“So, what’s your story?”
That might be the most important question for business owners and entrepreneurs to answer. It will help you set priorities, give customers a clear understanding of your identity, and when you feel lost, it will be the North Star to guide you home.
Remember that you are the writer here. You can decide to what parts of the story to give weight to, and the moments you want to highlight. However, don’t feel like you need to hide the difficult parts – every great story has conflict, and people connect with you based on the challenges you’ve overcome, as long as you’re able to connect the dots clearly.
Your story matters. The good and the bad, the changes and the core level non-negotiables that you are willing to fight for. Don’t just go to work and do your job day after day – remember who you are! The more you stay aligned to that, the more other people will be inspired to join in and do business with you.
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“Hey, it’s my birthday and I am getting a tattoo of a Suzuki Logo on my arm!” – said no one, ever!
I can’t believe it’s already been three years since my new adventures of entrepreneurship. For me, it’s about no more bosses, no more vacation request forms, no more phone calls explaining why I’ll be late coming in and no more working twice as hard just to be under-valued and unappreciated…
But freedom from the 9-5 also comes with a price. How about a 60-80 hour work week with no guaranteed overtime pay? How about living with a constant reminder that the next paycheck has to be fought for and won? How about your weekends and vacation time with your laptop fully charged looking for the nearest wifi to respond with project updates? There are pros and cons to every road you take and rewards and suffering with each path you choose. Each decision can result in self doubt and envy of the “grass being greener on the other side”.
Whether you are a 9-5’r or an entrepreneur, the most important aspect of your own health, happiness and fulfillment depends on your purpose and your “why”.
Ok, if you just read through that without any reaction or your heart pounding, you didn’t read it right. So, I’ll say it again…Your own health, happiness and fulfillment depends on your PURPOSE! I heard this next quote a long time ago when I was in high school and I’ll never forget it. “Living without a purpose is worse than not living at all.”
The purpose of any business should be to help change people, to help change them from one thing to something else. You can help change people from being unsatisfied, unfocused and unmotivated to thriving, adventurous and passionate people living out their full dream.
Great example of this is Harley Davidson. They helped satisfy the craving of the overworked and stressed out successful businessman who yearned for a safe rebellion, new adventure and the promise of the open road. So much so that consumers of Harley Davidson were even willing to get a permanent tattoo of the logo that got them there.
“If all you want is transport, buy a Suzuki, no one gets a Suzuki tattoo.” -Seth Godin
The problem is that we (me included) lose our focus and our purpose in the midst of running and operating our business. The day to day of putting out the fires, trying to satisfy every client and the constant hustle for our next project can wear you down. We must learn to step back and remind ourselves why we do what we do. What is our purpose? How are we helping change others? So, here’s me stepping back and reminding myself why I do what I do…
I help people reach their dream. We all have dreams, we just don’t know all the steps to get there. Most people get stuck and stop moving forward in their dream because they run into a technical difficulty…how do I create a brand? What about a website? How do I communicate my dream and broadcast it to the world? How do I get people to know me and my new business so I can help them? These are the questions that I can help answer and help implement so that you can continue on in reaching your dream.
So, what is your dream? What is your purpose or your “why” in that dream that you have? How will this dream help others? What steps will you take in fulfilling it? People instinctively look for meaning; they look for something to believe in and rally around. In a world where most businesses focus only on growth and sales, the opportunity to serve people on a deeper level is wide open. The results can be amazing! And yes, growth and sales often follow suit.
Whatever your dream is, I hope it leads to a permanent mark on the people that you will serve…a tattoo perhaps. LOL.
I am a runner. I logged close to 1000 miles last year, and I am tracking to do the same this year. It is important to me that I have the right running shoes that are a proper fit and that allow me to run at my best. So why is that that when I am shopping for running shoes, I neglect looking for the features of how my next shoes can help me run better, faster and free from injury, but I first walk over to the specific brand section and I am immediately drawn to the design – colors, styles and overall look of the shoes before I even try them on?
Psychology breaks it down:
What is a brand? “It’s an emotional and intellectual association people make with a specific person or thing.” What does that mean? Well, it means that a pair of Nike running shoes is not just materials sewn together to protect and cushion your feet while running, it is a competitive, over–achiever with lean and defined muscular physique exclaiming “just do it!” A brand is filled with the characteristics, traits and hopes of a living person. It means that somewhere in my subconscious mind, I want to be that guy, and if I wear these shoes, I am half way there. I just have to work on the lean and defined muscular physique…P90X anyone?
Why we choose Design over Function? Because most of us perceive good design as someone who does good work. It manages our expectations and experience in many ways. How we feel at that moment is going to help us engage and even buy. And it’s directly influenced by the design.
What does this mean for you? When it comes down to it, design IS your brand. It reflects who you are, what you do, and what you care about. For your company, it reflects your culture, your purpose and your vision. Your website is like a room – the only room in your house you can show to the world. It’s where every item is displayed for the sole purpose of impressing visitors to buy products, follow your ideas, or use your services. Does your current website reflect who you are? I’ve added a quick checklist for you to find out.