Whether you’re writing an academic essay or a fantasy novel, we all know that a good story has a beginning, a middle and an end. But so many stories of entrepreneurial success seem to be missing that all-important middle part.
It’s missing the context around the success, what was required for it and what was sacrificed in pursuit of it.
Kelly Diels’ identifies this as the Rags to Riches story; the story that once upon a time they were down and struggling and hustling as well (just like you!), but now they’re killing it, making 5 figure months and only working 3 days a week.
And awesome you know? I’m stoked for you. But where’s the middle?
The middle part is the juicy stuff. The middle part is what makes you interesting and helps you stand apart. And the middle part is what tells your audience if you’re actually qualified to stand as a leader in your niche and help them gain the same success as you.
I’ve written before about being verbose in your web copy; namely on your About and Services pages. I think giving as much information as possible on those pages is essential for connecting with an ideal client or customer who is going to advocate for you in any room.
But to be clear, when I say “qualified”, I don’t mean formal degrees and qualifications (although they are great qualifiers on their own). I mean every little part of your story from the beginning to the end you feel comfortable with sharing, that can help your audience feel a little bit more comfortable about investing with you.
Your journey to where you are now is what makes you qualified, even if it doesn’t seem totally relevant.
For a long time, when I was only marketing myself as a website designer, I brushed over the fact that my history is in digital marketing. I thought that as a website designer, I would be undesirable when it came to creating a beautiful website for my clients because I wasn’t a graphic designer. Of course, that seems silly to me now, but at the time it’s something I wholeheartedly believed.
I thought my lack of experience in graphic design was a big weakness, and admitting to it straight up was a bad idea. Never mind that by the time I started identifying myself as a website designer, I’d already been making websites for 4 years in my corporate job. But it was the job title that mattered to me.
Thankfully, it’s not the job title that matters to my clients. It’s the experience behind it. Knowing that I will be approaching their digital presence with a grounded knowledge in digital marketing is a huge plus for them.
Your connection between your middle and your end might not be so obvious. Think of it this way - what of your previous experience would you put in your resume in order to get the ‘job’ you currently have as a business owner?
Perhaps you are also a website designer, but your background is in fashion and retail. We know you’ve got an eye for style, composition and colour, as anyone in fashion will do. You’ll also have hands-on experience in what makes customers stop and look at something. Perhaps you’ve done window dressing, or you’re just an addicted online shopper - but you’ll probably know what you like and what makes you stop. You’ll also have your finger on the pulse of the latest trends, and you can translate that into your work as a website designer. There’s also definitely room for you to specialise in creating websites for fashion and retail - who better, right?
The middle of your story is where trust is built with your audience. It’s where they can rest assured you do actually understand where they are and what they need, and not just because you told them you do. More than telling, you need to show them.
That’s the juicy middle to a well-told brand story.
Until next time, be kind to yourself and create something remarkable!