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Knowing what to include in a bio can be intimidating for business owners, but it doesn’t need to be. Just think, the last time you read someone’s bio, what was going through your mind? Did you think Wow, I still don’t know what this person does or did you say, Hey, what’s with all the fluff? I don’t care what your cat’s name is! The gamut runs from skeletal to overflowing with details. It’s hard for some people to know what to put in and what to leave out, so I have some very simple questions for you to ask yourself when you decide what to include for both long and short bio pages.
Who is my Ideal Client?
This question should be first and foremost in your mind. Think about it: the bio is like a party invitation for your business and there are certain clients who you really want to connect with. These are the clients who share your philosophy, who are looking to work with someone with your credentials, and who want to take their business where they know you can lead them. I love who my bio attracts. What would your Ideal Clients care to know about you?
How long should my bio page be?
Well, kind of like an evening dress, it depends on the occasion. You can make your bio as long or as short as you want, as long as it includes everything you want it to. Have a couple of versions prepared, a short and a long one, that you can switch up based on the situation.
For instance, if you’re preparing a presentation for a client you’d really like to work with, an Ideal Client, you might want to bring out the big guns and include your full bio. This would be about the size of a one page Word document. I’d also include this version right on your website, so potential clients can get a good feel for what you can do for them. This is where you get more detailed in your experience and credentials, and sprinkle in some personal details that show you as a whole person.
A short bio would be about 1 paragraph long, and would focus more on a few of your highlights. You could use it at the end of your articles or emails, on your Facebook page, or in a program for a speaking engagement.
Should I have my tag line in my bio?
In short, no. A bio is about you, it’s not for you. It should sound professional but soft, not like a sales pitch at all. You don’t have to include a laundry list of everything you’ve ever done in your life not just your most important accomplishments, the ones you feel best represent who you are and what you’ve done and this will lead them to what you can do for them. And feel free to list your past clients, if they fit your Ideal Client profile.
Should I include personal information in my bio?
As much as you are comfortable with. Tell people your story! Not just who you are now, but how you got there, especially if it’s why you’re doing what you’re doing. The last line in my bio talks about my greatest accomplishment – having the kind of business that gives me the income to have a 3 day workweek, giving me 4 days to spend with my daughter!
So you see, your bio is really a tool that weaves your professional life with who you are as a person. People connect with your passion, they see you have a skill that they need, and they get a feel for your values and abilities. There is a certain cadence in a bio that goes back and forth from business to personal, so that the reader can see you have balance in your life and work. This is a chance for you to introduce yourself, and for the reader to you. Make a good impression!