Today we’d like to introduce you to Gayle Nowak.
Gayle, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I’ve been in the business of stories for a long time as a former journalist, marketing communications specialist, copywriter, award-winning public relations director and business owner. The funny thing is, I struggled for decades to tell my own story, until I’d burned through more than $28,000 in savings and racked up nearly $14,000 in credit card debt within two years of launching my business The Story Stylist.
I had the knowledge, skills and drive but I still didn’t have the right clients, enough clients and enough cash to have a viable business. I was so frustrated because I felt like I was doing everything to make my business work.
Deep down though, I knew there was one thing I hadn’t done. I hadn’t come to grips with telling my story. The story of me, age 24, waking up in an ER fighting for my life, because hours before I could no longer bear the pain of another story I had tried to bury for 10 years. The story of being assaulted at age nine, only to be accused of lying when I revealed this secret at age 14. For me, the message was loud and clear.
Your story doesn’t matter. You don’t matter.
And yet, my faith in other people’s stories never wavered. It’s why my entire career has been built around the human story. I love helping other people tell their stories because it was so hard to share my own.
It wasn’t until I was paralyzed with the fear of failing my business and letting my family down that I was even willing to consider that maybe my story did matter. That maybe, just maybe, not telling it was holding me back.
So I became obsessed with figuring out how to unearth and share my story in a way that would truly help people see their own stories — even the messy ones — as a powerful professional and personal asset.
Even though at the time I had more than 16 years storytelling experience in journalism and marketing, I got trained specifically in personal brand stories, I studied every single speaker I saw. I deconstructed my expertise and all the stories I’d read about people who had overcome huge challenges in their lives. I mashed it all up and cracked the code on excavating and creating powerful, profitable personal brand stories.
When I finally went public with my story in a carefully crafted email to just under 700 people. I remember feeling nauseous as I pushed the send button. I was terrified. I worried my story would offend someone, or that people couldn’t handle it, or worst of all they’d simply feel bad for me.
Within three weeks of sharing my story, I had four new clients. I went from making $14 one month to $7,894 the next. Two months later I was making a profit for the first time in my business. Four months later, I started writing myself paychecks. Eight months later, I closed 100% of my sales conversations for the month. My business has more than doubled ever since, and it all started with getting clear and courageous with my story.
Many of my small business clients have deeply personal reasons behind the work they do but often they are afraid to share those reasons because they worry about what people will think of them. What I learned, and what I always tell people, is that plenty of people are rooting for you. The ones who don’t like what you have to say, usually just go away. That’s a good thing, because you end up doing business with the right people for you.
Your story matters. It’s who you are, what you stand for and why people should care. It keeps your head and heart aligned and makes you unforgettable to your audience. Stories get results . . . for any person in any industry and for any reason.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
One of the biggest obstacles I struggled with in the first year or two of my business was my own head trash. Those nagging thoughts like “I’m terrible at sales” or “Will people buy this?” or “Am I just fooling myself and everyone else?” At first, those thoughts and fears would paralyze me. Then they infuriated me. Now I’m starting to embrace them as signs that I’m getting out of my comfort zone and on the verge of more growth.
The Story Stylist – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
The Story Stylist is a marketing consulting company focused on turning service-based business owners into powerful, magnetic spokespersons for their company. I specialize in packaging your expertise into a cohesive story and marketing strategy so you can grow your business.
What sets The Story Stylist apart is:
– My unwavering belief in your story and what it can do for you, your clients and humanity
– High touch and meaningful interactions, from marketing and sales to client service
– Expertise and execution that lead us to excellence
My clients make me proud. My heart sings when they implement a marketing strategy or use their story, then call me or send me an email to say they’re commanding higher fees, attracting qualified clients and landing interviews and speaking gigs.
What is “success” or “successful” for you?
I have a competitive spirit so of course I like setting and achieving goals. I like winning. I like helping others win, but for me success is more about winning from the inside rather than winning outwardly. Success is coming into alignment with what I really want. It’s being able to enjoy the journey in the process, weathering the ups and downs with grace and being softer on myself and others when I’m not so graceful. If I can appreciate and love myself and others, regardless of the conditions, that’s a marker of success.
- Website: TheStoryStylist.com
- Phone: 978-308-9868
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Facebook: facebook.com/TheStoryStylist
- Twitter: twitter.com/TheStoryStylist
- Other: linkedin.com/in/gaylenowak
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