Image credit: ‘just be you’ print by Amanda Helmer
a super special guest post by Alexandra Franzen
“So, what do you do?”
For multi-passionate, multi-talented, multi-faceted creatives, it’s The Most Dreaded Question of All.
“What do I do? Where do I start?!”
The truth is, synthesizing the fullness of your Being into a snappy 10-second introduction isn’t easy. But it doesn’t need to be agonizing, either. And crafting your personal introduction can be a powerful exercise in self-awareness & self-expression.
I’m going to break down the 4 elements of your personal introduction, worksheet-style — but first, a quick story.
I had a client who was a yoga teacher, an Interfaith Minister, a writer, a former Art Therapist (with a Masters degree & everything), and (wait for it) she also spoke to angels on the regular, and performed healing home & business blessing ceremonies.
Not exactly your standard-issue job title. And not surprisingly, she was struggling to wrap it all together in a neat little package.
So I asked her, “What’s the deep-level desire, that drives ALL of your work? What’s the essence? What are you trying to accomplish, with evvverything that you do?”
She answered, faster than the fluttering of an angel’s wings, “I just want to add to the Love in the world.”
The moral of the story is: sometimes, it’s not your official job title, but what you’re trying to add to the world that says it all.
With that thought tucked into our huts (hearts + guts), let’s break down your personal introduction into 4 easy pieces.
We’ll use my introduction as an example:
I’m a writer. I work with quirky, eccentric entrepreneurs & artists, and I channel their stories into business & marketing language. But really, I’m on a quest to inspire wild & fearless self-expression, by helping people remember who they are.
So tell me, what are you freakishly good at?
+ YOUR TITLE
I’m a writer.
My two cents? If you’re chatting with someone in the ‘real world’ (the world with sunshine & bumblebees, not the world of digital screens), keep your job title SIMPLE.
I might call myself a Promotional Wordsmith & Personal Scribe on my website, but offline? I’m a writer.
If you’ve got a hybrid career, you can give yourself a two- or three-pronged title. Like: I’m a jeweler, a style blogger, and a glassblowing instructor.
But restrain yourself to two or three titles, max. You don’t want to overwhelm your fair listener with a tsunami of ideas. And you’ll have a chance to elaborate, soon enough.
+ WHO YOU SERVE & WHAT YOU DO FOR THEM
I work with quirky, eccentric entrepreneurs & artists, and I channel their stories into business & marketing language.
After you’ve announced your title, touch upon who (specifically) you serve, and what (precisely) you do for them. This might take a little finessing. Bonus points for keeping it under two sentences.
+ THE BIG WHY (OR: WHAT IT’S ALL ABOUT)
But really, I’m on a quest to inspire wild & fearless self-expression, by helping people remember who they are.
This is the Big One. The piece of your personal introduction that illuminates your mission, your driving motivation, what you’re trying to add to the world. You can segue into this piece with a lil’ transitional phrase, like I did.
But really . . .
For me, it’s all about . . .
If I had to simmer it down to the essence . . .
The heart of my work is . . .
What I’m trying to add to the world is . . .
+ THE PROMPT
So tell me, what are you freakishly good at?
It’s always super-fly to wrap up your personal introduction with a provocative question. Something that flips the energy & attention back to the person you’re talking to.
By asking a question, you’re sparking a conversation — instead of making this moment a one-sided performance. Plus, you might learn a fascinating secret about the person you’re talking to. Secrets are the bessst.
AND THAT’S IT!
Not too painful, right?
I’d love to see ALL of y’all take a stab at crafting your new & improved personal introduction, using the 4 elements we’ve just rolled through. Throw ‘em in the comments, and let’s turn this into a digital slumber party of self-revelation.
Can’t wait to meet you. The real you.
As a Promotional Wordsmith & Personal Scribe, ALEXANDRA FRANZEN helps bestselling authors, elite coaches, wellness warriors & spiritual leaders find their voices, claim their online territory, and channel their skills into products, services — and entirely new businesses. She also writes poetry of questionable quality, muddles around with steampunk Tarot cards, makes bundles of scripts for creative entrepreneurs, and sells them on her website. Hint, hint.
Find her at AlexandraFranzen.com & on Twitter at @Alex_Franzen.
I love this post, and the prompt at the end. I can’t beleive how quickly I was able to write this intro:
I’m a crocheter and happiness blogger. I work with stylish mothers [and their families] to create custom accessories for their babies and a sweet something for themselves. But really, I believe that happiness is handmade and that I can give happiness and experience some happiness of my own one hat, scarf, and bootie at a time.
I love your introduction Kasey & that you jumped right into Alex’s goodness!
I really enjoyed this exercise! Thanks!
I’m an artist. I create unique and handmade prints, drawings, books and other handmade objects for art, culture and travel lovers. But really, I want to remind others that each and every one of us has an interesting story to tell, one of strength, beauty and perseverance. What story are you telling?
Great post! Thanks for sharing your tips and stories
Alex to the rescue. Always!
I recently did the decorations at an engagement party of a friend and encountered this question quite a bit, now next time I will have my polished answer at the ready 🙂 thanks so much!
I am a crafter. I create all sorts of things from clothing to art to home decor but my real passion is the art of celebration. I believe that the small stuff is worth celebrating as much as the big and I want to help others to do the same 🙂
Fun exercise – I loved reading everyone’s introductions! Here’s mine:
I am an artist. I create wildly colorful and whimsical mixed media art for children, and women (who are kids at heart), and love to dream. For me, it’s all about making life more beautiful for others – by creating a moment of joy, or hope. It’s my way of making a difference in this world. What does the kid in you dream of?
I love it 🙂 Its really cool reading how everyone is describing themselves. Well, my turn 🙂
I am an artist. I create bright , colorful original art, illustrations, surface patterns inspired by nature . Through my art, I want to encourage people to appreciate little things in life and admire the beauty of nature . Did I mention I am addicted to color ?
Fun! Thanks so much for this Alexandra 🙂
I’m a creativity and simplicity coach. I coach mamas of small children through feelings of overwhelm and support them to nourish themselves by tending to their creative needs. The heart of my work is my belief that by leading a more simple and creative life more abundance, health and resilience will flow for generations to come. So, what do you do to nourish your creative side?
I. LOVE. ALL. OF. THESE.
Wow! LOVE this! Was I your client?! LOL! That’s SO me – the Reiki teaching, Art Therapist, Dog walking, clever coach and photographer! 🙂
Fact is, I “struggle” with “title” too – wen through 5 orders of business cards, only to find that my “niche” is all over and clients are from all over – for different services – and that’ OK! 🙂 thanks for the post and the inspiration! blessings!
Great post, please let me know what you think!
I am an interior designer and a seamstress. I work with men and women who care about the environment and want a very specific product for their home. I create that product for them and ship it to their door. My main focus is to provide really good quality, using organic and natural fabrics, at a price that the average person can afford.
These. Are. Awesome! What a great exercise! Can’t wait to put my thinking cap on!
Wow, this was a timely blog. I recently decided I needed to embrace my essence as a creative explorer with a my desire to inspire. 30 years of trying to wear one hat but it never fit for very long. When I look closer I realize the core that drives my creativity is research, experimentation, and design. OMG I finally get it. I’m the master of the start-up! lol
This is fantastic! Such a great breakdown and something I feel confident that I could do! Thank you so much!
Giving it a whirl:
I’m an artist, mother, and dreamer. I create magically bright and colorful children’s art for babies, kids, and their fun loving families that want joy filled homes. But really I am on mission to bring families closer together by providing a means to make their homes a haven of joy, hope, and love.
All these are so wonderful!!!! Thank you for sharing your personal introductions with us, keep them coming!
Drats, I forgot my question at the end! How about, “What brought you joy today?”
Ah! I love this! (and you, dear Alex!)
I’m a writer and tiny-biz guide. I provide marketing guidance to handmakers. But really, I just want to make it as easy and unscary for women to share their handmade goods (and themselves!) with the world.
What I never do feel comfortable sticking in there (when it’s real-life, face-to-face questions) is: Oh yeah, and I wrote a book about it. It’s the heart of what I do, all spelled out…but it’s hard to toss it in there!
Amazing article!!! Really made me think and re-think “who I am”. Scary good! Thank you, thank you, thank you!
AWESOME article! And I have so loved everyone’s introductions. Here goes with mine…
I am a knitwear designer, who specialises in whimsical fiber jewellery and accessories for women who love colour and pattern. But mainly, I take the vibrant world from my daydreams and endeavour to bring it’s beauty into the world around me.
Oh Alex…I love thee’s prose (i.e. you rock!)
I am a Happiness Instigator and Creative Coun- SOUl-er.
Helping people witness their choicest existence reveal itself, using nothing but creativity, happiness and love.
In truth I know everyone has their special, shiny SOUL-purpose and I want to help the world reside in their happiness and love the life they create.
I LOVE this post. I love this line: “But really, I’m on a quest to inspire wild & fearless self-expression, by helping people remember who they are.” Just reading that line helped me feel like I was standing in a new place. Remembering more of who I am.
It is so much fun to read people’s introductions. Oozes with life and vitality!
Me? I offer products and practices that celebrate ourselves, the people we love, and the shape of our lives — even when none of it looks the way we had imagined.
Alex, this is genius! GE-NI-US!!! Here’s mine:
I’m a professional Priestess. I support people – especially LGBTQ people – to connect deeply with Life, listen to the wisdom the Universe is whispering to them, and build a strong spiritual foundation, with or without religion.
I do those things through spiritual coaching, oracle reading, designing heart-centred ceremonies and creating magical body products.
At the heart of it all, my mission is to help as many folk as possible to light themselves up, because when we light ourselves up, we light up the world.
Has anything lit you up today?
I am a graphic designer. I work with creative people to design their content and develop their promotional identities. Really, I love assimilating everything about a project’s needs and distilling it until every detail clicks into place. Let’s talk about your audience.
Alex, thank you for sharing this. It made me get down to the purpose of what I’m doing. So here it is: I’m a patternmaker and seamstress. I specialize in teaching women how to make their clothes fit their curves, the clothes they create and those they purchase. The heart of my work is empowering full-figured women to be confident in their own skin regardless of their size and to love the person staring back at them in the mirror. Who do you see when you look in the mirror?
Thanks so much for sharing this, it took a lot of thinking and cutting down but here is mine for now –
I’m an Artist, Party Designer & Country Bumpkin! I bring a sense of nostalgia and comfort to children and all those young at heart through my Illustrations, Embroidery Patterns & Collectors Bears.
I get such a thrill from drawing & sewing original designs that will delight and be part of precious life long memories from Baby Showers to Birthday Parties. So tell me, which Parties do you still fondly remember from your childhood?
This was a wonderfully helpful and inspiring post! What a terrific way of breaking down how to go about describing yourself and your business! I had a go at it and here is what I came up with:
I’m a creator and wanderer of dreams. I craft accessories for those who crave the opportunity to add whimsy, adventure, and romance to the ordinary moments of life. Really, I just want a chance to share in your story and have you share in mine. So, take my hand…where should we go first?
Thank you so much for posting this!
What an awesome way to break down the old elevator pitch!!
I’m a jeweller, blogger and zine-publisher. I help women to feel classy and creative! My mission is to inspire people to embrace their creativity, and to follow their passions to live differently.
Holy crap, you’re good! A task I’ve been coming back to for maybe over a year, and repeatedly failing at, I’ve just done and done well in under 5 mins! Voila:
“I’m a painter. I create more opportunities for people to keep their heads in the clouds. But really, I just want to add to the beauty in the world.”
I’m girl crushing hard right now. Although the question remains — can I say it out loud to someone’s face?
I’m a mother of two (4yrs & 4 months) and a therapist. I use Reflexology to serve other parents to help reduce the overwhelm and to help them feel nurtured, centered and deeply relaxed. I love doing treatments as its important to care for our carers and give them a ‘time out’ where they can feel fabuous and experiance all the benefts of deep relaxation. What do you love to do? x Kate in the UK x
This post is so awesome!
I’m Millie, and I’m a conservationist and blogger. I currently work for [name of charity] as a [job title]. Through both work and my blog, I’m on a mission to save the world and spread enthusiasm for the simple life!
— I guess I have it easier than a lot of your readers as I have a “conventional” office job alongside my fun Internet life!
Hi! I’m visiting from Gerri Smalley’s blog and both of you have been instrumental in nailing down “what I’m about.” In a nutshell, I’m a writer and an encourager. (The rest is still up for debate.) 🙂 Thanks for your 4-element plan… it really helped narrow down those bajillion options!
This is a wonderful post! This is great for those jewelry designers out there who are still establishing themselves with who they are and what they are really passionate about. Thanks for this new learning!
Alexandra, you are so awesome…love love this!
I know this is an old post but I’ve just stumbled upon it.
I’m blown away – this is something I’ve been toying with for a year or so and in one hour I’ve done it!
Inspirational stuff <3
I thought this would be so much harder than it actually is! Amazing. And I loved reading through everyone’s introductions! <3
This is going on my blog 😀
I'm a Tarot reader & instructor. I work with (mostly, so far) women who have big questions about life, love, & work, and I use Tarot cards to help clarify their options and make decisions. But the heart of my work is helping people see that the controls of their life are in their hands and they already know all the answers to their questions.
I’m a consultant. I work with passionate, driven entrepreneurs + authors + creators to help them master their message and ignite their brands through video and media. I believe we all have wisdom to share that’s incredibly valuable and 100% unique. I’m on a mission to help people create the change they want to see in the world with the power of their voices. So, what mark are you dying to leave on the world?
IT´S LOVELY TO FIND THE REAL ESSENCE OF WHAT PEOPLE REALY ARE INSTEAD OFF.YOU KNOW….I´m still trying to get the right words to say what i am and so on..
Im still stablishing who i ´m really are and what i´m passionate for..it doesn´t really sound quite true to me when i speak out my mind, but only when i get through the reading of yours my mission is to create a supportive world where everybody get a conciousness of a a true existence like iam you and you are me,what makes the diference is the most beautiful thing, and i do this throug teaching english, speaking with people anywhere, singing, dancing, painting,cleaning, talking with friends or listening to the wind. hahaha but i have to perfectionate it still abit, caz what i love more is making people laugh and forgeting their pains..
I’m a writer. I host a weekly podcast (craftlit.com) about literature for people like crafters whose hands are too busy to pick up a book (and a parallel show for non-crafty types at just-the-books.com). My love of literature has carried over into my design work where I design for and edit books of knitting patterns inspired by characters from classic literature (wwmdfk.com). For me it’s all about crafting a good life for me and the people I care about.
So tell me, how do you craft your life…?
Love this. Here’s my new intro (and can’t wait to use it!).
I’m a writer and editor. I work with ‘ideas people’ who can’t find the right words, and I don’t stop ’til the copy pops and suddenly they’re smiling: “Yeah, that’s what I mean!” I love working with words, and I feel fantastic helping people say what they mean. What do you love doing?
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