Using your past in your present writing

Frequently clients will ask me how to get started in writing an article or a chapter in a home study or book.

The response I give them is to begin by writing about an experience with a past or current client. Start by jotting down some of the bits and pieces of their story. Before sharing details of your work with the world be sure you have the permission of the client. When you don’t have permission, try combining the details of several clients, disguising the identity of all. Part of maintaining your reputation is honoring the confidentiality of your work.

Let’s go through a simple exercise, answering the basic questions of who, what, why, where, when, and how.

Think of a client you have enjoyed working with – the who. I am thinking of a woman I met through a coaching program we were both in. She had established a successful small business importing roses from Ecuador and was expanding her business model.

What problem did she bring to you?  This woman had had some success in selling an ebook that outlined how to start up a rose import business. But she had been receiving some emails basically saying the product didn’t live up to the sales page. She wanted to edit the product so it would be more effective in meeting the needs of her clients.

Why was it important to solve the problem?  She wanted a product that would provide good and complete information to her clients. She knew the basics of this business were a good place for people to get started with a new business.

She had full confidence in the supplier she was connecting her clients with and the quality of the roses they would be importing. However, she was changing the focus of her own business from coaching to strictly importing multiple products. She realized that if she didn’t fill in some of the gaps in her ebook she would need to devote too much of her time to supporting the people who bought the book.

Where can refer to a physical location or to a position held.  For this woman, the where related to her belief in the importance of having a quality product to represent her in this arena.

When thinking about when for your story, again there are two possibilities.  The most important when is part of the second piece of where. Think back to the concerns of your client when you began working with her. What was the status of her business? Where was she in her business and in her life and how did these things impact on the work you did? The more pragmatic version of when is when and where will you meet.

In my situation, my client was in a transitional place in her business and she wanted to complete the work on her ebook prior shifting the focus of her time and energy.

An important part of your story is how you worked with your client.  Most of us who don’t have a physical office or store work via email and the phone (sometimes Skypeing with our clients) as I did with this client.

A part of almost every business book I read these days emphasizes that people buy from people. In order to know you as a person, you need to share parts of yourself and your beliefs. The easiest way to build a bridge to another person is to tell a story. Think about the experiences you have had with your clients as stories and share them in your newsletters, information products, and books.

To learn more about using stories in your information products and books, click here to schedule a complimentary Extraordinary Products, Extraordinary Results Strategy Session.

“Stories are bridges from one mind to another.”
Martha Holloway

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