Storytelling 101: 10 Interview Questions to Get You Started

by Jessika Hepburn, Editor

We’ve been talking a lot about stories-sharing our own and asking others to join in. But what if you have no idea where to begin or are having trouble getting started? I’ve been getting a bunch of feedback about how hard it is to share your story and I know from personal experience it can be a scary thing. Zoe suggested having a list of interview questions at a recent #omhg chat and it stuck in my head. So I’ve come up with 10 questions to ask yourself or have someone else ask you. Use it as a guideline for your bio, a way to look inside and share your journey, or connect with a friend and have them interview you. Sometimes being interviewed can help you open up and start telling your own story.

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1.    Where did your creative spark begin-can you trace the path/timeline that got you to where you are today?

Looking back and finding the roots of your creativity/entrepreneurship can help you see the path you have taken & how it connects with your current passions. Sometimes things that don’t seem related really are once you start looking at them in the right way. Your masters in Literature, awful job, love for fabric etc. influenced the path you are on right now, just connect the dots.

2.    What inspires your creativity?

This is such an open ended question, anything from blogs/magazines to walking on the beach counts. Your creative space, a certain color, 4am in the morning, your children….this is what makes your creative process unique. Images, links, palettes-make use of them,  you don’t just have to tell your story in words. This is my favourite bio of all time.

3.    Where do you live & how does it influence you?

Maybe this looks like a boring question but I think it is super interesting & can go so many places if you are creative. What is your community/home/family/town/city like? Do you shop at a local market or boutique, love the path behind your house, have a gorgeous garden or an interesting neighbourhood? Tell people-you would be amazed at how many stories are waiting right in your own backyard.

4.    How have you grown your business from an idea to where it is now?

People are interested in the journey not just the destination. They want to follow your path and see how you have built your business from the ground up. This is the real meat of your story! Every success story began somewhere so get started telling yours now. It doesn’t have to be perfect or finished-it just has to be real.

5.    What do you create with & why?

Tools & materials are more interesting then they get the credit for-I am always fascinated by how makers transform raw materials, a blank page or screen into something incredible. If you move pixels around cool! If you shear sheep & dye the wool, let us know! Photographing your materials in beautiful ways is also a great addition to bios/websites & even product listings + can help inspire your own process.

6.    Do you keep a journal or sketchbook? Can you show me your workspace or a part of your process?

Just like the above question, people want to see inside your life & connect with you. Where you work & part of the behind the scenes process is a powerful way to share your story visually. Even just a jar of pencils photographed the right way can make a statement about your work.

7.    What did you overcome to be here now?

We all overcome somehow, no matter how “boring” you think your story is (I don’t think there are any boring stories just ones that aren’t told with heart). Maybe you had to overcome loss or difficulties, lay-offs & unpredicted babies or maybe you needed to push past shyness or lack of self confidence or a job you didn’t love. You don’t have to share these stories/vulnerability all at once you can include little pieces in posts/descriptions/interviews to help your network connect with you more over time.

8.    What have you learned so far about business/creativity that you can share with others?

The most powerful part of storytelling is the ability to share lessons and make the road a bit easier for others. It doesn’t have to be anything big, maybe you learned to relist on Etsy more often, rewrite your content, take different pictures.  Did you redo your branding, change your marketing, collaborate on a project or launch a new product? This is all fuel for storytelling,  there are lessons in all of those things and an opportunity to share your knowledge.

9.    Where are you headed?

What does the future hold for you? Do you have big plans, a new project, a feature in the works or connections you are building? Show off! Give people a look into what you are doing & pique their curiosity, make them want to come back and visit your rising star!

10.    How can people connect with you?

Sharing your blog & your links + maybe a few highlights of your favourite posts or telling the world you have a love of Twitter is a great way to show that you are interested in building a relationship with people outside of your interview. Same goes if you are using this for a bio-make sure you keep it easy to find you and show you are willing to take the story off the page.

I hope this is helpful for anyone trying to tell their story. If you want to find a partner to interview you, come visit our Twitter chat this Thursday from 1-2EST or leave a message in the comments- I am sure you can find someone to pair up with. If you do end up posting your interviews or doing features on each other please tell me! It would make my week to know the community here is connecting and learning more about each other.

Grab the printable version of the interview questions right here, then go on out there and let your story SHINE!

Have any questions to add? Leave them in the comments, I would love to know what questions you are interested in answering & reading!


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