Every business comes from humble beginnings. The American business model may be all about building success, but sometimes your clients want to know where you came from. Have you told them your origin story?

November 1, 2011. Schmidt Law Services, PLLC, was officially open for business. There was no ribbon cutting ceremony. No champagne or appetizers. Just me, my laptop, and my cell phone.

My husband and I had just moved from St. Joseph, Michigan to Ferndale, Michigan. We were sleeping on an air mattress and sitting on camp chairs in our living room until we could move our furniture across the state the next weekend. We didn’t even have curtains, yet. But I had a client, and a job to do. I was open for business!

The story may not seem glamorous or even particularly successful, but it is honest and authentic. When I tell that story, it helps me connect with my clients. Most have gone through a move – some very recently – and they can relate to the feelings of excitement and discomfort that go along with finding themselves at the start of a new chapter. As a family lawyer, that story helps my clients know that they’re not at an end in their lives. They are simply in transition.

All too often, humble beginnings are seen as a weakness, to be hidden in the closet with last year’s tax returns. But your origin can be an excellent way to make personal contact with your target clients. It’s all about how you tell it.

Storytelling and Empathy

The effect your origin story has on readers and potential clients depends on how you tell it. Storytelling is an essential part of marketing. It helps paint you and your business in a light your clients can understand. By finding connection points between your story and your readers, you create empathy. The more your readers can relate to you, the more likely they are to call you when it’s time to do business.

Let’s take the same story and look at it through the lens of a business attorney, specializing in start ups and small businesses.

November 1, 2011. Schmidt Law Services, PLLC, was officially open for business. There was no ribbon cutting ceremony. No champagne or appetizers. I didn’t have the capital for an office. Just me, my laptop, and my cell phone.

What I did have was my first client, and a job to do. I had a strategy to network and grow, and the start of a business model. Sure, I had a long way to go, but I wasn’t going to let that stop me. I was open for business!

Same story. Same facts. Different audience. Different storytelling. Notice how when I’m speaking to family law clients I focus on the home, and my relationships. For the start-up clients it’s about the uncertainty of opening a business. Either way, using storytelling can show your clients you understand where they are at.

So what’s your origin story? How did your meager beginnings prepare you to be the best lawyer you can be for your potential clients? What part of your story can they grab a hold of to feel like they know you?

Lisa Schmidt is a writer for Legal Linguist in Ferndale, Michigan. She writes blogs and web content for lawyers and small businesses. If you are looking for better ways to connect with potential clients online, contact Legal Linguist today to schedule a meeting.