Ever been in a social situation and someone you don’t know asks you ‘what you like to do for fun’, and all of a sudden you have no idea about who you are and what you do and whether you actually do any ‘fun’ things in your life, or if the things you think are ‘fun’ actually make you sound like a bit of a weirdo (because truthfully I like to double-screen with Instagram on my phone and Netflix on TV while drinking tea at home with my cat - for fun. Don’t judge me).
Writing your professional bio for your website can feel a little like that - awkward and confronting and a little embarrassing and suddenly like you’re on the edge of an existential crisis - so you say something flowery and a little untrue because you think it sounds like the right thing to say.
It might be over-inflated or under-inflated, but whatever it is, it doesn’t feel quite… right.
For small business owners and solopreneurs - particularly heart-centred businesses - a genuine ‘about me’ page can be the clincher that gets a new customer over the line. It’s a page that needs a bit of love and attention. There are plenty of articles about what you should write in your bio - that’s not the hard part. Be authentic! Cool, thanks for the advice generic blog post!
Unfortunately there are not many articles that tell you how to actually find the best words for YOU. And while this post won’t write your bio for you, it will pull together an outline of ideas that are hopefully unashamedly ‘you’ to give you the inspiration you need for a brave and honest bio.
Before we go any further, let’s get this one out of the way: Rule number 1 - write in first person, no exceptions. We know that you wrote it anyway.
“Always be a first rate version of yourself, instead of second rate version of someone else” - Judy Garland
The starting point for thinking about your bio needs to be: who am I?
NOT: who do I need to be? Or what will sell?
Maintaining an image that isn’t really you is exhausting, and will never work in the long-term. Let go of any preconceived ideas about what is ‘right’, or what you think your audience will like, or what your competitors are doing.
Being you will allow the right people to find you; if you’re not a little polarising, then you’re not fully showing up. Be unapologetically you. Not everyone is going to like you, or want to work with you, and that’s OK - you don’t want to work with them either!
What do you stand for?
Why do you do what you do?
What motivates you to share this knowledge?
Why should readers trust you?
What makes you different to others in your industry / similar role?
What business are you really in?
“If you tell a true story, you can’t be wrong” - Jack Kerouac
A short story of two stonecutters - when asked what he was doing, the first stonecutter said: ‘I’m cutting stone into bricks’. When asked what he was doing, the second stonecutter said: ‘I’m building a cathedral’.
Big, BIG difference. Mr McStonecutter number two is a inspired kinda guy, he knows that his work is changing his world, having an impact, he’s using his skills for the good of those around him, he’s making a difference. It’s beautiful and it’s big and it’s something to believe in. He sounds like a guy we’d like to chat to more; we think he’ll understand our dream, too.
You have a bigger story around what you do - find it. Zoom out from the tasks you do on the daily to look at the results of your actions. What is the experience that you give to better the lives of other people?
How does your service / offering make people FEEL?
What do people thank you for most often?
What are the results of your actions that really matter to people?
What about your work makes you proud?
Put it out there
“The market for something to believe in is infinite” - Hugh McLeod
What you need is buy in, to capture the hearts of people who want to not just jump on your bandwagon but who will also get out and push it and then be shouting for you at the finish line too. So, give them something to believe in. What is your sense of purpose? What matters to you? What is your WHY?
What drove you to start your business / what motivates you now?
What is your aim / goal in business?
What words do you want people to associate with your business / brand / work ethic?
When do you feel most excited / inspired / passionate about your work?
What are you most passionate about outside of work and how does that influence your business?
Be brave enough to answer honestly; there’s no right or wrong. Sharing your story, your journey and your goals is what is going to connect with people who want to help you and work with you. How did you get to where you are today? Did you hit rock bottom, lose your shit, hate your boss or want to have an online business so you could live in the middle of nowhere with a cute menagerie of animals and only work on Tuesdays (same, btw).
“Image is a fragile thing. Sincerity is rock solid” - Danielle La Porte
This one comes last for a reason. Because in my opinion, formal qualifications are overrated. Unless you are in an industry where outlining specific qualifications is absolutely necessary, then refrain from mentioning them in your first paragraph. I know a degree is an awesome achievement, but it’s usually not the coolest part of your story.
And if you don’t actually have formal creds, don’t sweat it. There are other credentials that speak louder volumes - passion, results, ambition, hard work. Self-taught is saying that you have natural talent, got off your ass, and worked effing hard to make it happen - it says drive, open mindedness, innovation and desire to keep learning. Shout that shit loud and proud because THAT is a much more interesting story. Trying to present yourself a certain way gets hard. Be honest about who you are and how you got there - sincerity is rock solid.
What aspects of your work would you like to be recognised for or are most proud of?
What are your victories or accomplishments both personal and professional?
What has been the toughest / most fun / most scary part of your journey to having your own business?
Who do you want to work with?
Finish up by talking about who you love to work with - who is your ideal client; who would you like to see walk through your door, what kind of work makes you kinda jiggle with secret excitement when an email pings into your inbox. Talk about what kind of work or client really floats your professional boat so you give readers something to identify with.
Finally, I know that the tricky thing with an ‘about me’ page is that it’s…well... about you. It can be hard to still keep your reader at the centre of it. The answer here is to always relate your skills and talents to outcomes for them - how you’re using your magic to change their lives, their business or their world - and they’ll connect with you.
Need a hand? It can be hard to write about yourself! I can help. Get in touch and I’ll help you pull together the right words for a bio with impact.