I was talking to a friend this morning who is doing the freelance thing while also writing a book, and we were commiserating around being in similar stages of our business/writerly journeys (aka the “nothing’s happening yet… Hello? Can anybody see me? Hmm, maybe I’ll chuck it all in and become a checkout chick instead” part).
And, aside from being a fabulous boost of moral support, this chat proved mighty handy in allowing us both to remind each other that this bit – THIS – is what will make the juiciest, bestest material for the books we’ll write one day yonder while looking back on our astonishing successes – or the quotes we’ll give when we’re interviewed by journalists wanting to know how we did it. (Yep, girls have gotta dream!).
You know - those quotes you read from the likes of every successful person, everywhere, who has a rags-to-riches story that provides JUST the inspiration you need to keep going when you feel like the light may NEVER appear...
“Well, you know, the week I launched my website I had $40 in my bank account”
“The only spare time I had to work on my business was between 12am-2am every day, so that’s when I did it”
“I got rejected by 2687 publishers/agents/stockists before landing my break”...
Keep that in mind when you're starting to consider drowning yourself in a swimming pool of pinot after one of those days that feel like you're getting nowhere any time soon. My current mindset boost hack: just when I'm starting to veer towards feeling sorry for myself over something, I imagine myself recalling this sorry state of affairs proudly, in hindsight, while perched on Oprah's couch. (Side note: can you guess which one of the above tidbits is an actual TRUE STORY about the beginnings of Little Birdie?)
Our point? Always remember - everything sounds better when it's told in the past tense and styled as a pull quote.
So if you're somewhere near the beginning too, and feeling like you've got a long, LONG hill to climb ahead of you, remember this experience is so, SO common - and that the higher and windier the hill, the better the story you'll have to tell once you reach the top.
And contrary to just being a neat little platitude, this colourful story you're crafting along the way is actually SUPER important for all business owners. As we like to say here at Little Birdie, it's not your product/service/pretty little mug that will set you apart from the crowd (no matter how full of awesomeness it is. Sorry.) It's your story.
"Marketing is no longer about the stuff you make, but about the stories you tell." - Seth Godin
Your story is what sets your brand apart, it's what makes you, you, and it's what will allow your audience, followers and potential clients to connect with you. Your story is what draws your people (you know the ones) in, invites them to sit down for a cuppa and has them coming back again and again.
Because nobody ever recorded a podcast interview with the person who floated all the way to the top of their game atop a comfy pink cloud.