In this insightful episode, Patrice Poltzer, a renowned storytelling strategist, shares her expertise on crafting compelling founder stories that resonate with audiences. Patrice delves into the importance of authenticity, vulnerability, and strategic storytelling for entrepreneurs looking to connect with their audience. She explores the process of identifying key moments in one’s life, understanding audience psychographics, and leveraging AI for enhanced emotional connection. Join the conversation and explore the nuances of founder storytelling and its transformative impact on businesses.
Kerry: Welcome to the Kerry Barrett show. I’m Kerry Barrett with Patrice Poltzer. How are you?
Patrice: I’m good. I live from my new Lisbon apartment. So that is wild. This is my first live stream interview from Lisbon.
Kerry: So what time is it there?
Patrice: It is two o’clock or two 10. So we’re five hours ahead of New York.
Kerry: Got it. Well, your place looks beautiful. I’ve been, if you don’t know, Patrice, she is a former Newsy kind of like myself. She worked at NBC. She’s now the founder of a video storytelling agency and business. And we’re going to talk all about that in a moment, but she recently moved to Lisbon and I’ve been following all of your posts on LinkedIn about the change that occurred that you weren’t necessarily expecting.
It’s sort of like a backstory. How’s everything going?
Patrice: I’m being honest, it’s totally beaten me up. I have three young kids and I lived in New York for 13 years. My oldest kid is 10. So everyone moved here in August and this sounds insane, but there was not.
A moment in this move where I thought Patrice in Brooklyn is Patrice in Lisbon and everything’s the same. I like to travel. I’m up for change, I like adventure. It was like I did not. There was not a scenario that maybe I would feel a little different and maybe it would be whoa I’m living in a brand new country community from scratch Built, my business There’s so much change.
And so if you would have asked me to do this podcast, honestly, even for three to four weeks ago, I don’t think I could have, I was pretty dark. Yeah. It’s definitely, it’s the darkest I have ever felt mentally, honestly, in my life. I just felt so uncomfortable and the fog started to lift.
But it’s an adjustment. I’m building a new life here. So what, it’s interesting because as newsies, we probably both like adventure and think we’re up for whatever comes our way and we can handle it. And we’re good at winging things and the show must go on and all of those other platitudes.
But was it just that sort of behind the scenes difference, like the little things. , going to the grocery store or figuring out how to get around town or starting the kids in a new school, was that the stuff that was like eating away at you or just being alone? Yeah, what? It’s funny.
I think I underestimated the power of my community. I think living in New York, I did not realize how much of my own identity was tied to New York. Like there’s something about New York where I loved it. I loved raising my kids there. It’s a little bit hard, but I embrace that.
And so I think coming out of New York and then not having that sense of foundation, which sounds crazy. It is not like we, I wanted to move for adventure, but. I’m not looking to replace my New York life. That’s impossible. But I really do think I underestimated how much of myself I tied to living in the city.
So this has unraveled me because it has actually forced me to really get honest. What do I want in my life? Like, what do I want my business to be? Cause in New York, you’re in the hustle. It’s exciting. It’s like, there’s always something going on and like, , but also when it’s quieter and I’m sucked out of that madness, all of a sudden I don’t have a community here.
By the way, everyone speaks English here and there’s so many, basically some Americans are moving to Lisbon. I have some other friends who are moving there also. Part of me is like, oh God, But no, it was more. I was surprised because I did not think I would find it, but now I’m back in that mode.
This is how when you do harder things and then you do it and then your belief system raises and then you’re like, I just did that. And I’m meeting new people and new experiences. And I’m learning about parts of the world and people that I never paid attention to. I have to say, I have so much more empathy and the sounds, and I mean this sincerely, and I feel like I’m in America.
I guess I’m the foreigner and I’m the one holding up the coffee line.
I’m the one that doesn’t know their culture and the customs and I’m the one that doesn’t know how to pronounce. So, I’m like broken Spanish, but they speak Portuguese and it’s really humbling. And I actually went back to some of my friends who were not born in America and English was their second language.
Kerry: And I said, I’m so sorry that I never asked you not once in our friendship, how is it the first year that you were living in a brand new country?
Patrice: I’m like, how did I never consider that. So this has really humbled me out in so many ways. And also like not, we’re not the center of the universe. And it’s really been an interesting ride.
And I’ve only been here a hundred days, but even in those hundred days, I’m like, wow, I feel like a person. The first hundred days is like sort of the measure of anything, right? We talk about the first hundred days of the presidency or the first hundred days of, , a job or whatever. And so it’s like that feeling like you’re really put to the test in that period.
Kerry: I’m glad to hear that you’re coming out of it. And I don’t think that, I remember, so we used to move around a lot when I was a kid and we lived in Saudi Arabia for a while. And we lived in the UK for a while. And I remember thinking, my mom talking about this, how she was actually more prepared.
She enjoyed her time in Saudi more so than she did in England because she had mentally prepared herself for just a vast, vast change in lifestyle and. really just life for that matter. Whereas in Britain, she sort of assumed it would be very similar. The language is pretty much the same and she wasn’t prepared for those small things that were wildly different from her previous experience and it made her Lonely and sort of go into one of those dark places as well.
I didn’t have that. I was a kid. I didn’t know any different, but I remember her talking about that and not fully understanding it. And now obviously having a different understanding and perspective as adults. So I appreciate you joining our show and talking about it. I know that it was rough for a while.
Patrice: Yeah. No, I don’t know. It’s all relative. And my kids are, I have three kids. I have a 10 year old, seven and almost three. And I mean, they are just thriving. I think they’re already, I’m like, I need to learn the language so badly. Because they’re already talking behind my back in front of my face.
Like my three year old, I had a Google translation the other day. He’s like, He’s like, I’m like, I don’t know what he’s saying. And don’t do that, mom. I mean, it’s unbelievable. They’re so smart. They’re so much smarter than adults. I’m like, they all are just. It’s like we haven’t even been here three months and my middle and my youngest can literally understand and talk about it already.
There’s so much more plasticity and also probably previous habits are not quite as ingrained as they are in us. , we have a set of routines and a certain way things are done and it’s much harder for our brains to sort of break out of that and open up to something new. If we like it, we like our order.
Kerry: Yes, exactly. A quick reminder to the audience. Thank you for being here. We are going to do a Q and a at the end of the show. So if you have questions, keep them coming in the comments. I will pull them up and ask Patrice and we’ll discuss at the end of the show. We have a lot to talk about. So one of the things that Patrice does in her business is she helps founders understand what their founder story is and, and then puts it together.
Patrice: So I want to talk about that, but before we get to that, that’s really the crux of business knowledge. I want to talk to you a little bit about the pivot you made out of the news industry and into a business owner. Cause I made the same pivot and. I had no idea what I was in for or what I was doing.
I was a disaster for like the first two years, but I’m curious about what led you out of the news industry and how it is that you stumbled upon it. So you and I, we do different things, , none of us are in PR, which is sort of like standard operating procedure for former news folks. But tell me a little bit about what brought you out of the news industry ultimately, and then how you got to sort of where you are as Patrice, yeah, business owner.
I’ll get cliff notes because I never wanted to be an entrepreneur. I never had any aspirations to run a business. I did not ever think that would ever be available to me. I kind of had this notion that people that run businesses are special. , they’re very smart.
Right. We always knew that she wanted to be an entrepreneur because she had a lemonade stand at five. What do I mean? You always hear those stories and I’m like, Oh, well that was not, I wasn’t doing that. So I just never even entertained running a business.
Patrice: So ironically I left, so I was at the Today Show last, I was a producer there. That was sort of my last big news run. And I left at the peak of my career. I had just won a Gracie award. I had embedded myself. with a bunch of mothers for the Syrian refugee crisis. I got really, I was like peeking, I was angry cause I found out I was making a lot less money than some dude on my team.
And my boss, I was like in my boss’s office every day until I got parody. Like I was on fire. I was like, okay, like I was a late bloomer. I was an intern at 29. I finally kind of got into this position where it took me a long time to kind of figure out what I wanted to do. And so anyway. Usually we don’t leave at the peak, right?
And I left for maternity leave with my second kid and I was recruited on maternity leave to this startup. And I remember thinking, I’m pregnant. No one goes up to pregnant people. but at the time, right before I left,one of the interns at the today show taught me all about Snapchat.
I’m way too old for damage. Like, no. I got so into Snapchat that I mean, it was like my own world. And so I, so this guy reached out to me and totally legit. He’s like, this sounds so creepy. He reached me out on LinkedIn. He goes, I follow you on Snapchat and you need to come run the video department at my company.
He’s like, this is what we need. So at first you think it’s fake. You’re like, this is right. With the scammer, I’m going to end up in a suitcase somewhere at the bottom of the Hudson. I ended up meeting like all these people and they, I mean, it was so fast forward. I remember I called my boss, I’m an attorney.
Patrice: I like it. this is what they’re offering me. He’s like, go, we can’t match that. Usually she should go, he’s like, get out of here. And I went to this job that I thought I literally was like, it was a dream job and I was coming from a job I love. So this is like level mind blowing. And this was a startup, right?
So they were just getting things going. Okay. they’re still around. I was like, so naive. I’m like, this is gonna be amazing. , left internally early. I have a toddler at that point. I have a brand new baby and I’m like, yeah, let’s do this. It was awful.
It was like, honestly, one of those soul crushing sliding door moments in your life where it’s amazing how quickly your esteem can just be completely ripped from you. It took me about a hundred days. I left that place and I was just in this really deep, dark place of like, Oh my God, I can’t survive outside the walls of the today show.
Patrice: Like I have no skills. I’m not talented. It was one of those, like I was so just depressed from it and, but I knew, I remember my husband’s like, we need you to get off. Like we need you. You don’t have a double family living in New York city. Like we need you to work. You have a new baby. Yeah. Baby. And I was like, well, I go, I cannot go to an interview right now to get back into the media.
Patrice: My boss is like, you can come back. I just felt lame, it was so I went, what? I know how to shoot video and I know how to edit and this was in 2017 and so this was right at that precipice of like where BuzzFeed was just everywhere and everyone wanted online video. Everyone didn’t know Facebook was lying about all their video feeds and their video views.
So it was sort of like an intersection of that kind of thing. Explosion crucible. Really? And so I knew how to do that. I did that at the Today Show, so I remember I had like a startup friend of mine, he is like, I have this vitamin company. Do you wanna make my video? And I’m like,not really.
Patrice: But I needed to do some. So I started making videos and I knew how to, and I, and the thing is, I would get into doors because. I had no website, nothing, but I was an award winning Today Show producer. So that opened the doors for me. So like Netflix, Amazon, Lululemon.
If they only knew it was just me.And so my business started being a video production company for all intents and purposes. But then COVID made me pivot. And so when COVID came, all my productions stopped and shut because I couldn’t. And I had this gut instinct that I needed to get online.
Patrice: So at the top of 2020, I started,I took a 90 day mastermind from this woman. I met on Instagram and I just felt like calling her and she taught me. She changed my life. She taught me about bootcamps I just started running and I remember my business most of my business is al shop programming and it’s I still have the video I got into it by accident to stay and there’s no way to move to Lisbon For me having my own business and being able to work anywhere in the world now.
So it’s just like one of those weird life things, right? Where it all starts to come together. It’s interesting. I always read this quote. In fact, I’ve read it probably four times. It’s popped up already this week in different areas. and the quote is you can’t connect the dots. Looking ahead. You can only connect the dots when you’re looking behind and you see how all those pieces sort of came together, right?
Kerry: You run your business online, which means you can take it anywhere. You can operate at any time. I mean, that is exactly where you are right now.
Kerry: There is a question that the woman that you connected with on Instagram, maybe has a new business owner, is wondering if you can share her name with them.
Patrice: I can but she doesn’t run that anymore her name is a force. Her name is Shannon Monson, but she is here. Can I write her name? Yeah, she’s a genius. We’re still friends. I don’t know anyone better. There’s no one better and I know there’s a lot of people now in that Space.
Yeah. But she was selling stuff on Instagram before Instagram was even like anyone was doing it. She left the Mormon church so she, ahead of the curve, her drive to make money came from this really deep place of like kind of going back to the story. Yeah. Which is why I was attracted to her.
Patrice: ’cause she had a fire in her. I’m like, oh my God. And then when I learned her backstory. She was always told, she had babies when she was 20 and married anyway. So whoever has babies. Yes. Yeah. Yeah. And now she’s like a multi, , she’s like, okay, all right.
So yeah. Genius. I said it was going to save the questions for the end, but I have another one here. And since we’re moving on from your move to Portugal, somebody is asking, why Lisbon? Why did you pick Lisbon? Yeah. I mean, lots of reasons. Um, I loved living in New York city and so I kind of came to the conclusion that we didn’t really want to live anywhere else in New York city, but super expensive with three kids and I didn’t want to move anywhere else in the U S.
Patrice: So you kind of were like, Oh, well, okay, well, where else could we go? We’re not, I’m not an EU citizen. But in the past couple of years, we visited Lisbon, fell in love with it. It’s a six hour flight, six and a half hour flight from New York to Lisbon, almost like going to LA. Yeah. And there’s something magical about it.
Patrice:I don’t know if you’ve ever been to Lisbon? I have not. No. It’s really, I can’t explain it. I look, I love lots of countries. I love Italy. I love Paris, but I would never want to live there. Yeah. And I was in Lisbon, me and my husband and me, then I only had two kids. We kind of jokingly were like, we should move here.
Patrice: That was five years ago. And then now all these countries, Spain, Lisbon, you have all these European countries now that have these visas. You don’t have to be a citizen. It’s never happened in the history of the world. So, it’s a really small window of opportunity. So, I encourage if anyone has a little inkling of like, Oh, I kind of want to be a European for a bit.
Now is the time because it’s really easy for Americans to leave for a little bit, so. There’s a big expat community then it sounds like too. Yeah. Oh, definitely. Yeah. But Lisbon’s a very, very special place. And English speaking, like, look, it’s Portuguese, but everyone speaks English. So there are some countries, to be honest with you, France, like France is much harder to navigate if it’s a non Spanish speaker, but here you can get by and, um, the cost of living.
Patrice: I mean, I lived in New York. So it’s like. Oh my God. I can get a mansion for a song. Yeah, yeah, yeah, exactly. So yeah, and the quality of life, the people, the food is, I don’t know. It’s nice. It’s a nice place. Well, thank you for sharing your, um, your experience with us. All right. So let’s talk about the founder’s story, what it is and why it’s important.
Kerry: There’s a lot to talk about, you got to show up, you gotta put yourself out there. And I think for the most part, whether or not we’ve done that, most of us as business owners or founders. I don’t know how we can sort of understand why that’s important. But maybe we don’t know how or how to use that content to bring people to us or to find the right people.
Patrice: I think one of the key things is understanding what your founder story is and then how to leverage it. So let’s start with the very basics for those who might not be familiar. What exactly is a founder story? What elements of your narrative or your arc does it include? Yeah, so it’s a really great question because there’s a lot of people, a lot of businesses get the founder story confused with the brand story and they’re two different stories.
And so just to kind of put it into two buckets, what you probably see most of our brand stories, the brand story is about, like, how the business came about, right? Like, Airbnb came what was. We saw a problem in the marketplace and we had this great idea and we went, I went to solve it and now I have this company that is like, , blah, blah, blah, blah.
Patrice: Like that, that’s not a founder story. That’s more of a brand story. The brand story is about the audience. It’s really like the main character in the brand story is. It’s focused on the audience and why, um, someone would particularly like to go to the company. Yeah. Founder story. You are the star.
Patrice: It is your values. It is your beliefs. Your founder story does not even have to do anything. It does not have to talk about your current business. Your founder story, you can take off the shelf and bring with you to other ventures, other experiments. Your brand story lives and dies. With the business that you started.
Patrice: So like that’s just to kind of separate that because what happens is most businesses group both of them and it ends up being too long. It ends up like there’s something you have more impact on when you actually say, I’m going to have a brand story. And then like the brand, , the founder story is usually on the about page and then the brand story, the homepage video, right?
Patrice: So that’s kind of, and so quite simply, , the founder story, honestly, it did not matter as much. I didn’t think up until probably the last handful of years, because quite frankly, like there’s just too many people now online. It’s so easy to start a business. You need a phone, you need an internet connection.
Kerry: You don’t even need an original idea, like what happened in the past where you just didn’t have as much competition. There is just too much, like people cannot take it all in. So, you need to help someone choose you. You, as a business owner, need to make it so easy, and it’s not enough to be like, well, we have better cupcakes, or we have the best sweatshirts, or we are sustainable, or we have lower prices.
Patrice: At some point, if that’s the market you’re competing in, those, that’s all like That’s like a ticket to entry. Like that’s like, if you don’t have a good product, you’re not going to survive anyway. You have to start saying, well, what is going to make me stand out and attract my audience and my customers? My friend is you and it matters.
Kerry: It’s like, people want that now. And that’s because of social media where we’re in a different ecosystem where in the past, the founder could. Totally go behind the scenes. It’s like, it’s about my product. Like it’s about my service, my service speaks for itself. And that worked until it didn’t work anymore.
You’re right. I mean, it’s a total byproduct of social media and the storytelling that people have come to expect on social media. Yeah. And we expect access to social media has expanded our idea of how much access we have to the top people. So when that bleeds into everything. Like you expect to know what’s up about them.
You expect to like, what do you believe? What causes do you support? People want to know that now it’s not, it’s really hard in this day and age to say, well, this is my business and this is my personal self because it kind of all conflates and so. The founder story is a really great way to get ahead of your own narrative to own your story and the stuff that you should include.
Patrice: Honestly, it depends. It really depends what part of your audience you’re trying to influence because we have a million founder stories like, it’s not about what’s your founder story. It’s what is right. Founder story for this particular goal that I’m trying to do. And you have to, and then you work backwards to figure out how your moments match up to actually what the point of your founder story is.
And now you have to tell a story about yourself and maybe your story is your grandmother or your great grandmother. You grew up spending time in the kitchen and you developed recipes. Am I, am I putting this together correctly? There’s like an emotional connection that your audience has with why. Not even necessarily why you do what you do, but why you’re the person you are.
Patrice: So the founder story that I would write today is different from the founder story that I would write like three years ago, right? Um, but there’s usually a hero, like a main hub founder story where there are certain pivotal moments in your life. And it usually is. Starts in childhood, which is why founder stories are very hard to write yourself because you have to actually look at your own life objectively and you have to be able to evaluate moments in your life and say what has impact or not impact on your audience and For that is really hard for that’s really hard to do.
So a lot of the founder stories that I work with, they all tend, you have to, you have to really get someone to go deeper because yeah, like, Oh, why did I start my business? Oh, I wanted to make an impact or like, I wanted to help. It’s like, okay, but like, yeah, let’s get to the bottom without like, what was that moment?
Patrice: It’s a little bit like narrative therapy, if I’m being honest. But when you can hit that rock bottom, why? And you can hit that rock bottom of like the, like you said, the dots, you start seeing moments in your life and all of a sudden you start to see things. Threads. Quite often we look for the universal human experience because you don’t need to have an Epic story to have an Epic story.
I think there’s this fallacy. It’s like, I’m out who cares about my founder story. It’s like, Oh, okay. I started a business. And so what I’m a normal person, or I did this, or I, but no, I’ve never met, especially a business person. I’ve never met a founder that doesn’t have an Epic story, but they’re not.
Patrice: It’s like, they’re not looking at it. They don’t see it. They don’t see it. And I think part of it is like, part of it is that they’re painful sometimes, , results of people that have worked with you and they watch their founder’s story and their move to tears because it is beautiful, but it’s also, it’s a, it’s sometimes a painful process to dig into those things.
Very. And here’s the thing. Most business leaders don’t do this and that’s why it’s so powerful because the vast majority of leaders and business founders, solopreneur, whatever, CEOs. They don’t do this. And I’m in the business of, yes, I do found a story, but I’m more interested in vulnerable storytelling because I actually got that is where I’m most interested in.
Patrice: Anyone can tell a good story, you can GPT, like put your, what you did in like chat, but you can spit out like an okay, generic story. But the vulnerable storytelling, the one that actually requires some introspection and admit struggles or to admit a failing or to admit what you learned as a founder, because of certain, it’s no joke why there are certain people in our society that people are obsessed with, like, , Mel Robbins, right?
She’s got, people are obsessed with her. Why Sarah Blakeley, people are obsessed with her. Why? Because they show up. And as billionaire as Sarah is and Mel has, what, five, whatever, she, all the accomplishments. Resilient, yeah. I feel like they talk about their struggles. Sarah probably puts a failure on social media three to four times a week.
Kerry: I don’t see Jeff Bezos do it. Like it’s very masculine. Like the way that founder stories traditionally have been told are masculine. And I believe that the shift that we need, and this is probably getting too esoteric here, but this is like why I do what I do, because we need more real storytelling.
Patrice: We need more emotional storytelling. We need storytelling that is difficult. And, I get it. And people need help doing that because it’s harder work. Yeah. It’s harder. And do you also think that there is a fear and I, I wouldn’t have necessarily picked up on this except that you just mentioned it.
Traditionally, these stories have been very masculine. That is it really a fear of like, I’m going to look like an idiot or somebody is going to see a, , a weakness and they’re going to, , stick a knife in and try and pry it open a little bit far. What is the fear? Okay. That you see when you’re working with people who are like, I want to do this, but this part freaks me out.
Patrice: It’s so interesting.While there are different fears, there tends to be a few popular ones that have a lot of people experiencing them. A lot of it has to do with this feeling of unworthiness. This feeling of unworthiness usually goes back a lot further, right? Then when you started your business.
It usually starts much younger.There’s usually an inciting incident that happened in childhood and it does not always have to be painfully dramatic. Like there are certain founders that you like, they come to my programs and I’m like, Oh my God, like that is highly traumatic. I’m not always saying trauma does not always have to mean like abuse or something major, right?
Patrice: Like trauma can, can mean like little things, right. That you take as a child because you don’t have the capacity to understand. The resistance, and that’s what I’ll, that’s a good word to describe it. It’s like this resistance is this fear of being honest, probably with themselves, because they’ve never been able to maybe look at some of these past moments.
Patrice: And give themselves some grace or to look at themselves from hindsight and say, wow, that was actually really great. Like, I’m proud of myself. And it’s like, once we do this, like once a founder can do that and like, look at their own life with sort of objectivity, it’s unbelievable. It’s like they start, it’s like they’re that fire of a mission.
Oh my God, I was too faded to do this and I didn’t even realize it, but it started here. it’s like the unworthiness and, and yeah, and also it is the fear of rejection. Social media is a blessing and a curse. and One of the curses of it is that there are so many people on it that are not real and they’re purporting to be fake.
Fake reality. And it’s really hard to discern reality from time to time. And so if you are seeing this and you’re someone that absorbs that, and then, , that like, wow, my life is different. And by the way, so are all those people that you think are perfect. , but if no one’s opening that, then yeah, people are hesitant because no one likes to be judged, right?
No, no human wants to feel exposed, but I always say you’re being judged anyway. So you have to actually get to a point where your mission and what you’re doing is so much stronger and the people that need to hear you and the people that need to know you exist. They’re important. They’re the ones we’re trying to attract.
Patrice: And yeah, you’re, you’re going to get judged a little bit, but who cares because they’re judging you anyway, even when you’re not doing anything. No, you’re, you’re absolutely. Yeah. So you might as well have them judge you on something that actually has some, some purpose to it. Yeah. And also like, we’re not trying to be Netflix here.
Kerry: I think that’s the other thing too. I think back in a time period of time, it was like, we got to scale. And like, we got to get big. And like, we got to be, it’s like, no, actually that’s not that, , the niches are in the riches. Like it’s, we just need our little pocket of the internet. We need our little slice of the pie.
Like we don’t need to be billionaires. Right. Like most people that I work with, like they’re not motivated by making a billion dollars. Like they’re motivated because they really are impacting. their corner of society and they know that their story is a powerful tool to influence and to move. And even though they have all the negative thoughts and imposters, their mission is too big.
And they are able to shove it aside and we help them tell what that story is. Absolutely. And I think it’s funny. I was, I’m getting, putting a post together about imposter syndrome. And I think I’ve started to listen, like 90 percent of the day, I feel like I’m a complete fraud, whether it’s business or whether it’s parenting or as a wife, I’m like, I don’t really know how to do any of this.
Patrice: Piecing it together with silly string and chewing gum. And please don’t look very close because it’s all like barely holding together. But I have started to use it. And you mentioned earlier, just sort of like changing the narrative. Like you really just need a couple of successes or one success to start reframing that story that you’ve created in your head, and then you get one success and another and another, and you have that sort of dopamine drip that brings you to the next level and the next level.
And so I’ve started to take those little wins and turn that imposter syndrome or fear into something that actually helps me with my clients, because most of them. Did , they’re coming to me for media training and they have a fear of getting up in front of the camera because they’re worried about making mistakes.
And why are they worried about making a mistake? Well, , it’s rejection or loss of status. And why do those things happen? Because people will think you’re a fraud because you screwed up or you’re like an imposter. And yeah. So all those fears, I’m like, wow, I could actually, I could weave them into the way that I help my clients because they’re dealing with exactly the same thing.
And that becomes part of the story. No. And then what you’re doing is, I call that strategic storytelling. , we’re not storytelling because we’re writing Netflix documentaries. Some people could, but we’re not writing memoirs, right? Like we’re at the end of the day, we’re business people. So the stories that we tell are not air dirty laundry.
Kerry: When I say be vulnerable, it doesn’t mean like talk about every skeleton in your closet, but what you’re doing is smart because it’s what actually you’re being audience first, you’re recognizing. The fears that your audience has and if the people that you help have these fears people want to feel seen They don’t most people don’t want to work with people where they feel like less than or they feel like oh That person is untouchable So what you’re doing is you’re leveling the playing field and you’re giving them permission to be To have all those negative thoughts because you as the guide are like, no, it’s cool.
Patrice: I have it too. But here’s the thing, when I kind of go back to this masculine feminine thing about Founders Story is this is why we need more feminine and it’s, I don’t mean women, but I mean, yeah, that’s been led. Storytelling because what you’re doing there is like most people do not do that’s not the way you run businesses Right do not be vulnerable But I’m telling I believe that actually if we had more people shifting into what you just described That is how we start having healthier workplaces.
That’s how we start being more empathetic to people that are working for us or that we’re working next to. And slowly telling at the end of the day, that is the ultimate empathy bridge builder. So it all goes hand in hand. Okay. So maybe I did figure that part out. Very good. I’m still working on all the other stuff though.
So, I would never suggest anybody try and create a. Founders story on their own and you sort of detailed some of the reasons even as an expert, you still need Joelle to come in and sort of take a look and like, am I getting to the, am I getting to the root of this or the heart of it? What am I skipping over?
Patrice: What am I missing? But if somebody were to begin to assess what they have in their history background. To begin putting the pieces of a founder’s story together. What are those things that they should be looking at? Like, where should they start? So the first, I mean, there’s, okay. So the first thing I always do is like, you have to really understand why you want to put yourself out there.
Kerry: Yeah. Right. Because that will influence what moments in your life you might choose , like just to give you an example. Like I have people that come through my programs and workshops that are authors or they’re writing about like I have a woman that like her book is coming out next year and if anyone who writes a book knows that even if you have a Penguin publisher PR team, they mostly do diddly squat and the sales of your book are really on you.
Patrice: So, what does that require? It requires you to put yourself out there. Like authors, right? So that’s a very different objective than, okay, let’s take Sarah Blakely. She’s the former founder of Spanx as an example. Why is she still showing up on social media? Most weeks. Why is she still in her car on her phone, sharing moments and sharing bits and pieces?
Patrice: She’s a billionaire. Why does she have to prove? I don’t know this, but my guess would be what brand loyalty? She’s probably going to launch a new company. She probably has future aspirations. She knows that she needs to keep that army around her and the way to keep that. So her objective for founder storytelling is quite different from an author.
Patrice: So first I have to really get clear. And why do you want to just start sharing because it is scary and uncomfortable at first, right? So if you’re not clear on that, you’re not going to do it, right? You’re so that’s number one. The second is once you get clear on that You’re like, okay, all right, now I know why I’m doing this.
Now you’ve got to go into the audience first. Now you start thinking to yourself, well, who, what part of my audience, like, what do they care about? And I’m not talking like they like Starbucks and they make six figures and they’re millennials. Like we’re not talking about, the typical demographics of when you hear all this stuff.
Patrice: Yeah. More psychographic stuff. I’m talking about like you need to get really deep on your on the psychographics of your audience and the psychographics are like what do they care about what do they worry about like what were their what are their inner fears what are their inner desires by the way AI I have an AI process that is like it’s like unbelievable and so it’s really short in the timeline on some of this market audience research but first you have to you have to do audience stuff first most people don’t do that they jump right into their story what happens is if you don’t do any of this stuff beforehand You jump into a story, but you might be telling the wrong story for that audience.
Kerry: Yeah, it could be a good story and this happens all the time like Someone’s telling the story and it’s like But I don’t really care this happened to one of my clients like she had this all over Pages and her website pages and i’m like, why are you telling this story? She’s like, well this this this I go Is that who you’re like trying to attract?
Patrice: Well, no, we changed our whole story. So it’s like you telling the right story is Half the battle not just how do I tell my pornography? So that’s the first thing then once you do that work Um, then you gotta do some life mapping and life mapping is it sounds horrible, but I have a really great process for it But yeah, you start you have to identify Moments and chapters in your life where you just got a brain dump without judgment You just got to kind of like get stuff out And and then once you do that, then you start identifying threads.
Patrice: I have a process for that I mean, it’s sequential. You don’t just say like, okay, I’m gonna I’m going to tell this story. I mean, you can, but like, if you want to do it more strategically ways to like do this in a, in an order where you like, like, I know that the story that I am telling is landing because you ever get people, I’m sure you get this people in your own line of work where.
Kerry: Like I’m showing up all the time. I am posting on LinkedIn, but it’s not landing. It’s not connected. I’m not getting any sales. I’m not getting any DMs. I’m not getting any comments. I’m not getting like that, and I’ve been showing up every day for. Blink it sometimes a year. Yeah. why? Because like the showing up and opening your mouth and talking, that does
Patrice: That’s not it. That’s not it. Like there has to be a little bit more intentionality in it. Yeah. especially that holds true with founder stories. Like I, there are so many moments in your life that are probably really cool. Maybe like, maybe, maybe you keep that to your girlfriends or maybe you keep that like, I’m certain podcast interviews, right?
Like being able to know how to pull that lever from your own life and fire what you’re trying to do is really strategic and powerful. I, you’re 100 percent right. I found early on that the story that I most love or that maybe my client most loves is not the right story necessarily for your audience.
Kerry: There, maybe it’s a corollary or it’s adjacent, but very often we’re attached to some particular moment or transition or, sort of hero’s journey and it’s not necessarily the right one or the right elements aren’t pulled out of it to deliver to the audience. I love that you have a process to bring people through that.
Patrice: Yeah, and the other thing too is like a lot of founders some of these deeper insights do start in childhood, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you need to start in childhood, , I can’t tell you how many times I’ve worked with people and like, there’s like a big moment, like, for example, there’s one woman I’m thinking of, she’s a former like executive at Disney and Her, , she had a very traumatic incident when she was like 10, , her dad almost died and it changed her whole family structure.
And her family basically fell apart, like after this. And she was like, basically it was just, it was like a horrible experience. And it was very pivotal. And like, when she was very convinced, like, this is the moment and this is how I want to start the story. But as we started digging into what she’s actually trying to do today in her business.
Patrice: It’s like, okay, that’s a great story and you should definitely sprinkle that in. To kind of hook that as your main, even pitching media they all know that like those moments in media, like get the attention of people like yourself, um, it wasn’t the right story for what she’s trying to do.
So she actually ended up starting 20 years after that. A moment when she already had a child and was working at Disney with her second child. And that’s where she started her story. And she was not even on her radar. That was like a bolt and that ended up being her main story. So you have to kind of like it, but she was attached to the story about her father.
Kerry: I have one more question. Then we’ll get to the questions from the audience because they’re being very patient. But what do you, what is the best way once you have this created, once you understand What your founder story is. And let’s, , let’s say it’s written down. Do you create a video? What is the best way to leverage it when you have it figured out?
Patrice: Yes. A very good question. So this is what I like to say. One founder story does not transform your business. Okay. The founder story is incredibly important, but it’s like anything you have to hammer the message, but the, but the, what’s beautiful about when you write your founder story and I’m a video person.
So I absolutely think in this day and age, like not to sound like, , no, I’m sorry. Like video is just shorter, it’s a shortcut and I don’t, you’re the queen of that. So I don’t need to tell you that. But, um, So I always encourage people that want to have your founder story somewhere on video.
You want to have it pinned somewhere on your LinkedIn page, on your, of course, your website, a signature of your email, on your pin to your TikTok, pin to your Instagram, like you just have it pinned. It’s always there. And it’s like, you just have it, you can send it to anyone you’re meeting or like a new client, like, what, take a look at this.
Like, it’s just so you, you just want to have it pin, but I say that just having it pin somewhere and it just living on your about page, which by the way, no one goes to your website until they’ve discovered you from a different platform. this is why I weave my story into it. Everything like I’m telling everything like my welcome email sequences when I have like thank you like our emails for my products like I’ll usually weave a little little like I weave in elements of my personal backstory into everything because People don’t remember either.
Patrice: So sometimes when you think you’re being annoying and I saw it’s a good sign when you are like I am so annoying like I feel that like all the time by the way like Like like that is usually an indicator that you’re doing something right because It doesn’t, it’s, people don’t pay attention. So you’ve got to stick to it.
You’ve got to say even the same phrases. So quite often with me, when I do work with people in this lane, we have like a social media storytelling bucket. Like here’s, here’s the little versions of like, these are the ones that you just can’t spit out on repeat, ? Um, Mike says, thank you for your help and advice over, over all of the years.
Mike’s taken some of my courses recently. So yes, thank you, Mike. I want to give you a chance to talk about what you have coming up. And by the way, I think I need to work with you. Can you share a portion of your founder story with us? Yeah, I mean, I have many versions, but like, , , one I’d say like, kind of like my hero version is, um, I’m a total late bloomer, , I, I literally was an intern at 29 and I have a very visceral memory.
Patrice: It was very insecure and especially , coming from news where. And all of that stuff is real, it’s real. And I remember being an intern. I mean, I was only selling books door to door for like three years around the country in my twenties. I was so lost. And when I finally got this internship, I was like.
I can’t believe I got this internship. I was at the time. com. And I’ll never forget like this guy, Jeff came up to me in the newsroom and he’s like, is it true? This is like months in and you are 30. And I remember like, he saw into the soul of my biggest insecurity. And now that I’m now I’m like, Oh my God, what a little shit, but I was like, No, I lied.
I lied. So I remember, but I remember in that moment, I’m like, Oh, the reason I say this is like, I’ve always had this feeling that like, I’m this late bloomer and I’m not. And it’s interesting because once I kind of like got going and I got into like, I was only in the, I was actually really only like in from 29 to like 35, 34.
Patrice: But I did a lot of things real fast. Yeah. I feel like my founder story is realizing that we’re all on our own time, right? Like everyone’s late on something, right? If there’s, and also I had my last kid when I was 43, I feel like that’s pretty late.
I didn’t know that. Not anymore. I feel like 43 is going to be like 35, right? But I also think like when I get, , when I got into the today show and I was doing all these cool things and then I got to the startup and I got knocked down, like it’s been a lot of like knockdowns, like COVID shut my brain, like literally 0, like knockdown.
We gotta keep going, we gotta keep going, and like, I think part of that is too, like, , my mom was a single mom, more or less, right, like, I definitely had an unconventional,not unconventional upbringing, but there was like a lot of, like, my house was not happy, , like, a lot of that kind of trauma, like, I had a different last name for many years, because my biological dad left the family, so, in a weird way, like, my whole life, Like, it’s sort of, it hasn’t been hunky dory and like picture perfect.
Kerry: And I think that’s also been a blessing because I think like, I don’t have any pretenses that that’s what life should be because I’m kind of wasn’t, and I’m like, okay, so in a way, , this is why I do what I do because I get really, it drives me crazy when. I work with a lot of men and women, but a lot of women and probably a lot of men, they just don’t admit it.
Patrice: I don’t have a story. I don’t have this. It drives me crazy because I know they do, , and I, and so. That, that’s like not a good word for my founder story, but like, it’s, it’s just kind of this like realization that, , this, I’m not a late bloomer and like, we’re all, , it takes a while to figure out what makes you click.
Kerry: I think there’s this notion with social media that like, everyone’s like born out of the womb, like. I want to be like, 20 now, like everyone has a million dollars. Like , I’m a six figure seven. It’s like seven figure this, seven figure this. I made six figures this month. Like, what are we talking about?
Patrice: There’s like this weird, we’re just like in this weird environment where we just were never in before. And so, And , when you start to like one, when you start to peel back the onion and you get into it, you realize like, Oh my God, this is like a whole nother conversation. I’m not going to even go down that tangent.
Sorry. No, You’re right. But when you, not at all, I was thinking about some, like. Sort of very similar parallel stories that I had, , and you mentioned, we looked on social media and this person made many figures this month and had a 100, 000 day last week, et cetera, et cetera.
Kerry: I started my business and let me be clear. I knew jack shit about business when I started nothing. I didn’t even know what scale meant. I was like, I don’t Google. What does that mean? But I remember asking my husband when we started, like I’m going to tap into our family savings, I need a little seed money and I’ll pay you back in like a month or two.
Okay, sure. I’m like, I can’t believe I saw on Instagram the other day, this guy sold the digital course and now he’s swimming in a pool full of cash. Why has that happened to me? Oh, my God. Well, that’s the thing, too. I know. It’s like this, this kind of performative, money making social media like strategy that so many people do.
Kerry: I mean, that’s the other thing, too. It’s like , for the first two years of my business. I mean, first of all, I was making nowhere near what I made, , my startup and it was, but as a new entrepreneur, like I was the same as you, I’m like, I didn’t, is this normal? I mean, I didn’t do a lot and I did it my first year in business.
Patrice: And mind you, I’m living in. New York and I have a double income family. Like my husband’s like not a, he’s not a finance bro. Like this is like, we, he’s in startups. This is, we both like, yeah, like my earnings are important to like the health of the family and, um, my first year in business.
I think I’m not, I think I know, cause I have it on a spreadsheet. I nutted 38 grams. 38 grams. That was my first year in business. I mean I Yeah, was it gross? I’m like what’s gross? What’s not? Yeah, I know the same thing. I’m like, I don’t know what that means I hope she doesn’t ask me a question about it And I’m like, no, but I wrote it yet.
Kerry: Oh my God. I met it. This is why I help people tell stories, not like financial models. So, but the thing is like, that’s my first year in business. My second year in business was better. Wasn’t that much better? Like for my net, I mean, and you start like. And that’s why I’m like, I’m a failure. Like this is, this is not working.
Patrice: I remember thinking to my husband, I’m like, this ain’t working. I’m like, I need to go back to get a job. And he’s like, give yourself six. He was actually my biggest supporter. He’s like, please give yourself six months. I feel like you can figure this out. So, but no one talks about that again, the vulnerable storytelling, because God forbid, like I say, my first year in business, I made this.
Kerry: What does that mean? I didn’t make, I, anything I made, I spent plus in my first two years, it was a complete disaster. Yeah. And I fell prey to all sorts of scammers , and it’s a learning process. It’s a learning process. Yet we have companies that are fully funded by VC money and make zero dollars and like, that’s cool.
Patrice: I don’t understand. Right. But somehow like small business owners. And people in our space, you just have, I used to, I feel like there’s more pressure to, yeah, I got to make six figures here and seven figures this. And it’s like, tell people you did. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. The line. Yeah, exactly. The whole, it’s like a whole other episode.
Kerry: Cause what? We should actually probably do an episode on that. Cause I can, like, we have a lot to talk about. So we do have a couple of questions to get to. And the first one is you mentioned AI in particular, I think this person is referencing the process of creating the psychographics in terms of using AI for other founder or brand story creation. Is this something you recommend or not?
Patrice: Yeah, actually I’m and this is kind of a great question and this is a perfect question for me to say this Yeah, so I have a really Totally like my own brain. This is not for me. Like, , like copying every one we’ve all had the chat GPT prompts, not about prompting, right? If it was about prompting, then we would all be millionaires right now.
Right? So, it’s about, I believe it’s like this, this deeper insightful. Can we use AI to help us emotionally connect to our audience? And so I went down this path because my students were using AI and they were turning in really bad stuff. And I was like, I can’t make this into a video for you. So I had to learn about AI by accident.
Patrice: Now I’m obsessed with it. But actually, um, I, for the next two weeks. So my workshop that I ran live, um, I turned it in. You can buy it. Yeah. And I, right now it’s, it’s, it’s under a hundred dollars because I’m working on getting it in smaller pieces, but then the price will go up. Permanently December 24th.
Kerry: Okay. But people can buy it now, but also if you buy it, part of that, I have a 16 page guide. That is my process of how I think about things like, how do you get this? What you’re asking, like kind of the psychographics, cause that is, it’s wild. Once you kind of use AI to get to the psychographics, it’s like a whole new world.
You’re going to, you’ll, you start using AI differently because you’re not just. Prompting it, like, give me five caption ideas that talk about how I can help someone make a video. Like, it’s literally like, here is the inner fear. of my person. Here are some moments, like it’s, and I, I lay this all out. So yeah, so I’m going to have to push you to my Instagram or my Instagram because it’s in my bio.
Kerry: I actually bought your workshop. I haven’t had a chance to do it yet, but yeah, I did. I am a big fan of yours. All right. We got a question from Joey and we talked a little bit about this earlier on. It seems that social media is a necessary evil. How else can we get our message out there? Is there any other way that you recommend or is social really where it’s at?
Patrice: That’s such a great question. So here’s the thing. I just dropped the thing in there. thanks. So I, I sometimes, and this is probably, I’m just thinking this off the top of my head. I actually think we probably need, if we took social out of that definition, social media, I mean, social media is just, it’s marketing.
It’s just, it’s all it is, marketing. LinkedIn is social media. Like, , I mean, how do you define social media now? Right. Like social media platforms. I mean, Can you not use it? There are always examples, there’s always outliers of people that don’t use it. I think it’s a lot harder, , I think if, , if you have a very plugged in network, if you are coming and you’re very known in your industry and you are already a superstar or people know you in person. I actually think it’s a total first world bratty problem I really do I saw you do a post on that the other day and I was going to mention it Yeah, I do because honestly you want to talk to someone that comes from nothing or like comes from an oppressed government or someone that has no economic opportunity and you want to tell them I don’t like social media so much.
Patrice: There are too many opportunities. Most of the world does not have the luxury of not liking social media because it is such a means to an end that they have no choice. And to be honest with you, when I, when my business. Shut in COVID. I felt the same. I was not on social media. Like me, my Instagram was looking at my kids on the Brooklyn Bridge with pretzels.
Like I was like, , it was a family album. It was personal. I didn’t use it, I didn’t even know that you could use social media like I, cause I was working in a corporation a lot. Like I wasn’t into this world. So I remember when I all of a sudden was pregnant with my third kid in New York. All of a sudden, like all my money stops.
Patrice: The next day I went straight to my Instagram. I’m public now and I’m no, sorry. I got to get on because I got to build, it wasn’t even like I needed to build an audience. I was literally like, I just need to start seeing if I can attract. People that want to learn from me. And do I have anything that people want to hear about?
Like I had no idea. I actually don’t view social media as a necessary evil, I think, , I have, I love I mean, right now the world’s on fire. So it’s hard because there’s so much suffering and pain right now. But aside from that, I actually, my Instagram community are like my people, I’ve made so many friends on it.
Patrice: It sounds cliche, but I date LinkedIn. I feel like I got to third base. I can never quite get all the way home with LinkedIn, it’s like I am kind of third base. I like to flirt with it. I’m like, okay, this is good. And then it’s, and then third base, I’m like, and I’m done. Like I know LinkedIn, I find LinkedIn scarier, which is, , we all, so maybe when, when you say necessary evil, I kind of, when I think of like, oh, LinkedIn is sort of, I find very placed.
I mean, I’m on it and I, and I, I have to be committed to like the habit. Otherwise it’s very easy for me not to show up there. But I also think that’s my own story. I have about it and I’m probably not giving, I’m not giving it what it is, what I’m Energy and time and effort and personality to LinkedIn that the Instagram that I do to LinkedIn.
Patrice: I don’t have a newsletter. That’s the one thing that I wish I would have done a lot sooner as a business owner is I had people like what’s your list? I’m like Now I’m like, oh, oh that’s what people buy yourself so actually I mean that’s one of the ways people buy your stuff But yeah, I mean, but if you’re a beautiful writer and you loved, I love writing my newsletter, but it’s, it’s, uh, more time consuming for me.
So I don’t know what your thoughts are, Kerry? Like you’re on, I know you have a newsletter too, right? Yeah, I do. I do. And I think there’s a bunch of different paths to, um, to the end sort of goal. And, and I think it varies a little bit. So I, part of it, I think is. What platform that you enjoy as a business owner.
Kerry: Like if you absolutely loathe let’s Twitter or X or whatever the heck it’s called, then if you’re trying to show up there every day, eventually it’s just, eventually it’s going to drop. So it’s a combination of that and, where your audience is. And I do think our audiences are a little more fractured, much like TV, then they were a few years ago, certainly pre pandemic, because we all spent a lot more time on social media when we were at home.
Patrice: So while you may have had somebody who was strictly on LinkedIn, now they’re also on Tik TOK and YouTube or whatever. And so figuring out what your audience is. Primary platform is, and then what some of those, , secondary and tertiary platforms are, and then a combination of like all of that knowledge and figuring out where it’s important to put your time.
Patrice: Yeah, that’s what I like you said too is yeah, it really matters what you like because Lookin theory, I should probably be on YouTube because It’s video But honestly YouTube is a big commitment and if you’re not you’re gonna half ass YouTube There’s no reason to be on YouTube because like YouTube is The rewards, the good thing about YouTube is like it rewards you though.
So the people that are able to be consistent with their videos and their posting and actually gap and garner a community, it’s so smart and it converts so high and I haven’t done that even though I know that it could because I kind of know like, Oh, I don’t, I’m not committed to all that YouTube. Work so you have to also balance what you can take on.
Absolutely. 100%. Well, we have gone, I could talk to you forever. We have gone over. I want to, I want to give you an opportunity to tell people where they should connect with you. Obviously we’ve got your workshop. URL up on the screen. But like, if people are interested in learning a little bit more about you or your founder or your brand story or where they should connect with you, where is it?
Patrice: I mean, it’s probably this way most people do. Right. I mean, my main home is Instagram. I’m very active there. My poor husband, he didn’t sign up for this life. Yeah. But Instagram, that’s where I like to talk about everything like storytelling and, , my program, but also my newsletter.
Like I have a weekly newsletter. what, if let me, I don’t know if it’s, but so I’m going to drop my Instagram handle, and in the handle, there’s a drop down, sign up for my newsletter, you can get on my founders fire waitlist for 2024, you can, I kind of highlight what’s going on. I have a video mini course, that’s amazing.
Patrice: It’s all about how to Tell a powerful video in 60 seconds. I also incorporate AI into it, so it’s updated and that’s really great, like, a crash course for someone that just literally has never made a video before. Yeah that’s a good way.
Kerry: And my website as well is on Instagram. You are fantastic, Patrice. Thank you. No, I think this is really the first time that, I mean, we worked in the same building, although at different times at 30 Rock, but this is the first time we’ve really spoken. I don’t know. I know we have so many friends, like everyone.
Patrice: I have no idea. I love that. And it takes me to move across an ocean. I know. That’s a little lame of me. I should have connected earlier. No, oh my God. Stop it. Stop it. Um, well, this is so wonderful. You’re so smart. I love it, this is so clever.
Kerry: You’re like inspiring me. So this is, this is really good. You’re welcome. for being here and to the audience. Thank you for joining us. That was one more fantastic episode of the Kerry Barrett show. And we will see you back here. Same time, same place next week.