I’m pretty sure it’s okay to ask the question in the title. After all, my pastor asked my wife and I the same question once, word for word. Now we have a REALLY blended family – each of us brought five kids into this marriage (second marriage for each of us). He asked us that question when we decided to get engaged.
We knew it was crazy, but you know? It has worked amazingly well.
Sometimes when you look at the delivery world, being an independent contractor (go back to yesterday’s episode) and what we’re getting into, you think we gotta be crazy, right? I left a job as a business manager for a nonprofit to do this. To deliver food? How is THAT a positive career move?
So let me ask you this question: Why are you doing this?
We know the What. Before we figure out the how, we have to know the why.
I mentioned this at the end yesterday’s episode, that there’s a lot of negatives in being an independent contractor. You have to ask yourself if it’s worth it. You have to understand there are no guarantees, there are risks. Do the things that you gain from doing this work outweigh those risks?
Getting a good grasp on why we are doing this helps us make that evaluation.
What is it exactly you are trying to accomplish with this?
This is a foundational question.When you can really understand the answer to that question, so many other things can start falling into place. So before you go any further, dig deep.
Introducing the Mission Statement
Have you ever seen a business where they do to or three or more things that just don’t seem related at all? Think of something like Joe’s Law Office and Tackle shop. A business can spread themselves out way too thin trying to do too many different things.
I thought of a restaurant in my area that does Chinese and Mexican food. When I first saw it I thought that doesn’t make any sense at all. But guys… their food is sooooo good, maybe that’s a bad example.
I was business manager for a nonprofit that used bicycles to make a difference in the lives of kids. We often had opportunities to do things that looked like great ideas, but we always had to look at our mission. How is this helping us do what we want to do? If it didn’t, we had to say no because we didn’t want to be sidetracked.
Companies create mission statements to help define what it is they are doing and why they are doing. It keeps them centered. It helps them judge whether something makes sense. I don’t think we need a really formal statement, but we do have to ask ourselves, why are we doing this?
Digging into Our Why
There are all sorts of reasons people choose gig work. For some of us, it’s full time. For others, it’s a side hustle. We may be earning money for something special. Maybe it’s just survival.
It’s one thing to say as a nonprofit that we’re using bicycles to impact kids. That sounds awesome. It’s hard to really feel a sense of purpose in delivering food, let’s be honest here. If that’s your life’s purpose, more power to you! For most of us, our driving, and more particularly the money we earning, allows us to do something else. What is that?
Drilling down deeper into our why.
Sometimes understanding our ‘why’ requires digging deep. You start by asking yourself, why am I doing this?
I want to earn some extra money
I want to pay for a vacation
I love relaxing up in the mountains. I love getting to unwind
When you do this, you discover that the main thing isn’t the money, the main thing is that opportunity to unwind.
Keep asking yourself the why behind your answer, drilling deeper, until you just can’t get any deeper. That helps unlock your deeper why.
Why is it important to dig deeper?
Focusing on your why gives you motivation. You might not be a money oriented person but you ARE an experience oriented person. Earning more money just might not be enough to keep you going that last hour or so. Thinking about the experience that you are saving up for though might do the trick.
Knowing your why gives you guidance. You will have times where you may see other opportunities pop up. You will have times you have certain decisions to make. When you get down to the heart of your why, you can ask yourself, “how will this get me closer to my why?” “Will this get in the way of what I want to do?”
Knowing your why gives you perspective. This has happened for me, as I chose to do this because it pays the bills well enough and the flexibility fits hand in hand with some faith based projects that I’m passionate about. I get times when I’ll start feeling burnt out after chasing the money too hard. Stepping back and looking at my why, I would realize I’m focusing on the money more than my true reason. Once I get my why back in perspective, I don’t feel burnt out any longer.
Going Further With Your Why
We are just getting started on the planning portion of the 31 Day Courier MBA. You can see more in the schedule here. Your why is going to add to the foundation of what you are doing. You will start thinking strategically, rather than reactionary. You will make decisions. All of this needs to be centered on your reason for doing this in the first place.
We’re going to wrap up the planning portion on Sunday, talking about developing an Exit Strategy. Your “Why” is going to play heavily in this one. We don’t know where this industry is going. Will this kind of opportunity be around forever? Probably not. What happens if we’re made employees? Does that fit your “why” better? Is there something else out there that gets you even closer to your “why?”
Your “why” comes into play in operations, in the decisions you make. It will come into play in your finances. If you’re not sure how seriously to take things like insurance or taxes, you start asking how mistakes there would impact your why. And ultimately, it plays into your Employee Relations (remember that YOU are your employee). It helps you develop a work life balance, and helps you get a clue as to where you want to develop yourself.
Dig deep. Why the HELL are you doing this? Dig deeper into why that’s important, then dig deeper still, because if you know your why’s, you will lay a foundation that helps you to answer the ‘how’s’ and the ‘what’s’ of what you do next.