There are many ways to package and monetize your knowledge, your experience, and your expertise, and most have about equal potential; however, your sustainable success lies not in what domain name you purchase, what host you use, whether you do videos on YouTube, or what social media channels you’re on. Tools, tactics, and technology are wonderful, but sustainable success lies not in what you do or how you do it, but in WHY you do it.
One of my favorite TED Talks, and the third most popular TED Talk of all time, is Simon Sinek’s “Start With Why,” based on his book of the same title. (aff link) Sinek teaches that the greatest brands and movements are driven by a deep understanding of “why” they do what they do, while those who don’t enjoy the same level of success are focused on communicating “what” they do, and/or “how” they do it.
“And by ‘why’ I don’t mean ‘to make a profit.’ That’s a result. It’s always a result. By ‘why,’ I mean: What’s your purpose? What’s your cause? What’s your belief? Why does your organization exist? Why do you get out of bed in the morning? And why should anyone care? … The inspired leaders and the inspired organizations — regardless of their size, regardless of their industry — all think, act and communicate from the inside out.” @SimonSinek
Simon Sinek states that people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it, and illustrates this concept with what he calls the “Golden Circle.”
- Why ~ This is the ultimate core belief of the business. It’s why the organization exists.
- How ~ This is how the business fulfills or delivers that core belief. It’s the system, proprietary process, USP, or strategy.
- What ~ This is what you or your company does to fulfill that core belief. It’s your offering, product, service, or idea.
The reason most brands don’t succeed in monetizing their offerings is because they do their marketing backwards. They start with “what they do,” then communicate “how they do it.” they do it, and often forget to mention “why they do it.”
Here’s Sinek’s example of the WHAT and the HOW:
“We make great computers. They’re user friendly, beautifully designed, and easy to use. Want to buy one?”
When I read this, I have a lot of questions:
WHY do you make computers?
WHY are they user friendly?
WHY are they beautifully designed?
WHY are they easy to use?
And, naturally, WHY should I want to buy one?
Sinek articulated what a marketing message from Apple would look like to communicate what we read above:
“With everything we do, we aim to challenge the status quo. We aim to think differently. Our products are user friendly, beautifully designed, and easy to use. We just happen to make great computers. Want to buy one?”
Did you feel that? Starting with WHY makes a difference. The reason to buy becomes clear and anyone who subscribes to the same beliefs as Apple’s WHY will be enticed to get a computer (or a phone, or a tablet…).
Sinek’s theory is that “the human brain is actually broken into three major components that correlate perfectly with the golden circle. The neocortex is responsible for all of our rational and analytical thought and language (what(, and the middle two sections make up our limbic brains, which are responsible for all of our feelings, like trust and loyalty, as well as responsible for all human behavior, and all decision-making. It has no capacity for language.”
Feelings, trust, and loyalty, not words, drive behavior:
“It’s those who start with “why” that have the ability to inspire those around them or find others who inspire them.”
And if we focus on the meaning and etymology of the word inspiration, it is lasting influence, so we can safely say that to be an influencer you must inspire others and drive behavior.
If you are struggling with conversion, with monetization, with seeing the results you want from your work as an influencer, you must make it a point to communicate your why!
Do you know your WHY?
I believe your WHY, your purpose, includes three main factors:
- your passions
- your beliefs
- your core values
Your passions are intense emotions and desires that fire you up and move you to action.
Your values are a personal compass, a guidance system that provides direction for your choices and behaviors.
Your beliefs are doctrines, statements and experiences you hold as truth.
In order to determine your purpose, you must identify your core beliefs, your guiding values, and your top burning passions. These will determine your cause, why your brand exists, and what contribution you want to make.
Consider these two statements:
I am a mommy blogger at XYZmommyblog.com (Who calls it mommy blog anymore?) vs.
I help moms rewrite their story, heal their wounds, and create joy, balance, and success on their own terms in all areas of life. You can find out more at XYZmommyblog.com
It is obvious that the second mommy blogger is passionate about helping moms, she believes moms can create a life they love, and she values balance, joy, success, empowerment, and freedom. It’s the best elevator pitch ever!
As you get clear on your passion, values, and beliefs, you will create a cohesive brand that is both meaningful and profitable. You’ll be able to attract readers, viewers, buyers, partners, and opportunities share your passion, values, and beliefs, and it will feel natural, rewarding, and enjoyable.
Your journey of self-discovery will require a significant investment of time and energy, and perhaps, even money, as well as openness and willingness to go deep and be vulnerable to express your findings. I promise you it will be worth it.
In fact, Mark Twain said that ‘The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.’
Find Your Purpose
There’s an easy exercise that can help you figure out your purpose if done with intention:
- In a blank sheet of paper or a word processor page, write the heading: “What is my true purpose in life?”
- Write any answer that pops into your head.
- Keep writing answers until you write something makes you cry. This answer is a piece to your purpose.
Here’s a hint: your purpose will always have to do with your contribution to the world. When you align your work with your purpose, monetization becomes easier because you will be focused on your true identity, on your God-given gifts, and on that which the world needs from you: you’ll be operating from your WHY.
Do you struggle with monetization? Do you know your WHY? Share your story and thoughts with us below. Mucho LOVE!