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Biz Ladies: How To Tap Into Your Core Message To Grow Your Business

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Today’s Biz Ladies post comes to us from Rebecca Tracey, a jet-setting Business Coach, and the head/only honcho at The Uncaged Life. She works with clients from all over the world who want to have the freedom of working from anywhere by running their own online business. She’s helped 100+ big thinkers find their message, create packages that sell, and learn to do business THEIR way. She started her business while living in a van, loves rock climbing and riding her bike around Toronto, and is obsessed with helping people realize that life is too short to what-if your way through. Today she shares with us her tips for honing in on your business message and how to use that to help you grow. Thank you so much for your positive and helpful insight, Rebecca. –Stephanie

Read the full post after the jump…

If I asked you what you stood for in your business – would you know?

If I asked you why you started your business, or why anyone should care about what you have to offer, or what makes you stand out from all the other designers/jewelers/crafters/makers out there… would you know?

Like, really know?

I’m talking about your core message. And yes, I’m suggesting that you need one.

When I say ‘core message’, I don’t mean a perfectly crafted sales pitch, or a well written mission statement – we’ll save that for your copywriter to help you with! I’m talking about a really deep and intentional sense of the big WHY behind your business.

Call it purpose. Call it impact. Call it your mission. It’s the big reason why you’re here (as in, on earth). This might feel big and scary, but it shouldn’t! The good news is that your message is in you already. Sometimes it just needs some digging to pull it out.

Here are the main reasons why knowing your core message is so important in your business:

1. It helps you stay grounded.

Being clear on your bigger message gives something that’s important to you, so that when business feels hard, or scary, or you want to give up, you have something deeper to come back to. You have something bigger than yourself to believe in. You have a reason to keep going.

2. It helps you stand out from the crowd.

In a saturated market, sometimes your work doesn’t speak for itself. Your success in business is often a result of your amazing work + your branding + your sales skills. And a big part of your branding and sales is your message. Clients and customers buy your brand – your story, your values and your beliefs, which are all wrapped up in your message. It’s a way to connect more deeply with your customers.

3. It gives you space to expand your business, without feeling locked into doing just ONE thing

I always like to think of business like a bicycle wheel. Right in the center of the wheel is the hub – that’s where your message lives. And radiating out from that are all the spokes  of the wheel – all the different ways that you can bring this message to fruition in the world. These spokes are where all your different offerings live. Some spokes are design related. But some might be broader than that – maybe coaching, or teaching, or writing, or volunteering. There are infinite numbers of ways that your message can be brought out into the world. And by letting yourself lead with your message, you have room to expand and grow your business as you evolve.

Think about it. Rather than getting stuck because of your job title – “I’m a jewelry designer”, or “I make cards and stationery” – you get to expand your description to be whatever you want it to be, so that as your business grows and evolves with you, nothing ever feels disjointed.

When you are in tune with your core beliefs, values, point of view, and purpose, it stands out in everything you do. Your work gets better. Your business gets better. And I really do believe that you, as a person get better, because you are living in line with what truly matters to you. Some call it authentic business. I think it’s the only way to do business.

Here are some prompts to help you dig into your core message:

1. If you were given a microphone that let everyone in the world hear you speak for 30 seconds, what would you say?

2. What is the thing that you just can’t shut up about that comes up over and over again (your soapbox)?

3. What do you believe in that you think everyone else should believe too?

There are all clues to your core message.

When you have those answers, take it a few levels deeper and get more tangible by tying them into your business. Ask yourself:

1. Why do you care so much about your message?

2. What’s your point of view about the best way to achieve your message? For example, “The best way to _________ is to _________”.

3. How do you specifically help people achieve that?

Here’s an example:

Let’s say you’re a stationery and card designer. And your big message is that “the world needs more love”. And your point of view in the world is that good communication is the key to creating more love in the world. And how you do that is by creating beautiful cards for people to send to their loved ones to show them how much they care.

Now it’s your turn. Work through the prompts, and post your message in the comments! Your message is the foundation of your business, and the sooner you put it out there to the world, the better!

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24 Comments

Reese Carrozzini

I really liked this article. It really makes you think about what you want your business to represent and what it means, and where you want to go with it. It asks you to dig deep.

Nicole

Helpful post, but could you please spell “stationery” correctly? Especially as D*S features so many great stationery artists!

Sharna

YES. Thank you! This article really resonated with me; I feel energized and overwhelmed all at once to nail down this key message for my own business.

I own a jewelry shop online and at the core of why I spend so much time doing all of this work is because I love creating simple beauty. I want to simplify the lives of others by sharing jewelry that is effortless and beautiful.

Sharna

Brigit Dermott

Thanks for this insightful article! It reminds me that part of a business’s core message needs to be what problem are you trying to solve for your customers. I like how this thinking takes running a creative business away from being about yourself to being about your customers. Thanks for the inspiration!

zhi | curiouszhi

This is a really great article. I’m seriously thinking about kickstarting my own stationery and design business next year and this article is making me stop and think clearly what my core message should be. Thank you!

Caroline

Funny that you used a stationery example because I own a stationery business that I am passionate about and love. This really helped me to revisit again what need I am fulfilling especially in a time when so many people don’t want to write (or write electronically rather). I think of stationery as a luxury like a beautiful pair of shoes and that what you write on or how you chose to write says a lot about you. I like spreading style using stationery! Thank you for helping me remember.

Rebecca Tracey

@ Reese – it’s such a seemingly important thing that seems to get overlooked!
@ Nicole – oops! Thanks for catching that! Looks like it’s been corrected :) I was just trying to put my Canadian twang on it ;)
@ Sharna – Don’t feel overwhelmed! Your message is already something you care about, so dig inside and start to pull it out! That second part of your comments already nails it!
@Brigit – You’re welcome!
@Zhi – Awesome, you’re starting in a great place if you can start with your message

anne corr

Very insightful – I find it difficult to articulate my message in a way that is meaningful, but oddly , when I show fellow crafters my work, tehy really get it. So I have a massive ditch I fall into, between doing what I love, and then branding and marketing it. It is almost that ‘marketing’ is the antithesis of what I am about, if that makes sense! I am still in that ditch, trying to clamber out, trying to get my head around social media, and SEO etc, and finding it such a headache!

Rosalyn

In creating my one of a kind accessories and clothing I give a person an ability to express who they are in what they chose to wear. In creating beautiful things I am bringing out the beauty in each person and their unique way of expressing themselves.

Susan

Awesome article! I do know my why / core message, but lately I have been veering off the mark slightly and I could feel it was wrong, but I was still letting myself go off course. This was just the reminder I needed to pull it back. Brilliant. Even with the typo! ;)

Rebecca Tracey

@Anne – I’d encourage you to start to think of “marketing” as a nice word… it doesn’t have to be dirty! Marketing is just a way of connecting with the people who need and want what you have to offer. I think if you can nail down your message, and then describe what you do in a tangible way that people can connect to, it will become easy for you… and that’s all marketing is!

@Rosalyn – LOVE your message!

@Susan – Great reminder to come back to what’s really at the core of it all. It doesn’t mean you can’t ever do anything off-course again, but it gives you a compass when you’re feeling off track

Avis Wampler of Avie Designs

Rebecca,

I had never thought about this in this way before. What’s funny is that I have been thinking a lot about my core message in my personal life and when I read your article, I realized that they are the same. That my business is one of the ways I express my core message in life. Almost like my business is a spoke off of my personal core message. And that core message is truth. I have spent my entire life in pursuit of and in service of the truth. And I want to create products that allow my customers to express themselves in a truthful way. Thanks for the thought provoking article!

Mollie Mahon

This was so helpful to read, thank you for posts like this!
Right now I teach elementary art and run a gluten free baking blog: http://www.TheAlmondFlower.com

What I really want (and what I’m working towards) is to open a gluten free bakery and art/gift shop!

I’ve done a ton of reading and thinking on what my core message is and it’s actually quite basic- to be happy and to make other people happy.

So for my future bakery and shop that means offering great gluten free baked goods and handmade art and gifts that are not found easily in our area. I agree that having that basic core mission of why you’re doing things is so essential and figuring that out has helped me to find the confidence to move forward- yay!

Sally Ridge Illustration

Art celebrates our human-ness and I think hand made drawings help us connect with one another and the simple pleasures of life. I like to draw animals because it reminds me of the vast nature of the planet and all the little characters out there, doin’ their thing on their own. I think that’s why I make drawings for people. (www.sallyridge.net)

This article is great – it’s a really really tough task to narrow it down – thanks for the specific tasks. I think I will be working a lot further on this one.

MoiraEberle

In 2014 I want to start my own personal coaching business and so, in treating myself as my own first client, I am working through different programs/books to define the essence of what I can offer. This exercise is a lovely short and simple but profound way to bring clarity to your business.
So – my message is Your Dreams Are Possible.
The best way to realize your dreams is to Take Action, big or small, with deliberate forethought or as a leap of faith, but begin moving forward towards something incredible.
My part in this will be easy, I get to hear people articulate their dreams, help them find resources to clarify them (including this post!), act as a springboard and sounding board as they take the first steps, and be there to hold them accountable and to remind them of their dream throughout the process.
Thank you!

Zed

I’m afraid I feel the same as Anne Corr about ‘marketing’, there’s a fine line between making connections and feeling like you’re using people, and too much social media can make people sick of you. I want to make beautiful things very affordable and write good quality, value for money tutorials and e-books, but selling online just hasn’t worked out. I sold more things in one hour at a craft fair last Saturday than in 9 months on etsy. I have a disability which makes it very difficult for me to go out, so don’t have many options.

Nicole

I really love that I found this right now, I have been kicking around an idea and have had several synchronicities tying it all together, this article is one of them! I guess I really should run with it!

Andrea Lynn Orndorff

Thank you for the article, Rebecca. As an interior designer, I really thought about my “soapbox” as you mentioned. The core of my message is not really about creating beautiful rooms, injecting bold color, or being trendy and creative. I just want to help my clients achieve peace and harmony at home while making the design process stress-free. Thank you!

Joyeaux

What a beautiful article! Mine is:
“Laugh. Express yourself,truthfully. Take care of yourself. You’re important. Stop hiding. You have only ONE life. Know what you want and passionately pursue it. Stop wasting time.”

At the moment I am a massage therapist (for feel good health) and collage designer (for creative expression). This year I’m starting to teach goal-setting classes using collage (for pursing what you want out of life)

So exciting!!

Bonnie

Great post! My business message goes something like this:

I help people create beautiful environments by offering vintage furniture, antiques and home decor. I believe in preserving goods that were built at a time when quality was the norm and items were built to last, not to end up in a landfill. I also believe everyone deserves a home that is a safe and beautiful refuge from every day life.

US Answer

Awesome efforts by Rebecca she has contributed valued efforts in developing small business idea among women’s.

Ella Birt

1. If you were given a microphone that let everyone in the world hear me speak for 30 seconds, I would say this:

Meaning isn’t found, it’s created. Don’t wait for happiness to find you. Don’t keep wishing you felt passionately enough about something to reach for it. Create meaning in your life, everyday through your relationships, work, hobbies, introspection. There are infinite possibilities.

2. What is the thing that you just can’t shut up about that comes up over and over again (your soapbox)?

We are not what we are told. We define who we are, and we define what is vital. Empowerment through giving, honesty, communication and compassion will change our personal landscape.

3. What do you believe in that you think everyone else should believe too?

There is something greater than consumer culture. There is something inside of us all that needs to be realized and shared.

1. Why do you care so much about your message?

I came from an extreme situation as a child, and have struggled and created deeper meaning for myself. There’s nothing more empowering than realizing you have the power to change your perspectives, to change your life, and to define your own meaning.

2. What’s your point of view about the best way to achieve your message? For example, “The best way to _________ is to _________”.

The best way to lead a life full of meaning is to seek out, and create meaning, through purposeful action, introspection and giving.

3. How do you specifically help people achieve that?

I will help others be inspired by showing how I create meaning in my life through entrepreneurial activities, personal development, creative outlets, and relationships. I will also document my volunteer experiences, interview other inspiring people, create podcasts and vlog posts. I plan to develop ebooks, online courses (in addition to the course I already teach on Skillshare.com) and offer one-on-one coaching.

Julie Jamison

Thanks so much for this article! I love your questions and I’m already getting to writing. They are forcing me to dig even deeper than what I’ve already have.

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