Why I Do What I Do

By Melissa Brown, MD

Why do people start an online business?

The reasons for starting an online business are as plentiful as there are people who start an online business. They  may fit into some general categories. For instance, one reason might be to make money, another one is to help other people, to right a wrong, or provide a solution. There are layers of reasons why someone might decide to start an online business these days. To be successful with your online business, it’s important you know what that why is for you.

What did you want to be when you grew up?

Do you remember your childhood answer to the question of what you wanted to be when you grew up? It was usually a profession; doctor, fire-fighter, policeman, or nurse. Online marketer, blogger, or online business owner was not usually on the list of things for kids to become. That might be changing with the youngest generation as there are more role models now for people who have a career online.

What about the more important question that many adults forgot to ask? When you were a child and answering the question about what you wanted to be when you grew up, how often were you asked this follow-up question; Why do you want to do that? That’s where the gold is!

My story

I remember from my childhood I initially answered the first question by saying I wanted to be a nurse. My maternal grandmother was a nurse. She worked at the county hospital and later as a visiting health nurse throughout our rural Midwestern county. I thought I wanted to be like her.

When people asked me the second question, why I wanted to be a nurse, I would usually say because I wanted to follow in my grandmother’s footsteps. Truthfully, I never dreamed that girls could be doctors–the only female role models in health and medicine were nurses.

My why

At some point in my childhood, I remember refining my answer to the question of why I wanted to be a nurse. What bubbled up for me was that I truly wanted to help people. I didn’t care how I did it, but I knew helping people was somehow my mission. Entering the medical field in some way was what I saw as the best ticket to fulfill my mission.

I was fortunate to meet a professor in college who helped me realize that I could best help people by serving as a physician–not a nurse. He recognized an ability in me that I didn’t. He encouraged me to take the required courses and set my sights higher so I could apply to medical school instead of going the path that would lead to a nursing degree. Women were just beginning to be accepted into medical school. My professor believed in me that I would be able to get into medical school and that I would become a successful physician.

Medical School

Fortunately, I listened to him. And in spite of all the obstacles I put in my path (yes, I put them there) I was accepted to medical school and started classes in 1978. Once I committed to attending medical school, one challenge after another piled on top over the next 3 years, threatening failure time and again. What drove me to persevere through these difficult times was my why; I knew I wanted to help people and my path to becoming a doctor was the best way I knew how to make that why come true.

Over my 25+ years as a physician, the one thing underlying everything I did was a desire to help others. It’s why I got up in the morning. Why I worked on-call 24/7 for days on end. And it’s why I worked 60-80+ hour weeks. I had a burning desire to help others and I knew I was helping others when I was seeing patients in my office and in the hospital.

Burned out

Turns out, there’s a ‘funny’ thing about helping others 24/7. You get lost along the way. Boundaries are necessary and they’re a good thing. Unfortunately, I learned that too late. Working as much as I did to help others, I burned out, stressed out, and gave up my medical practice. I saw it as my only hope of salvaging my health–I had neglected me for too long. Now I needed to become my own patient and take care of myself.

Discovering a whole new world

Over the next 10 years, I started exploring the internet for holistic healing methods and self-care. I discovered a whole world I knew nothing about. A hidden world unseen while I was in my medical practice. My eyes were opened to life coaching and health coaching, internet marketing, and writing for the online world.

I became certified as a life coach–initially to help myself. Eventually, I realized how much power there was to help others combining life coaching with my medical knowledge. This led to me starting a website to offer healthy lifestyle coaching services.

Writing is something I’ve always enjoyed. I’ve always been fascinated with words and how changing a word can change the entire emotion of a communication. I started to blog and offer helpful information to others about a healthy lifestyle. At the time, I had no idea this was something called content marketing. This was just sharing helpful information in a blog format I thought. My content was allowing me to once again help others. And now, with the magnification from the internet, I could actually help people globally! This blew my mind!

Eventually, I realized that creating this written content consistently would be nearly a full-time job. That’s when I discovered PLR,  private label rights content. This is licensed content that can be purchased, edited, and published in a blog or newsletter. The license allows one to claim authorship. PLR content saved me time, a lot of stress, and I was able to publish much more content much more quickly once I learned about PLR.

The who and how have changed but the same why remains.

As time went on, I realized there were not a lot of PLR providers writing the kinds of content that I wanted to buy. If I was looking for this kind of quality content on these topics, I was sure there were others who were looking, too. I decided to launch my own PLR store under the name Coach Ready Content. Once again, I’m helping people, although on my own terms now, with boundaries in place to avoid the burn-out I experienced in my first career.

Additionally, this site, She’s Got Content, grew out of a passion I developed for helping other solopreneurs develop their message and the content to strategically share that message with the world. I came across too many people who were stuck with their online business because they felt content creation for their business was way too overwhelming.

I help other people now by sharing what I’ve learned that works to build an online business using content marketing. My why hasn’t fundamentally changed–helping other people is still at the core. I’m still doing that. The ‘who’ I help and ‘how’ I do it–that’s what’s changed over the years.

I’m still passionate about helping others. That’s what’s getting me up out of bed every day. It’s what drives me to write and create content. To coach others who want to succeed with their passions and projects and spread their message through their content.

Your why

Which brings me full circle to ask the question, “Why do you do what you’re doing?” Have you thought about that question and the answer that follows?

Knowing why you’re doing this business, knowing why you’re sharing a message that you feel is important, will help keep you motivated through the difficult times. If you’re not clear on what your why is, try filling in the why statement template created by Simon Sinek in his book, Find Your Why. It’s a simple sentence–not paragraphs or pages. Here is the template:

My why is to __________ so that____________.

That’s it! Simon Sinek’s why is to inspire people to do the things that inspire them so that, together, we can change our world.

My why statement is to educate and inspire online business owners to strategically create compelling content, so that they can impact more people and create the changes they want to see in the world.

Now it’s your turn to create your why statement and become clear about why you’re doing what you’re doing. Use the template provided by Simon Sinek. I can’t wait to see what you come up with.

This blog post may contain recommendations for products, services, and events. In some cases, the links provided are affiliate links. That means that if you click on the link and then buy a product at the site recommended, you won't pay a penny more and the author may earn compensation as a thank you. You can be assured that any of the promoted products have personally been used by or researched by the author for you and found to be high quality before being recommended. 

About the author

Dr. Melissa Brown's career journey has always had an element of teaching. After retirement from clinical pediatric practice, Dr. Brown has taught and mentored as a healthy lifestyle coach, author, and speaker. She currently teaches solopreneurs and coaches how to stop being the world's best-kept secret. Her mission is to help you: Create great content. Impact people. Change the world.

  • Thanks for your thought-provoking article. My why is to inspire parents of dyslexic children to build their children’s self-acceptance, skills, and resilience so that they give them access to learning success.

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