How To Answer The Dreaded 'So, What Do You Do?' Question In A Room Full Of Old People + Parents Who Just Don't Get It

So you started a business. But no one really knows what it is. Because you don’t know how to articulate it.

 

It’s a feeling. Energy swirling around in your body. You just KNOW in your bones that this is what you’re meant to do.

 

But try telling that to your baby boomer parents.

 

So it’s Sunday night family dinner at their place. And you’re dreading it. They ask how your ‘blog thing’ is going. ‘Fine’ you say, and try to change the subject.

 

You think you’ve dodged a bullet. Phew – you don’t have to try and explain to them your mission to change the world! Until…

 

‘I saw Aunt Sally today and gave her your website address. She was asking about your work and I didn’t quite know how to answer… What is it that you do again?”

 

The dreaded question.

 

What is it that you do again?
 

So you start to talk about how you’re paving the way to raising the vibrations of the world. How you want to uplift and inspire women across the globe to live their best lives. How you want to teach people to own their power, tell their truth and live wholehearted lives.

 

You’re losing them. So you throw out that word. Coach.

 

“I’m a coach!” you almost yell in the frustration.

 

You’re met with a confusing stare… “What?”

 

You try something else. “I help sensitive, high-vibing women.”

 

“What does that mean?”

 

“Ummmm…” You start riffing.

 

“Change agent… Lifestyle blogger… Life coach… Success coach… Wellness coach… I help people fall in love with their lives!”

 

But the questions keep on coming

 

“And someone actually pays you for that?”

 

Game over.

 

“Don’t worry about it.”

 

Proceed to sink into one helluva shitty mood that would put even the most petulant teenager to shame. (Stomping and sullen glares optional.)

 

I know. I used to be there.

 

And my coping mechanism? Part defensive, part denial.

 

I didn’t think I needed to explain what I was doing to these people who just didn’t get me. I mean, I didn’t need their approval. Far from it. They weren’t my ‘target market’ after all… so why’d I need to explain what I was about?

 

Here are a few damn good reasons.

 

I wanted to sound like a fully-fledged professional business woman who was confident and knew what the hell she was doing. Not a half-baked hippy who blogs to blog.

 

I wanted my baby boomer parental units to invest in my business.

 

I wanted my accountant (yep, pros get proper financial advice) to understand what my business was. Same with my banker, my insurance agent, and the woman at the tax office. I didn’t want to return to my default mode of freezing up and mumbling about chakras and high-vibration living.

 

I wanted to learn how to articulate what it is that I feel inside. What it is that gets my juices going. Because there’s nothing more disheartening to your biz aspirations than not being able to spill out a sentence about what the fuck you actually do.

 

I wanted to it to be real. A REAL BUSINESS in the REAL WORLD.

 

Where there are contracts and privacy policies and forecasts and business plans. And clients, a shitload of clients.

 

So, for all of this to happen, I realised I needed to be a player in the real world.

 

I needed to understand how the normal channels of business work.

 

And look, before you dismiss me, I get it. I get that the world is in the midst of a revolution. We’ve got massive organisations like Hay House rocking our socks off. Mainstreaming meditation, the law of attraction and mindfulness.

 

But here’s the big BUT – they’re doing so with contracts, privacy policies, forecasts and business plans. In fact, those very things are WHY they’ve got shitloads of customers.

 

By playing by the existing rules of business, they can reach so many more people. They can get their message across so much more effectively.

 

The thing is, you still need to know the rules by which businesses become successful in today’s world. Even if you’re working in the land of spiritual soul swirling energetic fields.

 

Our revolution is happening, but for now, we’re still living in a world of plans and policies and proposals. Don’t ignore that. Don’t stick your head in the sand.

 

And let me tell you, once you know the rules, you get to bend them. You get to dance on their edges, shape their form, and work with them to achieve your vision.

 

You get to incorporate everything you love – the Universal laws, your manifesting mojo, the divine downloads from your highset self… Hell, you can add as much glitter and sparkle as you damn well please.

 

‘Cos here’s the straight-up truth: the normal channels of doing business will support your vision, not hinder it. They are the earthly anchor from which you can soar.

 

And if you still think the rules of the real world don’t apply to you and your biz because your ideal customers ‘don’t care about that boring stuff’, I’ve got two words for you: their partners.

 

That’s right, we all know that if our partners don’t get what we’re spending our moolah on – whether it’s high-top sneakers or high-vibe coaching – it makes it a lot harder to feel good about it. So you’re going to need to talk THEIR language too.

 

Here are my top tips for developing your non-woo-woo business spiel, so that even the most blokey, beer-swilling boyfriends – plus your own beloved dad – finally get what you’re doing:

 

1)      Don’t tag yourself with a label. As much as you love being a ‘change agent’ or ‘revolution representative’ or ‘catalyst consultant’ (and you totally are creating change in your clients’ lives), real world peeps won’t get it and you won’t be taken seriously.

 

2)      Make it really simple. You don’t have to give a page-long précis of what you do. You don’t need to explain your 8 step signature program of how you do it. If you’re talking in too much detail, it’s because you haven’t nailed down the essence of the value you provide.

 

3)      Describe what you do. “I help X do X.”. At this stage, it can still be all sparkly and glitter-filled, stated in your own pretty words.

 

4)      Now simplify it. Use the thesaurus in reverse. Look up your fancy unique word and find the boring generic equivalent. Use that. You’ll end up with something that’s practical, logical and value-driven.

 

It’s the difference between “I help soul-centred sisters tell their heart-fuelled stories and expand their business consciousness” and “I help female entrepreneurs develop effective communication strategies to grow their revenue.”

 

5)      Say it confidently and succinctly. Seriously. Like you mean it.

 

6)      Expand when asked. If someone wants you to explain further the how – that’s when you go into the detail. Do not confuse the ‘what’ with the ‘how’.

 

And for the record, when I applied this – when I told my baby boomer dad that “I help small business owners write words that sell,” – I got a thoughtful look, a big smile and some awesome fatherly feedback.

 

“That's awesome!”