Raking it in without
breaking your soul

Bio Makeovers

It’s so hard to write about yourself, isn’t it? As uncomfortable as it is to write a bio, it’s one of the first places people will go to see who the heck you are and what makes you credible.

We try to get around the awkwardness and bolster the credibility and bulk up the word count with formality. We add acronyms and list certifications. We jargon it up, like we’re putting on armor.


No one cares. Because all those letters and phrases aren’t relatable.

Formality creates distance between you and your next client. You know what they really wanna hear? That you understand them. That you’ve been in their situation and know how to help.

Let’s make over a couple bios so you can see how people get this wrong and what would work better.

Yoga Teacher

I googled “yoga teacher kalamazoo” and though I have changed the person’s name, this is the bio of the first person who came back in my search results:


Monique is a Registered Yoga Teacher with 500 hour certification trained by Marlene Stevens. Monique has practiced Yoga for over 20 years and has taught Yoga since 2008. She is a Licensed Massage Therapist and a certified Thai Massage and Bodywork Practitioner. Monique started her professional career as a Registered Nurse in France.

In addition to teaching her usual classes, Monique offers private yoga lessons and bodywork. For private lessons and bodywork, please call or write.

​Let Monique unburden you with yoga and massage, and inspire your joie de vivre!


You know who understands this bio? Monique. And other trained yoga teachers. Who are very obviously NOT Monique’s ideal client, since they don’t need her services.

The rest of us are out here like “Who’s Marlene Stevens? Is that supposed to impress me? Is 500 hours a lot? A little?”

Labels like “Thai Massage” and “Bodywork Practitioner” throw me off because I don’t know what the heck any of that means.

And then she ends the bio with a phrase that may be relevant to her and her French background but I can’t pronounce, even in my head.

None of this makes my heart leap with connection.

My rewrite:


Monique knows how the body strengthens and relaxes – she started out as a registered nurse. Her medical studies and curiosity about the human body led her to yoga, where she found a practice that stretched her weary muscles and centered her soul. Monique discovered a joy of life through yoga. So she formally trained for over 500 hours under a widely-recognized expert (link to the expert’s site) to become a teacher. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, you can drop into her classes and shine your heart.


This isn’t perfect but it’s far more relatable. Without the jargon stopping you in your tracks, this rewrite keeps you reading all the way to the end. It tells you enough about her to trust that she knows what she’s doing, minus the alienating lingo.


Same, I just googled “therapist kalamazoo” and picked the bio of the first person who showed up. Name changed.


I am a licensed professional counselor in the state of Michigan with over 15 years of experience in working with children, adolescents, adults, families, and individuals seeking support on a variety of levels and concerns. A few of my preferred theoretical approaches include Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Solutions Based Counseling. I appreciate working with clients from a holistic perspective as well. I have found that tailoring a treatment plan to the specific needs and goals of each person is important for progress and growth.

I have experience working with clients in a range of areas including but not limited to anxiety, depression, transitional life challenges, family systems, and relational concepts.


Do you see some of the same issues as the yoga teacher?

We’ve got some jargon in places that are actually super critical for a potential client. “My preferred theoretical approaches…” sounds very important! This is what would tell me whether we’d be a good match. But the end of that sentence has two capitalized phrases that only people who are already in the therapy world would know.

You’ve gotta write your bio for people who are brand new to this whole thing. Your audience is potential clients.

Also, let’s get specific. People relate to details. This therapist seems to work with… absolutely anyone. “On a variety of levels and concerns.” So…. basically anything. This is so generic and vanilla that there’s nothing to grasp on to.

My rewrite:


My very favorite part of being a therapist is seeing my clients catch that critical insight, when the thinking that’s been holding them back finally gets out of the way. Getting to that beautiful place is different for everyone, so I spend time with my patients, crafting a tailored therapeutic plan.

I’m not the kind of therapist that just listens to you talk and asks you how you feel. I partner with you to develop solutions to your life’s biggest obstacles.

I specialize in working with folks who have anxiety and depression, particularly related to life changes and family struggles. But you don’t have to pinpoint your problems before you meet with me. Let’s connect and figure it out together.


Which one feels like the person who’s gonna really see you, understand you, and help you? One of these bios feels like a hug.

Quick aside: Yoga teacher used 3rd person and Therapist used 1st person. Which is the better way? Write a third person version if someone else is going to read your bio out loud (like introducing you before a talk). Use a first person version on your website.

Data Visualization Specialist

Easy to judge those in other industries, so let’s take one more spin through this, now focusing on data visualization. This is the real bio for a real data viz specialist, Bridget Cogley. She volunteered herself as part of my Boost & Bloom course.


Interpreter turned analyst, Bridget Cogley brings an interdisciplinary approach to data analytics. As Chief Visualization Officer at Versalytix, her role uplifts data visualization within the org and helps shape the vision. Her dynamic, engaging presentation style is paired with thought-provoking content, including ethics and data visualization linguistics. She has a deep interest in the nuances of communication, having been an American Sign Language Interpreter for nine years. She is currently a Tableau Hall of Fame Visionary. Her work incorporates human-centric dashboard design, an anthropological take on design, ethics, and language. She extensively covers speech analytics and open text. Prior to consulting, Bridget managed an analytics department, which included vetting and selecting Tableau, creating views in the database, and building comprehensive reporting. She also has experience in training, HR, managing, and sales support.


Now, if you know something about the field of data visualization, much of this bio makes sense to you. But then again, if you already know something about the field of data visualization, you aren’t likely to need to use Bridget’s services.

We gotta go Beginner Mind here, my friends.

My rewrite:


Bridget Cogley deeply understands the nuances of communication. She’s the Chief Visualization Officer at Versalytix, where she leads data development to help clients see insights and take action. Bridget used to manage an analytics department, so she knows what data-informed decision-making can do for a company. Clients love her human-centered approach and how she integrates ethics with design.

Bridget’s communication skills extend to the stage – she’s a frequent keynote and trainer. She’s been awarded as a Hall of Fame Visionary at Tableau (a data visualization software company) for her efforts to teach clear data communication. And she’s been an American Sign Language interpreter for nine years.


I stripped out some of the jargon. I clarified how Bridget’s experience connects to the audience. And I introduced activities Bridget would like to do even more, like train and keynote.

Do you see the differences? Do you FEEL the differences? Write a bio that exudes confidence and relatability – that’s how you build credibility.

PS If you’re curious about my bio, you can see one here and one here.

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