Mar 6, 2017
Psst! This post has a killer freebie at the bottom, so you can write your own “About Me!”
Our answers and stellar discussion in this little online hangout reminded me about the importance of your “About Me”. Sometimes, this comes in the form of a page on your website or an introduction at a networking conference. It also comes in the form of answering the following question when you’re at a dinner party when someone inevitably asks…
“So what do YOU do?”
It’s a nerve-wracking question, especially when you aren’t prepared with (or comfortable with) an answer. Before I knew these little secrets I’m about to divulge, that question always caught me off-guard. So much so, that my excuse for an answer was closer to the sound of sweeping crumbs under the carpet than an actual, engaging answer.
So, if you’re an introvert like me or if you’ve found yourself guffawing while trying to answer the “So what do you do?” question, then read on! Because knowing how to answer this question is the difference between doing OK in business and doing so well that you need to hire multiple assistants.
Whenever faced with a moment of bravery, I always encourage my music students AND my marketing students to start with the context and constraints. So in this case, let’s start with the context: the person asking the question.
Someone asking “So what do you do?” or getting ready to click on your “About Me” link on your beautiful website is doing so selfishly. They don’t want to know your familial history, or when you lost your virginity, or what you had for lunch. Sometimes they don’t even care that you have a doctorate, much less from where that doctorate came from. They’re asking the question because they need to know: “Which box should I put you in?” (For us artists, that’s terrible news — we hate to be put in boxes. But hey, it happens. That’s the reality of most situations.)
Regardless of their real reason for asking the question, you can respond in a way that helps them put you in the right box (or boxes.) So yes, you could respond with a short “I teach guitar lessons.” But it’s important that you communicate what your precise niche is, especially if you want to fit into multiple boxes or get more students or gigs.
What you’ll find below is a primer on how to expound upon those points.
There are thousands and thousands of nutrition coaches, guitar teachers, cello teachers, tennis instructors, and business consultants out there, which makes it all the more important to answer this brutal question: “What gives you the right to do that?”
In other words, what makes you so special, so perfect, so ideal for your clients? Your answer should make it super easy for someone who qualifies as your client or student to say “Yes! That’s me! Sign me up! When can I start?” or at least “Hmm… That sounds like my cousin Betty. She should talk to you!”
Regardless of your industry, profession or niche, here’s what I mean, I’ll use myself as a guinea pig…
I teach bashful, awkward, or tired creative entrepreneurs who’ve been trying to “put themselves out there” for a while, but something isn’t quite clicking. They either feel really out of place and awkward while trying to get the exposure their business deserves, or they feel like the task of being “out there” is like climbing up a never-ending 60% grade hill. They don’t want to just outsource their exposure because they know that will dilute their message. They know the only thing holding their business back is their lack of bravery. So, they take “Applied Bravery Lessons” to learn from my own expertise, education and research.
Here’s another example, using myself as a guinea pig again…
I teach adults (and sometimes kids) who’ve always dreamed about playing the cello and who want to build holistic life skills, while assisting in their own personal self-development as a thoughtful, engaged citizen. I teach both online and in-person. Most of my students are with me for years and years, whether they take an occasional pick-me-up lesson or weekly slot.
Cello teacher > who teaches adults > an instrument they’ve always wanted to play > via holistic life skills > to bolster personal development > for a better world > done via online or in-person > for students who are in it for the long haul.
Marketing consultant > for creative entrepreneurs > who feel out of place, awkward or tired > still wanting to find the right kind of exposure > without outsourcing their marketing > who don’t want to dilute their message > wanting to be brave on their own > so they take “Applied Bravery Lessons.
The goal of this kind of narrowing or niche-ing is to not simply clarify for yourself who you serve. The goal of this narrowing is to make it super easy for someone who qualifies as your client or student to say “Yes! That’s me! Sign me up! When can I start?”
Even if these questions might not seem like they apply to your situation, it’s still really valuable to consider the answers, even if you don’t use them in your final “About Me.”
It’s like a game of madlibs and the answers will get emailed to you directly so you can use it for whatever you need: website, etc.
Whichever way you go about crafting your own “About Me,” leave it in the comments below! I’d love to read it!
Once you’ve got an “About Me” that isn’t really about you, you’ll have your awesome clientele and student-base identified before you can say “I have an opening in my calendar.”
Emily Ann Peterson is a teaching artist who spent 17 years with her cello. It was her second voice until she was diagnosed with a degenerative neurological hand tremor. Refusing to resign to fate and genetics, she expanded her skills to include the piano and solo songwriting. This act of neurological defiance broke through her creative glass ceiling and then swept her up in the expansive limits.
Her podcast, Bare Naked Bravery, features conversations with everyday heroes about the quiet successes and loud failures required to do the brave things for which we know and love them.
Peterson’s mission is inspire a global resonance and magnanimous community through the marriage of art and whole-person development.
Her music is available everywhere music is sold online and at www.emilyannpeterson.com