Note from Alexis: This is a guest post from Carlos Silva, an entrepreneur and storyteller. In life and business, our stories are powerfully important to us. You can use them to shape who you are and the world around you. Enjoy!
I learned to appreciate business storytelling from my mentor, Gary Vaynerchuk. Gary’s Web 2.0 Expo speech back in 2008 reminded me about the value of living my life with passion and the importance of telling the “right” stories.
Building a business from the ground up, I found myself telling stories to keep me on the right path. I have always had a solid, well-crafted vision for my future, which has helped me become a successful entrepreneur. But telling my stories has helped remind me where I came from and guides me into the future. It is for this reason that I wanted to share this journey with you.
Think about this for a minute: What makes you get out of bed? If you are an entrepreneur, you might be driven by the passion to accomplish your life goals. In my life, I’ve created specific goals and developed stories to help overcome adversity, to encourage my employees and to inspire others. In creating a successful business, it’s the stories that have made the journey even more inspiring. For me, I want to create a life that I can pass onto my daughter. I’ve practiced the words in the mirror and it goes just like this: “Sienna, here is your empire, I have built this just for you!”
I am on this journey to create something that no one else will achieve. You have your own journey and you have your own stories. Starting today, make it a goal to be able to look at your journey and tell your stories.
Trust me, it will help you build your brand as an entrepreneur. By creating and telling the story of your journey, people will begin to connect with you and at the same time you are building your unique personal brand.
Do you have a leader story?
You should have an arsenal of stories as an entrepreneur. To get started, you can do what I do and practice your leader story in your bathroom mirror every day. This is not the story you tell your neighbor or a friend but the story you tell your next client or future investor. How will you explain your journey so they understand that you are the creator, the magician or the mentor?
People want to know where you’ve been and what you’ve been through. It makes you real and you’ll want to show some of your scars (not all of them, just the ones that are relevant and important for the occasion). You’ll want to be able to tell what you’ve accomplished without bragging. You’ll want to show that you’ve learned from your successes and your setbacks, and even complete failures – and yes, I’ve had them too.
These are some questions that you can ask yourself as you begin to think about building your personal brand with storytelling:
- What story would you share that shows you are an expert in your field?
- What story would you tell to build trust with a new business partner?
- How would you inspire an employee about the future of your company?
- How would you introduce yourself to new client you meet for the first time?
Remember, branding is the perception that people have about you – and how people experience the real you – through what you do and whom you associate with. It’s also about the words you say and write, even your Tweets. As an entrepreneur, that means you need to live your passion. When your brand is authentic and you’re truly being yourself, people want to hear your stories.
Tony Hsieh Delivers Happiness
Here’s a great example: Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos.com, discovered what he was really passionate about on his journey – it wasn’t just about selling shoes online. He was passionate about bringing happiness to work. He wanted to build a company where you could be yourself and in turn make others happy with a strong corporate culture and customer-driven service.
Tony delivers on his mantra of “Delivering Happiness.” He has created a business that keeps people happy. Employees have fun supported by their corporate culture. Even their ads reflect that. Storytelling is the spirit of the content that can breathe life into your public relations, social media and even your ads.
The lesson is simple: Always follow your passion and don’t forget the importance of telling your unique stories along your journey. People want to bring meaning to their work and as a leader you can facilitate that through your stories. Being a leader means you should be able to inspire others with your stories.
Los Silva | @Los_Silva
As President of Catalyst Dynamic, Los is considered to be a highly influential new voice on the subject of new media for business and the humanization of corporations. He is currently developing a new business venture, LaunchMob Media.com, a Social PR, New Media and Digital Storytelling agency in Orlando, Florida.