As graphic designer, I often get asked exactly what type of graphic design do I do. People want to know what type of services I offer, which can leave me a bit dumbfounded because as you know, my strength is that I can work on varied outputs. So defining what I do by narrowing down on my services is not a very helpful way of defining myself and doesn’t leave much space for all the other attributes that make me me.
In reality a brand or a business is so much more than a list of services or products. It’s easy to want to put a person/ solopreneur/ business in a box when in fact it’s all the stuff outside a box that gives each business it’s passion and uniqueness.
So how do you go about defining what your business is about or who you are professionally ? Getting a better handle on what makes you unique will give you more confidence and consequently will help you naturally market yourself better.
I came across a little exercise recently that I want to share with you as you work on defining your uniqueness.
STRENGTH + PASSION = PURPOSE
So let’s start with strengths, which are the qualities you naturally excel at. Try to be honest with yourself as you jot down your strengths. Don’t write some that you feel you ought to have but rather ones that are well and truly you.
In doing this exercise here are some of the ones that came to mind when I was doing this exercise:
Focused on the future
Last year as part of a business course I was doing I emailed a dozen close family and friends and asked them to share with me what they thought my 3 superpowers are. It was such an intimidating exercise but the answers were both generous and informative. Cross referencing my own list of strengths with my friends’ list of superpowers has really helped me hone down on my key strengths.
The next step in this little exercise is to write down the list of things you are passionate about. Don’t worry if some are phrases and others are just word. Don’t edit yourself down for now. Just dump some ideas on paper. Here are some of my passions that came up when I did this exercise:
As you can see some are more work related whilst others are more personal, which I am sure you will find too as you do this.
It’s now time to put in all together and define your purpose. The purpose is the reason why: why it matters to you, why you get up day after day, why you are unique.
Look at your strengths again and passion again and see how they fit together. You will probably come up with multiple purposes or reasons why.
Here are some examples based on my strengths and passions:
In my example, the first 2 are more work related whereas the last one is more personal but somehow informs who I am as well.
So have a look at your 2 lists and play around with associating strengths to passions.
And now, you ask, what do I do with this list? Here are some ideas on how to use these findings to your benefit.
Firstly have a look at all the places where you market yourself in a passive way to the outside world, like your website and social media. Rework your blurb to showcase your purpose in a way that makes you truly honest and unique.
Write down your key purposes on a piece of paper and put it up in your office. When you have business calls that call for you to market yourself, keeping this list handy will ensure that it’s front and mind and that you use the right words to define who your are.
I’d love to hear what you what purposes you came up with so please share it in the comments below.