The big why

Why do you do what you do? Have you ever thought about it? Have you been asked about it and not known what to answer other than “So I can do the school run”, or “I need the income”? Unfortunately, your ideal clients aren’t really interested in you being able to collect your kids from school or the fact that you need to pay your mortgage.

What they want to know is how you relate to them. Your reason for doing what you do, is ultimately their reason for wanting to buy your service or product. And THAT is exactly why you need to know your why!

So, how do you narrow down your big why?

It is not always obvious why you do what you do, particularly as a solo entrepreneur. You don’t have anyone to discuss things with or bounce ideas off.  Often, it’s a case of having a good idea for a business and cracking on with it without giving the real reason behind it proper thought. And sometimes you’re too close to your own business to be able to take a step back and consider why you’re doing it. It is literally one of the first questions I ask a new client, and although it sounds simple, it is actually really hard to answer.

To help you figure it out, there’s a simple trick which I shared in a post recently as well. I’ve picked it up from the brilliant Jessica Safko who’s a freelance photographer travelling the world whilst photographing female entrepreneurs. Her website is just amazing. Sorry, going off on a tangent…. Right, you may have heard of it before, but never applied it to your business. It’s called the 7 question-answer “why” technique.

Why, why, why, why, why, why, why

This is how it works: You ask yourself the first question: “Why do you [insert your line of business]?” Your first answer may be a little superficial, but don’t worry, because this is where it starts to get interesting. You now insert your answer into the next why-question: “Why do you [insert your previous answer]. So, for me the answer to the second question would be “I do branding because I love the creative process and working with clients”. The third question is then: “Why do you love the creative process and working with clients?” You then carry on inserting the previous answer into your next question - you get the idea by now, right? Yes, it gets harder and harder, but eventually you end up with the “real” reason why you do what you do - a purpose, a raison d’être.

Connecting with your ideal clients

Here’s the crux of the matter: You need to be at this level of understanding your own reason for your ideal clients to connect with you. In branding terms, it really is [almost] as simple as that. Your mission, your values, your brand story all hinge on your why. As do a lot of other elements of brand strategy. Understanding your ideal clients and what makes them engage with you is closely tied to your why.

How do you use your why?

When you know you why, you can start to tailor your marketing around it and use it in your content on social media. Tell your followers in a post (or several – you could do a whole campaign based on it), put it in your mission statement, use it in your elevator pitch, basically tell it to anyone who will listen.

And a final reason why - as if you need more whys

As you can hear, there are many aspects of branding where your “why” comes into play. But on a rainy day, it is a good reminder to yourself as well. As an entrepreneur, who is also just a human, it is sometimes good to remind yourself why you do what you do and who you do it for. Or on an even deeper level, if you’re about to chuck it all in, your why can help you pick yourself up and carry on. And it’s not just entrepreneurs who can benefit from knowing their why. I’ve just had a friend leave a comment on one of my “why” posts saying how reminding herself of her big why as a nurse really helped her this week.

Anyway, that’s enough “why-ing” for one post. If you want to discover your raison d’être (see what I did there?), but not sure you can do it on your own, get in touch and we’ll talk it through. You can catch me on,, through my website or on email: