Your story reveals your big business vision. Here’s how.
Ever since I discovered the kind of answer that could be unlocked with a question like,“Why do you do what you do?” I never fail to use it when I’m interviewing new copywriting clients.
This Q&A is like a key turning a lock and the result is always compelling.
Not least because there are a couple of different ways to answer:
1. is to talk about why you, personally, chose to do the work that you do, and then
2. is to talk about why you want to help other people in the way that you do.
While the latter enables you to speak more succinctly and impact-fully about why youcare about your clients and customers in the first place so that they feel more connected to you, I’ve found that the former can illicit an enlightening and engaging response, too…
Mainly because it involves telling your story…or, at least, a piece of it. Because usually there is a moment — a pivotal, life-defining moment — when everything changed for you. Or (more likely) a handful of moments. And each of these moments is like a different thread that you can take and run with as you share your curated Story of Why with your audience or readers.
Maybe it was a diagnosis or a recovery.
Maybe it was losing both your parents in the space of just a few years, and having your entire life thrown into perspective.
Maybe it was losing your financial footing and having no other choice but to do whatever it took to put food on the table.
Maybe it was something someone said to you that altered how you looked at the world or gave you a new sense of direction.
Maybe it was something someone said to you that fired you up and made you determined to prove them wrong.
(Like when an editor told my 14-year-old self that I was “too shy” to become a reporter, and within a decade I was heading up the local cable TV station’s news department. Or when a friend laughed at the idea of me working abroad for a summer, and within six years I was living and working on a completely different continent.)
It could be a childhood story. It could be a happy story. It could be a sad story.
I know I’ve cried silent tears with clients on the phone when they’ve opened up and spilled the truth of why they do what they do. I’ve heard stories that I wouldn’t dream of repeating. Stories that I can’t stop repeating — like four-year stints in jail without charges or your children or the man you love the most. I’ve heard stories that have made my heart hurt.
But what gets me is THIS, every time: The women (and men) who tell me these stories don’t harbor any bitterness or resentment or regret. They’ve accepted that these stories are a part of their journey and have allowed them to fuel them forward…
Like my friend Jane who went through a horrifying divorce but now specializes in helping women who are going through the same to get their finances (and their lives) in order. She’s on fire. She’s a woman on a mission. And it’s powerful (and inspiring) to watch.
So the answer to “Why do you do what you do?” informs everything: who you want to help, what you want to achieve; what you want to accomplish for your clients or your community.
That’s why it’s also the #1 thing your clients need to know about you.
They need to know your Why.
They need to connect with your Why, because (on some level) it’s their Why, too.
Your why is what drives you but it’s also your differentiator in the marketplace. It contains your core marketing message. And, even bigger than that:
That’s why your Why matters. That’s why your story matters.
So, what’s your Why?
How did you get started on the path you’re on?
I’m all ears. And so are your clients.
Tell me everything. In the comments. I’ll meet you there.