189. Kickstart Series Part 2: Carve Out Your Spot & Claim Your Expertise

Carve Out Your Spot & Claim Your Expertise

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Have you ever wondered what makes a business truly stand out? It’s not just about offering a service or product; it’s about creating an identity that resonates with your audience. I want to share with you some insights on how to carve out your spot in the market and claim your expertise. Whether you’re just starting out or looking to redefine your business, these tips will guide you in building a brand that’s uniquely yours.

In this episode, you’ll hear… 

  • Insights into defining and embracing your unique business identity and values
  • Strategies for analyzing market demand and supply, with a focus on differentiating your offerings
  • Effective ways to identify and address client pain points and aspirations
  • Tips for creating content that connects deeply with clients and showcases your expertise

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Listen to episode 189, follow along so you never miss an episode, and leave a review to help introduce the show to more online business owners just like you!

Understanding Your Business Identity

The key to a successful business lies in knowing what you stand for. It’s about digging deeper than demographics and truly understanding what makes your business unique. I’ve learned from personal experiences, like the loss of my parents, that our journeys significantly shape our business perspectives. Embrace your story and let it guide the values and principles of your business. By doing so, you create a brand that’s not only authentic but also deeply connected with your audience.

Navigating Market Demand and Supply

Entering a market, especially a saturated one, can be daunting. But with the right approach, you can find your place. Conduct thorough market research to assess the demand for your product or service. Draw inspiration from my own journey in the legal template business, where differentiating my offerings was crucial to my success. Remember, it’s not just about being different; it’s about being strategically different in ways that matter to your clients.

Addressing Client Pain Points and Aspirations

The heart of your business lies in understanding and addressing your clients’ needs. Take time to conduct market research and gather feedback. Use this information to tailor your products and services to bridge the gap between your clients’ struggles and their aspirations. This approach not only enhances your offerings but also builds a deeper connection with your clients, as they see that you truly understand and cater to their needs.

Carving out your spot in the market and claiming your expertise is a journey of understanding yourself, your market, and your clients. Embrace your unique story, be strategic in your market approach, and always focus on addressing your clients’ needs. Join me in this exploration of building a business that’s not just successful, but meaningful and fulfilling.

Download Episode Transcript

Sam Vander Wielen:
Hey there, and welcome back to On Your Terms. This is episode two of my four-part series, Kickstart Your Business in 2024. So this year, we are trying to kick it off strong, whether you are starting an online business or you already have an online business, but it just needs a little bit of a kickstart. Hey, I’ve been in business for seven years and my business needs kickstarts from time to time. So ain’t no shame in the kickstart game.

I’m really excited to jump in today and talk more about really like defining yourself and what you stand for, what your business is all about, what your business’s values are, what your unique value propositions are, and then what’s unique about how you do what you do, what kind of work you offer, the products that you sell, the services that you offer to your clients. How are you uniquely getting them results or how are you going to uniquely get them results if you haven’t already?

I think that what we’re going to talk about today is going to be something maybe that you’ve like generally heard about, but probably not talked about from this angle before, because a lot of the advice that I hear you being given about getting to know your audience and defining your niche and all this kind of stuff, I think is kind of bullshit, to be honest. It’s really not very good advice. It’s super basic. It’s not based on any actual business principles, and it’s all regurgitated from the same business coaches over and over and over again.

Where does she shop? Does she like cats or dogs? Does she like McDonald’s or Burger King? It’s like, it’s bullshit. That doesn’t, yes, we can learn certain demographic information about our customers and that can be helpful, and it is so much deeper and bigger than where they shop and whether they’re a coffee or a tea drinker, I’m telling you.

So it’s actually going to have a lot to do, I think, with you and really embodying who you uniquely are, and we’re not going to know that unless you really let that cat out of the bag. So we’re going to talk a lot more about all of this in depth today. I’m very excited to dive in, in episode two. If you haven’t caught it yet, episode one aired last week on January 8th, very, very important because we got to set that foundation first before we jump into what we’re talking about today.

So I would love for you to go back and listen to that one if you haven’t yet. And then obviously we’ve got episodes three and four coming for you in the next two weeks. So I’m really excited for you to be here. If you haven’t yet too, I’ve created a free Kickstart Your Business guide for you that gave me the opportunity to kind of organize everything from these episodes, give you my best tips and put it all into one free Kickstart Your Business guide. So you can grab that free guide down in the show notes.

So as I’m recording this, it’s the last kind of minute dash before the holidays. And typically — I was just saying this on my Instagram stories. Typically, I would have been off by now because it’s December 22nd when I’m recording this. And this is late for me, by the way, to be recording a podcast episode. Usually, I’m like way further in advance, but this year has been a year.

If you listened to my recap episode, a couple of weeks ago when I shared like what this year has been like for me, you know it’s been a year, you know that this was the year that within the last year and a half, both of my parents have died. And it’s just like, obviously epically changed my life, but changed me as a person. And then I just did not see my mom dying this year. So it really threw me for a loop and then through kind of the whole year into a loop, especially business wise.

And yeah, it’s just made me like reevaluate a lot of things, like slow down, have to face my, I don’t know, I don’t want to call it an obsession, but like accidental obsession I guess, with business and wanting to put everything I got into business and being all tied up in that. And I feel like this has been a big year of separating the identity. We’re going to talk about this a little bit throughout the episode today. But yeah, it’s been a year. It really has.

And if you’ve been around here for a while, then you also know I’m writing my book. So I’m writing my first book. I got a book deal back at the end of May. Actually, the day that my mom passed away, I got a book deal. So ever since then, I’ve been working really hard on that. And running a business and writing a book at the same time, super interesting. One day, I feel like I’m going to have a lot to say and share and hopefully help others with but in the meantime, I’m just going through it. So I don’t have anything to teach anybody quite yet. So it’s interesting.

But you can also tell it’s that time of the year because today I went to get my holiday nails done, which if you’re watching this on video, you can see bright red. And I stopped at Starbucks to get myself something cozy before I got my nails done. And it was just so funny because everybody was such an epic pain in the ass. Everybody in the line was like complaining to the barista. And the lady in front of me was saying that there wasn’t enough foam, but not enough milk. And she took issue with how high they filled the cup. And then she told them they put too much and then it needed more chai because she had added milk, and it was just a hilarious thing.

And I couldn’t help but think of my mom who I’ve shared before used to see those kinds of situations and say, gosh, Sammy, could you imagine if they had a real problem? And I just laugh. Every time, it just makes me laugh. So if you see people having like post-holiday freak outs, I feel like January people are still getting together for holidays and doing holiday things. So if you see people having post-holiday freak outs, you can think of my mom and think, could you imagine if they had a real problem?

Okay. So with that, let’s get into episode two of this Kickstart Your Business series and talk all about defining yourself, identifying your niche and your audience, your unique value prop, all of that fun stuff. I want to hone in today on your voice, the voice of your customer and how we kind of merge those two, et cetera, et cetera.

So last week, we talked a lot about setting the stage for like the foundation of your business and making sure that you’ve got that stuff settled and you have the foundation very strong because that’s going to allow you to confidently start moving forward and doing some of the things we’re talking about today. And especially the stuff we’re going to talk about in episodes three and four, when we’re going to talk more about creating a multimillion-dollar product, when we’re going to talk about creating an evergreen marketing strategy for that product. So it’s really important that we have that strong foundation.

Now, part of, I guess that when I talk about some of the earlier things today, like we’re about to talk about supply and demand, which is just not something I feel like I hear people talk with you enough about, I think that kind of like research can be done either before you register your business or kind of hand in hand, right? Like if you already know you’re going to start a business, but you’re kind of working out what kind of product are you going to offer, what kind of service you can offer, how are you going to position it within the market? Even if you already have a business, if your business isn’t going very well, I think that this is something to pay attention to and revisit.

So basic economic principles are that in order to sell something, in order for something to be available and people to purchase, we need to have demand for it, right? There needs to be demand. There needs to be customer demand. People are looking for something. It might not mean that there’s a demand for your exact thing because the thing might not have been invented or created yet, but there’s a demand for maybe the outcome that you bring people. There’s a demand for the type of product or service that you’re about to offer because your product or service is going to be the thing that fills the hole that’s missing. Right?

So we want to do some research on market demand because the biggest thing that I see entrepreneurs make the mistake in doing early on is assuming that because you think that there’s a demand for something, like basically there’s a demand of one, meaning yourself, that that means everybody wants it or everybody wants it that way. Right? So we want to be careful not to make the mistake that just because you want to do something or something sounds fun or something is your passion, doesn’t make it a viable business.

And by the way, side note, sidebar, not every single thing that’s your passion has to be a business too, right? So like you might have a really good idea for a passion project and that could be something you do for fun, doesn’t have to be profitable. Not everything in life has to be a business or has to be profitable or has to make a lot of money. But if you’re trying to start a business that supports your life, provides you with what you need, then it has to be, right. So I’m talking more to you. If you’re looking to create a business that, that makes money, not so we can be money pigs, not so we can go out and buy a bunch of crap that we don’t need, but because you actually want to provide a really good life for yourself and do better, right, and provide for those around you. So we need to look at demand.

How do we look at demand? Well, first, I guess I always look at whether or not, I mean, demand to me always kind of goes hand in hand with supply because I do look to the fact that competitors exist to tell me a little bit about demand, right? Because if there are other people doing already what you want to do, that kind of tells me that there’s a demand out there for this thing, right? If we can tell like this is up and running or like, I don’t know, career coaching, for example, like I wouldn’t have to look very far to think, oh, wow, there are a lot of people who are out there looking for career coaches. They’re looking for either advice on their career path or people who do more job placement or resume reviewing, part of career coaching, there’s demand for that. I can see it all over the place. Right?

Then my question becomes more of a supply question. Like, is there too much supply already for this thing that, yeah, there’s demand for it because you can’t just stop after demand, because if there’s demand, but way too much supply, then that’s going to be hard. Right? That’s a really saturated market. I think, like, people talk about this a lot in our industry of like, oh, the industry is so crowded. It’s like, there are already so many people doing what you do.

And I hear a lot of people kind of using, I don’t know, I don’t know if this is actually spiritual bypassing, but like, let’s just say it’s bypassing of some variety. Like telling you just ignore that, there’s always room for you. Yes, that’s true, and not so true from an economic principle, to be honest. And I feel like this is why I see so many people frustrated that their business isn’t working the way they thought. And it’s not like this is the only myth that they’ve bought into or been sold along the way, but it’s one of the big ones that tells you to ignore a lot of the things that you’re seeing and feeling.

Now, we have to work really hard to separate that from you having these fearful feelings just because it’s hard and scary and vulnerable to start a business and put yourself out there and be on social media. Right? Because that’s going to come up, and just because that comes up doesn’t mean that’s reason to pull out necessarily. Right. But I do think, and again, also same thing, like some people are just like, oh, there’s so many people doing what I’m doing. Therefore, there’s no room for me. And that’s not always true either.

But I do think like, I would prefer for you to go into this with a really solid, more like data driven, objective driven thought process of like, is there still demand out there for this? And then is the market too oversaturated? Now, if the market is feeling very saturated, which it’s hard to tell, you can look up by like hashtags and kind of try to see like, oh, there’s already like a million people doing this and all that kind of stuff, that doesn’t have to be the end of the story. That wouldn’t be the end of the story for me, if I were you.

Like if I was a fitness coach, for example, it would be very easy. I mean, I think like the demand is always there. There’s like some industries where I feel like there are always going to be people who are going to need help with like nutrition, money, law stuff, business stuff. Like I think that the demand is essentially endless because the supply of people also keeps changing. Right.

So like we can think about supply from two different directions. Like I think about supply on the side of like how many other coaches or creators or service providers are offering this. But I also think of the supply of the customer base. I guess going back to the demand, it’s continuously expanding, right? So yes, more coaches are entering the industry, more creators are entering the industry, and more people are becoming more and more used to what we do, more and more people are looking, I think, for what we do. And with that will come more of a demand. Right? So the supply is going to kind of meet the demand. That’s the way that I like to think about it.

But if I also saw that, like I was using the example, like if I was a fitness coach and I would go on there, I’d be like, oh my gosh, there’s 80 kabillion people doing, offering fitness programming or filming videos of themselves in the gym and teaching me how to work out online and all of these things. Yeah, absolutely. Right. Is there something though that is unique about you? And this is kind of where we’re going to spend the rest of the episode talking about, is there something unique about you, your approach, your personality, your methodology? Like if you’ve cracked the code on something that you do in fitness that actually helps people and gets results, you will always rise to the top.

My mom always said the cream always rises to the top. I really do believe that. I think if you’re very good at what you do and you’re willing to put in the work, right. This is a lot of work. Running a business is a lot of work. What I’m talking a lot about in the book is that somewhere along the way, online business has created a lot of very unhealthy, unhelpful myths about what it’s like to actually run an online business.

So for example, people come to me all the time saying, I want to start an online business, but I have absolutely no money to spend. Can you tell me exactly how I can do this for free? Right? And I think that somewhere, and this got lost in translation that, yes, starting an online business does not cost nearly as much as if I was going to go start a bakery in my town.
Right. I don’t have to buy equipment. I don’t need inventory. I don’t need to buy an actual space. I don’t have to outfit that space. I don’t have to pay rent. I don’t have to do a lot of things that are very, very expensive. Right. So it’s way cheaper. And I think there’s so much more opportunity for you to be resourceful as an online business owner.

It is not true, however, that it costs nothing and that it takes no work. Because that’s the other thing that has gotten muddled in this whole thing is that it’s like, oh, it’s no work. You just open an online business, you start an Instagram account, you start sharing your workouts, and then the clients just come rolling in. It’s not how it works. So we have to do this like demand supply thing. We have to analyze the market and you have to get very clear on what makes you, you.

This is what we call your unique differentiator, right? So I think your unique differentiator has two categories. The first is what makes you unique as a person, as a creator, as a professional, whatever it is that you do. And then the other part is like, what makes maybe your program or service or product unique itself? Is the product itself super unique? Did it come along and create something, change something, more like an invention? Or is maybe the outcome and the results really different in your program because of what you do, because of how different your methodology is?

I think if you have a really refreshing approach, I know I’ve seen money coaches in the past who have, and this is probably past, like this is an older example, but when money coaching started, I felt like all money coaching was about just about budgeting, first of all, right. And not everybody who wanted to work with a money coach necessarily was just trying to figure out how to pay off debt.

So then you saw money coaches emerge who were like, I’ll teach you how to invest, I’ll teach you how to grow money, I’ll teach you how to take more ownership over finances. Right. And then you started hearing almost like the antilanguage of like, I’m not here to tell you that your $5 latte is the thing keeping you back from saving. I’ll teach you how to save without cutting your favorite latte, right?

So it’s really interesting to have watched the industry evolve where you can look and see what is your niche already offering in a way? And who are they leaving behind? Who are they not speaking to? Is there some hole in the market? Many times, you can think about this from your own perspective. Like if you felt left out of the market, right? Like you, for example, wanted to go get help with finances or investment advice, and you realize that, yeah, there are 80 kabillion money coaches out there, but all of them are doing budgeting and paying off debt. And you don’t have debt. You want to learn about investments, you want to learn about the stock market and that’s what you do. So you see a hole in the market and you go, right.

When I started my legal templates business in 2017, I was not the only person who was doing it. There were very, very few people at the time, way less than now. Now you see people popping up left and right. And they like just graduated from law school. They’ve never even worked as a lawyer. I’m like, okay, but you know, it happens, the industry evolves, right. And they see other people doing it. And so they jump in and everybody wants to get in the pool.

But when I jumped in in 2017 and there only were a handful or so of people doing it at the time, I looked around and I thought, I was already a lawyer, but I was also a coach at the time. So I had left the law and I had become a health coach. And I knew as a health coach, like if I just put my health coach hat on and took my lawyer hat on, I looked at those lawyers and thought, there’s nobody — this is not for me.

And I know that there are a lot of other people like me, right? There were other people who didn’t want fear driven stuff, fear tactics, scary language, kind of still lawyery, like stiff lawyery stuff. I knew that there had to be an opportunity for somebody who was just like kind of the cozy legal, just so happens to be a lawyer person. It also just so happens to be who I actually am, right? Like I, it’s not my personality to be the stiff lawyer because I tried that, and I didn’t like being a lawyer. Right.

So I saw that, not only as a market opportunity, but also as a way to uniquely differentiate myself from what else was out there. And I knew as both like kind of a customer of my industry and as an expert in my industry or a lawyer in my industry, I knew that there was an opportunity for something different. So I had to hone in on what really makes me unique in the sense of this industry.

It doesn’t have to be that it’s like — obviously there are lots and lots of cozy, chill, non-lawyery people out there. Most of them are not lawyers, right? But what’s unique about that is being a lawyer who can still break down complicated legal topics or intimidating subjects in a really simple way, but still in a professional way, I hope, and who also just has it in her personality to not be scary and fear driven, right?

So I knew that that was my unique differentiator on my side. On my product side, I also saw a way to uniquely differentiate myself from what else was out there. My products were being offered as downloadable templates, but nobody had video tutorials at the time. Everybody was doing audio or guides. And I thought, why not do screen sharing? It sounds so funny, because it sounds like I started this a hundred years ago, but screen sharing was kind of new at the time and recording yourself doing that. I don’t even think Loom had come out yet. So like recording yourself going through contracts and filling them out, that was new at the time. Right. So doing it in that way.

And then when I created the Ultimate Bundle, people were selling individual templates and they were kind of bundling certain packages of templates, but I hadn’t found anything at least where somebody had created something like what I did with the Ultimate Bundle five years ago with the unique combination of giving — actually, oh my gosh, it’s like six years ago now. But giving them the unique combination of like legal contracts and templates, plus all these trainings, plus access to support from me, plus like updates. People hadn’t seen that before. And I think that is why the Ultimate Bundle became so successful.

So do you see how, when I approached this industry, again, it’s not like nobody existed, right? There was — I knew there was demand because people did exist, because competitors were there, and I saw it. And I knew also that the coaching industry and the online creator economy was growing a lot and that therefore you were going to need lawyers even down the road, right? So I was getting in early and I was trying to establish myself before this thing blew up. And I knew that there was some supply with what was out there, but I didn’t see the kind of the spin on it that I thought could exist.

So my unique differentiator, just recapping was like, again, there’s the personal side of uniquely differentiating yourself as the business owner, and then the unique differentiator of how your products or services are different. So I went through and I thought, I don’t see anybody who’s like cozy and chill. And then I thought, at least not that I could, I saw, right, and I didn’t look super hard because I don’t personally like to see what other people are doing, but then also on my product side. Same thing.
So that was my approach.

Okay. So once I knew that I wanted to create this business and I saw the hole in the market, I did all of the stuff that we’ve talked about and I went through all the differentiator stuff, I then had to get very, very clear on what my client’s pain points were first. Right? Because again, it doesn’t matter necessarily what you think is maybe the problem. It really, really matters what your clients are struggling with and what they think is the problem.

This couldn’t have been any more true or illustrative in my example, where as a lawyer, I could sit here and tell you, here are the 10 things you should be really terrified of or this is the stuff that’s actually a big deal and that matters, right, but this is the stuff that doesn’t. I could sit there all day long if I was to write that all down and then I had you privately write a list down and we swapped, I bet you that hardly anything on your list would be on mine.

So I feel like I got my PhD in this subject real fast in terms of learning what my clients were afraid of. And sometimes putting aside my lawyer hat and thinking, but this is what they should be afraid of, right? I do slip that content in and I do tell you stuff that you need to know, but I really have to focus on like what’s bugging you, right? What’s bothering you? What are you worried about? And if — because you have to think of it as like, my job is to find out what you’re worried about and put you at ease. That’s the way I think of it. Like a lot of times, especially for what I do, and maybe this is similar for what you do, but like with legal stuff, a lot of times people are really worried about something that’s not either a big deal or that’s like rooted in a myth. Right?

So once I dispel the myth or I like say, hey, it’s actually not that big of a deal. This is how we handle it. Super easy. All of a sudden, everybody feels better. Right? But if I was just talking at them and telling them like, hey, you should actually be doing this and worrying about this and thinking about this, they would still be walking around with the pain because they’re concerned about something that’s totally different. And at the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter whether that matches up with me or not. I have to understand where they’re at and meet them where they are.

So you have to get to know what your ideal client’s pain points are. How do you do that? Well, if you haven’t worked with anyone yet, if you haven’t gotten any free calls yet, I start by doing a lot of market research, start watching videos of other people who are helping people with these, maybe like Instagram lives, for example, and seeing what people’s comments are, right. You start to understand.

Not because you’re watching the creator and trying to copy what he or she is doing, but because you’re watching the comments of the ideal customer that you guys share, and you’re trying to understand what’s in their head. Maybe you look at the comments that they’re making on posts, right? Read Reddit threads. Reddit threads are a goldmine. Read the comment section of YouTube videos. I do that all the time, right?

So I really kind of immersed myself in this world. And I also started taking free calls, like discovery calls. If you’re not ready to offer a product yet, you could still do discovery calls where you just get on and you kind of do like interviews, like informational interviews and maybe you give them like 15 minutes of coaching at the end if you’re a coach or something like that, right.

Whatever you do, I want you to keep really copious notes, right? So you want to keep a document. I used to call this, and I still have it, but I call it a sizzle file. I got that from somebody a million years ago. And so I literally just kept it as like a running doc. It’s maybe in a Google sheet type format and it’s not the most organized thing in the world. It’s like massive notes, but it is so helpful and impactful because I can go back, and I can look, and I see the language that people were repeating over and over and over again.

So every time I had a free call with somebody, a discovery call, when I got emails from people, when I got DMs from people, I was taking the questions, taking the language and I was putting it in the sizzle file. And in the beginning, I remember thinking like, oh, what’s the big deal? Like, this is not going to give me enough information to really have a feel for what’s going on here. And then now there’s like thousands, I mean, not even now, I would say a couple of months, a year into doing this, I had like thousands of entries in this document, right? I stopped doing this many, many, many years ago.

Now I’m more, I guess, intuitive and in tune with doing this in real time and picking it up. I noticed what you guys all say to me, like when I get DMs, when I get emails, I start saying, oh, I’m seeing this trend. I’m seeing people are worried about this, I see everybody’s using this language now. On the flip side, I see when people buy my product, when they get the Ultimate Bundle, I get the same comment every single time. I feel such a huge sigh of relief. I feel so empowered. I feel so much more confident. I’m feeling like such a rock star. I’m getting my stuff done. I’m growing my business. Right.

So I kind of now know. I’m like, okay, but I still come back, and I revisit this. You can also, once you have customers, and you’ve had, like they’ve maybe completed their work with you, you can do customer interviews. Even after people purchase my stuff, once a year or something, we’ll ask a handful, maybe 10 people to do customer interviews and we record them and we have all these questions we ask and we really go through and we get to know them, what they were struggling with when they found us, what about us made it attractive to join, what were some of the things that they experienced right away, how are they different now than they were before? And I use all that language to start creating content, right?

So we’re going to start talking about in episodes three and four about creating a product and then creating a marketing strategy around that product. And what we’re talking about right now is crucial because we’re going to use all of that language that we’re gathering right now, all the pain points. And we’re going to put that all into the product so that the product is super juicy and attractive to people because we’ve got to create a product that people think is going to help them solve their problem. And we’re also going to create our content around that too. So you think the stuff is really basic. You think you don’t need it, but I’m telling you, this is the bread and butter of a successful business.

Now, if we’re going to talk about pain points, we also have to talk about hopes and dreams, kind of like the opposite, right? So people might tell you right now what they’re really frustrated with, what they’re having a problem with, what’s not going well, but you need to be equally familiar with what they wish it was like instead.

So, we need to know like what is the ideal outcome that this person is looking for? What do they wish that they felt like? What do they wish they didn’t feel like anymore? Right? That’s all very, very important. And then we need to understand how do you solve the pain and then create the hope and dream? Or how does your product or your service solve the pain and help them create the hope and dream. Essentially, how does your product or service fill the gap?

The way that I like to think of this, cause I’m very visual is that your ideal client essentially right now is on Pain Island, right? They’re kind of stranded on Pain Island and they want to get over to Hope and Dream Island. And I like to think that your business, your content, your product and programs and services are like the ferry shuttle, essentially, that’s going to take them from Pain Island over to the Hope and Dream Island. Right.

So I need to understand like, why do I get on this boat? Why am I getting off Pain Island? Because usually it’s like you call out to me, like you literally would probably call out and be like, do you want to go to Hope and Dream Island? You’d probably tell me there’s some like open bar and really cushy lounge chairs and beach volleyball. And I’d be like, that sounds good. That’s where I want to go. And you would tell me, my ferry, it takes you there. It only takes two minutes when everybody else’s ferry takes ten minutes. And I play really fun music and I’ll serve you an unsweetened iced tea on board. I’d be like, I’m in, take my money. Right.

So this is essentially what you need to do literally through your content, speaking to people while they’re on Pain Island. People want to be seen and heard and they want to be understood for where they’re at. They don’t want to be shamed. They don’t want to be told it’s their fault. They don’t want to be told, I don’t know, any bad stuff, right? They want to just say like, I see you, that sucks. I know what it’s like, or I’ve helped other people. That’s why I know what it’s like.

So you speak to them while they’re on Pain Island and you explain why they should get on your boat, which is the product, and it’s going to help take them to Hope and Dream Island and paint that picture. What is Hope and Dream Island like? How have other people who have taken the boat before gotten that outcome? Right?

So, we’re going to talk about content and how you create content. And I’m going to also teach you the types of content that I think you really should create in order to just build up consistently so that you’re not in this place anymore where you’re wondering where your next client’s coming from or struggling to fill your programs. But how could you integrate even what we’ve talked about today, because there’s going to be like another week till the next episode, how could you integrate what we talked about today into your content?

Are you making your content about them? Are you making it only about yourself? Even when you share about yourself or your story, if anybody gets my emails or follows me on social media on Instagram or something, I’m the queen of stories. So I can like literally only make a point through a story or through a metaphor. It’s just like the way that my brain works. So if you’re sharing a story about yourself, that’s fine. But how are we turning that into a lesson that’s about them? How are we turning it into a lesson that’s saying, I see what you’re going through, and that’s why I’m able to help you through my program, right?

So let’s knock out an example. I haven’t thought about this yet, so I’m just going to like come up with it on the fly. But okay, an example would be that my ideal customer needs legal help, right? But my ideal customer’s pain point, even though I might say my ideal customer needs X, Y, and Z to be legally protected. My ideal customer is freaked out that she’s going to get sued because she said the wrong thing, right?

So I would probably, and what she wants to do is that she wants to be able to go, her version of like Hope and Dream Island, for what I do, is that she wants to be able to go on social media and freely speak. She wants to go on and not have to worry about this stuff anymore. She wants to speak confidently about her topic. Let’s make it money, right? So she wants to go on and talk about money. And she wants to share from a place of empowerment and not feel any more.

Like she’s so hesitant to go on social media and be like I don’t know if I should say that or not. I don’t know if I’m allowed, I’m afraid, and then continues to sit there and watch as other people continue to share about this stuff and then she’s all resentful because she’s like, why are they able to share about it and I’m not? And it comes back to her not knowing what she’s legally allowed to say. And she’s feeling super paralyzed because she’s afraid to get sued and she doesn’t want to get sued and she doesn’t want to lose her house and her car and her bank account and ruin what her family has worked for. Right?

So I feel like that’s a pretty classic example probably of what I deal with. So if I was creating a piece of content, right, I would really start out with something like, I know you’re tired of going on social media and not knowing what you’re allowed to say. It’s holding you back from being able to attract more clients, and it’s really holding your business down. It’s time to stop playing small and start putting yourself out there so you can grow the business you know you deserve. Through the Ultimate Bundle, my signature program that gives you 10 legal templates and all the trainings you need to learn how to legally be able to talk about what you can talk about, I help you be more empowered and confident so that you can share all of the best tips and tricks in your business without being fearful that you’ll get sued for them.

I don’t know. That was just something off the top of my head, but I’m just — do you see how, like, I’m speaking to the person, I’m understanding where they are, I understand what they want to do instead, and then I’m coming in and I’m filling in the gap of how my product is the thing that will resolve that for them. Right? So using that kind of structure can be really helpful even now with making your content more geared towards them and what they’re going through, right?

So even when you share a story about yourself, I think that all of these stories can transition into lessons. And every single thing that’s happened to you or that you’re doing or whatever, it can typically become something that’s really about your client. So, I wouldn’t be afraid to use storytelling. I think it’s actually a very, very powerful way of connecting with other people. And I think it’s been accidentally successful way that I’ve built my audience. But I think that the reason it’s actually been successful is not just because I tell a story and I leave it at that, it’s because I tell a story and then I transition it into a lesson.

Okay. Here’s a quick example of how I would use storytelling to make a point, like an educational, informational point to you, to my audience, right? So this is a true story. So I was in my workout class and one of the parts of the workout that day was that we had to row 800 meters and I had never rowed 800 meters before. I have never rode that long. I row in the class every once in a while. But usually, it’s like 200 meters. I think that the most we’ve done is four.

So I get on the rower and I immediately, I’m like, there’s no way I can do this. Right. And the whole time I’m rowing, I’m just like, I can’t do it, I can’t do it, I can’t do it. There’s no way I’m going to reach 800 meters. And my trainer, Lorraine, she like screamed at me from across the table, she and was like, you can do it. And so she told me I could. But also I realized in the moment that the way to make this happen, because in me freaking out, what I was doing was just taking little stupid strokes, like strokes that weren’t getting me anywhere. And the way that I was going to be able to achieve this, I realized very quickly was that I needed to make the most of every single stroke, right? I needed to stop taking short little strokes and really pull all the way through, use my legs. And I was already doing the work, why not make it the most valuable?

That’s just like what you need to do in your own business because posting on social media nonstop for example, without paying any attention to your email list without building content on one of the big three, which is like YouTube, SEO or podcasts, that’s like taking all the little strokes. It’s kind of getting you nowhere. That’s why it also feels exhausting, but at the same time you feel like you’re exhausted but not going anywhere.

When you do stuff that’s based more on searchability, people being able to continuously find you, Evergreen content which we’re going to focus on solely next week, which is content that keeps on living, keeps breathing, keeps bringing leads back to your business for however long. When you focus on that, that’s the long stroke. That’s getting the best bang for your buck. That’s doing less but making way more. And I know that that’s probably more of what you want. Right?

So again, that’s just off the top of my head, but this is how I start to think about stories and little experiences that I have. I keep them all in a note in Asana. Anytime I’m at Starbucks, something funny happens, I jot it down. A lot of them fall to the cutting room floor, some of them become stories like this, right? So that’s how you can kind of start taking stories, connecting with your audience, creating that deeper connection.

When you start talking in this way, when you start speaking to your client and where they are, when you start speaking to their pain points and what they truly desire, when you take your own stories and you start to learn how to transition the light from yourself to others, that’s when you start getting lots of DMs saying, why are you in my head? Are you reading my mind? And then guess what those people do? They want to work with you. They want to buy your thing. They stay in your audience. They support you.

I have people who have supported me for seven years now, right? They’ve been listening to my podcast or reading my emails or hanging around on Instagram. That’s how you start to build a legitimate audience. That’s how you really carve out your niche. That’s how you become known as the person who does X, right? That’s how you become the legal girl or whatever. I hate when people call me that, but you know what I mean? So that’s how you become really established in your industry, which I imagine is what you’re working towards or what you’d like to do.

You know what you need to do now? You need to reply to my email, or you need to DM me on Instagram and tell me how this episode was for you. Was it helpful? Are you liking the series so far? Are you going to tune in to series episodes number two or three and four? I hope so. If you, like I said, if you haven’t yet go back and listen to episode one, make sure you catch episodes three and four in the next two weeks as they come out each week.

I’m holding you accountable. You have got to reach out to me and let me know what you think about this series so far? Is it helpful? Did anything I shared today sound like different or unique to you? Maybe that you haven’t expected or heard before. I want to hear. Like I always say, this is not a one-way street. I want to hear from you. I want to have conversation, but I can only do that if you reach out, you respond. So please take a second, respond to my email, respond to me on Instagram. Let me know how this was for you. And with that, I can’t wait to see you in next week’s episode, episode number three of our Kickstart Your Business series. See you soon.

Thanks so much for listening to the On Your Terms podcast. Make sure to follow on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you like to listen to podcasts. You can also check out all of our podcast episodes, show notes, links, and more at samvanderwielen.com/podcast. You can learn more about legally protecting your business and take my free legal workshop, Five Steps to Legally Protect and Grow Your Online Business at samvanderwielen.com. And to stay connected and follow along, follow me on Instagram at @SamVanderWielen and send me a DM to say hi.

Just remember that although I am a attorney, I am not your attorney, and I am not offering you legal advice in today’s episode. This episode and all of my episodes are informational and educational only. It is not a substitute for seeking out your own advice from your own lawyer. And please keep in mind that I can’t offer you legal advice. I don’t ever offer any legal services, but I think I offer some pretty good information.

Resources Discussed in This Episode

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  • Kajabi // use Kajabi to sell your course, program, or even build your entire website. Get a 30-day free trial with my link.
  • SamCart // what I use for my checkout pages and payment processing and LOVE. And no, not because it’s my name.
  • ConvertKit // what I use to build my email list, send emails to my list, and create opt-in forms & pages

DISCLAIMER: Although Sam is an attorney she doesn’t practice law and can’t give you legal advice. All episodes of On Your Terms are educational and informational only. The information discussed here isn’t legal advice and does not intend to be. The info you hear here isn’t a substitute for seeking legal advice from your own attorney.

© 2022 Sam Vander Wielen LLC | All Rights Reserved | Any use of this intellectual property owned by Sam Vander Wielen LLC may not be used in connection with the sale or distribution of any content (free or paid, written or verbal), product, and/or service by you without prior written consent from Sam Vander Wielen LLC.

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