“So it’s something about fairytales?”

Jan 6, 2020
written by Will Staynes
in category Stories
Toward the end of last year, I decided to start a new stories and case study agency. This to me was exciting. Though I still dreaded having to tell my Mum.

That’s because she worries. About everything.

So as I prepared to tell her that I was leaving my job – and therefore the comforts and certainty of a monthly salary – I expected carnage.

But instead, she was almost unfazed.

She did briefly misunderstand what Very Telling was, thinking that it had something to do with writing fairy tales and children’s books.

But then once she understood, she could see that it was something that I really wanted to focus on. That led her to then ask with genuine interest about whether I knew what I was doing (I said ‘TBC’); whether I had enough money saved up (I changed the subject); before asking whether I was still happy to drive to Brighton at the weekend (I was. We had a lovely day).

Since then, there’s been a few broad responses to the idea for Very Telling.

There’s those that say: ‘Are you sure all of this is a good idea?’

It’s the kind of response that tends to follow a pause in the conversation.

When I’ve told someone about Very Telling via WhatsApp, I’ve seen that small ‘typing…’ status at the top of the conversation disappear and reappear – a common sign of friends or family struggling to get their response right, so as to not offend.

Face-to-face, it’s a response that comes just after a small gasp or wry smile. Before the person hesitantly asks, ‘…are you sure all of this is a good idea?’

Otherwise, they’ve simply said: ‘Trust me: it won’t work’.

This one tends to come from *that* one friend or family member who unbeknownst to you and everyone else, apparently knows all there is to know about starting a business.

And sometimes, these people are so impressive in their knowledge and approach to business, they haven’t even had to ask what Very Telling is. Because they know all there is to know about starting a business, whatever the business is.

Which leads them to say that the business plan is shit. That the idea is destined to fail because I don’t know about some obscure marketing/business guru that only they’ve heard of. And that it definitely isn’t a good time to start a new business because of the economy. Or something to do with Brexit.

And then there are those that say: ‘Oh my god, that’s incredible. You’re the most amazing person I’ve ever met in my life. This is a great idea. And while we’re speaking, I think you’re incredibly handsome too.’

I assure you that a semblance of this sentiment has been expressed.

This kind of response still comes with a touch of scepticism – but it’s constructive. Which means that it comes with ideas; links to others I should be speaking to; ideas for different business models; and helpful pointers for how I should describe Very Telling.

But whatever the response, I actually agree that they’re all valid.

This is something that’s very new for me. It’s out of my comfort zone, and I’m having to learn as I go along. It makes perfect sense then that people have their doubts.

And whatever the reaction, I’ve always enjoyed the conversation – before coming away firm in the belief that Very Telling will work.

Put simply, that’s because I understand the kind of stories and case studies that brands and charities need from their customers and community. I’m good at getting them. And although it sounds a little twee, I really enjoy speaking to people.

While it’s early days, I don’t have all the answers. I suspect most people at this stage of starting a business were probably the same.

So if you’ve got any tips or thoughts, get in touch. If you have any contacts that you think could benefit from more stories and case studies, let me know. Or if you’re in need of a few stories or case studies yourself, then have a look at our services page.

In either case, it would be lovely to hear from you.