What do you do?

mountain peak with flag - mission

It's been more than 6 months since I left my job. And when someone asks me what I do I still don't know how to answer. Because I've done a bunch of things.

  • I helped a WordPress software company market their products.
  • I helped debug a few WooCommerce bugs.
  • I helped a WordPress VIP company with a proposal for an e-commerce project.
  • I'm helping a hosting company create infrastructure made for WooCommerce.
  • I'm helping WooCommerce choose topics & speakers for WooConf.
  • And this whole time I've been making e-commerce courses for Lynda.com.

So it's hard to answer. Do I go with what I'm working on today? Do I go with what I've been doing the longest? Or do I go with what I want to be working on?

Mission

I've found that what I do on a week to week basis varies quite a bit. But my mission has been pretty consistent:

Help people build their own business

And e-commerce is an arena where I have a lot of expertise and can help them succeed.

Plans

Some people obsess over plans. They want to have a 1, 5, & 10 year plan. And they stick to these plans even when they shouldn't. And I think this is because many people don't know how to make an impact in this world without large & complicated plans.

But large and complicated plans don't guarantee you make an impact. They just guarantee you'll accomplish some thing at some point. And this resonates with something that Seth Godin said:

A ten-year plan is absurd. Impossible, not particularly worth wasting time on. On the other hand, a ten-year commitment is precisely what's required if you want to be sure to make an impact.

And this is how I'm approaching my business. I have a mission: to help people build businesses. And anything that falls under that mission is something I would consider working on.

I have a 2-3 month plan and when I finish that plan then I start a new 2-3 month plan.

I'm working on different course ideas, talking to companies, and helping individuals. And my plans keep changing. And for right now that's okay. I'm trying lots of things and figuring out where I can make the most impact.

It's still a tough question when someone asks me what I do. But at least now I answer with:

I help people build online stores.

It covers my mission, provides a hook if they're interested, and it keeps my options open.

So if you have trouble answering the “what do you do question” just think about your mission. It's the most true thing you can say anyway. You can always go into more detail if they express interest.

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