Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Douglass and Lisa-Marie Hatcher, Founders of communicate4IMPACT, located in Bronxville, NY, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
In 2017, we co-founded communicate4IMPACT, a business storytelling training firm just north of New York City. We help busy solopreneurs create better content faster, so they can spend less time marketing and more time monetizing what they love. We have helped film directors, business coaches, leadership consultants, fundraisers, marketers, realtors, podcasters, data scientists, social impact leaders, engineers, professors, and many others.
Our training is ideal for a solopreneur who wants to accelerate their revenue growth but is mired in the daily grind of increasing marketing demands, especially in the areas of content creation.
Based on our own experiences (in the private sector and now as “married-preneurs”), we know how important content creation is to a business. Companies are increasingly using content creation to attract customers and drive loyalty – whether they are huge corporations or small businesses. But creating quality content consistently can be frustrating and time-consuming. And that’s especially true for one-person business owners who don’t have marketing teams and content writers at their disposal!
That’s why we teach three simple story structures (we call them StoryHacks) to help take the stress and complication out of business messaging and content creation. These story structures are the same ones used by many Oscar, Emmy, Golden Globe, and Tony award winners, and they have stood the test of time.
Tell us about yourself
Douglass spent over 20 years working as a speechwriter. He spent 12 years on Capitol Hill writing for senior politicians, including former U.S. Senator Olympia Snowe. He also spent over a decade writing speeches for various Fortune 100 and Fortune 500 CEOs, most recently at Mastercard.
Lisa-Marie was an account development manager at American Express for 12 years and later became a top-producing sales professional in the pharmaceutical space before becoming a stay-at-home Mom.
So how did we end up as “married-preneurs”? As part of Douglass’s role at Mastercard, he developed and led a global business storytelling workshop for mid to senior-level managers across the company. There were waiting lists to take the course, which just highlighted how hungry people were, and still are, for business storytelling training. He enjoyed it so much that when he had an opportunity to start his own business storytelling firm, he jumped at the chance.
So, in 2017, we co-founded communicate4IMPACT. At that time, Douglass focused on teaching storytelling to corporate executives and communicators, while Lisa-Marie helped behind the scenes managing day-to-day operations. But three years into the business, it became apparent that there was a real gap in storytelling training for solopreneurs.
Much of the business storytelling training out there was either generic and heavy on platitudes or—on the other end of the spectrum—too complicated to remember or use. Not helpful, especially if you’re a one-person business owner crunched for time and juggling multiple priorities. At the time, we weren’t seeing practical “how-to” training that taught business owners how to apply simple storytelling frameworks that were easy to remember and could be used right away. We wanted to change that.
So, in 2020, we began creating training offerings focused on the needs of solopreneurs. And now, we are motivated each day to help more and more solopreneurs create better content faster, so they can live their best life, spend less time on marketing, and spend more time monetizing what they love. We want to help people like us enjoy the benefits of solopreneurship by having greater independence, freedom, and control to live and work on their own terms.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
The biggest accomplishment is that we’ve stuck with it. We’ve kept our focus on our mission, which is to bring the art and science of business storytelling to more solopreneurs! Every solopreneur has good and bad days—but maintaining a solid equilibrium is key. Honestly, the joys and demands of a family (we have twins in 6th grade) help keep things in perspective and inspire us to stay grounded while we forge ahead.
We have been inspired by some wonderful highlights thus far, two of the biggest being trips to Morocco and Rwanda, leading business storytelling workshops for businessmen and women. We also both conducted an amazing virtual workshop with women solopreneurs from Kenya, Nigeria, and Ghana.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
Consistency. Consistency in your marketing, content creation, lead generation, revenue generation, etc. The solution comes down to having systems in place for each of these that are reliable, sustainable, and scalable.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Build your audience first by sharing your ideas, tips, tricks, and examples of what you do. It seems counterintuitive to build your audience before building your business, but it’s important. In today's social media world, it doesn’t cost you a thing to grow an audience.
If something you put out there starts to resonate, do it again. If it continues to resonate, double down on it. By the same token, if certain ideas or points of view aren’t resonating, take note of that as well. If they consistently don’t resonate, stop doing them.
- Know your customer and find your niche. This one is hard to do. It’s natural to want to try and reach everyone, but if you do that, you won’t reach anyone… at least on a consistent basis.
- Have a brief elevator pitch that makes people say, “tell me more” when they first hear it. Elevator pitch, you should ask yourself these questions: (1) Who am I serving? (2) What problem are they facing? (3) How am I helping? (4) What difference am I making?
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
Remember that business storytelling is simply the art and science of making things matter and moving people to act.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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