Remember when you first got that idea for your business? It felt so exciting. The possibilities were endless. You had butterflies. It's all you could think about. It even kept you awake at night. In fact it felt very similar to the start of a new romantic relationship where you are almost giddy with the excitement of it all.
But over time, that initial passion can ease off as the reality of running your business starts to hit home, much the same way the realities of a relationship start to crop up. In a relationship, it's the way your partner chews their food, leaves their dirty coffee mugs lying around and always forgets to put the toilet seat down that takes the shine off that first flush of love. Running a business is no different. The dull admin, the clients who are no longer inspiring you, the relentless marketing that never seems to generate results.....slowly that passion you had for it can get ground down.
Much like relationships, as business owners we change. We outgrow what we were originally offering or there is a shift in who we want to work with. But often we don't recognise it. We just don't feel right. Things aren't aligned. You can soldier on feeling unfulfilled, break up with your business or you can work on it to fix it.
That's where I want to help. I offer a clarity service where we talk through where your business is now and where you want to take it. It could be the type of clients you want to work with or the services you're offering. Perhaps your web copy and images just don't reflect who you are any more. You could be casting around for a purpose or vision, something to make you feel that passion again that you used to have. Whatever your issue is, we get super clear in a one off clarity session. And if you need fresh words and images for your site, I do that for you too.
As a special Valentine's Day gift to you, I am offering 20% off my Clarity, Copy and Copy & Canvas packages if you book them before 16 February 2017. All you need to do to book is email me and tell me which package you want. We will schedule a session (to take place during March) and I will ask you to complete my Campfire Clarity Workbook to get your creative juices flowing. Payment will only be taken in March. If you go on to book a second package within March, you will get the 20% discount for that too.
So stop feeling as though your business is a relationship you want to get out of. Reignite the passion and those first flickers of excitement you felt. Let me help you create a business that makes you leap out of bed in the morning. You will be so glad you did. Here's what some previous clients I've helped have said:
I contacted Melissa about creating the copy for my website, little did I know that my experience with her would not only completely change my mindset about what my website “should” be like but she was able to also clearly articulate my unique service offering. With one conversation, she created copy and set the tone for my brand in a way that represented me a way that I never could have gotten to by myself. When she delivered her first draft, I literally sat in my car with tears of joy – she was able to articulate my value in a way that I’ve never been able to do in as succinct a manner." Carolyn Delayney
O M G!!! I've just had an initial read through while I'm sitting at the hairdresser and it is looking and sounding AMAZING! You are so talented - taken my garbled messages and woven your magic to make them sound wonderful. I almost cried when I was reading through it - it is really reflecting what my business and I are about. Thank you. " Catherine Bowyer
Had a great 1st coaching session with Melissa. It was a real eye opener! In fact just after changing a little bit of my wording around I got a new email subscriber that very afternoon! Super excited to continue working with Melissa and I definitely would recommend her to any small business owner." Brittany Hagler
Cutting through the ambiguity and finding the clarity" This is who you are. You were sitting in that lounge speaking to the women there and one after the other you were cutting through the gunk and showing them what they were doing, what they stood for, what their business is. It was like you were unveiling their confusion and offering them the gift of clarity." Misbah Khan
You are just so good at what you do, I really don't think I have come across anyone so dynamic. The way that you can translate every different type of business that you come across, and you just "get them" is really inspiring. It puts a fire in my belly.'" Ruth Harris
I feel inspired and encouraged. I also feel as if the whole business idea has expanded in one phone call."
Melissa has been incredible. She got me and what my business was about right from the start and understood what I was trying to achieve, which was empowering and refreshing! She helped my vision come alive.'' Kirsten Davis
When I started Campfire Communications, I didn't have a big plan or vision for what I wanted it to be. I didn't really know what it stood for. I knew that I wanted to help small business owners tell their stories better. I knew I was good at doing this. And I knew that campfires where a good place to tell stories. So I combined all of that, wrote some web copy, came up with some service packages and started marketing it.
Over time, it's changed and evolved, and I've spent more time thinking about what my business really stands for. And that question is bigger than just 'what problem am I solving'. It's: what do I believe in? What is important to me? What are my values?
And for me it comes down to freedom. I do what I do because I like the freedom to work the way I want to work. And I want to help other people have the same freedom. That could be freedom from a stifling job, a mean boss, financial hardship, having to stay in a crappy relationship because you can't afford to leave, to having the freedom to watch your kids grow up or spend time doing things you love. I realised that I want to help people create businesses that give them the freedom to do all of these things. And while I can't do it all for them, by helping them find, craft and share their stories, I am helping to set them on the path to freedom and living a life they love.
So what does my business stand for? Freedom. How do I demonstrate that? By the very way I work, what I wear, where I work, how I am flexible with clients, the results I get for them and how I'll go out of my way to help them and others even if they're not paying clients.
Here's a far bigger example of a company that doesn't just say what it stands for, it has evolved and is living it. And frankly, I applaud it.
Back in 2014, Airbnb went through a rebrand after having a rethink about what it really stood for. Here's how they described it:
In 2007, Joe and I opened our home up to the first Airbnb guests. They booked a place to stay, but they ended up with something more than just an airbed at a slightly messy apartment. They learned our favorite places to grab coffee, ate the best tacos in the city, and had friends to hang out with whenever they wanted. They were thousands of miles from where they lived, and yet they felt right at home. What started as a way for a few friends to pay the rent has now transformed into something bigger and more meaningful than we ever imagined. And what we realized is that the Airbnb community has outgrown the original Airbnb brand. So Joe, Nate, and I did some soul-searching over the last year. We asked ourselves, “What is our mission? What is the big idea that truly defines Airbnb?” It turns out the answer was right in front of us. For so long, people thought Airbnb was about renting houses. But really, we’re about home. You see, a house is just a space, but a home is where you belong. And what makes this global community so special is that for the very first time, you can belong anywhere. That is the idea at the core of our company: belonging.
They introduced a new logo, which they called the Belo, with the intention that it becomes a recognised symbol that represents belonging. The video below explains it.
Three years on, Airbnb has grown massively. It has had to balance this growth while maintaining its purpose-driven ethos and sense of belonging. Everything it puts out reflects its mission, its values and what it stands for. Its most recent Super Bowl ad is another example of how it is tapping into current issues facing the world and wrapping its story into it.
When you land on Airbnb's home page, this is what you see first thing:
Their mission right up front, not tucked away on an About Us page. They could have said: We let out rooms around the world. Instead it is leading with its mission statement. By having a clear vision, Airbnb has a consistent message and story. And this has led to its phenomenal growth.
So my question to you is: What does your business stand for? What is your mission? How is it reflected in your web copy, your marketing and your actions?
As a small business, you may not have the budget to create clever logos or worldwide brand relaunches like Airbnb did. But you can run a purpose-driven business, where your values and beliefs stand front and centre in all you do. People talk about 'authenticity' a great deal. But something is only authentic when you really and truly believe it yourself.
What do you believe in and how are you letting your customers know that? Feel free to share it in the comments below.
If you want help getting clarity on what your vision, mission, values, beliefs and direction your business should have, get my free Campfire Clarity workbook, or book a Clarity Session with me.
Many years ago, I worked in tech PR. My job was to get the press to write about subjects like routers, ERP systems and storage area networks. It was gripping stuff. I understood none of it. But I had to be able to translate the tech complexity and put it into words that a journalist or reader would understand. I used to sit with the tech client and ask them to explain it to me in a way that a four year old could understand. I didn't tell them that, actually, I didn't understand and I was the four year old in question...
But I didn't just used to ask how the technology worked, I'd ask why anyone should care. What problem was it solving? Who would use the tech? How would it make their life easier? What business impact did this tech have? I would ask questions until I was sure that I had at least a semi decent understanding as to what it was about. And then I would write. I would use the simplest language I could find so that I understood it. I would ask myself, 'Does the reader really need to know that widget x plugs into widget y?' If it didn't add to the reader's comprehension, I'd leave it out.
Turns out that my tech ignorance gave me the best grounding in writing for an audience anyone could hope for. I learned the acronym KISS - Keep It Simple Stupid.
I regularly have clients come to me asking for help with their web copy. Regardless of the client or what sector they are in, their copy almost always has the same problem: it's too darn long. There are a number of reasons for this:
What they end up with is reams of repetitive text that still manages to say nothing to convince a client to buy. Their mistake? They aren't keeping it simple.
Here's how I fix the problem - and how you can fix your own web copy by following the same approach. I should warn you that although the end result is simple to understand copy, the process itself takes a bit of work. But if you put the effort in, you will end up with simple, easy to read and effective copy. As someone once said, 'If I had more time, I would have written a shorter letter.'
Step 1 - Get clarity of vision and general business purpose
I have a clarity session with my clients first in which I get a really clear understanding of what this business of theirs is all about. Often, this clarity session helps them get clear on this too! What they thought they wanted the business to be can end up being something entirely different by the end of the session.
Step 2 - Get into the head of your ideal clients
I ask questions. Lots of them. The same way I used to ask my tech clients about their complex products, I ask my clients all about their clients. You need to ask yourself the same questions.
Step 3 - Get clear about your offerings
It may seem obvious that you know what you do. But many of my clients get stuck when it comes to putting that down in words or structured into packages. Clients want it to be simple and clear how you can help them, so make it easy for them to understand in a logical step by step way.
Step 4 - Get your own story clear
An About page is where people turn to learn more about you the person or the back story to the company. This is where you can really inject your personality if you're a solopreneur, but be sure to back up the passion with your professional credentials and information.
Step 5 - Write
Once you've done all this thinking and clarity work with some rough writing thrown in, you need to get it into a first draft. By going through the clarity process though, it should be a lot easier. You've done the thinking bit, now it's simply a case of putting pen to paper or fingers to keyboard. Some tips to write effectively:
Need an example? I worked with a lovely client who offers Free Motor Legal Insurance. I know. Legal and Insurance all in the same breath. It's hardly an excitement-fest. But it's a very valid problem that people face, so it was all about writing about a complex thing in an easy to understand way that will make people want to sign up to his free service. I took the long, detailed legal explanations of how it all worked and just kept it super simple. You can see the results here. It is now clear what people have to do and the benefits they'll get.
I did the same for a solopreneur who creates Global Mobility Policies for HR teams. Again, not an easy to understand, super sexy offering, but for the people who need this help, it's a lifesaver. I stripped back all the complexity and kept it simple. You can see the results here.
If you would like similar help, take a look at my Clarity package and my Copy & Canvas offering. I know everyone thinks writing is simple, but there are many steps to it. Sometimes having an outsider see you for who you are and translate that into words, is the best investment you can make for your business. As one recent Clarity, Copy & Canvas client said:
'O M G!!! I've just had an initial read through while I'm sitting at the hairdresser and it is looking and sounding AMAZING! You are so talented - taken my garbled messages and woven your magic to make them sound wonderful. I almost cried when I was reading through it - it is really reflecting what my business and I are about. Thank you'
And then she followed up saying:
'You are truly amazing and I'm so happy with how much you've helped me in such a short time - Clarity workbook prep prior to meeting; chat to understand my business last Tuesday; summary of discussion and ideas for moving forward on Wednesday; (major) draft copy produced by Friday. I would definitely recommend Melissa to help you gain clarity for your business - she is extremely talented. Thank you.' Catherine Bowyer.