Almost certainly the most embarrassing thing I’ve ever shared online.

The first time I met Jenny Shih, I was really disappointed.

Not in her. In myself.

A few months beforehand, I’d decided to start my own coaching business. I’d never really heard of coaching before, but as soon as I did I thought, This sounds like what I’ve been doing for free my whole life. I could get PAID for this?

Thinking about what I’d helped people with before, I picked the niche of teaching networking. In my past life, that was what I’d teach 21 year olds who wanted to get into radio, and people had started suggesting to me that other people (who had more money than 21 year olds wanting to get into radio)(which is to say, ANY MONEY) would pay for this service.

I’d been writing a blog for a few months (you can still see most of it by clicking here and people had been saying nice things about it. But I still hadn’t made a cent from the business and had no idea what I was doing.

So when Jenny Shih — who’s free content about how to build your online business I’d been DEVOURING — said she was opening up a few one-off coaching spots, I knew I needed her help. I was excited and terrified.

I was pretty certain that I was going to get on that call, and that Jenny would say something like,

“You know, Marsha, I don’t really have a lot more to add. You’re amazing. I’ve worked with a lot of people who are new to this, but you’re the best I’ve ever seen — you’re a natural! Let me send you over some clients who’ll pay you vast amounts of money for your wisdom.”

I’m not even totally kidding.

So, we get to the call. And here’s what Jenny says,

“No one is going to spend you money, unless…

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Sometimes I shoot myself in the foot because it’s the right thing to do: A Tragedy by YYM

Standing in the wings, I looked out at the crowd and felt a rush going from my size 2, Mary Jane shoes, all the way up to the pony tail my mum had done for me that morning.

I was eight years old, and about to have my moment.

(No time to read today? I’m doing a free class with Jenny Shih for people who run online businesses (or want to) — for info scroll to the bottom)

It was my brownie group’s Christmas show. I was part of an ensemble piece — but knew everyone would be looking mostly at me. We were going to sing a song called Tails.

Tails Tails Tails, you can swing them high and low! You can wrap them ’round your middle, you can trail them in the snow!

It’s testament to…

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Why are you so interesting, Marsha, and I’m so boring?

Have you ever thought that?

Maybe not about me, but about someone else you follow online? Someone who writes newsletters or Facebook posts that you always read. Someone who, every week, seems to be doing something cool and even if you don’t necessarily wish you were them, you wish you could hang out with them. You feel like they get you.

(Maybe you’ve even considered buying from them just to get a bit closer…)

Want to know how they do that? Want to know how YOU could?

By telling your stories.

But…what if nothing that exciting has ever happened to you? What if you don’t have any stories?

Then, you’re screwed. Give up now.

Obviously, I’m kidding.

The wonderful thing about stories is…

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How to stand out when everyone else is selling, too

(AKA “What is it about crying in the bath that’s so exquisitely painful?”)

I sat at my desk, finger hovering over my mouse and feeling sick.
In the words of my friend Holly G, I used to sell my services like I was trying to sell drugs in a back alley. Back in my first year of business, I’d whisper what was on offer once, then never mention it again. In case you’re wondering, I did not have a steady stream of customers.

But, after some tough love from my sales coach (Kendrick Shope), here I was, about to send an email to my list, where I was openly — in my mind, aggressively — asking for the sale. I was terrified. I had started with a story, because I always start things with a story. But then I had very clearly spelled out why the person reading should hire me. I felt so pushy.

Frowning at the screen, I was totally convinced that, within minutes, all 200 people on my mailing list would unsubscribe. Perhaps some of them might appear outside my house with picket signs and tomatoes to throw. I took a deep breath and…

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How to make a good first impression, how to sell the thing you’re good at, how to make friends in a new city — YYQ 8 Review!

In this episode of Yes Yes Questions, I answered these:

How do I make a good first impression?
Is it normal to fall behind in an online course?
How do I get a big-shot to send me referrals?
How do I sell the thing I’m good at?
How do I make friends in a new city?
Is asking for help at work is a sign of weakness?
Want to know what I said? Including, for the first question, one of my FAVOURITE first-impression hacks (that involves just staring at something for a while)?

Read precise answers below, or listen here:…
Here are shorter, written versions of my answers:

1. INTERVIEW TIPS:
Q: “I’m going to meet the people in charge at a company where I’ve been recommended for a role. I’ve never done a role like the one advertised, but I really do feel that I would rock it! Any words of advice for a fantastic first impression??”

Research the company as much as possible. Go in there knowing everything you can about them, so that (i) you can…

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Lying when you tell stories — when SHOULD you? BWSS #6!

We’re told it’s bad to lie. But most of us have been caught out at some point, telling a story and having a friend say, “Wait… THAT’s not how it happened..!!”

There’s a reason for that! Here, I’m going to tell you four times when you ABSOLUTELY SHOULD lie in your stories! Listen, or read the transcript here!

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My NUMBER ONE Storytelling Rule! – BWSS #7 (the last one!)

In the final Baby Walk Story Session, I tell you my #1 rule when it comes to storytelling. Want to know it? Listen, or read the transcript here!

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The Three Biggest Mistakes When Telling Stories – BWSS #5!

Oof, no one wants to know that the story they just told was kind of boring… but if you sense that’s the case, you may be making one of the THREE BIGGEST MISTAKES!

Want to know what they are? Listen here, or read the transcript!

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How To Edit Your Stories (Part 3) — BWSS #4!

When putting together a story you want to tell, what stays and what goes??

This is often the thing we struggle with the most in storytelling! If you’ve listened to or read the transcripts of How To Edit Your Stories Part 1 and How To Edit Your Stories Part 2, then you’ll know that:

– You need to ask yourself, “Why do I want to tell this story? What will be different as a result?”
– Most of your story should be made up of ‘action scenes’ (granular, real-time descriptions of scenes)
– You need to pick 1 — 4 action scenes for each story
– How to create those scenes

In today’s episode, I show you how to pull those scenes together to make a coherent story! Listen to it or read the transcript here!

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How to: figure out your niche, overcome disappointment, and get clients via your friends without feeling gross (Yes Yes Questions 7 Review!)

While I think investing money in coaching is essential, I am also a product of the Soviet Union.

This means I was brought up by parents (and grandparents, and aunties, and uncles) who love FREE STUFF. Sometimes, that means speed-clearing the toiletries in a hotel bathroom (and, let’s be honest, from an unattended housekeeping cart) like a one person plague of miniature shampoo bottle-loving locusts. And sometimes, that means seeing where you can get a free version of services that other people pay for…

In the spirit of this, once a month, I run a free call called Yes Yes Questions. Part-Free Business coaching, part-Live Advice Column, it’s an hour where you get to ask me ANYTHING YOU LIKE, without the usual price tag that comes with my services. And the next one is next Weds 24th! Want to be there? Pop your details in on this blog. And to whet** your appetite — here’s the recording from last time, and here is an overview of most of the questions asked then and the answer I gave!

1. How do you know if your niche is niche enough?

To find your niche, don’t worry too much about demographics. Focus more on what the pain point is. I.e., what is the problem you solve as it is understood by the people you help?

If, when you tell people that you solve that problem, they are getting excited, like “OMG! THAT’S TOTALLY WHAT I AM / MY SISTER / THIS PERSON I KNOW AT WORK IS SUFFERING FROM!!” it’s probably niche enough. They won’t do that if you say “I help people with things!” so don’t be afraid to get specific.

2. How did you become an entrepreneur? What led you to that path and how did you go about learning how to be one?

This is a question I could spend 400 years answering, but the cliff notes are that I learned from some very, very smart people. For me, this meant that I:

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