by Renee Pedro | Featured Contributor
After reading The New York Times Obituaries,( not something I do regularly) I was inspired. In honor of Women’s History Month, the paper embarked on a series called “Overlooked“.
It tells the stories of 15 accomplished and remarkable women. These women were overlooked by the paper’s obituary page at the time of their deaths. The paper admits that since 1851, only 1 in 5 of their obituaries is of a woman. Of the 15 women in the New York Times, I had only heard of four. How different could the world be if the stories of female trailblazers, were more well known? We’ll never know how many more women could have found inspiration in those stories, or what they might have accomplished. Many of our foremothers have made extraordinary contributions to society. Unfortunately, most of their stories remain untold.
Will your story be untold? Well, that’s up to you. I know it’s not always easy to talk about yourself and your accomplishments. I struggle with this too. Women don’t brag or self-promote because it’s not ladylike. Women are less likely to ask for a raise, ask for a promotion or seek a business loan. This ingrained nonsense is holding us back. Can we get over it already?
If you’re not tooting your horn, who is? Tooting your own horn doesn’t have to be obnoxious or bragadocious. It can be as simple as telling your story. Telling your story is great for your business, but the more important reason to tell your story is you might inspire someone.
There is no blueprint for what or who is inspirational. I find inspiration in the stories from the New York Times. But I am also inspired by a story of a woman, who recreated her life after years of addiction and homelessness. Inspiration is everywhere.
In 9th grade, a man who had grown up in my neighborhood spoke to my class about being a stockbroker on Wall Street. I didn’t even know what a stockbroker was, but it inspired me. Two years ago when a friend asked me to speak to her jr. high school students about being an entrepreneur, that story from 9th grade made me say yes. You never know who you can touch with your story. Or what it will lead to in their lives.
How can your story help in your business? Telling your story is a way to connect with potential customers. People can always buy from a faceless business. Or they can buy from someone they feel a connection with. You. In business, it’s imperative that potential customers trust you. It’s your responsibility to build that trust. What better way for them to trust you, than by getting to know a little about you.
Running an online business means I don’t get to meet everyone who visits my store, but I still tell them my story. This is rewarding in more ways than one.
Not every day, but every once in awhile I get an email from someone who connected with my story. Most times they become a customer, but sometimes they don’t. I have a folder of all those emails. They range from, “I love your story and I can’t wait for my order to arrive.” to, “I can’t afford to buy anything from you, but I want you to know your story inspired me.”
Some days those messages are just what I needed. Somedays they are even better than a sale.
I never thought my story was inspirational, but I was wrong.
Everyone has a story and you never know how your story can affect someone else’s life. So share it!
Here’s a chance to toot your own horn!
I would love you to share a little of your story in the comments below. #tootyourownhorn
I’m Renee Pedro, Owner /Creative Director of Crash Pad Designs a made in America modern home textiles company in Philadelphia, PA.
I am a self taught textile designer and entrepreneur.
It all started because of a vintage stove, I had been house hunting for a year and had seen over 100 houses. I was worried I’d never find my perfect house. At that time, I worked nights and slept until noon except on Wednesdays. Wednesdays my friend who was my realtor, picked me up at 9am, before we spoke a word to each other I had to have a sip of the 16 oz black coffee she bought for me. One Wednesday morning we entered a house through the kitchen door. First thing I saw was a beautiful yellow & white 1963 Philco electric stove. Because of that stove I bought that house, and started my business. I didn’t know anything about designing fabric, starting a business, or running a business. The one thing I knew was, “I could figure it out”, and I did. Seven years later , I still say to myself at least 4 times a day, “I’ll figure it out”and I usually do.
See a picture of my stove at https://crashpaddesigns.com.