Overcoming the Fear of Disqualifying Yourself

Erica Wiley


by Erica Wiley

It’s often a surprise how challenging  it is to write your about page or author bio, isn’t it? After all, it’s definitely material you know. How hard can it be to share some information about yourself?

And yet, the about page is often the last piece of content a client submits when we’re doing a new website. It’s when a speaker might start to flutter in their presentation. It’s why so many entrepreneurs create bios listing degrees, certifications etc., mistakenly thinking logical and rational information is the safe way to go because it’s relevant and  clients should appreciate credentials.

But this approach is dead wrong.

Earlier this year Dr. Peter Noel Murray published an article in Psychology Today where he cited that consumers perceive the same personality traits in brands as they do people and  that the foundation for a brand’s emotions is in it’s story.

In layman’s terms, your ideal client personifies your company and your competitors, ultimately choosing who they resonate most with.

Recall the last really good conversation you had. The one that went longer than expected, but you were leaning on the edge of your seat or reaching for the Kleenex. How did you feel? Whatever it was, you felt connected. Even if you didn’t have the same experience or story, the message or belief was shared.

Now that is precisely what you need to bring to your business story. But first we have to name the fear that has been holding you back.

Are you afraid your story will be rejected as not relevant or important? Maybe you’re like I used to be, fearful that you will be disqualified because of your story.

I believed I had 2 big red marks against me: My age ( I was 22 when I started my business) and that I dropped out of both high school and college.

Every professional event I attended (even as the speaker) someone would say that I looked 16, ask my age and instantly proclaim I was just a baby–I’m sure a sweetly intended remark. Then after hearing about the missing school and having children they seemed ready to call Oxygen to pitch my story for a TV drama. Sure I got positive comments on my presentations, even great sales, but I spent the first years feeling more like a freak show than a success.

In 2011 during a coaching session with my friend, copywriter Matthew Goldfarb, he told me to just go for it and say it. Instead of worrying about when the question would come up, proclaim it on my own.

So in a big headline on my about page I wrote that instead of a career I wanted to be happy. I went on to share that I dropped out of school and why. I said how old I was and how just darn happy I was about how all of this is going for me and my family.

Oh the liberation! And not 1 person has ever contacted me to say they won’t work with me because of how appalled they are.

But nearly every person who calls up after finding our site does say  “I read your story…”

Emotions not only connect people to us and our businesses, but they push people to action. Story-telling builds rapport and cultivates trust, helping our target market to connect to our values and identify our common ground. But the very real ROI for being vulnerable is that it inspires action. It allows that website visitor, formerly a stranger, to feel a kinship with you and to truly belief that YOU, over all other choices, are the one who can help them.

Today I want to challenge you to overcome the fear by sharing your true story. If for nothing else,  to show your ideal clients, those you’re meant to serve, that you know where they are and that your story uniquely equips you to help them get to where they want to be.


Read more from Erica on She Owns It here.



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