So, back in the day, after the early stages of being in the throes of looking after my little people, I had this niggling thought that I wanted to start my own business. As you do!
I jotted down my list of ideas, did a truck load of Googling, podcast listening, Facebook group stalking, and so on, and so forth.
During all of this biz research, I found myself getting stuck on one point. *ok, many points, but let’s just focus on this one for today, ha!
It was this notion that my biz idea had to be something that I was passionate about.
What I felt called to do.
Um, no pressure, right?!
Sure, I LOVED my chosen biz idea (photography!).
I loved taking photos of my kids (and basically anyone who was willing to smile whilst I was in their vicinity).
I was no longer an absolute beginner, and had fallen hard for the process of being able to (mostly) produce what I saw in my head.
But was I passionate enough? What did that even mean? For me, this concept was a little too abstract, and quite frankly, it kept me questioning my biz- for aaaages.
Fast forward a little way into my biz journey, and when things inevitably didn’t always go to plan, or felt hard, or I got impatient, etc. etc.….I started to feel stuck. I felt like I needed something to bring me down from being all up in my head, something that would ground me. Something that reminded me of why the heck I was doing this crazy biz thing!
What I know now, is that for me, and maybe for you too, it was finding my ‘why’ that actually made real sense (as opposed to an abstract ‘if you’re passionate every thing will fall into place’), and it provided a piece to the business puzzle that I didn’t even know I needed.
So, I started searching. And somewhere, through all of that hunting and pecking on the web, I watched Simon Sinek’s Ted Talk, on How Great Leaders Inspire Action. *yes, it’s worth it.
And I realized, that knowing my why would not only ground me on those tricky days, it would also form the basis of my entire business. Um, yep…it’s that cool.
He spoke about how most companies/brands focus on communicating the ‘what’ and the ‘how’ of their business, but fail to focus on the [most important] piece of the puzzle – the ‘why’ of their business.
‘People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it’. – Simon Sinek
ok, I know that finding my why is important, now what?
First up, you can actually have two types of ‘why’ when it comes to your business.
A personal why, which might look something like: you want to have the flexibility to do the school drop off & pick up; you want to set your own hours; you want to be in charge of how much earning potential you have etc. etc.
And an over arching why – your reason/s for why on Earth you are doing what you do; the heart and beliefs of your business. And this is the juicy one we’ll be focusing on right now!
why is knowing your why so dang powerful?
My why is something I come back to time and time, and time again. The biz journey is a roller coaster, yes?! Throw in some extreme highs, and lows, and everything in between, and, well you get the idea.
Your why grounds you. It helps keep you stable in the unstable times, the impatient times, and all of the ‘what the flip am I doing??!!’ times.
Your why gives you guidance for:
- what you say yes to, and what you say no to
- your ideas
- your decisions
- your intentions for the present and the future of your business, and
- it reinforces your commitment, when things are going great, or not so great.
Knowing your why filters through to:
- your messaging
- your marketing
- your website
- the clients that you attract (and repel)
- how you serve your clients
- how you show up in your business
- your confidence
- the work that you create.
So, kind of a big deal, right?!
But! Here’s a hot tip. Please, PLEASE don’t get overwhelmed by it all, and do nothing about it!
For me, it helped to take some time to sit with it, and mull over the following questions and prompts, and to allow the thoughts and ideas to come and go, and see what stayed. Plus, your why can change over time. It can evolve as you and business will inevitably evolve. And that’s ok! Keep working on it, you’ll get there, and it’s worth it.
questions and prompts for finding your why
So, how the heck do we figure it out? How do we take this concept and apply it in real time, in our own beloved business? The following questions and prompts are super clever at getting those cogs turning in your mind, and your inspiration flowing.
- What excites you about your work?
- What excites you about the service you provide?
- What impact does your work make in the world, to your audience, to your clients?
- What transformation does your work offer your clients?
- What is it about photography that made you pursue turning it into a business?
- What do you believe about your business, about what you’re doing, about who you’re serving?
- What inspires you to keep going, even when there are stumbles and obstacles along the way?
- What does your business give to you, and what does it give to your clients?
- What are you saying to your audience/ideal client, and why are you saying it?
And one last task, to bring this baby home! If we only considered what our What and How for our business is, a statement about our business might look a little something like this:
(WHAT) I’m a lifestyle family photographer. (HOW) I use my camera to take photos of families.
But what if we went and did our ‘why’ work? What might it look like then?
(WHY) I value and believe in natural, soulful, dreamy, heart centred family photography. (HOW) I create space for families to spend time together, in an easy, relaxed way, and I capture their innate beauty that shines through when they’re surrounded by their people. (WHAT) I am a lifestyle family photographer.
Ohhh yes! Now you’re saying something!
so, in a nutshell…
In this world of creative business, one that requires you to put your creations, your work, out into the world, and into the hands of the people you are serving….your why will ground you. When the roller coaster dips, and turns, and climbs, knowing your why gives you clarity, consistency, and is at the centre of your brand story.
When you’re working in alignment with your core beliefs, your values, and your desires, you’re creating a business that is fills you up, and is by *your* design. AND super amazing extra BONUS? This will show up in everything you put out into the world. Your work, your messaging, your brand voice, your entire biz vibe!
Which will mean that YOU will stand out in the sea of boring.
You will be designing your business to serve both you and your clients needs.
You will shine as the photographer that you’re ideal clients want (need!) to work with. Exciting, huh?