I talk about finding your Why a lot. It’s the basis of everything I write for myself and my clients. It starts the conversation when I’m helping someone to plan their content. And I didn’t even read Find Your Why and all the Why books by Simon Sinek until just recently.
I’m not saying I invented the concept, just saying that great minds think alike!
If you also haven’t read anything from Simon Sinek, he breaks down this concept of Why in Start With Why.
He looks at this as a top-down cone moving from Why at the top to How in the middle and What at the base of the cone.
Your Why is your purpose, cause, belief behind what you do. It’s not about making money, it’s about why you do what you do, why you exist as a business.
Makes sense. You need something propelling the action if you want to move forward. A nebulous idea that no one else can sense really won’t be that rallying cry you want behind your brand.
Now, what if you don’t know why you do something? Or it’s muddied and your audience isn’t getting it.
Truth time: it took me a long time to get to the point of knowing my why. I had a vague idea, but I never really wanted to own a business. I was content, for the most part, to help people with social media on the side, and let someone else deal with healthcare and taxes. Turns out, that isn’t a very good why either.
The point is, I didn’t have a strong why, so I floated around for a while doing this gig on the side. And that was good enough. But I have a feeling that “good enough” won’t cut it for you when this is your source of income and your livelihood, amirite?
**insert hair flip emoji here because you know, yes, iamrite**
Your why has to be clear for your audience to see you as the expert. If you aren’t clear on the direction of your business and focus of your content, your audience will be confused as well.
Case in point: mine was, too. I didn’t tell people what I did because I didn’t know how to articulate it for myself. So it stayed a side gig.
Spoiler alert: I figured it out, obviously, and moved from “doing social media on the side” to owning my own copywriting business.
Basically, I figured my shit out. And now it’s time for you to figure our shit out, too, in order to grow. To have people rally around you and “get” what you’re all about without you even having to say it, you have to exude your why. And it starts with you getting it.
So how do you find your why if you don’t know where to start?
Remember, your why is your driving force. It’s the basis of everything you write, everything that your brand stands for, to present a cohesive, consistent message to your audience that will turn them into customers, fans, and megaphones for your business.
Think about your audience.
This seems like a bit of a “duhhhhh” thing, but seriously. Think about your audience. Why are you interested in helping them?
You can ask yourself:
- What do they not have that you do?
- Why do you want to help them find it or fill in that hole for them?
- Why are you invested in their success?
- Where are they now that you were five years ago and what helped you get from that point to where you are now?
What’s the intention behind you starting your business?
I have a funny feeling you didn’t just wake up and say, “I’m going to risk a shitton of money, time, and chocolate and start my own business.” I mean, if you did, kudos to you. Enjoy that trust fund! (I’m kidding.)
My point is: I bet you didn’t just go into your business on a whim. It likely took time and care to think through what you had to offer. This is a great place to find a Why because you had to communicate that why to yourself, and possibly family members and friends, investors, and so on, when you started your business.
- Where were you 5 years ago?
- Have you changed?
- What’s been your mission through that change process?
- What’s the deeper meaning behind it all? For example: do you want to help them go from SAHM to running a successful Etsy shop OR do you want others to find their joy and support their families by doing what makes them happy, because when their kids see a strong female role model doing what fulfills them, that’ll impact them and spread to the next generation and so on.
Look at your feedback and testimonials.
If you’re really stuck and just cannot figure out why what you do is so important and, more importantly, the words to communicate that, look at your testimonials.
Your customers will tell you a) the problem they had that you solved for them and b) the marketing words they use so you can attract and communicate to more customers like them.
What strings can you follow to get language your customer uses and impart your why in their language?
When you’ve figured out Why you do what you do, you can show up in big and consistent ways for your audience. Your writing will be on-brand and on message. You’ll then be able to reach your customers and articulate how you can help them and why their lives will be better for having your product or service in a way that they can get behind and share with others, too.
Not only that, you’ll then be able to have a guiding post to measure all your decisions against. You can ask yourself, “Does this fit with my why” and if it doesn’t, don’t do it.
In case you haven’t noticed, this one simple word, Why, is a pretty big deal.