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There’s No Shame in Telling People What You Do

David Sherry
2 min read
There’s No Shame in Telling People What You Do

There are many different ways to describe what you do. If you’re self-employed, or someone who does many things this is a kind of dreaded question to be asked.

Many times we resort to vague terms…

We use…

  • “Founder”
  • “Startup”
  • “Self-Employed”
  • “Freelancer”

None of these really describes much at all.

Sure, you can brag about the deductions… the flexibility.

But this isn’t really answering the question people have.

And, answering this question is important.

It’s important because it gives other people in our lives the opportunity to share what we do with others who might be able to use it.

I still struggle all of the time trying to be explicit, clear, and precise about sharing with other people what I do.

I see this as a problem.

Most people will sort of just tell you “dude, who cares what other people think about you?” but this response isn’t helpful.

The market DOES need to understand and think about what you do… on some level.

Clarity helps people answer the series of questions that goes through their head when they meet you.

Here are those unconscious questions:

  • Who are you? (Positioning/placement in their head)
  • How can you help me?
  • If you can't help me, can you help someone I know?
  • Can I help you?

Being clear helps you answer these questions, building trust and momentum.

If you can’t be confident in sharing about your company or your service, why would your customers trust you?

Leading others is about being yourself, being inspired.
It’s also about you communicating clearly.

Vagueness is a common symptom for entrepreneurs talking about what they do.

There is some type of weird shame when it should be something we’re proud of.

I’ve met startup founders that don’t even tell other people about what they do! They said, “I didn’t want people to know I ran a startup.”

I used to lie and tell people I was a wedding photographer!

It just felt easier. It also wasn’t true…

So, maybe you don’t like attention or flash, or bragging, or being bragged about.

Maybe you feel like there is some type of weird “elitism” feeling that comes with the term ‘startup’.

But regardless of the reason, this isn’t just about “dude who cares just do you.”

Getting Specific is a Skill

And a skill you should hone.

In almost every area of your life, getting more specific is useful.

  • In your writing, saying our product is “iced-cold brew laté with beads of condensation dripping from the glass” is better than saying “we make good drinks.”
  • In teaching a skill, saying “turn your shoulders about 40 degrees to the right, and lean heavier on the ball of your right foot” is better than saying “lean more into it.”
  • In meeting others and building your community, saying "I collect and recycle fabrics to remake into memorable blankets and pillows that I sell on Etsy" is better than saying "I am a weaver."

There are thousands of people and books talking about your elevator pitch.

“I help ____ do _____ so that they can do ________.”

Fine... and good.

What I’m talking about is much bigger than that.

I’m talking about the trust and connection that gets built by being specific; It creates more surface area for people to understand specifically what you mean.

I’m talking about the skill of not being too vague; It creates more connection in your leadership and communication.

I’m talking about seeing that the world progresses when we can share and see in HD.

It helps us build skills, sell, connect, and share with other people about what we do with clarity instead of shame.

Creative LessonsInterpersonal Communication