Not long ago, both my girls were achieving some major milestones with bulldogged determination and without as much as a hint of a hiccup. They learned to talk, walk and eat on their own all within the first 16-18 months of their lives. No, they didn't get it down the first, fifth, or maybe even 500th time they tried. Yes, they fell, they failed, and they cried. Yet, they just kept going and kept doing until one day I clearly heard the word "mommy" or saw them take their first wobbly steps.

Fast forward a couple years though and an unwanted stowaway -- frustration -- has already hopped on their milestone train. My oldest just started preschool and her latest challenge is learning to hold a pencil correctly. Unlike the infant years, she's more apt to quit after trying something once or twice rather than keeping at it until she's succeeded.

I can relate. Until recently, one of the biggest boogeymen in my business was VIDEO.

The thought of being on camera was about as appealing as swapping my cats' litter box, so naturally I kept putting it off. I wouldn't even try it and I'd tell myself I'd get by without it. But deep down I knew video was one of the not-so-secret ingredients to a successful online business, and that's because people respond more to video (i.e. moving pictures and a story) than any other type of online content.

If you're not telling your story through video, you're missing a huge opportunity to connect with the right people [Click to Tweet]. The good news is that video can bring your business to life without a big investment or tons of techie know-how.

Here’s all you need to get started:

  • An easy to upload camera. Whether it’s a Flip Cam, iPad, iPhone or the camera on your computer, use something that will make it easy to record, edit and post your video online.
  • An account with a video sharing site. I use YouTube, others use Vimeo. Just like everything else on the web, there are a lot of options. Do a little research to find what’s going to fit your needs. The point is, pick one that’s easy for you to upload and easy for others to view and share.
  • Good sound. This can be as simple as being close enough to your video recording device or you can splurge and get a good microphone. Either way, sound quality is far more critical than the picture.

You might be thinking, “Great, I’ve already got what it takes to make a video, but what the heck should my video be about?” Excellent question, and here are a few ideas:

  • Your Story. When you go to someone’s website, would you rather read their story or watch them tell it? Your website is working for you all the time, and using video on it is almost as good as being in person. When you tell your story on your website, you leverage your time and reach thousands (or more) people at once. Tory Johnson, owner of two million-dollar businesses and Good Morning America contributor, tells her captivating story about health and wealth here.
  • Your Opt-in. Offering your website visitors a free gift is a great way to start building a warm following. The downside? Everyone is offering something for nothing. Even if you’ve got an irresistible title and stellar content, it’s getting harder to get people’s attention. Record a short video that speaks to what your audience wants and how you’re going to meet that desire. You’ll grab their attention and instantly start building trust and credibility (See how I do it here).
  • Your customers' biggest questions. Do you find yourself answering the same questions over and over? That’s a clue to use video to answer those common questions in a memorable way. You’ll also demonstrate your knowledge and position yourself as an expert.
  • Your solution. Many product-based businesses use video to sell their products (um, there's a whole media industry based on this right QVC & HSN?). Even if you don't sell physical products, you can talk about a solution you provide based on your expertise, a specific client problem and the way you uniquely approach and help solve that problem for your audience. My client Peg Kusner of Peg Kusner Design uses this beautiful, personal video on her sales page for Beyond Your Kitchen Table, a course for business owners and professionals who work from home and want to design their own workspace.
  • Your best customers. Testimonials are gold and video testimonials are platinum. Encourage your best customers to provide their testimonials on video, or better yet, interview them about their business, the challenges they were facing, why they chose your solution and the results they reaped by working with you (Check out how Chick-fil-a does it here).

I love the written word, and maybe that’s why I was so resistant to video at first, but the fact is video inspires people to take action more than text. Most website visits last a matter of seconds, but a good video can hold people’s attention for precious minutes.

Feeling inspired to try video? Leave a link to your video in the comments below so I can give you some feedback.


  1. wendy on September 12, 2013 at 10:25 am

    I need to get on this bandwagon. It’s a battle though. Coming up with the script, putting your best face & hair forward. my first video took ages to pull together. Hopefully the next will be easier!

    • The Story Stylist on September 12, 2013 at 10:49 am

      You’re right Wendy. The first one is always the hardest but it gets easier each time after.

  2. Ariana on September 12, 2013 at 12:54 pm

    I love this Gayle. I am like you and have been reluctant about video. I am always obsessing about what I look like and how I sound. I am just gonna do it. I know how powerful it is and how it boost my business. Thanks 😀

    • The Story Stylist on September 12, 2013 at 3:48 pm

      Go for it Ariana! I know what you mean about obsessing over it. Just be you and you’ll be fine :).

  3. Michelle on September 17, 2013 at 10:19 am

    Gayle, I feel the same about it as the rest of you. The thought of putting myself out there in video makes my stomach churn. What did you do to get comfortable with doing it?

    • The Story Stylist on September 17, 2013 at 11:01 am

      Thanks for the comment and question Michelle. The fear of public speaking is one of our top fears ever. Studies have found that many more people fear public speaking than dying! Video is an extension of that. I’ve approached video in the same way I’ve approached public speaking. Here’s how I handle the anxiety around either:

      1. Acknowledge the fear and anxiety, then decide what will help you face it and move forward.
      2. Preparation always quells my anxiety, so I craft and practice with a script off camera first.
      3. Get yourself in a confident mindset. For me, that’s dressing up and putting on a bit of makeup. Whenever possible, I shoot my videos after I get my hair done (because who doesn’t feel sassy after a visit to the salon?).
      4. Post your script or crib sheet just over the top of the camera eye so you’re still looking at your audience but you have notes you can refer to in case you get stuck.
      5. Smile, then smile until it hurts. I swear that I’m smiling my biggest smile when I’m doing my videos and then I watch and it looks like I’m barely grinning. Be real, and be real BIGGER.
      6. Practice, practice, practice. Not every video has to go public, right? Do some low-pressure, low-risk videos first just to get used to the experience.

      Good luck Michelle. Let us know if you decide to give video a try!

  4. Nancy on September 18, 2013 at 9:08 pm

    Gayle, I loved YOUR video! You looked great and definitely want folks to tell their story using video. Thanks for sharing with us!

    • The Story Stylist on September 19, 2013 at 8:57 am

      Thank you for the kind words Nancy. Really appreciate it. Hope you’re having a great week.

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