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  • Writer's pictureBassam Tarazi

The 3 Words Professionals Know But Amateurs Don’t

Anyone venturing solo in the service economy for the first time has been faced with the dilemma of this question at family get togethers:

“So what is it that you actually do?”

Damnit...Someone top me up here, please.

Since we are oftentimes unsure of what it is that we do (because we’re not actually doing it), our natural reaction is to usually give a one-size-fits-all answer like:

“I’m an entrepreneur, I’m a social media consultant, I’m a copywriter, I’m a coach. I’m a graphic designer. I’m a photographer.”

This doesn’t work so well because chances are Uncle Sal only knows the societal usefulness of a handful of job titles like: medical doctor, criminal defense attorney, grade school teacher, prostitute, etc.So our ping will be pong’d with something like: “So how do you earn money?”

Throw up in our mouth a little bit + sip our drink to wash it down + take deep breath.

Since we think we were just indirectly called a lazy bum, we fire back the description of everything we’ve done or wish we were doing in the past week.

“I have a blog. I’m writing a book. I teach. I consult. I connect clients. I design. I research trends. I create logos. I have people skills!”

What Pros Know

Pros have been able to change the question in their head from “What do you do?” to “What do you do for other people?”

Because what you do for other people is the reason you will get paid or gain followers (even if you’re not getting paid for it right now). And the quicker you start thinking in that manner, the quicker you will take yourself seriously, and the easier it will be to articulate to people what you do for them both in person and on your website.

  1. I’m a social media consultant,” does not tell us what you do for other people. “I get companies more customers through various strategic campaigns on sites like Facebook, Twitter,” does.

  2. I’m a life coach,” does not tell us what you do for other people. “I show busy professionals how to increase their output while gaining more free time,” does.

  3. I’m a copywriter,” does not tell us what you do for other people. “I bring companies more sales and increased customer retention by getting them to change how they say what they are saying,” does.

I am currently in the process of my own rebrand (coming late spring, early summer) and I’m working on articulating what I do for other people. Right now, it’s: “By leaping tall problems in many small bounds, I help people sanely finish the stuff they say they want to but just can’t seem to.”

What do you do for other people? Chime in below.

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