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“So.. What do you DO?”

Many a solo practitioner struggles with the question, “How do i describe myself to my audience effectively?”  We’re told to come up with an “elevator speech” fo use on the spot when strangers ask, “So what do you do?”  This becomes even more difficult when you are a jack-of-all-trades, as many of us who work solo almost need to be.  We have our “craft” or core work that makes us money.  However, we are often our own marketers, bookkeepers, tax filers, and coaches for others who choose to go the solo path.

Over the years, I’ve seen many practitioners struggle with their own elevator speeches and personal biographies or “About Me” pages for their website.  I’ve learned that a great first-person voice is the most effective.  Our clients come to us because they know us, the person.  In my 10+ years of working with solo practitioners, hiding behind a business name to sound more “professional” has never translated into more clients or more success.  Customers want to know us – the real US.  We should show that to them, and speak from our own authentic voice.

So I’ve come up with a formula that I’ve more than likely “stolen” or adapted from the many gurus out there – notably from Brendon Burchard (you should read his book, The Millionaire Messenger!) – with my own twist.

Here’s the essential formula:

“Hi, my name is _________.  I do  _________ for __________, so they can ________________.”

As an example:
“Hi, my name is Scott, and I provide coaching and consulting services for holistic and solo practitioners, so they can attract more clients and share the work they love with the world.”

Obviously, there’s a lot of creative variation you can take, and various language you can come up with that “click” with an intended audience.  My clients, as a whole, have a strong desire to use their work to “change the world” for the better.  So I may at times use that very language in my own elevator speech, in hopes that it will spark a conversation about the changes that others wish to see in the world, or how they approach their own work as “world changing” or beneficial.

Make it a conversation starter when you answer the “What do you do?” question.  Don’t just say, “I’m a web designer.” or “I’m a business coach.”  Find ways to tap into their curiosity.  Lead them to ask, “Oh?  How do you do that?”  You get the idea!

Now, let’s tackle the first person “About Me” page on your website.

Essentially, you can begin the same way with the same formula, but I like to add more paragraphs to personalize my own experience through what I do.

Here’s a good formula that you might be able to adapt for your own use for a “first person biography” that I send all my clients at one time or another.  This outline helps you be more personal and share more of your “story of development” that folks might identify with more than just a “professional resume” kind of bio.

I.   Your Introduction
“Hi my name is _______.  I do –x– for –y– so that they can –z–.”  (Same as above.  Change the voicing, use words your ideal audience knows.)

II.  Today’s Opportunity
What’s happening in the world today and what is possible now in your experience or past experience? (Ex – It’s always been my hope that…. and now I think the time is especially ripe for …..  I’ve found that people want …. )

III.  Your Story of Growth, Transformation, or Change
What have you gone through that the reader might identify with?  What questions did you have?  What was missing in the marketplace when you were a seeker?  What were your challenges?  Then you may want to do some identification with you reader and say, “You may have these same kinds of questions/struggles/situtations/etc.”  You can add bullet points for this list, of situations, but do keep it brief.  This is only an introduction.

IV.  Your Found Solution
How did you find a way through the struggles?  What you did then (maybe it was more trial and error), and now what do you do (maybe you have a better solution).  What do your clients say and how are they affected or changed?  What successes have you seen?

V.  Your Philosophy 
Do you have deeply held personal beliefs or pertinent information about you that reflects those beliefs?  What should people know about you especially?  Where can you show up BOLDLY in what you believe or what you do, and why.  How is your philosophy different?  How do you stand out?

VI.  Brief Credentials
Your experience and what you do for your clients now.  Keep it brief, and save long descriptions for a Credentials/Experience page and/or a Services page on your website.

VII.  A Call to Action
Tell them what to do (this could be as simple as check out my website, contact me for a free consultation, or download my free guide, etc.) then offer your sincere gratitude and thanks!

Feel free to experiment with both your in-person introduction and with a website introduction.  Play with the outline, and focus your language for your specific industry (this may also help with search engine optimization).  See if you can cut out a few sentences and perhaps a paragraph to make it succinct if if falls too far down a page and you find yourself “writing a book” instead of a bio.  Add a great face picture too, then don’t be afraid to edit or experiment in the future.

To your success (and to greater introductions too!),