Starting a business or even a small side hustle can involve facing a ton of confusing questions. When thinking about my entrepreneurship journey, I had to find answers to questions like, “What are people willing to buy? Who is my audience and where can I find them? How can I make sure that I enjoy creating this business?”
Back in January of 2020, I took the course How to Create a Microbusiness that Matters by Courtney Carver. It’s an inexpensive and easy course; it only cost me around $25. I’m a huge fan of the 333-Project, and I like how Carver approaches things, so I was happy to give her course a try.
Little did I know that this tiny course would have such a big impact on how I sell what I create!
There are a ton of great ideas in Carver’s microbusiness course, and I highly recommend taking it, but the most important thing I learned was to see business as an act of helping.
Seeing business as a way to assist others is a must-have for INFPs.
I care a lot about doing things that have personal value to me, and this shift in view helped me to look harder at how the things that are important to me can help others. This viewpoint makes doing business feel less transactional and more human. I’ve gone from simply making things just because I think it’s a cool idea to consciously making sure that what I create can help fill a void in others.
Looking at business this way made me realize something else that’s super important. All successful businesses are helpful.
Some chefs help people who don’t have time to cook enjoy a healthy meal. Some writers help people who love mystery stories to enjoy more mystery stories. Some quilters make blankets that create positive feelings by reminding people of their favorite sports team and keeping them warm at the same time.
Some items simply help others to express their identity, such as clothing and t-shirts. Musicians provide support by making music for studying, dancing, or getting over a breakup. Artists create work that reminds their audience of something they love or that creates a certain kind of atmosphere at home. Every business is built on helping others in some way. And good businesses know who they are helping and how what they offer is useful.
With this in mind, now I start every writing project that I plan to sell with the question, “Who am I helping with this?”
Here are some other things that are great about seeing business as a way to help and give to others.
Finding your audience becomes easy.
There is so much information out there on how to visualize your ideal audience. But I’ve found it’s much simpler and effective to ask, “Who am I helping with my work?”
When I focus on who I’m helping, I can automatically see their age, occupation, and what they could be interested in. All the other details start to come in. Then it becomes clearer what kinds of products I need to create to deliver the support my audience needs.
Your products will always fit your audience.
When making something, ask yourself, “Will this product really offer help and support to the intended audience? How will it do so?”
Saying the word “help” can sound like such a lofty thing, but it doesn’t have to be. Artists can create artwork that helps people to create a calm environment in their homes. Is it earth-shattering? Not really. Is it something that people care about? Yes.
Doing this has helped me to avoid engaging in “vanity projects.” These are things that are interesting to me, but when asked who is it for and how is it helpful, all I can do is shrug. Stuff like that is great to do for yourself! But if you’re trying to create a business out of it, things will go much better if you know exactly who it’s for and how it helps.
Not only does it give you a better picture of what you’re making, but when it’s time for you to share that finished project with others, it’s easy to say, “What I make is designed to help this group of people, and this is how it does it.”
This concept makes it easier to create products that have an impact, and it ensures that what you create gets to the right people.
You get more specific
Going back to the example of an artist, an artist can start with the thought, “I make art that helps people to create a calm environment at home.”
But how are they going to do that? Is it by painting florals, lightly hued abstracts, landscapes, or skyscapes?
After considering what they like to do and their visual strong points, an artist can end up thinking, “I create floral and landscape paintings that help people create a calm environment at home.”
So with that statement, the artist knows:
A: Their audience is people who love landscapes and florals. B. The focus of their shop is as going to be calmness. They’re not doing to start painting pictures of aliens and wolves because that’s not the audience they are creating for.
Then the artist can ask themselves, “If I wanted to find a calm piece of art for my home, where would I look? How do people find that kind of art and where do they buy it?” Once they answer this question, the artist will have a clear idea of how to present themselves online and where to sell their work.
As a writer, this is exactly what happened to me. For now, I am writing books and articles that help highly sensitive, intuitive introverts, and INFPs make the most of their abilities. How does it help? By exploring the unexpected gifts within being introverted, highly sensitive, and intuitive. Where can I find those who my writing helps? Well, since I’m part of the audience that I’m writing for, that was easy. Online book stores, Pinterest, Etsy, and other creative online spaces.
(As a side note, being part of the audience that you are creating for makes things so much easier and straightforward when it comes to starting a business. If you can create for the audience that you are a part of, not only will you have fun, but you’ll learn so much about yourself in the process.)
The point is that the one question of how to help others can lead to more specific answers that can take you straight from the idea to setting up shop.
Less focus on money and more focus on doing.
By focusing on how my work assists others, I’ve found that it’s become less necessary for me to obsess over, “How is this going to make money?” I care about making money, but that’s not my sole reason for being an entrepreneur. It’s balanced with a desire to give. I dislike feeling like a miserly money counter or a product hustler, and entrepreneurship can make you feel that way. This mode of thinking removes those emotions, and I am deeply thankful for that.
Thanks to this process, I have all of the essential pieces of the puzzle already together. I know:
- Who I’m making things for.
- How it will help them (which translates into why people will want to buy it).
- Where to find them.
Once I have a solid footing in those areas, my focus is on getting what I make in front of those who need it.
Focusing on how I help others with my business has made doing business online more fun and less about hustle. It’s exciting thinking up things that solve a problem or gives others support.
I don’t feel rushed to put things out there. I want to make sure that everything I make is encouraging. It’s fantastic to be able to create and sell what I make with minimal stress.
Also when someone decides that what I make isn’t for them, I’m less offended because I know that it is simply something that they did not need. And that’s okay.
So this is the number one tip that has made me a much better INFP entrepreneur. It got me out of my way and made it possible for me to shift my focus to my audience.
Does anything in this article resonate with you? If so, feel free to reach out via Twitter or Email. I would love to know what you think!