Start with Why

When I first began freelancing my mad web skills out for folks, I was so thrilled when someone would actually call me up needing a site. Someone wants to pay me to do this, I would think. This rocks!

After awhile of doing this though, I found myself running into the same scenario over and over again. Here’s how the conversation usually took place:

Them: Hey there, I need a website.

Me: Alrighty, I can certainly help with that! Why do you need one?

Them: Why?

Me: Yeah, why.

Them: Um, well – because everybody has one. Our competitors have one. They are all getting found on Google because they have a website, and we don’t. We’re losing sales.

(Already I can tell we’re heading down a bad road, but I ask more questions, hoping to get them to the realization I know they’re going to have.)

Me: Okay, what do you want your site do?

Them: Well, we want it to tell folks about us and what we do.

Me: How do you think people will find your site?

Them: We plan to have it on our business cards and printed marketing materials. And they should be able to find us on Google if they search for us, right? We also have a Facebook page, so hopefully that will drive some traffic to our site.

Me: Okay, but why should I use you guys instead of the guy down the street? What sort of value do you want your website to add to your marketing or customer service experience?

And right here it sort of falls apart. When you get down to asking the nitty-gritty details about their marketing plans and how their site fits into that, they usually point out that they haven’t thought about it that much, or they lie and tell me it’s more information than they wish to divulge (which also means they haven’t thought about it that much). To them, I’m a freelance contractor, here for a one-and-done gig. I don’t think they expect me to be around after I finish the site.

I don’t operate that way. I founded Upward Media on the principle of being more about relationships than projects or sales – and in fact, to be a client of ours, you have to believe in that too.

Here’s the kicker: so many businesses start out with a dream or a hope, not a plan. They have passion, a solid work ethic and even a great product, but no plan and no “why”.

Simon Sinek has been making waves over the last few years talking to others about how to inspire others to action through the use of your “why”. I was fortunate to have heard about it before I re-started Upward Media and decided at once that we were going to make sure that we explained our “why” every clearly from the very beginning. It’s such a big deal over here that I’ve taken to talking to other business-owners about the importance of sharing their “why” with both their customers and their staff. In fact, teaching others to share their “why” has become a part of our own “why” – which is doing work that matters. We are more than a web shop or marketing team. We’re a company created for serving others by helping them out in ways that have meaningful benefits. We are about moving the needle in revenue and in knowledge. We whole-heartedly believe that we’re doing really makes a difference and therefore, the work we do matters.

Last Night at our Socialize Sapulpa Meeting, I shared my own version of Simon’s TED Talk, How Great Leaders Inspire Action. For your own viewing pleasure, I’ve included Simon’s version below. After watching it, take some serious time to get back to your own “why” – if you can find a way to work your “why” into everything you’re doing, you’ll come up with a way to succeed, whether or not you have the actual “recipe to success” (watch the video for that).