19. The Three Problems

The second part of the story framework is the problem.

We touched upon this a bit when we identified the main character. However, the problem can be a bit harder to nail down because there are actually 3 different types of problems the main character is facing.

  1. External
  2. Internal
  3. Philosophical

I got these categories of problems from the great Don Miller who is a master at using story to build your brand.

Before I came across his work I always thought that there was just the external problem that needed to be solved.

But as we saw in the last couple of sections, the problems the Hero experiences usually run deeper than just the obvious.

This person wants to get out of debt. Great. That’s the external problem.

Is that all we need to address?

No, because there is an internal problem as well. Maybe the person doesn’t feel confident in their ability to get out of debt. They think it’s impossible even though every day they feel an overwhelming burden from the debt they’ve created.

There can also be a philosophical problem.

Are the only people that get out debt those that have high-paying jobs?

If you can understand the problems that the Hero faces then everything completely changes down from your messaging to your content to the products and services that you offer.

The 9-5 Blogger

The Main Character is a Mom with 2 kids that works a 9-5 job. She has started a blog to hopefully surpass her salary so she can stay at home and spend more time with her family and not have to worry about bills.

The External Problem

There are a number or external problems that she faces but let’s just focus on one: time. Time is an external force that is working against her. She never seems to have enough time to get things done with her blog like she wants.

If only she had more time then she could quit her job sooner.

The Internal Problem

She’s constantly worried about not doing the right things or if she’s even good enough to write about the topic she wants to write about.

She never knows what to work on next which means she wastes the limited time that she does have doing absolutely nothing.

The Philosophical Problem

She sees a lot of other bloggers write cheap content for pageviews and she wonders if that’s the only way to get traffic.

Can you make money writing in a way that provides you with satisfaction?

She also wonders if the only way to make money is by talking about how to make money.

A Busy Mom Business

If you want to see how we explore this Hero of the Busy Mom then check out our mini-site: Busy Mom Business.


Hopefully, you can see that by just understanding the problems of the main character you gain a better understanding of the things your brand should focus on.

It helps you see what kind of content should attract your Hero.

It helps you understand the offers that should get them to open up their wallets.

If someone tells you their exact problems then you know what things you shouldn’t waste your time talking about and instead will focus all of your energy on the things that will help solve the problem.

We will get more into that later on.

For now let’s take a closer look at each category of problems.