You’re an original. Your offer should be too.

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’Tis the season for the WNBA playoffs. I was in Seattle when “my team, the Seattle Storm, won the championship in 2010 and they won again last year in 2018. Both times they had home court advantage and a double bye. This year the Washington Mystics look to be the winners; I saw them in a live game last June and they’re become my second favorite team. They’re close to Philly and I saw them live in June.

Bill Russell, the basketball icon, has talked about the way sports figures develop their own signature styles of play, just as artists do. One reason some basketball teams are more fun to watch than others is because they’ve got players who hold our attention. You don’t have to see the number on their jerseys to know who’s running down the court.

Similarly artists develop their own style, even at the beginner level. In my ceramic sculpture class, most of us recognize each other’s own work. We develop a style without trying — often in spite of ourselves. My classmates often recognize my work from the studio shelves.

Once I was complaining to an instructor that my piece might be boring. The instructor said, “No, Cathy. Your work won’t be boring.”

“Lumpy? Uneven? Crooked?” I asked.

“Well, not boring.”

Meanwhile, if you’re like me, your inbox is filled with offers promising to grow your business. For instance, I just read tips to create a giveaway program and develop a live event. The tips are excellent. But those tactics won’t work for me.

For one thing, my story archetype is Educator. Some of these approaches will clash with this archetype and simply confuse my audience. I’ll be more successful with podcasts, guest posts, and training calls.

For another, most of my clients find their best offers by through a story that differentiates themselves from the competition in a meaningful way.

One marketer taught a class on writing your LinkedIn profile. His own profile begins with, “How these ordinary 6 people added 5000 qualified prospects to their opt-in lists in 90 days.”

That’s an excellent story — if it’s true for him. But what if you can’t consistently deliver those amazing results?

Many of my clients are like Brenda, a life coach who sent me some material to review. When we talked on the phone, Brenda shared a unique perspective on business mindset. She knew exactly why some people responded to business challenges and some didn’t. She could explain why some people needed gentle accountability partners and others needed mentors who were drill sergeants.

But her content didn’t reflect this knowledge. Brenda put up some me-too copy about “heart-based business owners,” “magic wand solutions” and “conscious solo-preneurs.” Her message was, “Just another woo-woo coach.” I barely recognized her as the same insightful professional I heard on the phone.

When I worked with Brenda, we came up with a story that fit her story archetype and resonated with her audience. Most important, her story motivated her audience to take action, because she included specific ingredients designed to help sell her services.

It’s often hard to figure out your specialness on your own. It’s a three-part process: you discover what makes you unique and then communicate your strengths in the context of your offer. And then you discover the story that transforms listeners to buyers.

For instance, a client was able to show that his background in police work was directly relevant to his new career as a personal financial planner, by highlighting the importance of listening skills in community policing.

Another client, a consultant was frustrated when prospects rejected him, saying, “You’re probably too advanced for this job.” When we discussed the comments he’d gotten from different sources, he realized his strength was walking into a mess and getting things straightened out — not creating systems for well-functioning programs. He came up with a story that not only communicated his value, but suggested opportunities for new offers that fit his story archetype.

If you’d like to talk more about developing your own position and offer, I’d love to help. The 90-minute risk-free consultation was designed for this. It’s not unusual to start by fixing some troubled copy and end with opportunities to develop new income streams. More info and sign up here.

And if you’re serious about working with me but aren’t sure where to start, click here to send me a message. We’ll have a short phone call to discuss the best way I can help, given your goals, time frame and budget.

I’m Cathy Goodwin. I help clients develop stories, words and action plans to grow their businesses, side hustles and careers. When you find the story that contains your personal brand, your message becomes clear. You easily differentiate yourself and stand out as a qualified professional.

Originally published at on September 25, 2019.

Helping entrepreneurs and independent professionals grow their businesses one story at a time.

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