Welcome to Week 1...
Start with “Why”
Before we begin, check out this quick video by author Simon Sinek. It will make the rest of the lesson easier to understand.
Link to video: https://youtu.be/IPYeCltXpxw
Sinek talks about his Golden Circle in this speech, with the “why” being at the center of our business.
I like to view my “why” as the foundation of my house. You can’t always see it, but it’s there and it’s the basis of what you build upon. To build a long-lasting house (business) you need to rely on this solid foundation.
It’s absolutely essential to get clear about why you are running your business in order to sustain the momentum and motivation to keep showing up, even when things feel really hard.
A few things to remember:
-A business doesn’t need a clear “why” in order to see success. There are products and such that “go viral” all the time. However, for long-term success, greater ease and enjoyment in your business, and to help you attract your ideal clients, knowing your “why” is vital.
-Your “why” can change over time. You may have started your business for one reason, but then things changed and your “why” changed with it. That’s ok! And it’s very normal.
-You can have a personal “why” and a customer-facing “why.” If your personal “why” is to spend more time with your kids, your clients aren’t honestly going to care that much. Hold that “why” in your heart and be excited about it, but also have a “why” that will resonate with your ideal clients. (If you’re thinking…”But I don’t know who my ideal clients are!” that’s ok. You’re going to learn that in this course!)
-Your “why” will set you apart from your competition. Chances are you aren’t the only person on earth doing the thing you do. Your “why” helps you show others your value to them. Because at the end of the day, there are people who are really great at what they do, but not everyone chooses to do business with them, because they don’t resonate with everyone. And this is ok!
Here are mine:
My personal “why” is that I want to live life on my own terms. I want to set my own schedule and not have to answer to a boss. I want to have the career part of my life feel full of purpose and passion, and not dread Mondays. I want to have the time freedom to spend as much time with family and friends as I am able to, and to be able to travel when I wish.
My customer-facing “why” is that I believe when women succeed we all succeed. It’s that I know other people start businesses with passion, for their own personal reasons, and I don’t want them to give up on those dreams simply because they aren’t equipped with the tools they need to run a successful business. I know that small businesses put money back into their communities, and that real, positive change in the world happens when kind-hearted people have money. I want people to earn more money so they can live more joy-filled lives and also pour that money back into our world in positive ways. And I believe that business owners should never feel alone and unsupported.
*To read my full Manifesto click here.
Here’s another example:
Suzy Q is a recently single mom and her love for yoga has led her to become a certified teacher. She needs a flexible work schedule to allow her to raise her kids with the values she wants, and teaching yoga offers that. Her “why” is to work a job that seems fun, while not having to pay for childcare during the week.
After a few months of teaching she realizes that she really enjoys doing prenatal yoga. She remembers how stressed she was when she was pregnant, and how much yoga would’ve helped with that. Now her “why” is to help pregnant women get the stress release and other health benefits of yoga that are good for them and their babies. Because she’s seen firsthand when these women care for their own bodies, they are better equipped mentally and physically for motherhood.
In the world of yoga there are many different styles, modalities, personalities, levels of difficulty, etc. If you try to be the person who does them all, you’ll burn yourself out. We’ll talk about this more in a future lesson, but use your “why” to guide you to areas that excite and inspire you, and give you the freedom to pass up or ignore other paths that aren’t for you.
It’s easiest to start with the outside of the Golden Circle and move our way inward.
First write down what it is that you do.
Then write down how it is that you do it.
Then write down why you do it.
Based on the example above with Suzy Q that would look like: I teach yoga with a specialty in prenatal yoga. I teach it through in-person classes and online videos; I teach it because pregnant women should feel mentally and physically healthy for the important job of motherhood.
-----> Use Page 1 in the worksheets. Download them here.
I have included your Basic and Deeper Why on the worksheet. This is what I mean by that:
A basic “why” is usually the thing we think of first when we think of why we have our business.
For instance, a person starts a direct sales business because they like the products and want to get them at a discount, and earn enough money to pay for their daughter’s soccer lessons.
It’s the simplest reason for being in business. But at the end of the day, it often doesn’t go deep enough.
I’m going to give you an example from my own life:
One of my “why’s” for starting my business when I was in direct sales was to bring in money for travel. I really enjoy traveling, but it can be costly, and I couldn’t always justify that expense when other household necessities needed to be funded. However, if I didn’t feel like working my business, nothing adverse would really happen. I mean, we wouldn’t get to travel as much, but all of our regular bills were still getting paid.
How I got to my “Deeper Why” was by using the “so that…” trick. This is a little mental trick that helps your brain go deeper. You can use it for more than just finding your “why” too!
Why would I want to travel more? So that I can experience other cultures, so that I can broaden my mind, so that I can be more aware of the world, so that I can have a greater sense of understand and compassion for other people on the planet. And, since I’d be bringing my son, hopefully I could convey these values to him as well.
See how much deeper that goes? Travel may not resonate with you, but maybe it’s time with your loved ones.
Why, really and truly why, does spending more time with them matter? So that you don’t get older and look back and wish you could’ve had more experiences and memories with them? Is it something else?
I like to think of this as, “Finding a why that makes you cry.” You don’t have to literally cry, but it should pull at your heart in some way if it’s going to be powerful enough to get you through the rough patches of owning a business.
Additional Resource: Simon Sinek's Start With Why website
Be Authentically YOU!
Now you know why you are passionate about your business, but why should people do business with YOU?
It may seem like you need to be just like the top people in your industry in order to have success. This is 1000% not true! In fact, you’ll do a lot better if you get really clear on who you are and how you want to show up in the world. And then be sure to show up that way.
There’s a book by Seth Godin called The Purple Cow, in which he describes that when you drive past fields of cows you don’t really pay too much attention to any one cow. They are just a bunch of black and white cows, like you’ve seen time and again.
But if you were to drive past a field of cows and there was one purple cow out there with the rest of the cows, you’d have to stop and check it out.
The reason you do this, is because it’s remarkable. Godin states that o be remarkable is to be "worth talking about. Worth noticing. Exceptional. New. Interesting.” But this doesn’t mean gimmicky.
The purple cow is special not because it fit in with the other cows, but because it stood out!
Real Life Examples:
I want to give you an example of how it’s possible for businesses to all sell the same thing, but in their own way, and be successful.
We all know that people love coffee, and although we can brew it in our homes, people love to buy coffee when they are outside of their home.
But not all coffee, or places to get coffee, are the same.
Think about your local gas station chain that is popular for cheap coffee. It’s probably close to a dollar, is basic drip coffee, and can be bought at the same place where you’d be getting gas and a pack of gum or candy bar. Nothing special, but it’s cheap and hot, and gets the job done.
Then think about a chain like Dunkin’ Donuts. They are one step up from a gas station, and obviously you can get some pastry there too. They do offer some espresso drinks now, but it’s still nothing fancy. But people know they can get a decent cup of coffee and the person behind the counter will fix it up to their specifications. It costs more than the gas station, but isn’t high-end, and not really a place you go with your laptop to get a bunch of work done.
Next up is Starbucks or your local coffee shop. These are places where you have a higher expectation when you go in. You know the drinks are going to be more “specialty,” the decor and design is intended for people to hang out there and catch up with a friend or to get work done. And chances are, you can order some level of actual food in these places. Yes, a lot of it is probably pre-made, at least to some degree, but it’s of a higher quality.
All of these places are successful because they are showing up in the market in the way they feel most comfortable. The gas station knows it isn’t Starbucks and vice versa. Starbucks doesn’t feel bad charging $5 for a drink when the gas station across the street charges a buck. They know the person who only wants gas station coffee will go to the gas station, and the person who wants to meet someone to catch up over lattes will go to Starbucks.
Another way to think about this is the fact that some of the most popular businesses operate outside of the status quo for their industry and are still very successful.
Southwest Airlines does very well and they run on the premise that just because other airlines are doing something, it doesn’t mean there isn’t a better way. They don’t have hidden fees when you buy tickets, they offer two free checked bags, and their flight attendants are often sassy or funny, instead of stiff and serious. They don’t even list their fares on those fare sites like Expedia or Priceline. You have to go directly through them to book BUT they often have some of the lowest fares, especially when you factor in not having to pay extra fees. Most other airlines say that “their hands are tied” and they have to charge all of these extras, but Southwest prooves that just isn’t the case.
Another great example, and the one Sinek mentions in his talk, is Apple. Apple isn’t just a tech company, they are so much more than that. They are a full brand, a lifestyle, a way to capture and document memories, a way to streamline all of the tech in your life, and more. They don’t try to show up like Dell, IBM, or any of those other tech companies. Instead they show up as Apple. I know with certainty that I can find better computers and gadgets for less money, but I still exclusively buy Apple products, because I like the company and I like how they make everything work so well together. It makes tech simple for a person like me, who isn’t really that interested in learning about tech! And if you’ve ever been in an Apple store, you know just how popular they are! Apple isn’t trying to undercut the competition to get ahead, they are striving to show up differently and better.
Let’s use our fictional friend Suzy Q again to demonstrate what this could look like for a small business. Let’s say she looks at other yoga instructors online or in her area and thinks, “In order to be super successful, I’m going to have to do a lot of really difficult poses and have someone take photos of me doing them. Then I’m going to have to post them on Instagram, even though I don’t feel super comfortable with that.” Just because other yoga teachers do impressive inverted poses and post pictures of themselves doing it, doesn’t mean Suzy needs to as well. Since she isn’t comfortable with that, it will feel forced and unnatural.
It would be better if she really focused on what she loves. She should capture moments of gentle yoga, pregnant students in relaxed poses, people snuggling their babies, a feeling of calm and bliss. By focusing on the things that bring her joy in her own business, and amplifying that to the world, it will show people her true self, and the right people will be more drawn to her. Because why would she want to be attracting people who want to do really challenging poses, if that isn’t what she teaches? Simply put, she wouldn’t.
Complete the worksheet to see the strength and unique gifts you bring to your business. Wonderful things can happen when we focus on all of the good things that help us stand out!
-----> Use Page 2 in the Worksheets. Download them here.
“It's not enough to be remarkable: you have to be remarkable in a way that's meaningful to your audience.” -Danny Iny, inc.com
Next week we are going to focus on your audience. Go ahead and read the article that I took that quote from, because it will help as we start to shift to looking at our ideal clients. The article is interesting because at first it seems like the "purple cow" idea is nonsense, BUT as you read on, you'll get a deeper understanding of being unique in a meaningful way.
Additional Resource: Seth Godin's The Purple Cow can be read for free as a pdf here.