You can accomplish the impossible. You have broken free of the corporate grind and are now living your dream — or at least you’re on the way there.
But you still have one problem. Because your journey to success is following an uncommon path, or perhaps even an altogether new path, it is difficult to explain exactly what it is you do.
This may seem like nothing more than a minor inconvenience at cocktail parties and social gatherings. That certainly is an actual concern. But beyond that, no matter what it is that you exactly do for a living, there are benefits to being able to succinctly explain your business. You never know when the next client or partner might emerge, and it’s likely you will miss out on any potential benefits if you are incapable of laying out what you do.
Fortunately, it gets easier. By using a few of the following tips and examples as a guideline, both familiar acquaintances and new associates alike should be able to walk away from your next encounter with a much better understanding of who you are and what your business is all about.
First Know Thyself
Despite the sometimes perilous waters they face, many people who don’t work a normal 9-to-5 have great contentment in their professional life. This allows them some level of freedom and a sense of independence that is hard to find in an office job.
The downside to that, however, is that when you are your own boss, you lack a bit of accountability when it comes to validating the work you do on a day-to-day basis. So while you should have a very good conception of your exact business model in your head, you still may have trouble articulating it well to others.
This is why it helps to have everything written down and refined. Can you explain how you make money to even yourself quickly? In Hollywood, they say every movie should come with an elevator pitch. You need a 30-second summary ready at all times in case you ever get a moment alone with a hot-shot executive producer. Well, the same applies here. Figure out exactly what your business model is and write the shortest version of it that you can into your own elevator pitch.
Establish Common Ground
There is a reason that a lot of new types of businesses are explained through comparisons and analogies. Nowadays, especially in Silicon Valley and the tech world, you will hear everything under the sun described as being like another successful firm in the space. Startups present themselves as the “Uber for dog walking” or the “Airbnb for Fashion.”
Of course, you don’t want to sound like your company is merely a clone of another idea. You want people to understand the uniqueness of what it is you are trying to accomplish. But by starting the conversation with a comparison to something known, you can quickly get them thinking on your level and beginning to understand where you’re coming from.
Use Available Resources
In many cases, there will already be some good information out there about your field. Whether this is in the form of books, articles, or videos, you should take advantage of existing resources whenever possible.
This is naturally easier when you are exchanging emails than when you run into someone at a networking cocktail hour. But it should be leveraged when it makes sense to save you time and ensure that you are consistently presenting the same message to the different people you encounter.
One good example of this comes from Amway. Because its direct sales model is unfamiliar to some, the company provides easy-to-share information (through blog posts like “Amway Pyramid Scheme Facts”) to clearly and concisely explain how its business works and what the organization is all about.
Communicating Your Business Model
Alternative careers can be thrilling. You operate a little differently than most other people and get to enjoy the type of adventure — full of ups and downs — that most workers never experience.
But it is important to learn to communicate this to friends and family as well as potential business partners and clients.
One of the best ways to explain everything is to use pre-existing materials that already do the legwork for you. And this is also best accomplished if you can find some common ground to establish a foundation for comprehension.
Most importantly, make sure you yourself understand your own business model. Because if you cannot explain it to yourself, how can you ever expect someone else to understand?
To read more on topics like this, check out the technology category.