I’ve already written about my goals for 2015 and I shared with you how much I want to earn in a year. For some people, the financial goal itself is the primary reason ‘why’ they do their business — just to earn money.

There’s certainly nothing wrong with earning money. Money is a necessary tool for taking care of ourselves and feeding our families. Doing business for money is certainly a worthy endeavour, but today I want to talk to you about why I do my business, for reasons that go beyond the money.

A why goes beyond your current job, or current industry. I could apply my why to any number of industries far removed from any type of web development.

[Tweet “Have you defined WHY you do business and live life?”]

I could fulfill my purpose even if I never worked with another website. I state this with confidence, because I know what my why is.

Do you really know why I do what I do? Why I write, and coach businesses, and help site owners with their sales/conversions?

It started

I first got into WordPress and web development simply because development was an interesting challenge. While pursuing my degree in counseling, I gradually found myself spending all my off time (and much of my class time) learning to program.

Who doesn’t want to spend their days doing work that interests them? Who doesn’t want to get paid for doing something they enjoy?

It’s not interesting now

I say it’s no longer interesting, but that’s not really the truth. I still enjoy digging into the technical side of my job. It’s fun learning new tools and automating things.

It’s a great technical challenge to dive into site speed and make a site faster after hours of digging around, diagnosing issues and fixing them.

But the fact that it’s interesting is no longer why I do the work I do; that’s just a side benefit.

Interesting wasn’t enough

Interesting simply stopped being a good enough reason to do my job. There are lots of things that I find interesting, like working on my car, building furniture, or being a bicycle mechanic. I could make any of those things — among many others — my full-time job, but none of those would really be in line with my real why.

[Tweet “Interesting stopped being the reason I run my business long ago.”]

My Why

So the real reason I do what I do is:

To help others succeed and live the life they want to live.

In my coaching work that means helping freelancers and small business owners just like you get better clients, charge better rates, and have more time to enjoy your passions outside of web work.

Over at SFNdesign I help my customers have fast sites that convert well. That helps them retain members longer and build engaged followings of repeat customers.

Others benefit when I stay true to my why. 

Way back when

I’ve taught most of my life. At one point I taught people how to run a live performance theatre in high school. I taught the new students how to use tools, run the lights and sound, and how to put on provincially award-winning shows.

Later I began teaching rock climbing, kayaking, canoeing, winter camping and a host of other outdoor pursuits.

My fondest memories during years of teaching others in various fields aren’t my personal achievements in those fields. The memories that stand out the most for me are the successes of the people I taught.

I remember one young lady who got her first 5.12 climb (pretty dang hard) after months of working with her as a coach. My wife and I took her out to the cliffs weekly (she was about 14 and didn’t have her own transportation).

We helped her achieve her goal for the year, and the day that happened was one of the best days ever.

I mentioned that to my wife recently and she reminded me that I also accomplished a big goal that day — climbing the same hard climb as the young lady we were helping.

Years later I had totally forgotten about my goal and my achievement because it simply wasn’t that big a deal to me. The big important thing was seeing the success of someone else I was helping.

Revisiting my income goals

So, going back to my $300,000 income goal for the year, I’ve got to say I don’t actually like the feel of stating that number. It’s because talking about my income goals keeps the focus on me, and it feels….well, slimy.

What feels more comfortable is stating the goal that I want to earn my clients $3M this year, and I’d get 10% of that.

[Tweet “How much can you earn your clients this year?”]

The thought of earning people $3M simply feels like it fits with my why way better than my own income goal.

My only struggle is with the 10% number. Should it be 5%?

What’s your why?

Here’s my question for you today: What’s your why?

Why do you build websites for people? It should be more than just putting food on your family’s table. That’s just a by-product of doing awesome work.

Tomorrow we’ll look at some questions to help you find your why.

photo credit: blackzack00 cc