We hear this over and over again when we first begin our businesses. What is your why? What is the thing that drives you and gets you out of bed in the morning when you could just be cashing a paycheck every two weeks? WHY are you in small business?
As creatives, it’s pretty easy and challenging at the same time to pinpoint your why. On the one hand, you’re creative (duh!) and art is your passion so it’s easy for you to understand it, on the other, it’s this elusive idea that you can’t narrow down into a succinct message to spread to the world. I urge you to dig deeper in order to shift your mindset from artist/creative to the CEO of your small business.
For example, I’ve always felt called to show people how beautiful they are through my photography. This “why” has served me well through my wedding business. But now, as I shift to a branding photography perspective, I wanted my why to have more substance. I asked myself the question “Why did I want to do that for people?” As I sifted through my answers a thought smacked me square in my forehead. My “why” all stemmed from my past growing up.
You see I wasn’t the most popular kid in school. Some may say I was pretty close to the LEAST popular kid in school. As long as I can remember, I was picked on every day until my junior year. The insults changed over the years but ultimately I couldn’t hold my emotions at bay and I would land myself in the nurse’s office full of tears and anxiety. I always felt left out, other than, ugly, and worthless.
Those feelings have driven me in my relationships and in my business ever since. I’ve never wanted anyone in my presence to feel any of the things I’ve felt. I’ve tried my best to help people feel included, important, beautiful, valuable, and most importantly safe.
How to let your Why develop your brand
So how do I translate my experience & values into a why-driven brand? By taking those values and implementing them into my language, telling my story, and creating an atmosphere of welcome, calm, and celebration around every client that steps in front of my lens. I let those values shape everything from my colors to my client gifts to the workflows I create.
When you understand the true root of your why the rest of the pieces start to fit together. It’s easy to be authentic, Content becomes easier to create, and pitching your product/service becomes easier all because you are rooted in your why.
I urge you to take some time and truly dig into your why. It may not come to you right away (and hopefully, it takes you less than 13 years to discover your true why) but if you keep digging I think you’ll find the why truly behind this business that you love. Let that shape your business moving forward and watch what blooms!
Photos by Melissa Pepin & Corry Frazier Photography