Who Are You?
A simple, three word question that my high school English teacher taught me. A lesson I didn’t think much of at the time, but now that I tell stories for a living, it’s a question I ask myself before starting every story I write.
I’ve worked in the art of professional storytelling for about eight years now. And let me tell you, not all stories are created equal. When I first started, I truly think that I crafted stories out of necessity, especially in college but once I got out of college, I realized I could help business owners tell their stories online. When I first started on this journey, it was local business owners that truly needed help finding their voice to stand out from their competition. I honed my skills, deciphered what made each business special then shared their stories on social media.
This was during a time when social media was still pretty new to brick-and-mortar business owners. Many didn’t have the time to do it themselves or didn’t know how to do it period, therefore hiring me was their best option to get found online. Now, I can tell you exactly where I went wrong in my business, and what worked and didn’t work, but in the end, brick-and-mortar businesses in my town were not my ideal audience and that’s all it came down to.
I got burned out. Exhausted. Undervalued (by myself). But most of all, I hadn’t found where I was supposed to be. I like to consider this time of my life a trial run. I had never run a business before and went to college for communications, so I was learning everything on my own from square one. Fast forward, I tried partnering with other people to make the business model work and it just didn’t. We put in a valiant effort for almost three years and were mostly successful, but when Covid hit, our individual goals changed. So then what?
By the time my second business had dissolved, I was in year two of working for Cowboy Lifestyle Network. The story of how I got into this role is for another time, but this was the opportunity that really opened my eyes to what was possible. I came on board to be a jack of all trades and help with a variety of marketing tasks and social media. What actually ended up happening is that I found my calling.
That also didn’t happen right away though. For the first couple of years, I write stories on rodeos and trending western topics, I implemented processes to improve content output, and I grew our author team from just a couple of authors to between five and six at any given time. It wasn’t until I started finding topics and interviews that really lit me up, that I found my own voice. Who I was as a Western Storyteller. I vividly remember doing an interview with 8x World Champion Bareback Rider, Kaycee Feild, and thinking it would just be another interview, but it wasn’t. It was the interview that started to put me on the map.
Then, suddenly, it wasn’t just a job anymore, it was art. How could I make each one better than the one before? How can I create a storyline that sucks my audience in until the very last word? How can I tell someone else’s story in a way that makes them proud and tells the story of Who They Are?
That’s how each one of my stories starts. I ask myself, “Who Are You” but in the eyes and voice of who I’m writing about. I’m looking forward to sharing more about this journey and where it will take me next. Stay tuned because I have lots of fun things in store. In the meantime, what do you want to know about storytelling or being found online? Let me know below or in a direct message, my inbox is open!