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Kimberly Beer 0:00
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Welcome to The Business Animal podcast. Saddle up for a gallop to the top of the animal industry. Where you’ll learn how to tame your wild business beast with tips, techniques, and tools that will take overwhelm to obedience school and have you wagging your tail with joy. And now your hosts Kim Beer and Cara Taylor Swift.
Kimberly Beer 0:42
Hey there business animals It’s Kim with Be More Business,
Cara Taylor Swift 0:45
and Cara with Fast Horse photography. You almost caught me choking on my drink, Kim, way to go.
Kimberly Beer 0:53
I should have waited another second before I made that statement.
Cara Taylor Swift 0:57
Kimberly Beer 0:59
Welcome to the podcast. So today’s episode is gonna be focused on a topic that I know Cara and I both love to bring forward in our businesses, although I don’t know if I see it as prominently in yours as I would like. And that’s sharing your story
Cara Taylor Swift 1:17
No, when I was thinking about this episode, all I kept saying to myself is I’ve got to share my story more. Because when I do when I share my story, the feedback and the the bump and the you know, the way that people connect to it is huge. And I think that’s probably the case for a lot of small businesses. A lot of small animal based businesses too. We just don’t share our stories enough. So this is such a timely topic. You know, you should share your story more often. So I’m so happy we’re talking about this.
Kimberly Beer 1:47
Yeah. And I’m wondering now as I sit here and think about this, remember a couple of episodes ago, we talked about typology, and we talked about how we show up as introverts and extroverts. And you’re very much an introvert and I’m very much an extrovert. And most people know my story, as a matter of fact, they tend to probably know maybe a little bit more than they ever wanted to know, I have a really weird family situation. And if you ever have gotten around me for any length of time, you get to learn about that part of my story as well. Because I’m pretty forthcoming about my strange upbringing yet, for you, you’re an introvert, you tend to be nice and private.
Cara Taylor Swift 2:25
Yeah, I find sharing my story to be a very intimate act. And perhaps I take it too seriously sometimes. But I try to think about it when I do share it as it’s an intimate act. But it’s one that I can have a little control over. And I can piece my story together in a way that feels safe and appropriate for my business and for my brand. And for my family and for me personally. But I do know that sharing your story, as a business owner is really essential. It’s so important for your clients and your potential consumers that are out there. And it’s a way that they can feel connected to well, you, you and your business because most of the time we are our business. But I can see that it can be very difficult as solopreneurs and folks that really value, your professionalism and the brand that you’ve built and all of that. So it can feel really intimate to share your story. But we’re going to talk about that today, why it’s so important and why you need to do it for your business. And if you want to hear the story of The Business Animal, and Kim and Cara, us sitting here, look back at episode number one, the accidental entrepreneur because we really started our journey by sharing our story in little pieces of our story has definitely woven themselves into several of our episodes. But that episodes a great place to start if you want to hear our story.
Kimberly Beer 3:45
Absolutely. And I do think it’s one of our more popularly listened to episodes as well, I get a lot of comments on it even today about people hearing our stories and resonating with them. And I think that is for me, probably if you’re a little on your fence about saying I don’t know if I want to completely share my story with people. A lot of the folks that I work with a lot of the businesses I work with, they were their ideal client. In other words, they often have found themselves in a business serving the people that they used to be. So for that type of a business that’s built around that concept, which a lot of coaches and service oriented businesses are your story provides a path for those you serve. So and for an example, I have a friend who started a dog training business and one of the reasons she started the dog training business was because she adopted from a shelter a really difficult dog and she had to do a lot of education. She had a day job wasn’t an entrepreneur yet. And she had to really concentrate on learning how to train this dog that she brought into her life and was very, very committed to it and then as she looked around the world, she saw a lot of other people that were struggling with dogs that came from shelter situations that probably had some baggage that came along with that. And she got very good at helping those people. And that eventually became a business. So her story and her dog’s story. So it’s not just, I guess, our stories when we’re animal based businesses. But if we work in partnership with animals, their stories as well start to play into this, they provide a path that people can look down and say, you know, yes, I see where I want to go. And that in and of itself is endearing to the customer that’s possibly interested in working for you. So it’s super powerful magic for your sales and your marketing program in order to share these stories with people because it does really resonate. And it pulls on a chord that helps them understand why they want to work with you, and why they would want to choose your business.
Cara Taylor Swift 5:56
Okay, so I think that dives us right into our big three, which are number one, write out your story in long form, and a short version. And this is we need to point out, this is not your bio. So we’re going to talk a little bit about what your story can contain. Number two, let your story work for you put it to work for you let it open doors for you. And then number three, you’ve got to share your story. You’ve got to share your story to move people to work with you. So Kim, why don’t you jump into number one?
Kimberly Beer 6:23
Absolutely. So when I build a website, I have on my questionnaire, I have a little page that I give clients, and it has the exact same thing here for number one it has, what’s your short form story? And what’s your long form story? And under the short version, people who will usually give me this really nice third person written point of view laundry list of things that they’ve done. So it’s not your story, folks, that’s your bio,
Cara Taylor Swift 6:53
Sounds like a resume.
Kimberly Beer 6:53
It is people like look at it like okay, I have to answer these questions like a resume. Yeah, they list out all of the things that they’ve done a pertinent and not pertinent necessarily, some of them are like they have all of these fancy graduate degrees in a educational field. That is entrepreneurs has nothing to do with what they’re moving forward into. Although all of that is interesting pieces of of the story that we share in life, it’s it’s probably not as necessary. But the reality here is we’re not talking about your bio, where you went to high school, what you graduated with in college. Unless, it’s part of your journey, and a very pertinent part to the people that you’re going to be serving, it’s okay to list it somewhere, but that’s not what we’re talking about here. What we’re talking about is what really got you to where you are today? What brought you to this place, and that is going to be unique. And it’s also going to contain your why and back in season one, I believe. And we’ll dig up the episode number in the show notes. We did a whole episode about discovering your why or your as I like to say it’s an acronym for your worthy Hell yeah, because that’s what your clients need to hear. That’s what the customers that are going to come to your business need to hear. So you definitely need to share your story from that perspective. And remember that there’s a lot of people out there, especially if you were or your client, your ideal client that need to know what steps did you take to get where you are today? And when they see that they’re gonna want to follow you.
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Cara Taylor Swift 9:05
You’ve got to share that why why do you do this work? You know what brought you here today? And you have to think about the underlying reasons. And I hate to say it, but it can’t just be about making money. So if you started this business to make money, you’ve got to really dig deeper. And why are you doing why did you choose this business? Why did you choose to work with this sub sect of the animal industry? So why did you start doing this work? You can think about things like Where Where did everything begin? You know for Kim and I this podcast started at a roundtable and an idea and a conversation, you know that we had, I can see you laughing
Kimberly Beer 9:40
It’s funny because what’s funny about that particular story is the conversation that started at that table had nothing to do with podcasts.
Cara Taylor Swift 9:51
Here we are
Kimberly Beer 9:53
it was and yet it morphed into this thing that became this podcast and now has managed to find an offshoot and created another podcast and additional ideas. So the fun thing about stories is there’s the real ones that we get to live, not just the ones in books is that are the real ones, the chapters keep coming. Right?
Cara Taylor Swift 10:16
Right, they sure do. So going back to your why, what inspired you? What inspired you to start this business? You know, remember that when your clients or when consumers out there find similarity, similarity with your story, perhaps that they can connect to you that they feel connected to you, they can invest in you. So think about things like, you know, just how can you share your story, honestly, and I don’t want to say emotionally, but you want to have an element of emotion to it, it should encourage people to want to know more and to feel and to have feelings around your story and to feel invested in it. And I don’t know, I would just say try to think about your why. And all of the elements of that when you’re putting this piece together. And like Kim said, it doesn’t need to be your resume, it shouldn’t be your bio, it shouldn’t be this laundry list of accomplishments, those things are amazing, and they have a place. But it’s not necessarily in your story when you share it.
Kimberly Beer 11:10
Absolutely. And for some of you, you may be looking at this and finding it super daunting. So part of what I do in my business is I will write people’s stories for them. And I’m not the only person hanging around in the world that will do that, by the way. So you can get a writer and I recommend a truly creative writer, not a business writer, because I approach people stories, almost like I’m telling a work of fiction. So the same type of creativity that I would bring to my fiction writing, I bring to writing somebody’s story for their website or for their marketing, and pulling that person in and asking really detailed questions, I interview them. And I usually talk first about their business, what’s their niche, who are they serving, those kinds of things. And so I have an idea of how they want to present their story out into the world. And then I’ll ask questions that help guide them through the process of discovering what their story has in common with the people that they’re serving, which helps also checkmark number two and three on this list. So I’m not like I said, I’m not the only person that does this. I know we had a lovely copywriter on the show at one point that Cara works with that I know does a beautiful job. I do the service and I know other people. Julie Cortes, which was another person we had on the show.
Cara Taylor Swift 12:31
Yep. Jennifer at the equine copywriter.
Kimberly Beer 12:33
Jennifer yes, there we are. Jennifer is a lovely writer. And Julie Cortes is another copy writer that we’ve had on that came and talked about actually freelancing, but find a writer and sit down with them and let them write it. Because one of the things that I find people struggle with in this write your story out in long and short versions is that’s a nice little compact sentence that’s really hard to follow through on if you don’t like to write. And if you do decide you want to tackle it on your own, don’t write about yourself in the third person, please write about in the first person. Use “I” statements. They’re much more powerful when you’re telling a story when I talk about, you know if something on my website says Kimberly Beer owns a ranch in Missouri and raises horses that is not as compelling as
Cara Taylor Swift 12:33
So much less personal.
Kimberly Beer 12:37
Yeah, as I was, I was raised in an agricultural family. I’m a second generation rancher on a ranch in Missouri. And we raise horses and cattle. There’s something much more intimate and compelling about not listing it like this, like third person detached way, but telling it from your heart. And I have noticed over the decades that I have told my story and also watched others tell there’s. Clients and other people out in the world, they really resonate when you are personal. It’s one of the reasons they choose small businesses over big ones. I mean, let’s face it, a lot of people can hire an equivalent for what you do from a bigger business. And people will choose a small business because of their story. So that’s the power in this system. And it’s the reason why you want to go through the process of writing it out. But also don’t be afraid to get help with that process.
Cara Taylor Swift 14:15
Well, yeah, and you can write your versions out and then also send it to someone to edit to review to provide feedback to help get more from it
Kimberly Beer 14:23
Cara Taylor Swift 14:24
They can a lot of times an outsider can take a look at that and see the areas that are weak or see the areas that really are engaging that draws them in and help you emphasize those more. So there’s you don’t have to I mean, we talked about this all the time, you do not have to do everything yourself. And that includes your story. If writing or creative writing is not your strong suit, or you just downright hate doing it. There are options out there for you. But you’ve got to do it. It’s just as small business owners we have to do it and Kim’s absolutely right. I know personally, if I can work with a small business that makes me feel connected to them. And I feel like I’m supporting a small business or that I’m part of the process, I will do that any day over choosing a big company that is impersonal anytime. And so you know, I mean you hear big business stories, but they’re not the same as when I hear someone’s story that is in my community and someone that I can have access to.
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Kimberly Beer 16:23
Yeah, cuz you know your impact with that business. Right? That’s part of this process is knowing the impact as a consumer of the business that you are, if I know you and I buy photography from you, I know I’m supporting Easton, who is the love and light of your life is as your son and
Cara Taylor Swift 16:40
who goes through soccer shoes every three months. And needs a new size of soccer shoes,
Kimberly Beer 16:46
Cara Taylor Swift 16:46
I need people to support my business so I can buy soccer shoes.
Kimberly Beer 16:49
Yeah, so so you know about that person, right? You know what you’re supporting with your purchases. And I think you’re willing to pay more definitely to provide Easton with soccer shoes, but the equivalent of that in every business that you work with whatever the equivalent for Easton soccer shoes is in your business, people want to support that. And I think that as small business owners, we oftentimes find ourselves so focused on competing with bigger businesses that we don’t realize that we have a superpower in our back pocket of being a small business, and it gives us the opportunity to really get to know and be known. Well, I think that rolls us really well into number two, which is let your story open those doors for you. When you share it with your clients in a sales conversation. When you share it in speaking engagements on your social media. No matter where you choose to share your story. If you really share it from the heart, it will open doors for you people will connect to it, they’ll want to do business with you. They’ll tell other people that’s what I love is that your story grows, right? They’ll be like, Oh, I met this person. I met this photographer, her son, his name is Easton. And he goes through these soccer shoes like crazy. And she’s an amazing photographer, and you should see her work she’s so passionate about it.
Cara Taylor Swift 18:14
Well, I think at a minimum, you know, your story should make people want to learn about you and your business. And it makes them curious and want to follow your journey. And it doesn’t mean that they’re necessarily going to buy from you right then. But I’ve certainly read you know, I’ve gotten read someone’s story on a social media post and wanted to know more. And then I’ve clicked on their profile. And then I got lost in some of their other posts that they had. And the next thing I know, I’m following them because I’m intrigued. I’m interested in their story. I want to see what they do next, or I feel connected to them. So I would just say that you just never know when your story will lead to an open door when it’ll lead to a next step for your business, or something amazing that comes along next. And then last part of that I would just say telling your story can add an element of trust and credibility to your business. You’re being willing to put yourself out there, you’re connecting to people and people are connected to that they feel like they can entrust you more when you’re open and vulnerable and tell your story.
Kimberly Beer 19:13
Absolutely. Because they feel like they know you in many times as entrepreneurs, we really do seek to know our customers, which is really wise because they’re the part of our business that that really makes our money for us. When I teach business model classes, the very first question business model canvas classes, I do them every month here in Kansas City. When I teach those classes, one of the first things I ask people is why did you become an entrepreneur? And people have very personal reasons for that I want freedom. I want to be able to leave a legacy for my children or my community or I mean there’s lots of reasons internally why they began their business. And then there’s also reasons around to their customers like they’ve lived their story. And when you tell that the fact that somebody can recognize you and know you as a human being as a friend, as a community member, that becomes much better for them to want to support you. It does build that trust and credibility that’s really hard to come by in other ways. It either gums through your story, or it takes a lot of time in them working with your business. And so you can fast track that trust and credibility part into when you share who you are, why you’re doing the things that you’re doing, where you came from, and where you intend to go? Because part of your story is also the future like those are, there’s more chapters out there to be written. So does that bring us to sharing your story to moving to people to work with you?
Cara Taylor Swift 20:44
Yeah, that’s the last part, you’ve got to share your story you’ve done, you’ve created it, you’ve thought about it, you’ve finessed it, you’ve written your short, your long version, you’ve input the emotion, now you got to share it. And sometimes that can be a tricky part, too.
Kimberly Beer 20:58
Yeah, it can be super scary, right? You put yourself out there, and like all pieces of writing. So in my creative writing, education background, I learned really quickly that when you do share your story, or you share any story who that for that matter with the world, the world brings their own experience to that story. And so in a little bit of it, you kind of lose it just being yours, which I think is one thing I think that people struggle with is that they know people are going to bring their own stories into and weave them into the tapestry of of everything. That though, folks is the cool part about telling your story. Because when you tell your story, your story starts to become another person’s maybe aha moment is woven into the tapestry of who you are. That’s the interesting thing about human beings is that we can learn from stories, we can take action, we can understand greater concepts, when people tell us through story, what they’ve experienced. And that is truly hugely impactful. So if you’re worried about the first part of that about gifting your story to the world, and other people may be having different impressions or bringing their own backgrounds to it, just know that it is a gift that you are giving. And it’s important that you continue to do so because it definitely weaves it in. The other thing about this part is in in sharing your story more and putting it out there into the world, you’re doing this with a purpose for your business, it’s more than just sharing your story to inspire people, it’s inspiring them to do something with you. So when you’re sharing your story, make sure you associate your story with your business and add calls to action that get people off there behind to get into the world to work with you to contact you give them their next best step. That’s a lot of times what I tell people get to what is your next best step. And at the end of your story, especially if you’re telling it to a client in a in a face to face situation, at the end of it, tell them what the next best step is in connotation to where they are how they can start to experience the benefits of what you’ve lived,
Cara Taylor Swift 23:21
right? Because your story is not connecting people necessarily to those benefits of the product and services that you provide. But instead how what you do meets a need, how it helps people how it’s, you know, scratches that itch that your client has. So you’re connecting your story to what you do. And like I said, not just that product or service, but instead how it fixes something, how it meets a pain point with them. So that call to action has to be an essential part of that.
Kimberly Beer 23:50
Yep, a pain point or a gain point.
Cara Taylor Swift 23:52
Yeah. So where do you share your story, right? You got to share it all over the place in all sorts of different formats. You know why you want to have a long and the short version, things like social media, your blog posts, newsletters, you can create videos that share pieces of your story imagery that helps share your story that connects to your story. You want your story to come from the mouths of your clients. We’ve mentioned that a couple of times people saying oh my gosh, I work with this amazing farrier, who has this experience. Their story is really cool. You want them to be telling that story. You can tell your story through testimonials with your clients through guided testimonials. You might share your story as part of a public speaking engagement during a community event at an expo potentially if you’re you know sharing your story at an expo. I can’t tell you there are lots of times when I’ve been standing at you know, an expo or a tabling event. And I’ve told my story or parts of my story over and over and over again.
Kimberly Beer 23:53
Everywhere you need to be sharing your story or at least parts of your story out into the world. So yes, take advantage of this moment and share it out on every place that you can with your website with is another place that I definitely encourage people to have that because it’s a place where people come sometimes with a really open mind of getting to know you and your business. And it’s a nice place for you to be able to share it in that long form, because you have plenty of room for that, but just get really used to sharing it on a frequent basis. And as much as you possibly can then take time after that, to listen to the impact that your story has on people because that will continue to grow and change.
Cara Taylor Swift 25:30
Awesome. Well, Kim, I really hope we encouraged people to do that work of sharing their story a little more often I know, I’m going to do a better job.
Kimberly Beer 25:38
Cara Taylor Swift 25:38
as soon as we get off here, I’m gonna start doing a better job. So for, just to kind of recap our big three, you’ve got to take the time to write out your story. You’ve got to take the time to do it. And you need to let your story open doors for you. So put it to work for you. And then finally, you’ve got to share your story out into the world. So we’re excited. If you’ve done a great job somewhere sharing your story. Let us hear about it. Tag us on social media, tag us on Instagram or Facebook so we can hear your story. We want to hear more. Thank you guys so much for joining us today.
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