was young, I wanted to be a hairdresser. For years, I was sure I was going to be a hairdresser. I loved drawing and writing, too, and was good in school, so my parents felt my “talent” would be wasted on becoming a hairdresser (why?!!). I really wanted to do something creative though, so I decided I wanted to be a graphic designer, because that was at least something “on computers” that you studied for, but alas no. University was the future for me, not really creative, but hey, at least you get to do lots of writing at university, right?

So, I studied modern languages (English being one of them) and marketing/PR/communications. Lots and lots of writing! The creative side of things, I discovered, was in the marketing. I did my master’s thesis on branding and suddenly I knew what I wanted to do. However, that’s not always how the world works!

Moving to London for love

I met my now husband, who’s British, when I was taking a term at an Australian university. He was in Australia watching cricket and travelling. I ended my term there with a trip up the east coast, and on a desert island, our paths crossed (oh so romantic, I know, right?).

I moved to London to live with him a year later, and once I’d finished my degree, I started working in PR. Not my ideal job, as it turned out. I’m not extrovert enough to be on the phone all day to strangers, and my English wasn’t good enough to write the catchy press releases, so I was on the cuttings and research side of things. Luckily, I got headhunted by a Scandinavian media company who needed a Danish press officer, and I held this job until we moved to Denmark in 2007.

Babies

In Denmark, I started working for one of the country’s biggest retail chains. They wanted to break into the UK market, and I helped getting all the marketing content ready.

I then got pregnant, and on maternity leave with my first daughter, I got pregnant with my second daughter (ahem!), and decided on a career change. I actually wanted to train to be a hairdresser, but in reality, I couldn’t put in the hours of training and work it required (in Denmark you train for 4 years).

Instead, I started working for the regional mental health hospital, and after six months of that, they gave me the opportunity to train as a medical secretary, which I did, and really enjoyed. It taught me a lot about working with “real” people and my typing skills were second to none (a lot of not very creative writing, though). In 2014, we moved our family to the UK, where the work/life balance isn’t as good as it is in Denmark, so we decided, I would stay at home with the girls. Now, with my children no longer needing me 24/7, I am starting on my own, going back to what I know and love, working with branding and now it’s up to me to get the work/life balance right.

Me, in a 1000 words

So, that’s it, me in 1000 words! Well, not me, more like a brief history of me, but even so, if you’d like to get to know me better, subscribe to my blog posts below, or check in here regularly as I plan to post each week once I’m up and running with my business. Speaking of which, in my next blog post, I’ll share a bit about what it’s like trying to set up a business, when you know very little about “business”. Yikes!