Why are you in business?

To many people start interior design businesses without knowing their "WHY".  Before you can plan to have a successful business, you need to know why you are starting your business.  

There is a lesson in my course, The Golden Blueprint, that I call Guiding Light.  This lesson is done the very first week of the course because it is meant to be just that, a guiding light.

I read today that people spend more time planning a vacation than they do their lives.  So while most people will write down lists of places to visit and restaurants to try and then plan how to make them happen and how to get there, very few people actually do that with their lives.

But before you get to planning, you have to figure out the reason for it all.

You intrinsically know why you are going on vacation, for adventure, for culture, for relaxation and you plan your activities to support that purpose.  You're not going to pack your schedule with sight-seeing and tours if you lust for margaritas on the beach.

But many people go into business without knowing why they are starting a business.  This isn't about creating a mission or vision statement for your business, creating a guiding light is the ultimate goal for you personally.

So, why are you in business?  Or if you haven't started yet, why do you want to have a business?

This is between you and you.

So no bullshit.  This is truth time.

Any reason you have is 100% valid and relevant as long as it is done with integrity.

This is the time when you are going to be selfish and be honest about why you have decided to start a business.

Here are some Guiding Light examples:

  • to be rich and financially secure
  • to spend more time with family
  • to feel joyful by use of creativity
  • to receive national recognition
  • to create art
  • to make a mark on interior design industry
  • to travel and explore

Your Guiding Light is not a goal, it is your purpose.  

It is not something that can be crossed off a list once it is achieved.  It is always there and likely not going to change for many years, if ever.  It is your business beacon, guiding you to where you want to go and keeping you on track.

By identifying your Guiding Light you will be able to make better business decisions because you know your ultimate why.

Let's say that you are in business to spend more time with family and an opportunity to speak at a conference arises.  The conference is in another city for 5 days and you don't know if it'll be good for business.  But if you know your Guiding Light, you can say no to the conference or you can turn it into a family vacation and uphold your ultimate why of spending more time with family.

Let's say you have a high-maintenance and demanding prospect with an amazing home that is sure to be published nationally.  If you're in business to spend more time with family, this client should be an easy one to turn down, but if you're in business to gain national recognition you'll be more likely to take on the project.  If your Guiding Light is to use your creativity to create art, you'll need to determine if this demanding client will allow you to be creative or if they'll stifle it.

A Guiding Light is not a crystal ball, but it is a useful instrument for helping you stay on the path and not be distracted in your business.

Guiding Light Assignment: Want to create your own Guiding Light?  Take at least 20 minutes and think about what you want most from your business.  Fame?  Fortune?  Security?  Why are you running a business and not working for someone else?  Why interior design?  Why are you doing what you're doing?  What is the point of it all?  You want to keep pushing and drilling down your answers to uncover any hidden motivations.  If you think you're in business to supplement the family income, is that all?  Is that your ultimate desire?  Maybe it is all about the money or maybe it is so your husband can work less and you can spend more time with him.  Or maybe you want to supplement the family income so that you can retire early or so you can be financially independent.  You don't have to share this with anyone, so be bold, be honest, be selfish.

And in the comments below, tell me if you have a guiding light and how it's helped you (or could have helped) you in your business.