I’m so thrilled to have Megan Eckman from Create Hype & Studio MME guesting with us today! I love hearing about “purpose” from her perspective. Although it manifests differently in everyone, the result is always the same: clarity, confidence, and a strong sense of identity—the three building blocks for a successful indie business. MG
When you set out on a road trip, you have a map, hotel rooms lined up, attraction stops in mind, and a cooler full of snacks. You know where you’re going and how you’re going to get there. You know not to drive north to go south and that beef jerky is not a viable dinner option.
For most of us, this sense of direction is what we’re missing in our businesses. We have big ideas, sure, but we struggle with what steps to take, what shows to vend at, what clients to pitch, and what products to make.
That’s where your purpose comes in to action. Simon Sinek wrote the amazing book, Start with Why. In it he shows how it’s your purpose that customers align with, not your product. Their beliefs align with your beliefs and thus they become your biggest fans.
But purpose also helps you.
Your purpose acts as a road map, a set of guidelines, a What Would Jesus Do With My Business? wristband. When you know why your business exists, you can make decisions faster and with more confidence. You have a better idea of which craft shows fit your aim, which customers aren’t going to jive with you, and even which giveaways to take part in.
I’m a pen and ink illustrator on a mission to help people rekindle their wonder. Once I realized that my purpose was to show people how to take back their imagination, I understood the true purpose of my blog. I wasn’t fulfilling my purpose (or helping my customers) by posting recipes or pretty pictures of shoes. My readers needed stories that were creative and silly. They needed tales that took them back to when they believed in magic and possibility. So now every week I write them a short story. Just something silly like a woman who makes magic muffins with dirt or a Norwegian man who builds an arctic exploration museum complete with Roald Amundson’s underwear. These stories make my readers laugh and help them think more creatively. They also actively share the stories with their co-workers, which gives me free marketing. It’s a win-win.
Knowing my purpose has also helped me decide to create my newest product: a 2013 calendar of magical places. I realized that so many people need a little escape while they’re at work. So I asked my fans for their favorite ‘magical’ places and created a calendar around their ideas. Now they can start 2013 off with a calendar in their drab office that has the power to take them away to a place of wonder and relaxation. If I hadn’t been clear on my purpose, I probably would have made something very different that wouldn’t have generated the excitement my calendar is already churning up (despite the fact it’s not even available for pre-sale yet).
So the first step is to get to the heart of your business and figure out your unique purpose. I was recently interviewed on Blogcast FM about this exact topic. If you’re having trouble figuring out why (really, truly, honestly WHY) you’re in business, I would suggest taking a listen.
Another thing to consider when writing out your why is what makes you unique. Often it’s what makes you YOU that helps you connect with your customers. There was a great guest post on this at CreateHype.com, a marketing site I help manage, that discusses Three Ways to Be Unique Without Even Trying.
Knowing the purpose of your business allows you to make decisions confidently. You’re able to move forward in the right direction because you know what you want to accomplish. You’ll be able to see what opportunities will make you go north to go south and which shows or clients are the equivalents of beef jerkey for dinner.
I’ve shared the purpose of my illustration business with you but I’d LOVE to hear what your purpose is!
Megan Eckman is the illustrator and storyteller behind Studio MME. She’s on a mission to rekindle wonder in the world. In her free time, she manages Create Hype, a site that helps female entrepreneurs learn how to market their creative business.