October 18th, 2022 - Personal Brand

The Art of Storytelling

I think we’ve all experienced the soul-crushing angst of trying to write about ourselves, trying to sell ourselves. The last time I did this, I stared at my blank computer screen for days. I simply couldn’t find the right words to share. I went a little crazy going in circles, writing, deleting, and trying again.

Trained as a reporter, I’m skilled at telling other people’s stories. Why couldn’t I tell my own?

It’s simple, really. While some people have no problem being their own hype person, most of us dislike talking ourselves up. So, when we’re tasked with writing a professional bio, we get incredibly uncomfortable. Trotting out our academic accomplishments, career highlights, and years of experience is about as fun as a colonoscopy. That’s why almost every bio reads precisely the same. Absolute snoozeville.

And it’s why I ended up with massive writer’s block, gave up, and hired a colleague. Sure, I still messed with the phrasing and fussed over some words, but I had the heavy lifting done for me.

That was a few years ago, and I’m still flooded with relief whenever I’m asked for my bio. I hand it over without hesitation or trepidation.

Since then, I’ve leaned into helping others with this task, creating bios that tell beautiful stories and turn readers into clients and employers.

Bios shouldn’t be formulaic templates – that’s what resumes are for. Bios should tell your story, engage, and build trust. Why is storytelling so powerful? When people are invested in a good story, their brain physically responds. A good story can trigger the release of cortisol (the stress chemical) or oxytocin (the feel-good chemical). And who wouldn’t want to leave their target audiences – potential clients or employers – with these warm fuzzy feelings?

If you’re staring at the blank page or embarrassed of your LinkedIn profile, please feel free to reach out to me at shannon@blackcoffeestudio.com. From now through the holiday season, I’m focused on supporting individuals to tell their stories. We’ve created some great packages that include styling and photography. We can also create great social and even dating profiles. Let’s polish your online presence!

With gratitude,

Shannon Larkins

Inspired by a little blackcoffee

Some of my favourite moments are spent in search of something beautiful while I drink my first cup of coffee and hear the house wake up. From there I move on to the paper and the news of the day. In this space, I’ll share some of those inspirations.


Shannon Larkins

Founder, Blackcoffee Studio

Over the course of 15+ years, Shannon has grown Blackcoffee Studio out of a love for building brands and reputations. She serves up Blackcoffee as a morning ritual while caffeinating clients and readers on the regular. You can find her at www.BlackcoffeeStudio.com


Blackcoffee Studio

Blackcoffee is a premium brand development agency, offering luxury brand experience to clients at home in Calgary, Canada and around the globe. Brands create experience, set you apart from the competition and drive growth. Anyone can bulid a business but only the exceptional can create a brand. Are you ready?

Shannon Larkins

Shannon Larkins

Hi I’m Shannon, founder of Blackcoffee Studio. A former reporter, spin doctor and politico, I now focus on using my powers for good.

I create mighty brands for clients and share their stories with the world. I’m also rather addicted to my nutty family, dogs with pushed in faces, Mexico and of course coffee … black.