I spent several years marketing my role as a strategic communications consultant before I realized my story was my super power. That’s right, sharing my brand story—including my perspectives about the industry, my setbacks, failures, and frustrations with the ways of the world, was key to turning my expertise into impact, influence and multiple streams of income.
Now let me be clear, I never intended to make money from my story. But after I figured out how to create a life on my own terms I had a strong desire to empower other women to create their own opportunities. This intention allowed me to build an impactful business around 3 core areas:
- Consulting – My clients are 9-5ers, entrepreneurs and change makers who are looking to turn their expertise and ideas into an impactful brand. I’ve helped my clients launch global campaigns and events, get booked on TV shows, and featured in print and online publications.
- Freelance Writing – I have a sweet spot for writing about women entrepreneurs in underrepresented fields. I’ve also produced content for several medium- large companies. My articles have been published in Black Enterprise Magazine, Diversity Women, Innov8Tiv, TravelistaTV, and Forbes Travel Guide.
- Teaching Workshops and Speaking Engagements – I teach managers and executives across industries how to communicate with confidence and become recognized leaders in their field. I’ve also landed speaking engagements throughout the United States and Africa.
So here’s what I need you to understand: nobody really cares about your resume—it’s just a formality to make Hiring Manager’s happy.
And although your parents told you to go to school and get good grades—in the real world nobody cares.
In fact, promoting your skills, degrees and fancy job titles are not enough to grow your audience, make an impact or get noticed at work.
Because when it’s time to level up in your career–your story is what sets you apart.
Your story is actually your money maker. And it’s absolutely critical to getting the attention of employers, investors, journalists and potential business partners.
It should focus on how you evolved as a person to develop unique perspectives about life or approaches to business challenges. It should also reveal problems you’ve solved for a specific audience and the difference your work has made in the lives of others.
Here’s how I turned my brand story into 3 money making opportunities:
STEP 1. I STARTED WITH PASSION
Yeah, I know “starting with passion” sounds cliché. But what most people don’t realize is, passion comes in many forms.
Sometimes it’s not the warm and fuzzy feeling that makes you want to jump out of bed in the morning.
Sometimes your frustration becomes your passion. In this case, you become passionate about finding a solution to a problem or helping people embrace a fresh new perspective about the world, as it should be. Perhaps your passion is a topic that people don’t talk enough about—Guess what? Now you have the power to create a platform to have those difficult conversations.
Although I was working as a communications consultant at the time, I was passionate about travel. When you’re passionate about a topic, you just can’t help but write or talk about it every chance you get. Consistency is key to grow an audience. So if you want people to invest your products or services, they have to trust you. Consistency breeds trust.
STEP 2. I STARTED A BLOG
Initially, I created a blog to share my travel experiences. I created a variety of content such as how to’s, lists, and travel advice. I also wrote a few stories about fearless women who I met during my travels.
- Launch at least 2 digital channels such as a blog, podcast, or YouTube channel. Take note, nowadays, if your name doesn’t show up in Google, you don’t exist. Listen no one will invest in you if you’re invisible, so make sure your profiles are public.
- Publish content consistently – Ask yourself: When it comes to something I’m passionate about, what could I teach someone in my sleep?
- Allow yourself to make mistakes and grow – I cringe when I go back and read my old content. But the goal isn’t perfection, its progress. Besides, where you start is not where you finish. Once you execute on your ideas, you’ll be surprised at how they will take shape. The key is you start by starting.
STEP 3: I PITCHED MYSELF & PROMOTED MY WORK
To gain exposure beyond my blog, I pitched popular travel bloggers for guest blogging opportunities. Then I pitched Black Enterprise Magazine, one of the top business publications, especially for Black entrepreneurs, professionals, and small businesses. I reviewed their website and recognized the site lacked global content. I combined my passion for travel with my curiosity for finding fearless women around the world who were making a profit while making a difference. To establish my online credibility, I included links to my travel blog.
Not only did your girl land her own section of BE’s digital platform—Power Women of the Diaspora, I also landed several articles in the print magazine.
Here’s a fun fact: Initially, the writing opportunity with Black Enterprise was unpaid. In fact, I never expected to get paid. I just wanted to inspire people, reach a wider audience and increase my number of followers. But next thing you know, I was hired to write stories for a few of their major sponsors like Lexus. I also began to write for other publications.
STEP 4. I MASTERED MY STORY
Mastery takes practice. Every week I wrote 3 types of stories ( I was inspired by Marshall Ganz, approach to storytelling)
- The story of self – A story that shows why I do what I do. Saying I quit my job to become an entrepreneur was one story. Talking about WHY I quit was another story. Once I found the courage to share my story about not fitting into society’s definition of success, my why became my purpose and message.
- The story of us – Communicates who “we” are. I chose to write about women who felt burned out, isolated and unfulfilled in corporate America but found the courage to carve their own career path.
- The story of now – Includes messages of a challenge, hope, and transformation. I included actionable tips, and resources, for people ready for a change.
- Figure out what your audience desires most and create content that addresses their needs. You can learn about your audience by reviewing the comments section of influencers who focus on similar content. How can your story empower them to take action? Describe a defining moment, conflict, or challenge that you faced along your journey. What was the aha moment that inspired you to change? What did you decide to change and why? What resources did you use?
- Repurpose your content. Extend the reach of your content by extracting quotes from your story for Instagram, Facebook or Twitter, creating an infographic for Pinterest or even recording a podcast.
- Create a hashtag campaign around your story. A combination of hashtags helps people find you. This is how #KandidConversations was born. Later, I became a recognized as a resource for other women who felt stuck in an unfulfilling life and career.
Once I mastered my story, I started to receive emails from people, mainly career changers, wanting to hire me to improve their visibility. And I started to receive paid requests to speak and host events
Step 5. I TURNED MY AUDIENCE’S NEEDS & PROBLEMS INTO SOLUTIONS
I used Google analytics to track which articles resonated most with my audience. My blog post about quitting my job is still one of the most read articles on my site. I turned this post into an eBook: A 7 step guide to quitting your job and creating a life on your own terms and sold. I sold it on Gumroad. It even led to requests from influencers for interviews.
- Create one core “how to” product or service like a course, e-book or consulting session. What steps does your audience often overlook when trying to achieve their goals? Three years ago, what resources would have helped you succeed? Create that resource by turning your experiences into a series of helpful tips and advice for others.
- Build your credibility by sharing your work behind the scenes and collecting social proof such as customer testimonials, videos, and recommendations.
- Enhance your core product by creating a webinar or seminar, pitching yourself for speaking engagements, or starting group coaching sessions. From speaking engagements and events, I learned more about the habits holding my audience back from success so I started a series of paid workshops. I found clients by cold calling local businesses and emailing my LinkedIn contacts. Now, it’s my most profitable revenue stream.
Need help turning your story into money-making opportunities? No worries, I got you!
I designed the visibility masterclass to help you package your expertise and make yourself more marketable for speaking engagements, media attention, and potential clients.