What’s your Why?

Why Knowing Your "Why" is Good for Your Business

Quick question: What tagline resonates with you more?

A: “Web Design + Digital Strategy for purpose-driven solopreneurs.”


B: “The world is a prettier place when you make money doing what you love.
Web Design + Digital Strategy for purpose-driven solopreneurs.”

Tagline “A” definitely wins the brevity award, but “B” has some heft behind it. Some passion. Some “I give a shit”-ness to it.

And that’s not an accident…

No matter what kind of business you’re in, whether you’re an Artist, a Doctor, a Teacher, a Lawyer, most people have some sort of motivation driving them to do the work they do.

Besides getting a paycheck, although those are nice, too!

Maybe it’s a mission, a calling, a cause, or a belief, but it’s a inner force that drives them to show up and do the work, and it’s that mission that also makes those businesses the most compelling and addicting because their motivations pull on our heart strings. When we know the reason behind why a business exists, we identify with it and feel connected to it almost immediately, which is why “B” is a better tagline (or “elevator pitch”) than “A”.

Could it be better? Probably, but I’m no Copy Writer.

Mostly because I will NEVER know when it’s appropriate to use a semicolon, thankyouverymuch.

As I work one-on-one with my clients on their website design + branding, one of my very first questions is “Why do you do what you do?” so their story, their mission, they’re why is immediately felt and infused in their materials.

Some people have AMAZING answers that make my brain explode in a shimmer of hot pink glitter. Others, don’t really know their “why” yet, and need some help.

My favorite resource? TedTalks. And one of my most favorite is one from 2009 from Simon Sinek called “How Great Leaders Inspire Action.” It’s been viewed 26 million times, and it’s for good reason. The core message is simple and brilliant: People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.

The video is 18-minutes long which you should totally watch, but here’s the Cliff’s Note version which bypasses all the biology, history and research Simon has done:

Basically, he breaks down some big names, like Apple, Martin Luther King and the Wright Brothers and dissects what made these people and business so successful and memorable.

He outlines that most people know what they do and how they do it, but they don’t know their why, which can make their messages, their marketing and their businesses fall flat for the rest of us.

He points out that all great businesses communicate in the same way: They start with why they do what they do > then how they do it > what they do.

When you start your messages on your website and beyond,starting with your “why” allows people to connect with you on a much deeper level both psychologically and biologically. You’re bypassing facts and figures and bells and whistles of your product and going straight to the heart.

So, let’s see some examples of other people’s “why’s” before I turn you loose on crafting or refining your own. Each of these examples are set up almost as an elevator pitch, or as an introduction with a new person or potential client:

  • A Photographer’s “why” could be: “I’m a Photographer focusing on weddings and new moms because I love capturing the moments when a new life begins.”
  • A Chiropractor’s “why” could be: “I’m a Chiropractor for children and young adults because I want to spare kids from the back pain I experienced as a child.”
  • An Interior Designer’s “why” could be: “I’m an Interior Designer for people in transitional periods in their lives because I believe you can get the life you want by using the space you got.” (P.S. This is a real life example from one of my faaaaavorite clients, one Rebecca West Interiors, and her new book, Happy Starts at Home!)

Do you see how powerful these statements become? In these examples, the Photographer is setting himself apart from the others out there, and the same goes for the Interior Designer and the Chiropractor. Their mission isn’t just to create a pretty photo, a pretty room, or fix backs. They stand for something bigger and greater. You identify with them, you remember them and it’s because they start with “why.”

If you need some help in defining your “why,” here are just a few question prompts you can use to create a cohesive statement like the examples just shown.

  • Why do you do what you do?
  • Does your business, product or service have a mission, a cause, a belief or a main idea behind it?
  • What do you believe about your business, product or service in general?
  • Why do you create the business you created?
  • What is it about your business, product or service that gets you out of bed in the morning?

Now that you’ve got your creative juices flowing, here’s a little Mad Libs-style formula to help get you thinking about how your statement can take shape:

I’m a _______ focusing on ________ because I believe ________.

Have some fun with this, and feel free to expand on it, or change some wording to better fit your message.

The key here is to keep this in one succinct phrase, using as few words as possible, so this is focused, easy to understand and has maximum impact.

You don’t have to answer every single one of these questions or include all of this in your final statement, the question prompts are just meant to get you thinking about what you could include.

So, now that you have this statement, what do you do with it?

Surely, it was meant for more than just elevator pitches and sweaty handshakes with potential clients or customers, right?

I mean, let’s leverage this sucker!

I want you to take this phrase and showcase it on the “Home” and/or your “About” page of your website and beyond, so your customers immediately know what your “why” is, as well as what you do and how you do it.

You can use the whole Mad Libs-style phrase if you’d like, but I recommend just using the bits from “I believe” and onward to get the maximum effect.

So, in the Photographer example, his tagline on his Home page could be “Capturing the moments when a new life begins. Photography for weddings and growing families.”

Natalie McGuire

Hi, I'm Natalie McGuire!

I'm a website designer + digital strategist who believes in design with strategic ease. Meaning, gorgeous design is informed by customer insights that make your business a whole lot easier. If you want to stop losing customers by having "just another pretty website," work with me.

Stop losing customers by having
“just another pretty website.”

Natalie McGuire Designs: Design with strategic ease


Natalie McGuire Designs stands against inequality, injustice, hate, discrimination, and systemic racism, and is deeply committed to investing in diversity and inclusion, and standing up for what is just, inclusive, loving & equitable.