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Whiteboard Wednesday: The Power of Storytelling S2E10

Storytelling | How it Relates to Business whiteboard-wednesday-episode-10

 Watch the replay here:

What’s Your story?

This is really important in business today. Your story prepares your clients for what they should expect with regards to your business. When they learn of the experiences, struggles, triumphs of your business, they develop an appreciation and respect for what you offer. What makes your business unique? What’s your hook? You are the author because you are at the helm – tell your story.

00:02:58 What is Story Telling?

Storytelling is really about telling stories. Every one of you has a really cool story. You’ve been through a variety of experiences, challenges and survived to tell the tale. There are so many different stories that all of us encompass that we can tell the world. What is important is being able to share that story successfully.

The Outsourcing Typhoon and Liz Benny Collaboration

kickstart-initial-process-assessment

Here is one of my stories. I flew out to Idaho to help one of my clients, Liz Benny, on one of her projects. Funny enough, we started talking about my projects. The stories shared between us, created a very happy medium in the middle to where both of our projects sort of intertwined. We raised the interest level for both of us on our own things.

I think it’s so important, what I’ve learned about storytelling. When I told Liz about what I do, how I process things and try to get more work done, she was bored. My overuse of cliche phrases such as “I help people work on their business and I get people out of working in their business” did not help.

At that point, I started talking about my experiences. I talked about how it’s like in the Philippines, the different people who have worked for me, or what’s it like working with other clients. Her response completely shifted from boredom to excited interest.

She’s like, “That’s it. See I would buy from that guy. I like that guy. I don’t like the guy who’s sitting there boring me with how you’re going to solve all my problems.” So it got me really interested in reversing my psyche.

The Value of Storytelling

The value of storytelling is simply to gain interest in your business and what you offer. That’s it. Everyone has that Uncle who is a great storyteller. “Uncle Joe told me that story about the bear.” Everybody loves scary stories and you circle around to listen. It’s the same exact type of thing in business.

The Quickbooks Story

A funny story with Liz. We were at a restaurant, working on a project together at that dinner. The waiter came and gave us our bill. Once I received the receipt, I took a picture of it and threw it away. Immediately Liz’s curiosity was perked, “Don’t need that receipt for your business? What are you doing right now?” This question afforded me the opportunity to explain the system I had in place.

I said, “I have a system in place so that all I have to do is send a picture to my accountant and she takes care of it. It gets put into my Quickbooks online. It’s taken care off. I don’t do my own accounting. I haven’t done that for  the past two years.” She was like, “I am soooo freaking jealous of you.” I found this rather funny because I personally think that I tend to take so much for granted.

Creating Your Story

I have a plethora of 42 people who work for me right now so resources are not a problem that I have. I used to have the same problem as my clients in my own way. My delegation skills are really great, but there were so many things I chose not to delegate. I think that’s something that people have a problem with. I’ve used a couple of different tools.

I will share a link for you guys in this video (here is the link http://ityurl.com/funnelscripts). It’s something called Fun scripts. It’s something that I was playing around with yesterday and made a 20 – 30-minute live video about how you can develop your story. Where do I start with my story or even begin? There are so many things that have happened in my life.

Food for Thought

  • Pick the biggest one
  • What is the biggest struggle that you’ve gone through?
  • What can people really relate to?
  • If you haven’t had a whole lot of struggles in your life, God bless you because that’s great. You know what, Fantastic!
  • Maybe you can talk about someone else’s story.
  • I have a feeling that there’s not a single person on this God’s green Earth who hasn’t been through some sort of trials or tribulations in their life and can’t actually turn that into something that’s useful for their business.
  • Everyone has one.

00:09:38 The J Hunter Story?

Storytelling is easy. Allow me to share another. I was an I.T. Administrator for a school district. I did that for five years. I’m kind of a workaholic, so I went and I actually got recruited by Philips. I was a Project Manager for Philips for four years. In 2013, I was in the top five Project Managers in the country. The following year, I was also in the Top 5 every single month of the first quarter.

I’m an overachiever. I think most entrepreneurs are. They’re just not happy until they just tackle that task. That’s the mentality right? Entrepreneurs are like “Do it! Do it! Do it! Go! Go! Go! Get it done!”

However, in reality, I was really burning myself out. Working 10, 12, 14 or 16 hour days was beginning to make losing my own marriage a quickly approaching reality. I felt like I never spent enough time with my family. I actually moved up to the Portland, Oregon area for that job. It was really a stressful and strenuous job.

My First Encounter with a Virtual Assistant.

I actually came across a virtual assistant and thought the idea was superb. I didn’t even know what a virtual assistant was but it came as a resource for a project manager. We are always looking at people from resource perspectives. It’s something that I realized really quickly that I was able to use to delegate tasks to. Thus making it possible to lead my project management life and delegation.

I was able to carry that over into delegating and working with a virtual team. In the beginning, it sucked. It was so hard to manage a virtual team. I had no idea what I was doing. I looked up to people like Chris Tucker, who owns virtual staff finder. He’s a great guy. I’m actually part of his Youpreneur group. It’s really cool if you guys want to check it out.

There are so many cool resources about outsourcing, but there was really never a solution to the problem that I found. The problem was that if you wanted to have a “real VA”, you had to really hire someone full time, all the time.

What you do find is that a virtual assistant can’t actually do everything for you. However, that depends on what you may want. If you want a web developer, graphic designer, someone to deal with your emails or runs your social media, one person alone may be insufficient. Unfortunately, there’s not one person who knows how to do all that stuff efficiently. So that’s how VA Staffer got started.

The Formation of VA Staffer LLC

What if I created a service that was able to do all of these different things for most online businesses. We all know the things that literally every business has to do.

What would take care of 99.9% of all their needs?

  • Graphic Design
  • Web Design
  • Social Media Management
  • Search Engine Optimization
  • Email Management
  • Calendar Management

These are things that every entrepreneur has to do. Thus it got me thinking, what if I built a team and trained each person for those specific skill sets. My clients were able to leverage them to get the work that they needed doing. However, they didn’t have to hire a full-time person for each one of those roles.

Of course, I lost a lot of money in the beginning. I had to hire people until I had enough clients to suffice to have that many people working for me. I think I had about 12 at the time. Afterward, I landed my big first corporate start-up client DOMO.com.

At the time we had 8 to 12 people working for them all the time doing some really awesome projects on their account development side. That catapulted me miraculously. Moreover, I went from a small team to literally double my team within that one account.

Making the Tough Decisions.

I’ve been through that struggle, developed my story on how to tell the struggle from my overburdened, overdone life. Thus, I managed to find a new avenue of using my project management skills. However, I had my grandfather who was passing away who I never got to spend time with. So, I put in for a transfer at my work, they denied it.

I probably still would be working for Philips because I loved it. Perhaps because I’ve always been very blessed that I loved every job I’ve had. However, on Leap Day, February 29th, 2016 I took the leap from my corporate job (my cushy six figure job) to do my own thing. Then, I moved back to California and packed it up.  My Grandpa was a huge influence on my life. Also, it’s time I knew I would never get back.

My son never even got to see him except for a few holidays we’d fly down. He was 93 years old so he couldn’t come visit us. I wanted my son who was named after my grandpa, Jesse, to have time with him before he passed away.

From I.T. Admin to Project Management – I just love it. I love being stressed out. I know that sounds crazy but I do love being stressed out. So as you can see here guys I’m trying to show you an example of how you can build some storytelling. So this is a totally off the cusp. I’m giving you scenarios.

00:15:45 Storytelling – Where Do You Start?

Now what’s really cool is you can take the story, in the link http://ityurl.com/funnelscripts you can actually download the software and it will ask you questions.

Questions when creating your own story include, What:

  • hurdle(s) have you faced in your life?
  • helped you overcome it/them?
  • were you able to do?

It asks you all these questions and then it blows out a script for you. Hence, it literally creates a script for you for so many things. There’s an origin story, video sales letters, webinar, slides and so many different things. Working with a copywriter can be very expensive.

An inexpensive copywriter that’s really good at what he or she does can cost $100 USD per hour. It could probably be more than that depending on what type of service you need. If you really want to put something of really high quality get a really good marketing person here in America.

However, there are just some things that you shouldn’t outsource. You must have a say on the quality you put out there. Also, your communication with your audience is so important. So you don’t want to outsource that to a non-native English speaker. It’s your voice which is being represented, after all.

You don’t want to outsource relationships. In addition, think about how you could use storytelling in your own business. Additionally, you’d be amazed to note, even my clients who come to VA Staffer and tried other virtual assistant services have great stories to tell.  Even those who haven’t used a VA before and they’re just overwhelmed.

When to Start Outsourcing?

That first “aha” moment when they realize that 90 percent of the things that they do for their business aren’t actually doing a whole lot. Such things are repetitive, not generating new revenue or bringing in new business. Although these things are critical for your business, it’s not critical that you do it.

Imagine if 90 percent of your day is spent doing repetitive things:

  • Lead Generation
  • Spreadsheets
  • Copy/ Paste
  • Online Research
  • Booking a flight

Or whatever it is that is keeping you away from that 10% percent.

For me, my 10 percent is:

  • Content Creation
  • Being creative in general
  • Working with my clients
  • Coaching
  • Putting together packages
  • Product creation

These are the things that I love to do.

I can tell you what I don’t like doing:

  • Recruiting.
  • Inbound Sales Inquiries.

It bothers me. I want to focus on my clients, so I put a process in place for my team to handle all incoming inquiries. Monthly inquiries can range anywhere from 70 to 80.

Working with the VA Staffer Team

It sounds crazy but VA Staffer has gotten to the point where clients are hand selected. These clients evoke my personal passions and utilize the skills of the team effectively. Consequently, if clients are not passionate about their business and do not know how to successfully delegate, they aren’t a good fit for VA Staffer.

Here’s what I do. I try to

  • do a big disclaimer when we do discovery calls or Initial Process Assessments.
  • understand what’s the story
  • be intrigued by somebody
  • feel the passion and motivation

VA Staffer team members are from all over the world. Therefore, they need to be motivated about the work that they’re doing. That’s why I’ve been so successful in my life.

I’ve been to the Philippines seven times. I took my family along on this recent trip and we just got back. While there, we were busy developing relationships, recruiting, restructuring the company and hiring. I mean it was just phenomenal. These are things that I want to spend my time on.

This is a story that literally everybody has:

  • Where did you start?
  • The challenges you faced
  • Why was it challenging?
  • How you overcame them?
  • How it’s applicable to what you do?

You have the solution somewhere in there. Namely, something that you do or sell or a service that you offer is answering a problem for everyone else. Luck has nothing to do with this. Be prepared and plan properly.

The 90-10 Lifestyle

Living the 90 10 Life is not easy if you don’t know how to plan it. You have to put the structure in place to replace yourself in your own business. That is really difficult. You know Tim Ferris, he wrote “The Four Hour Work Week”. Realistically, that’s not possible – that’s a lie.

There’s no such thing. You’re still going to be working. Instead of doing that 40 – 60 hour work week doing the 90 percent of the minutia, you get to spend all your time on that 10 percent. The tasks which are really valuable to your business. How valuable is that? If you know that 10 percent of your business is driving all the revenue, then it is a better use of your time focusing on that 10 percent.

Things you can now focus on:

  • Content production
  • Creation
  • Coaching calls

Furthermore, you can do all sorts of things that you want to do. For example, maybe your goal in life is to have less time working. Perhaps you wish to be healthier and to go to the gym or to go take a vacation. In fact, maybe, you’ve already achieved a personal status where you are comfortable with it.

So anyway that’s a little bit about storytelling. Also, I tried to give you a few examples of my own personal storytelling. Hopefully, that was helpful for you guys. When you’re ready to start working on your 10% and delegating your 90%, don’t hesitate you give us a shout. Start living the 90-10 lifestyle today and start doing the things you actually like to do.

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Jeff J Hunter
Jeff J Hunter
CEO & Social Entrepreneur at VA Staffer

Digital Marketing Strategist with background in Information Technology, Project Management, and Business Process Outsourcing. An expert in content marketing, search engine optimization (SEO), and dependent on Virtual Assistants to survive.