What Shonda Rhimes Can Teach Entrepreneurs About Writing Their Own Stories

How to Tell Your Story

A few weeks ago I told you about all the innovations introduced by Intuit at its QuickBooks Connect conference. In addition to showcasing new programs, the conference featured several celebrity guests, including TV producer and writer Shonda Rhimes.

Rhimes is an entrepreneur in her own right. She rules Shondaland, her production company, which has produced some of the most popular and buzzed about TV series of all time, including the long-running (14 years on the air) Grey’s Anatomy. Rhimes is also the author of her memoir, “Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand in the Sun, and Be Your Own Person.”

She had a lot of advice for the entrepreneurs in the crowd. Naturally, as a writer Rhimes put it in terms of having to write — and deliver — your own story.

How to Tell Your Story

Rhimes offered her 5-step plan for framing your own success story:

1. Deliver

You are responsible for telling your story. You have to show up and deliver. Your story is how you’re seen. Be compelling when telling it.

2. Be Courageous

Don’t take the safe route. Take a risk.

3. Know You Belong in the Room

Never wait for anyone to tell you you belong. If you question your right to be in the room, other people will start to question it too. Don’t squander the opportunity. Just do the work.

4. Speak Up

Hold your audience’s attention. Tell people what you’re going to do so it’s not a surprise when you do it. And then work hard. Be ambitious and audacious when telling the world your goals

5. Like Your Audience

Get inside their shoes and understand them. Are you your audience?

Rhimes added, the key to keeping your key employees is making them feel appreciated.

Like many entrepreneurs, Rhimes needs to be stimulated to work best. She said, “The minute I find I can do something easily, I start looking for something else to do. I love doing something I’ve never done before.”

She also suggested you check in with yourself, “Is the flame that used to light you up inside still there?”

After her talk, Rhimes had a conversation with journalist Lisa Ling. You can watch it here.

Photo via Shutterstock

Rieva Lesonsky Rieva Lesonsky is a Columnist for Small Business Trends covering employment, retail trends and women in business. She is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a media company that helps entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses. Visit her blog, SmallBizDaily, to get the scoop on business trends and free TrendCast reports.