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How To Answer The Dangerous Question For Entrepreneurs: What Do You Do?

You’re in a room with a bunch of people networking. Perhaps a business function of some kind. You’re enjoying talking to people, however something is…

You’re in a room with a bunch of people networking. Perhaps a business function of some kind. You’re enjoying talking to people, however something is bothering you…

One of the most common questions people are asking is…

What do you do?

In other words, what is your business? What do you do for a living?

And when you don’t feel as if you can easily and clearly answer that question, it can be a bit bothersome.

Or perhaps you feel as if your answer is inadequate.

The thing is… being able to clearly and effectively answer that question is very important. It isn’t just about being able to tell others. It is also about being able to clearly answer it for yourself.

My Own Personal Experience With This

I was recently on an annual cruise dubbed “The Marketers Cruise”. On this cruise was about 470 folks who are engaged in various businesses, but all of them marketing online in some way, shape or form.

There were a number of networking events, and folks are there to meet others. So, as you might expect, one of the most common questions (after giving your name and where you’re from) is, “So, what do you do?”

After being asked this many times, I realized that I wasn’t totally confident in my answer to this question.

Some possible answers:

  • “I help people make money with blogs.” I felt this was an incomplete answer, especially considering I’m very vocal about the fact that blogs don’t make any money. Blogs are only a tool for marketing.
  • “I show bloggers how to monetize”. Again, same concern. Plus, is my target clientele really bloggers? The word “blogger” is extremely generic (more comments on this below).

When you look at my business here at the Academy, I really have two segments to my clientele. I have business owners who are looking to make their blogging strategy more effective, and I have bloggers who are simply looking to monetize by creating their own online business.

These are two separate demographics. An existing business owner is not the same as the typical blogger.

So, when I was asked this question, I was in a bit of a quandary on how to answer it.

How do I clearly and succinctly answer this question and clearly communicate the benefit of my business to anybody I’m talking to?

In some circles, they call this my “elevator pitch”.

What’s Your Elevator Pitch?

How do you communicate the benefits of what you do?

How do YOU answer the question of “what do you do?”

Often this can take some brainstorming and tweaking to get this right. It often starts with a bulleted list of the benefits you can deliver to others via your business (and, honestly, if you can’t even come up with that, you really need to go back to basics and get this right). Then, you begin forming a short, simple statement that best communicates it.

In my case, I have a note in Evernote which lists out some of my various positions and beliefs. It includes my “why” on why I’m in this business in the first place. Then, in that same note, I have a list of of potential “elevator pitches” so that I can clearly summarize what it is I do in as few words as possible.

As I’m writing this post, my best one is probably:

I make blogging profitable for bloggers and business owners.

Bam. It is short and sweet, and it also includes WHO can benefit from what I do.

Now that I think about it, perhaps I would tweak this a bit to include the “simplified” element of my brand and tagline. So, something like:

I make blogging profitable and simple for bloggers and business owners.

A Note For Bloggers

For you self-identified bloggers out there, let’s talk for a minute…

Do you identify yourself as a blogger?

From my observations, most business owners would NEVER identify themselves as a blogger even if they had a blog. They identify themselves by what they are providing. For example, if you were a chiropractor who happened to have a blog, you wouldn’t call yourself a blogger. You’d call yourself a chiropractor. That’s what you DO for people.

At some of the conferences I go to, I hear people identify themselves as an “internet marketer”. What does that even mean? What do you market?

If you happen to sell dating advice to young guys using the internet, then yes, you are an internet marketer in that you happen to use the internet as your marketing vehicle. But, in reality, you ARE a dating consultant. That’s what you provide.

Don’t identify yourself by the medium you use. Identify yourself by the benefit you deliver to others. (click to tweet this).

You’re not a blogger. You’re not an internet marketer. You are a _______________. And, only you can answer that question based on what good you bring to the world via your business.

Two Simple Formulas

There are various ways you can phrase an elevator pitch, and there is no single right way to do it. But, here are two just to get you in the right frame of mind…

I [action phrase] for [people who will benefit from what you do].

or

I help [people who will benefit from what you do] to [your benefit].

You can tweak this to your heart’s content. Perhaps you want to include elements of your unique selling proposition into this to state why you are any different than others who do the same thing as yourself.

Your Action Items

I want you to put this post to use. After all, that’s why I wrote it. So, here is what you should do next:

  1. Create a short list of the benefits that you deliver to people. What do you help people achieve?
  2. Who is your target market?
  3. Combine this information as best you can into a simple statement which answers the question, “What do you do?”
  4. Tweak this until you are happy with it.

Being able to clearly and succinctly state your mission and benefit to others is important. Definitely worth spending a little time on. If you’re hesitant or vague about it, then it leads to a lot of wasted time when you’re meeting new folks at networking events.

 

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