Nick Smiling

The headlines • Ran a UK Digital Agency for 20 years • Wrote three 5-Star Thrillers (on Amazon) • Wonderful wife & two terrific teenagers • Curious, friendly and entreprenuerial 

Now mix copywriting, speechwriting, storytelling and 25 years experience to create stories that mean business.

In 2015, I felt a bit lost.  

There was no one reason. I was 45. Healthy. Great friends. Great family. And I was Managing Director of a web agency with clients on 3 continents. It was the business I’d started 18 years before, which made me one of the lucky ones ... right?  

Living the dream 🏝  

And yet. 

It felt like too much AND not enough at the same time.  

Ever had that feeling?  

The sense that your time is running out to do something brave?  

In 2015, I had that feeling every day. I laid awake at night watching the clock, trying to work out what to do. Because the world seemed suddenly fragile. My daughter had been ill. My parents had been ill. The lady who sold me my first life insurance policy had dropped dead at her desk. At 50.  

Something had to change.  

I stepped back and looked hard at my life. I still loved business, but the agency had grown past the point where I got to do the parts I loved most. Listening. Copywriting. Telling stories.  

Wait… telling stories?  


When I thought about the stuff I’d loved (and done well), it was all about telling stories. To myself. To the team. To our clients.  

But that wasn’t all.  

In 18 years I’d never made a cold call, placed an ad, or hired a sales team.  

All our clients had come through word of mouth.  

Through stories.  


And right there, with that thought, I had my thing.  

I wanted to build a new business around telling better stories, for myself and for others.  

So I took a leap of faith.  

I stepped back from day-to-day control of the agency and got to work.  

Now it’s 2019.  

Four years on, I have written 5-Star thrillers on Amazon, renovated a 16th-century cottage, created the YouTube channel AND built this new business.  

Now, I write novels, consult with companies, and work with clients to craft their stories.  

And I love it.  

Because the right story can unlock the value hidden inside your product, service or personal brand.  

You already know this.  

The products you love. The people you respect.  

They tell better stories.  


BUT it’s not so easy for everyone.  

Maybe you think you don’t have a story.  

Maybe you struggle to tell it.  

Or find the meaning.  

Or connect it to your clients, customers and tribe.  

That’s where I come in.  

We all have different strengths.  

This is mine.  

I listen, ask questions, and pull out the stories that resonate and persuade.  

Because great storytelling isn't just about the writing.  

It’s about the result.  

It’s about telling stories that mean business.  

I know that because it turns out that I wasn’t lost in 2015.  

I was just ready to make a change.  

Nick (hand-lettered)

P.S. If you feel the same way, or just want to tell a better story, say hello.

My Career Timeline

  • 1994: Writer for TV production company.
  • 1995: Producer, IBM Internal.
  • 1996: New Media Producer, IBM
  • 1997: Founded web agency, Semantic Over 20 years developed clients in UK, Europe, North America and Asia. (No advertising).
  • 2016: Started writing thrillers.
  • 2018: Sold Semantic.
  • 2019: Stories That Mean Business

Too boring? I agree. Try this.

11 True Stories (And 1 small lie)

By the way. Did I ever tell you about that time that I ...  

  • Sailed through New York City in a Hurricane?
  • Wrote a vision speech for the Head of IBM PC company?
  • Got shipwrecked in the Caribbean?
  • Quit my fast-track corporate job (without a safety net)?
  • Built a business with clients around the world?
  • Tripled a quote to win a client?
  • Wore pyjamas (by mistake) to a Mensa IQ Test?
  • Studied post-grad business psychology?
  • Blagged my way through police interrogation?
  • Wrote a psychological thriller (as an experiment)?
  • Crossed the Atlantic in a 3-man yacht?
  • Directed a TV ad for a flag-carrier airline?

All these hooks are true (except one), and each illustrates something about me, my values or experience.

They're typical of the stories I've used in business over the past 20+ years, and they represent 6 of the 7 stories that mean business.

See why I choose the stories above (and where I lied)

7 Stories That Mean Business - thumbnail
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