Being the One-and-Only You.

When I wrote about creating a personal ad in place of a bio this is exactly what I was getting at – being the one-and-only you helps you stand out in a sea of competitors.  Then I ran across


(via @jer979) Andy’s post over at GasPedal  titled Tell Me Your Story. 


Andy’s post reinforced that it is our personal stories that make us stand out and help our contacts remember us.   I think it’s also refreshing to take the time to reflect on why we do what we do – what is it that makes us passionate?


Here is my challenge for you: write an interesting personal story about why you do what you do and how it makes you different.  Here are a couple of steps to help get you started (using my own example):


1. Brainstorm (aka – free form write on a blank sheet or white board) what’s interesting about you?  Don’t question what you’re writing just capture everything that pops into your head.

 What is interesting about me?


2. Organize the words into three categories:

  1. Why I’m passionate about my work
  2. Fun stuff unrelated to work

  3. Other

Organize Your Thoughts

3. Answer the following:

  1. Who am I?  Literally – who are you? What makes you qualified to do the work you do? My name is Angie and I have a degree in Business & Marketing and 10+ years of experience.  
  2. What problem do I solve? If you don’t know (and many people don’t) ask your customers.  This is the difference between “I do marketing” and “I help small businesses grow through better communication with their customers and prospects.”
  3. Why do I do what I do? (use the words from your brainstorm) “I think small businesses are critical to our success as a society, a country, and an economy; I’m passionate about helping them succeed.”
  4. How I am different?  This is a combination of what your customers tell you and the story of your passion. Think about how you’ve arrived at where you are today and what applies to why you do what you do.

Put it together:

My name is Angie and I have a degree in Business & Marketing and 10+ years of experience.  I help small businesses grow through better communication with their customers and prospects.  I think small businesses are critical to our success as a society, a country, and an economy;  I’m passionate about helping them succeed. 


I started my career in a small, family run barcoding business.  I handled everything from our CRM implementation and sales lead reporting, to our manufacturer co-op programs and placing ads in trade journals and even the phone book.  After a year, I was questioning whether technology marketing was the right thing for me (those of you who think I’m a geek might be surprised at this!)  But as it turns out I think I was just getting bored.  When we opened up a position for a product manager on a new suite of Wireless LAN software tools – I raised my hand, got turned down twice, and finally convinced the family to let me have it.  I’ve been hooked on tech ever since getting my head around the possibilities it represents. 

I was also hooked on small business – every little thing I did actually made an impact to the business and I had great insight into the big picture and knew how my actions would direct the future of the company. What I learned in my first career job was that in a small business we all have a ton on our plate and marketing has to be practical and realistic to be successful.  Having worked with companies large and small, my clients appreciate that I’m practical and programmatic, but I don’t settle for the status quo and I’m always looking for creative ways to make things better.

4. Add in some of the fun things about you outside of work:

  • I am a Commissioner for the Seattle Center – Seattle’s 74-acre urban park providing amazing free and low cost public programming (including 22 cultural festivals) and home to Pacific Northwest Ballet, Seattle Opera, Seattle Repertory Theatre, Seattle International Film Festival, the Space Needle, Pacific Science Center, Key Arena, Children’s Theatre and Museum and so much more.  I’m quite proud to be serving the Mayor and City Council as we shape the future of this awesome place.
  • I’m learning Italian – I love the culture and the language is beautiful (not when I’m speaking it, but I’ll get there eventually).
  • I love to garden in sunny weather and snowboard in soft, fluffy powder (to cushion my falls).
  • Cooking and eating might be one of my favorite pastimes.
  • I don’t have a microwave – our last one broke and when we took it out we liked the space so much we never replaced it!  

  • We don’t have cable TV – I still manage to watch plenty of the ol’ Tube, but have fallen in love with public programming (we’re blessed with an amazing group here in the Northwest).

What do you think?  I love candid feedback so please don’t hold back!


This is a really important step in the development of your personal brand and worth spending the time and energy to get it to a point where you’re really happy.  While you may not be looking for a job, this applies if you’re looking for clients too!  Check out the May issue of Personal Branding Magazine to hear tips from some top online brands (that’s right – they’re people, not products!) like Anita Campbell @SmallBizTrends and Toby Bloomberg @TobyDiva.



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