7 Tips for Writing an Authentic “About Me” Page

tea-web-design-spiritual

Recently, I sat down with a client, over tea in my home office, to work on her “About Me” page. She had been paralyzed for weeks trying to write something but had been unable to produce more than a couple of sentences. I offered to help her.

 

It wasn’t only this client; this happens all. the. time. Crafting a compelling “about me” page shouldn’t be so hard, but it is. It is no wonder big companies employ copywriters and brand strategists to help them articulate the essence of who they are, what they do, and why they do what they do.

 

While most of us don’t have that luxury of hiring strategists and consultants, the truth is: an “About Me” page needs our loving and careful attention, because it is one of the most visited pages on every website.

 

Why do we have such a hard time describing ourselves? Shouldn’t that be the easiest thing to write about?

 

One reason we struggle is a deep rooted fear that others won’t like us.

 

So we compromise.

 

We compromise who we truly are for a “more professional” version of ourselves, a version that is “more appropriate” to society or to the business world (like me wearing boring business suits and pantyhose when I love bright-color dresses, ruffled skirts, and dainty lace.)

We compromise because we don’t believe in the power of our uniqueness and the gifts we bring to the world.

 

As you craft your “About Me” page, above all, please remember this: Do not compromise who you are. Do not neglect the WHOLE of who you are.

 

If I have learned anything from being in business is this:

there’s nothing more exhausting to our bodies (and depressing to our souls) than editing who we are to achieve “success” and adjusting who we are to be more attractive to certain clients.

 

The beauty and the magic of the work I aspire to help you with, is that by being your true self, by being authentic and vulnerable, your tribe will be able to find you. After all, then and only then, will like minded souls feel that resonance that makes them choose you. I have created this guide to help my clients craft their “About Me” page, authentically. I hope you, too, find it helpful.

1. Use the first-person tense:

Sweetie, talk to us in the first-person. When I land on your site, I want to hear from YOU! The third person approach is outdated and doesn’t feel genuine. Every knows you probably wrote it yourself.

“Mariela was born in Cuba, has an MFA in Writing and Literature from Bennington College in Vermont.” OK. That’s the third person. And it’s boring. Don’t do that. Pretty please.

 

2. It’s not all about you:

OK. It is the “About Me” page after all, but it’s not all about you. What I mean is that the purpose of this page is to make a connection with the potential client or reader who lands on that page. Without compromising who you are, think about who they are and what they need from you. Write thoughtfully – thinking of your story and the parts that will appeal to your target audience.

People search online looking for a service or product like yours. They have a particular need, and your services or product can be like a balm to soothe that issue. Remember that when writing your “About Me” page.

 

3. Tune in (exercise):

Before writing, I always like to sit on my chair, in front of the computer and put my right hand on my chest. I take a minute to breathe and center myself. Often, I massage the area over my heart, in a circling motion. I do that about twenty times to connect with Source and with my true self. Then I ask questions such as: “Why am I writing this?” or “How can this blog post be of utmost service to my visitors?”

For writing your bio, ask yourself questions such as: “Who am I?” “Who do I serve?” “What do they need from me?”

 

4. Use your imagination:

To write authentically, I like to imagine someone sitting right in front of me – someone who is in desperate need of my help. Whole-heartly and with deep compassion, I write to that person, telling her how I can help her.

If you only had three minutes of that person’s time, what would you say to them about who you are or what’s important to you?

 

5. Use your voice:

English is my second language, and so I have many quirks when I speak and write. They bother me to the point that I don’t write as much as I would like, thus keeping myself from fully sharing my truth and from helping others. My quirks are part of who I am; they give a particular flavor to the way I speak. I must accept and love them, like we all should do to any of our (perceived) flaws.

Also, when I talk to women in my circle, I address them as: sweetie, lovely, or darling… So that’s the language I use here in my website. I used to think that it wasn’t professional to do so, but it’s really authentic to me. And I gotta be me. And you gotta be you.

Some women use curse words on their site; I’ve heard them say that it is important to them to be themselves that way. I respect that even though I rarely use curse words. Others use sarcasm heavily (again, not me) but I so appreciate their voices and the courage to be themselves…

So, darling, yes, write the way you talk. It gives people a really good sense of who you truly are.

 

6. Use an amazing picture of yourself:

You know people don’t read much these days, so a good, honest picture of yourself can do almost as much for you as your well-written bio. I actually became a photographer after being a web designer and seeing the need my clients had for a good photo for their “About Me” page. An outdated, dark, and grainy picture wasn’t going to cut it, so I invested on a good Nikon camera and started taking headshots that captured the person authentically. I call them Soul Portraits.

 

7. Take the pressure off:

The pressure is what traps us sometimes. Relax. You can always change the page later. That’s the beauty of electronic communication (versus) print. Really, be intentional but don’t sweat it too much.

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In summary, we spend most of our lives camouflaging, editing who we are, accommodating our truth, because of the expectations of others, or to avoid conflict. But we must realize that not being who we really are is more dangerous to our well-being and our success than being liked or making others a little uncomfortable.

 

May we learn to make a daily practice of this, on our website, on social media, face-to-face.

 

May we choose to speak our truth and be our true true selves.

New Client Launch | Web Design – Marianne Kelsey

Project: Marianne Kelsey’s Website Design

Project Description

Marianne is a gem of a person, and I respect her a great deal for many reasons, including for living her bliss, doing work she loves: preserving books.

Marianne needed a professional site to take her business to the next level, and we worked together to make that happen. In addition to the regular pages (Home/About/Services/Contact) her site incorporated a gallery, map of the areas she covers, certifications, FAQs, social media, etc.

Working with Marianne was a dream. I loved the experience and it gave me lots of inspiration for my own business; it was one of the reasons I choose to work with more creative entrepreneurs who want to make the world more beautiful.

Visit her Website

Project Details

Client: Marianne Kelsey
Date: Spring 2016
Skills: Web Design, Business Guidance
View: www.mariannekelsey.com

Gratitude

“Mariela is a genius and a wizard.

What a gift to have someone with such honed skills and technological wizardry, who also has a huge heart and appreciation for creativity, help folks in the creative fields.

She had so much enthusiasm about learning more about my work, what I do, and the services I offer.

She wants to help assist women in bringing their creative dreams into the world, and helping to manifest them. I can’t imagine having a better experience working with someone to design my website than I did with Mariela. What a tremendous gift!

My father took one look at my website, and told me it was the best website he’s ever seen. I have had many people look at my new website, and tell me how absolutely impressed they are with it. So far, I have noticed more than a double in the number of inquiries I receive since I got the new website.

Thank you so much Mariela for sharing your gifts and skills with me. You made the whole process so easy, and you asked all the right questions. I grew through this experience.”

-Marianne Kelsey
www.mariannekelsey.com

Marianne

Interested in Working Together?

Contact Us

When You Hate Your Job | How To Live Your Bliss

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Last week, someone sent me this email, and I thought I would share my response here, since it’s a question I get often. I hope it’s useful for you as well.

QUESTION:Mariela – you are someone who usually gives me good spiritual advice …. What do you do when a job/career brings you down & makes you feel like you can’t accomplish anything? I want to just quit but I have to support myself some way…. I have an idea to start my own business but then doubt creeps in … Any advice? I know you’ve mastered this many times.

ANSWER: Hello lovely! Sorry that took me a little bit to reply. I wanted to have time to sit and reply to your note with the level of attention it requires

First, know you are not alone on this. So many of us feel or have felt this way. I remember reading on Forbes in 2014 that more than have of all Americans are unhappy at work. There’s an epidemic in this society. Most of us feel this enormous emptiness inside, from doing unfulfilling work.

I adore this quote: “There is only one way in this world to achieve true happiness,” said William J. Reilly in 1949, “and that is to express yourself with all your skill and enthusiasm in a career that appeals to you more than any other. In such a career, you feel a sense of purpose, a sense of achievement. You feel you are making a contribution. It is not work.”

I think you need to create an exit strategy and stick to it, because you love yourself too much to stay in an environment that is bringing you down.

SHORT TERM: 1. As a short-term fix, I would do an exercise called: “The Positive Aspects Of.” During the day at work, focus only on the positive aspects of being there. Example: the paycheck, the nice desk, that one really lovely co-worker, the view from the window, the fast computer, the cold water in the cooler, etc… When I’m in situations or places that bring me down, I have trained my mind to become hyper-focused on the positive; I go out of my way to find the good, the beautiful, the useful… Or I think about someone I love, and I allow that love to spread through my body and bring a smile to my face. I can be stubborn that way, only focusing on the positive; it’s the best kind of stubbornness, IMO. smile emoticon But it takes practice.

2. The importance of self-care is something I’ve learned the hard way. I used to laugh at people who talked about it. “Ain’t nobody got time for that!” I literally didn’t have time, but I was forced to make time. And I have to admit, I also felt uncomfortably guilty about practicing self-care, and I’ve seen so many women feel the same. But the truth is, when we don’t practice self-care (which I describe as nourishing yourself physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually) we have a harder time dealing with work situations and people, our minds aren’t clear on what steps to take next, and we don’t have the strength to leave.

Just putting these two strategies in place have worked wonders for people in my circle… and for myself too.

LONG TERM:

3. At some point soon, I think you should find another job. I’m not talking about a permanent job; just one that pays the bills temporarily but is not soul-sucking. I’ve seen many people do that (although they had to make sacrifices, cutting down on expenses) but with a less-stressful job you’ll have more energy to dedicate to the long-term strategy of doing work you absolutely love, work that is authentic to you, fulfilling to your soul, and helpful to the world. Some of us get caught up with the ego saying things like: “that kind of work is below yourself, your skills…” “What would people say?” “You didn’t get a master’s degree for you to work at a flower shop.” When that happens, we must remind the ego that this is temporary, that we have a strategy in place for the life we want to create for ourselves. Following through with a dream is one of the most empowering things ever. You feel you can do anything after that, and according to, again, William J. Reilly “Life really begins when you have discovered that you can do anything you want.”

4. For going solo, I recommend, again, becoming single-focused on knowing yourself and your skills. Who am I? What do I adore to do? What does the world need from me? It takes time to answer these questions. I took me a long time (years) to figure it out, but, of course, it’s so worth the inquiry, and I still have half of my life ahead to do that work.

I really found the concept of Ikigai (attached here) very helpful. I would print it, spend some time playing with it, and put it on a wall where I could see it every day. It’s fun!

5. This last advice can seem less practical, but it’s my favorite, because it’s effortless. Several people have said the same in different ways, but I love how Tom Kenyon puts it: “following your deepest sense of joy will lead you to be in the places where you will most likely survive.” I believe that my joy will always guide me, even if the path ahead is dark. I believe that by nurturing myself and my dreams, doing what bring me joy daily, is the path that will lead me to fulfillment. It’s easy. It’s fun. It’s healing. It’s the way!

I hope this is helpful to you. I’m sending you a hug. There’s nothing worse than spending 8 hours a day (40 or more a week) doing work you don’t love. Patience, courage and determination are needed now.

I’ll never forget the day I “woke up” and decided that something had to change. I continue to wake up to different areas that need change, and I give myself a strategy and time-line now, working daily toward that dream.

Much much love to you. Hope to see you at church one of these Sundays.

Three Ways to Start Living Your Life’s Purpose Right Now

For as long as I remember, I’ve struggled with finding a way to give of myself to the world, to make a contribution that is healing and uplifting to others, and that is authentic, nourishing, and fulfilling to myself.

I know many of you can relate, so I’m sharing a journal entry from long ago, which offers, what is in my opinion, the best formula for living our life’s purpose, right now. I have re-written it because it needed context, but the advice is the same.

I’m also sharing it because I need to start taking my own advice 🙂

Our egos like to think big and to focus on the future. I believe the best way to guarantee success and fulfillment, to ensure a happy and prosperous future, is to start BEING that way and to start CREATING NOW.

1. PRACTICE DAILY WHAT YOU LOVE

Ask yourself daily: “What would I LOVE to do today? What do I WANT to do today?” Instead of “What SHOULD I do today?”

SHOULDs are often ways in which we betray ourselves. Every time a “should” appears in my vocabulary, I see a red flag. What we LOVE is our beacon and will always guide us in the right direction. What we love is what Elizabeth Gilbert calls HOME.

 “Your home is whatever in this world you love more than you love yourself. So that might be creativity, it might be family, it might be invention, adventure, faith, service, it might be raising corgis, I don’t know, your home is that thing to which you can dedicate your energies with such singular devotion that the ultimate results become inconsequential.”

Perhaps this is the most important lesson I’ve learned about living a life of purpose:

You must love what you do, and you must love it the way you love your children, your partner, the way you love yourself.

hummingbirdSo, daily, we must ask ourselves: What would I love to do today?  Paint, write, garden, bike, knit? Help a woman find her style? Perhaps it’s taking pictures of hummingbirds. Perhaps it’s going hiking; if so, bring a friend or two or a group. Then go do it. Every. Day!

Maybe we are not in a place where we can make a living doing this work, but the only way to have a shot at  being successful and fulfilled from it, is to do it daily, as the sacred act it is.

“If you can find someone who can stay on mission, on task, with focused intensity for an entire decade, I will show you someone who is world-class in their chosen area of endeavor… The Beatles spent countless hours playing at summer festivals before you ever heard of them; Peyton Manning, widely regarded as one of the best quarterbacks to ever play football, has been known for his work ethic since he was a child…

Remember, you work your tail off for fifteen years and you are suddenly an overnight success.” -Dave Ramsey

“Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know its normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work.” -Ira Glass

2. BECOME A HOTSPOT FOR JOYbecome-a-hotspot-for-joy

Keep finding joy everywhere, and keep vibrating that JOY out to others around you and into the Universe. Your only job is to become a hotspot for joy. People will come to you for that.

You will find fulfillment when you can reconnect others with their own joy. Don’t wait. Do it Now.

Okay, this advice is personal to me, but find that one thing you could be a hotspot for, that others come to you for. Is it healing, love, nourishment…? What do people come to you for? What’s your medicine?]

Give others the gift of your high pure vibrations.

3. ASK YOURSELF: HOW CAN I SERVE THE WORLD TODAY?

Again, why wait? Start helping today. What does the world need from you today? Does the world need more beauty? More kindness? Does someone need your diplomatic skills, your strategic mind, your nourishing presence? Does the world need your wisdom, your way of organizing a household?

Go help someone today, for free.

 

 

 

On Being Multi-Passionate

Many of you know my story, about how a few years ago I left behind a look-good-on-paper financially-stable professional career to Live my Bliss, to follow my passion… Except that I didn’t know what EXACTLY my bliss was… It wasn’t that I didn’t have any passions; I had too many.

I felt I needed to make a decision moving forward. “Should I be a writer? A photographer? A film-maker? An artist?  A public speaker? A facilitator of women’s workshops?”

I think I lost part of my hair trying to answer those questions. It was impossible for me to pick JUST ONE profession, but somehow I felt I HAD TO!

And then one day, OhMyGoddess, one day I had this clarity… No, this clarity had ME. I didn’t have to choose. There isn’t a career police, a law, that says I’m supposed to have ONE profession, that states you are only supposed to help others in this ONE way, and that you have to be that one thing ALL your life.

That was, perhaps, the most liberating day of.my.life! That struggle. Gone! Boom baby! I can be whatever I want. I can let my spirit guide me to make a contribution to the world, to make beauty, in whichever way it chooses.

That’s what living on your terms means. And it feels fabulous! 🙂

Since then, I’ve found lots of research to back my case, especially from happiness and creativity researcher Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi who found after studying thousands and thousands of creative people, that they are often multi-talented, multi-passionate.

He wrote: “If there is one word that makes creative people different from others, it is the word complexity. Instead of being an individual, they are a multitude.”

I love that! A multitude. Reminds me of Whitman.

“Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes.” – Walt Whitman

I also love this quote from Emma Watson on the subject:

 

 “I want to be a Renaissance woman. I want to paint, and I want to write, and I want to act, and I want to just do everything.” Emma Watson

 

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I think we should all have the freedom to be a renaissance kind of person.

Recently I found this video on the subject, and I was like: “Damn! I wish I had found this earlier.” It would have saved me a lot of headache. So here it is. Enjoy!