If we don’t know the purpose of what we’re doing, it’s going to be that much harder to do it. Knowing the reasons behind WHY we start our businesses is the beginning of a better understanding of our brand and a step closer to our audience.
People don’t buy WHAT you do, they buy WHY you do it. —Simon Sinek
Simon Sinek is one of my absolute favorite people in the world! He’s able to make profound observations on behaviors we find in ourselves. He has a very famous TED Talk called: Start with Why. He wrote a book by the same name which you can find here. (not an affiliate, I just love Simon!)
Here’s a clip of his talk and if you have a moment, watch it, it will give you some very valuable insights.
In this clip he explains that people don’t buy WHAT you do, they buy WHY you do it. He also says that people want to have an emotional connection to you. This is exactly why it’s so important to know your purpose.
Now, what do I mean by saying you have to know your purpose? This is the definition of purpose:
So since we’re talking about the purpose of your business, we’re referring to the reason why your business was created, why it exists. This is the first step to gaining clarity about your business.
You have to DEFINE your brand by identifying its purpose.
I divide purpose into two parts: Inner Purpose + Outer Purpose. In this post, we’ll be discussing your Inner Purpose, we’ll leave Outer Purpose for another post but if you want to know more about Brand Clarity in general, I invite you to have a look at this Brand Clarity Workshop.
Inner purpose is the force that drives YOU.
The easiest way to identify this is to ask yourself this question:
How is this business going to shape MY life?
Now the answer to this question is going to look different for everyone. We’re all driven by different things in life and our purpose will most likely change as we grow and mature. Here are some examples of different inner purposes:
Freedom to Travel
The freedom to get up and leave when we wish and travel the world.
The ability to work anywhere we like without being tied to a specific place for a job.
Freedom from the burdens of financial stress. Having our finances in order so they’re not a problem.
Bringing a partner home
Having the ability to bring our partner home so they can work with us, or work from home.
Staying at home with kids
Having the ability to stay and care for our children while we work from home.
These are all reasons that drive many of us to run online businesses. These light a fire inside us and push us to make these businesses flourish and be successful. That fire is fueled by our desire to make one or all of these inner purposes a reality in our own life.
Everyone talks about the benefits of having an online business and often, these benefits are the very reasons we started our business in the first place.
The stronger your desire or purpose, the stronger your resolve will be to make sure your business is successful.
When you identify an end goal in your business, it’s easier to keep it in mind. This helps as you struggle through failures, stay up late nights working, put in long hours, etc.
Many people talk about the sweet side of working for yourself at home and yes, it is great.
But there are some very real downsides to having your own business and/or working from home like:
- It takes a lot of work to start a business
- You have to wear many different hats to run a business
- There’s an element of loneliness when working from home
- A sense of alienation from people who don’t understand you
- Work life balance gets harder when lines are blurred
This is why it’s important to define your inner purpose and decide if there is a good enough reason inside you that will continue to drive you to continue to work on your business and push through all the downsides you could encounter.
If your inner purpose is strong enough it’ll be easier to come up with the dedication you need to start and run a business.
I’ve had the privilege of working from home while raising my two boys and I consider myself blessed.
My inner purpose was always to stay home with my kids, even before I had them. I knew that was something I wanted for myself when I first started.
I quit my job as an Art Director in a small greeting card company to work for myself about 2 years before my first son was born. I had started a steady trickle of freelance clients and I spoke to my husband about staying home to grow + nurture these clients so that I could be home when we had kids.
Since it was something we both wanted, we decided we were going to make the jump and try to make it work. We took a big pay cut when I quit, so it was definitely a bold move. Slowly, I began to acquire more freelance clients and my workload started to grow.
However, because I had an end goal in mind, I made very specific decisions about my business and who I decided to work with.
I was very upfront with my clients once my son was born. I had a baby at home so I set expectations. My hours would be different, calls would be restricted to certain hours in the day and they might even hear my son in the background.
Nowadays, this is quite common and is becoming a lot more accepted now that so many of us have had adapt to working from home because of the pandemic. However, when I was doing this years ago, it wasn’t very common.
Many people didn’t do business that way and that was fine by me even though it was harder. I made it a point to mention this to prospective clients. If they decided this wasn’t for them, we could come to that decision in the beginning.
Because of the way I chose to structure my business, I ended up with a curated group of clients.
Happily, I continue to work with them today after 10+ years! They have watched my family grow through the years and even ask about my sons. Our relationships go beyond the work I do for them.
These conscious decisions also made it so that it took longer for me to replace my salary. I gave myself more time to be with my boys and that impacted the time I had to work. After a few years, I was able to replace the salary I was making when I left, which was a sweet win. But having the time I’ve spent with my boys was always my goal and something that I could never put a price on.
Defining your purpose helps you make decisions about your business with intention.
It’s important to BE INTENTIONAL in everything you do not only with your brand but in your life in general. After all, our businesses are only a small piece of the big picture that is our life.
BE INTENTIONAL. Identify your purpose.
Think about why this business is so important to you and how it’s success will shape + change your life. Use that goal to make big decisions in your business. The ones that will establish the type of business you have, the type of relationships you cultivate and enjoy with your clients and how you live your life.
When you identify that goal, make it a point to record it somewhere so it can be present in your mind. You’ll be able to look back one day and see that you’ve built a business with purpose and intention and reached your goals!
To more CLARITY in our businesses!