I solve #firstworldproblems. But why?

Paul Boag

As business owners we often fixate on what we do and for whom. Rarely do we step back and ask why we do what we do.

As business owners we often fixate on what we do and for whom. Rarely do we step back and ask why we do what we do.

I solve #firstworldproblems. I make those little user experiences better. I make dealing with organisations less frustrating and even special. I help organisations be a little more human and a little less… well… corporate.

And that is a good aim. After all we live in a stress filled world. Sure, our basic needs like shelter and food are never a problem. In fact our standard of living is an embarrassment. But we are a society plagued by pressure, depression and overwork. If I can make people’s lives a little easier that is good.

Think about the why of what you do

Until recently I had never thought about why I do what I do. In the past I would fixate on bringing in enough work. That meant asking questions like what is my specialism and who is my target audience. But here is the interesting thing. Until I started asking the why question I found it hard to answer the what and who questions.

The realisation I wanted to make a difference in people’s lives has changed my attitude to my work. 6 months into my new business I now have a much clearer focus just by asking why. Why do I do what I do?

Why will transform your business

Making people’s lives easier is a worthy goal. But I realised it was not enough for me. First world problems do matter. But I couldn’t solve first world problems without considering the more serious issues in our world.

This has led me to a decision. I want to work for not-for-profits. Organisations that are trying to make the world a better place. I will no longer be accepting commercial work or if I do, expect to pay a premium that I can donate to worthy causes.

As I have just turned away a big chunk of my potential clients I would love to hear from you if you are a not-for-profit!

Find out more about how I can help your not-for-profit

Putting my money where my mouth is

I want to discount my rate for charities in particular. I will continue to do work for Higher Education and Government. These are not-for-profits and contribute to society in valuable ways. But if you are a charity, I will lower my rate to help you make a difference.

Also I have decided to give 10% of my profits each year to charitable causes. That is 10% before I take dividends or salary.

I tell you this not to suggest my road is more worthy. I hope this doesn’t come across as smugness or preachiness.

The benefits of asking why

I write this to show that we need to ask why we do what we do. Doing so benefits our business. By asking the why question I have focused my offering on not-for-profits and refined the services I offer. It has allowed me to rewrite all my services pages to be much more focused.

So what about you? Why do you do what you do? Is it just to pay the bills or is it something more? You cannot find happiness in your role unless it motivates you in someway beyond the financial. I would love to hear those motivations in the comments.

P.S. I am still going to offer my business coaching services because I want to give back to the web community.