How to: Write a Bio Fast

By Lee Collins •  Updated: 09/15/22 •  9 min read
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Recently a friend posted on Facebook about being stuck writing a bio for his partner and I thought “Hey! I’ve got a system for that!”.

Here’s what he was looking for:

I’m trying to write a short bio for my biz partner and guitar mentor Jimmy Dillon.

But what do you call someone who’s been a singer, songwriter, guitarist, playwright, musical director, musical producer, teacher/mentor, non profit School Of Rock creator, who’s played with the likes of Bob Dylan, BB King, Bruce Springsteen, Bonnie Raitt, Carlos Santana, and a laundry list of other world famous artists.

How do I condense this down into a single sentence bio? Or what 3 words would sum all of this up?:

Even though I’m fairly gifted with words, I’m having a hard time coming up with the perfect description.

If anyone comes up with something I like, I’ll gift you our entire library of guitar lessons valued at over $1,000.

You can use it yourself or gift if to a guitar player friend.

Got any ideas?

Here is what I sent Jason:

Best known as a guitarist and songwriter, Jimmy Dillon has seen over 20 years of success as a playwright, musical director, musical producer and teacher who has enjoyed playing with everyone from Bruce Springsteen to Bob Dylan to Carlos Santana.

Let’s use this example to break down how my Fast Bio Writing Formula works.

My Fast Bio Writing Formula has 3 parts:

  1. The reason for the bio
  2. Duration + other skills
  3. Credibility builder

But, before you start writing, you’ll need to think about a few things and gather some info:

You can do this on a piece of paper or in a word processor OR if you want the worksheet I give to all my clients you can download it below.

  1. WHY are you writing the bio? What is your desired end result?
  2. How long have you been doing/offering this?
  3. List 10-20 skills you have relative to this desired result.
  4. Who have you done this for/with? (Think prior clients, etc)
  5. If you have testimonials, list 5-10 ways they say you made them feel. (Some examples people have used to describe working with me are: organized, clarity, less stress, actually hears me, calm, etc)

Alright, let me show you how to put it all together:

1. Lead with the reason for the bio.

In this case what Jason and Jimmy wand to sell are guitar lessons. That’s our lead, “guitarist” (optionally along with another relevant skill).

Because Jimmy is so overqualified, I decided to also add “singer” to this first part because it’s a strong supporting skill.

2. Reinforce with duration + other relevant skills/attributes.

If you’ve been in the industry for 10-20 years it absolutely speaks volumes compared to someone who has only been doing the thing for a year. Who would YOU rather learn from? If you have the timeline, highlight it here.

And, because Jimmy has done so much in his music career, we want to highlight any strong ancillary skills he may have. I chose playwright, musical director, musical producer and teacher but this could easily be adjusted as necessary.

Note that I finished the list with “teacher”. This is important.

In this bio chose “teacher” because I know most people have the psychological tendency to remember the first and last items in a list better than those in the middle. It’s called the serial position effect.

Knowing this, we start with “guitarist” and we end with “teacher” – the two attributes we want to highlight from someone wanting to sell guitar lessons. Make sense?

OK, let’s finish strong…

3. Finish with your credibility builder.

From the list provided, we look at who Jimmy has played with (get your mind out of the gutter). We have some greats to choose from: Bob Dylan, BB King, Bruce Springsteen, Bonnie Raitt, Carlos Santana and probably many more.

I don’t know his audience so I just randomly picked 3 choices I like – and this is key. The people to list here should represent the artists most likely to have songs the student wants to learn to play. (If you’re writing a business bio, it should list companies like the ones you are hoping to attract to avoid bad leads.)

Hot tip: Sometimes, depending on the industry, the bio sounds good technically, but can lack feeling. Jimmy needed a little more soul in his bio, and I believe these little tweaks give it a little more oomph:

Jimmy is the legendary guitarist legends ask for by name. Best known as a guitarist and songwriter, Jimmy Dillon has seen over 20 years of success as a playwright, musical director, musical producer and teacher who has shared the true spirit of his craft and touched the hearts of countless people while playing with everyone from Bruce Springsteen to Bob Dylan to Carlos Santana.

As you can see…

Writing a Bio doesn’t have to be hard.

Yes, arguably, writing your own bio may be one of the hardest things you will ever do… but that’s why I created my Fast Bio Writing Formula in the first place, and it makes it easy as pie whether I’m writing a bio for a client, myself, or if the client is writing it with my help.

Basically, just use the formula and fill in the blanks and you have a great starter bio.

Here’s an example template you can use:

Best known as a __________ and __________, <NAME> has seen over __________ years of success as a __________, __________, and __________ who has enjoyed <WORKING/PLAYING/ETC> with everyone from __________ to __________ to __________.

And here’s another one:

Best known as a __________ (and __________), <NAME> has enjoyed a __________ year career working with companies like __________ and __________ and __________ to help them __________, __________, and __________.

Or even:

Best known for __________, <NAME> has enjoyed a __________ year career working with companies like __________ and __________ and __________ to help them __________, __________, and __________.

There are several more examples, including how to shorten your bio for various social media platforms in this download.

Do you see how flexible and powerful this can be?

It’s short, snappy, and direct and you can use this formula in social media, on your website, and the intro for your podcast, for a guest podcast, or even for a stage presentation – it works virtually anywhere!

Here’s another example using my own bio…

Air Force veteran and former corporate VP, Lee Collins is best known as one of the early pioneers of Direct Response Marketing on the Internet.

Since 1999, Lee has parlayed his experience into his Top-Down Consulting Framework to help thousands of clients build and optimize their “Repeat Profit” marketing systems resulting in more sales, more profit and most importantly – more freedom from their business with less stress, and without the typical overwhelm and frustration.

When Lee isn’t helping clients solve marketing and systems problems, he enjoys time with his wife contemplating by a campfire, exploring a mountain or desert trail in his Gator-green Jeep Gladiator, or planning their next epic adventure.

You’ll notice I followed the formula but changed up a few things in writing my bio…

1. Lead with the reason for the bio.

I am best known today as “one of the early pioneers of Direct Response Marketing on the Internet” but the higher-level clients I love working with generally love the fact that I have a military background AND that I have leadership skills from being a former corporate VP.

So this little mod allows me to highlight all that up-front.

2. Reinforce with duration + other relevant skills/attributes.

“Since 1999” says I was doing this for over twenty years.

I specifically name “Top-Down Consultant” and “Repeat Profit” marketing systems as a way to tickle the potential client with my systems mindset.

It’s highlighted with what I help them achieve “more sales, more profit and most importantly – more freedom” without what they typically experience “stress, overwhelm, and frustration”.

All of this speaks directly to and is important for my ideal client.

3. Finish with your credibility builder.

For most bios, I typically recommend listing companies you have worked with/for who best represent companies you would like to work with in the future. (Even though nearly every business seems to think they are a special and unique unicorn, if they see you have worked with other lawyers it gives them a sense that you can also help them.)

For my bio, I chose a slightly different approach.

The way I work with clients is a little more personal. So I decided to let them into my life a little more.

I do this by highlighting activities they might be able to enjoy doing more of when I help them get the chaos out of their business and they start to experience more time freedom – I have even gone on week-long, off-road adventures with a few of my clients!

In this version, because I know I love working with adventure-minded clients, I have chosen to focus on the feelings they will have vs just a list of companies I have helped.

contemplating by a campfire”
exploring a mountain or desert trail”
planning their next epic adventure”

(I do highlight my very long list of companies in other places, just not in the bio.)

You’ll notice I also mention the types of problems I solve (marketing and systems problems). I do this because I know these are front-of-mind problems for my ideal clients.

They know their marketing isn’t working, or they would be seeing more leads and sales. They know their systems aren’t working, or they wouldn’t have to be in the weeds every day fixing problems.

The key in this Fast Bio template is flexibility.

It doesn’t have to be perfect.

No framework, formula, or system will fit every situation perfectly.

But it will give you a starting point – and that’s always better than starting with a blank page.

I hope this is helpful in writing your bio!

When you get it written send it over and let me see what you came up with!

And, as always, if you need any help book a call and we can take a look at where you are, where you want to go, and decide if I might be able to help map out a plan to get you there.

Lee Collins

Air Force veteran and former corporate VP, Lee Collins is best known as an early pioneer of Direct Response Marketing on the Internet. Since 1999, Lee has parlayed his experience into his Top-Down Consulting Framework to help thousands of clients build and optimize their "Repeat Profit" marketing systems resulting in more sales, more profit and most importantly – more freedom from their business with less stress, and without the typical overwhelm and frustration. When Lee isn't helping clients solve marketing and systems problems, he enjoys time with his wife contemplating by a campfire, exploring a mountain or desert trail in his Jeep Gladiator, or planning their next epic BBQ roadtrip.