(I’ll come back to the tree in a while.)
As we’ve seen, story is the water we swim in. Every little thing can make a difference … from tone of voice to pricing. If I said that my course cost $100,000, that would change the story we’re telling.
(It’s okay. It doesn’t.)
So if everything matters, where do we focus our attention? Where do we start?
It comes back to the line we’ve returned to before.
They tell themselves a story. Not just about themselves and their lives, but about us. About who we are, where we come from and what we believe.
About whether we can be trusted to deliver on our promises?
And that story decides what happens next.
I’ve bolded the words that matter most. It’s the point of maximum leverage, and when I work with private clients, it’s the first place I start.
Their Origin Story.
This is the story that positions them, their expertise and their business. Done right, it builds attention, credibility and trust.
Done right, it’s the Swiss Army knife of content. Here’s how some of my clients have used their Origin Story.
Origin stories don’t want to be long … it’s better if they are not. Most of the ones I write for clients are 90 seconds or so – 250 to 300 words.
But those stories are flexible enough to use at a networking event or introduce yourself or your business on stage.
They work in job interviews, podcast intros, and investor pitches.
One of my clients has used his story in books, keynote speeches and even an Amazon Prime show. (He was Entrepreneur of the year in 2020.)
But let’s leave the content aspects aside for a second because this is about much more than marketing.
At the start of this, I told you that my story became the DNA of the business – the foundation of who we were as a company.
And that’s huge.
So many businesses – and people – struggle with identity.
They struggle to find their thing, their hook. Many of my clients believe they don’t have a story … but in my experience, that’s never true.
We’ve all struggled, cared, succeeded and failed.
And when we follow a simple, structured process, we can set those experiences to work.
Which brings me to that tree at the top of this page.
It’s called The Blushing Bride. It was a wedding gift to my wife and I in 1999. That year, I did the work. I did my research, dug a hole, added the right compost, and kept it watered until the roots found the soil.
That work was an investment.
Do you know what I’ve done to it since then?
Nothing (unless you count adding a hammock.)
Because when we make smart investments of time, money, and effort, the results pay us back over and over again.
The Origin Story is like that.
Work on it once – hard – it will pay you back over and over.
Not only do they resonate with the audience we seek to serve, they place us in a category of one!
When I ran my agency without sales, it worked because my company and its ethos felt unique. There were 100,000 digital agencies (literally), but only one of us.
And that made sales superfluous – in Peter Drucker’s words. It often made pricing irrelevant, too, because in a category of one, there’s no competition.
In 2009, I sat in a meeting with a hard-nosed UK publisher. He’d worked in the UK and the Far East, and had seen it all. He owned a speciality publishing house we were pitching to.
We sat down with him, but we didn’t pitch. We just talked and told our story.
At the end he said, “You’ve got the job; just tell me what it will cost.”
Okay, let’s slow down a little.
Because the world isn’t all sunshine and unicorns.
I begin with The Origin Story because it’s the point of maximum leverage, the first domino, the seed that becomes the tree.
But that doesn’t happen overnight (we’re grown-ups, right).
Creating things that matter takes time, work and money.
The course I’m selling costs $150 + Tax and runs over 7 days.
It’s called (surprise!) Your Origin Story.
It’s built around 3 levers that changed my life: Storytelling, Simplicity & Momentum.
I’m proud of it … partly because I know that it isn’t for everyone.
There are no pretty worksheets, no video lessons, and no walled gardens to make us all feel special.
It isn’t about that.
This is about the hard, emotional work of crafting our origin story.
Of planting a seed that will grow into a tree.
7 days. 8 emails. 11,000 words. 5-6 hours of work.
That’s the distance.
And it’s okay if you don’t have the time right now.
You shouldn’t buy the course.
And it’s okay if you don’t have the money right now.
You shouldn’t buy the course.
And I understand if you are here looking for some ‘magic story’ dust so you can make money fast … but whatever you do, don’t buy this course.
This isn’t for you, and that’s okay.
But I want to say one more thing.
At the start of this, my friend told me that I wasn’t ruthless enough to build a business, and that I’d hate selling. He was right about the second thing, but wrong about the first.
I’m am ruthless … with myself.
Because when we apply ourselves, extraordinary things can happen. I know that because when I sold my agency in 2018 – to pursue my interest in story – we had clients worldwide.
The Origin Story won’t be the end of your effort … but it will be the start of something.
How does it work?
It’s simple. When you enrol you get an email. Immediately.
That’s Lesson 1.
The next day you get Lesson 2.
And so on for a week.
Each email delivers insight, tasks and examples. The content mixes storytelling with strategy, marketing with philosophy, and copywriting with neuroscience.
But all in the single-minded pursuit of progress.
Here’s the 8-email syllabus (along with the estimated effort). The 9th stage is for those who’ve opted for one-to-one reviews.
- Welcome – 20 minutes
- Strategy – 25 minutes
- Story Structure – 30 minutes
- Resonance – 45 minutes
- Your First Draft – 60 minutes
- Earthworks – 60 minutes
- Polish – 60 minutes
- Treasure (no assignments)
- One-to-One Call (if selected)
Of course, this is just email, so you can go at your own pace if life takes a tumble.
There’s one other thing to say about Your Origin Story.
The skills you are learning aren’t one and done. As we’ve seen, storytelling spills over into everything.
I start with The Origin Story, but what happens after that. The best businesses (and business leaders) build a mythology over time.
With these exact same skills.
Here’s how one of the clients put it:
“… could only be described as “DY-NA-MITE. This training is not just for an Origin Story, it impacts all my writing…” – James
Options and Guarantee
Your Origin Story: Three Options
- The Course ($150 + tax)
8 emails as set out above. This is all most people need.
- The Course + Nick Feedback ($400 + tax)
All 8 emails + 45-minutes one-on-one to discuss your story.
- The Course + Nick Feedback & Edit ($750 + tax)
All 8 emails + 90-minutes of my time to discuss/polish your story.
The cart will add the legal sales tax/VAT for your location.
There’s no hard sell here. If this isn’t for you, check out my free content. If you’d prefer to get personal help, consider working with me directly. (My fees start at around $1,250/day.)
I’ve offered the same simple guarantee since 1997. If you aren’t happy, I’ll refund your money.
That’s the whole pitch. Storytelling, Simplicity, and Momentum.
If this is your time, I’ll see you on the other side.
P.S. If you have questions, say ‘hello’ here.
Thanks for reading. Whatever happens next – it means a lot to me.