(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.
But if this resonates with you, find out more here…
And if you have questions, just ask.