Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are referral/affiliate links. If you click on the link and purchase an item, I’ll get a small commission. Not much, just some extra towards my coffee habit, at no added cost to you. I also never link to products I don’t believe in. See my full disclosure statement here.
Why Start With Why
If you’ve been exposed to the entrepreneurial internet or the world of startups at all, you’ve probably hear of Simon Sinek’s Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action. If you haven’t, go check out his TedTalk. While his words are on the surface directed towards business leaders, this easily applies to artists as well. For you, your art isn’t just your passion, it’s also how you are trying to make a living. It’s a business.
In his video, Jason Nazar talks about the importance of having a strong motivation for your business – that motivation is your “why”. As he points out, when things get hard or rough, that strong sense of why is the only thing that will keep you going. Otherwise, all of the “what” and the “how” are going to become excuses that keep you from doing what you want.
Your why also connects to your values, which define how you want your business – your art – to interact with others. Courtney Seiter stresses herethat your personal values should be the basis of your business – and these values need to be actionable: they mean nothing if they are just words.
How to Find or Define Your Why
So what’s your why? You may be thinking, “well, duh, it’s to make art (or jewelry, or music, or whatever).” Yes, but WHY? It’s a deeper thing than what you do. Sometimes it’s really easy to discover, but sometimes it takes some digging.
Here’s a few questions you can ask yourself to really get down to your why.
- What makes you come alive?
- What are you good at? Best at?
- Where do you add the greatest value?
- How do you want to be remembered?
- Brainstorm words that mean a lot to you and your passion.
- Finally, what will keep you going when the going gets tough? When everything is hard, what’s the reason you’ll persist?
That’s your why.
What will keep you going when the going gets tough? When everything is hard, what's the reason you'll persist? Click To Tweet
I figure it will help if I share my why.
What makes me come alive is watching others find joy and fulfillment in creating. I come alive when talking about business and relating it to creative endeavors. I come alive seeing those I care about succeed.
What I’m best at is admin and business work and creativity and mixing them together.
What keeps me going when everything gets hard is twofold. Number one, my husband – I have to succeed because I’m his business support. I want him to be free to focus on his art and provide the means to keep doing that full time, so he doesn’t have to take jobs just for money. I want to be able to watch him succeed in living his passion. Number two – my daughter. I want to succeed and persevere because I want to show her that she doesn’t have to settle or give in to the standards of getting a “real job”, that anything she wants and is passionate about she can pursue. I want to show her how to be happy and free.
My why is them. When it gets tough, I think about them, and I take a breath and work harder.
If you’re wondering why that translates to this – why I like sharing and helping other artists with business, it’s this. I have had past experiences where I enjoyed the actual admin and business work I was doing, but being at the whims of other companies and not having passion for what I was promoting drove me crazy. So for myself, I want to work with those who have a passion for life, for creating, and those who are able to think creatively and outside the box. This includes being weird too! I value the uniqueness of people and want it to shine in their work, and I want to use that individuality to build relationships out of our differences.
In summary, my “why” is to build the life I want as a self-employed business consultant and virtual assistant to provide a quality life for my family, while helping other artists and creatives fulfill their own dreams of self-employment.
This is why my current business statement is: To take away the worry of business planning through unconventional and imaginative business solutions, so artists are free to focus on creating. Inspiring and assisting artists and creators to live their dreams of making a life and a living through their art.
I’d love to hear your “why”, please share and comment!