Story-Telling & The Origin of Thrive…

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At our last Thrive Meetup, during the workshop part of the event, we learnt from lifestyle photographer, documentary videographer, and editor, Roxy Van Der Post, about how to tell an engaging story about our business.

We discussed how important story-telling is, and that as human beings, we are wired to take in stories. Stories enable us to transform our world view, and can literally change our minds!

We reflected on the fact that as female solopreneurs operating in an ever-changing, competitive business landscape, we sometimes feel overwhelmed by our competitors, and struggle to identify what makes us unique. Roxy made us realise that our individual story can be our differentiator.

The workshop was packed with practical advice, and Roxy introduced us to seven types of story which we could write, when communicating about our business:

  1. The origin story
  2. The impact story
  3. The teaching story
  4. The values story
  5. The ‘why’ story
  6. The objection story
  7. The vision story

Roxy talked through each type of story, and the Thrive Meetup attendees had the opportunity to start writing a draft of their chosen story, incorporating the four key elements of a story: Plot, Place, Purpose and People.

Since that Thrive Meetup, I have been reflecting on the origin story of Thrive. This is definitely a work in progress, but this is what I have written so far…

I started up Thrive in 2018, originally as a free business magazine exclusively featuring female founders and women in business. As a female founder, I was frustrated that I couldn’t find any suitable role models in the local business magazines I came across. I also knew that a significantly smaller number of small businesses were led by women, compared to those led by men. So, powered with that frustration, I decided to start up Thrive.

I ran the Thrive Magazine for just over a year. I had been worried that the magazine wouldn’t be well-received, as I thought people may not understand why there is still a need to exclusively feature female founders and women in business via a dedicated media outlet. However, I was pleasantly surprised with the encouraging feedback I received. As well as launching the magazine, I also set up the Thrive Meetups, as I wanted to meet my readers. The aim of the meetups was for my readers (mainly female solopreneurs) to make meaningful connections and offer each other peer support. 

At first, we met in a pub in central Brighton, but we soon outgrew that space, and eventually found our new home at Barclays Eagle Labs in Brighton. Pre-pandemic, we met on a monthly basis to learn together and offer peer support to help each other get unstuck.

Since the pandemic, I have managed to shift all our activity online, and whilst it is sometimes frustrating to not all be in the same room, it has been exciting to be online, and reach out to female founders beyond Brighton and Hove - in Bristol, Suffolk and Manchester. We have even had some international attendees - from Holland and Germany!

You may be asking yourself, ‘So, what happened to the Thrive Magazine?’ To be completely frank, the business model didn’t work! Whilst I managed to build up a fantastic following of readers, sadly, I couldn’t secure enough sponsorship to enable the magazine to become financially sustainable. And with the demise in printed publications, at the time, I felt that it wasn’t worth pursuing other business models - such as a subscription-based model.

But, every cloud has a silver lining, and whilst the magazine didn’t work out in the long-term, the Thrive Meetups have been thriving, and I have managed to combine my passion for promoting gender equality and my expertise as an entrepreneurship educator and startup adviser to design and deliver more practical, business support initiatives to the Thrive community. During the past couple of years, I have developed a range of events and support for female founders, social entrepreneurs and women in business via our Thrive Workshops, Business Clarity Club meetings, and a virtual conference in 2020.

In a nutshell, this is the origin story of Thrive! 

I think I need to cut this down a bit, so consider this a first draft…

I would welcome any feedback you have about how I can improve my story-telling. And don’t forget to share your stories via our social media channels on Instagram and LinkedIn.