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What is it for?

Jay Clouse
Jay Clouse
3 min read

I've been on a real "work smarter not harder" kick lately. It's part puppy, part privilege, part years of hard work paying off and allowing me time and space...

I've shared over the last few weeks a few different frameworks I use for whether or not I commit to a new project (see: making better decisions and who are you becoming?).

This week I was reminded of another framework I use a lot: What is it for?

I talked about it with Wes Kao on Creative Elements. Wes is the co-founder of Maven, a platform for creators to build cohort-based courses. Before Maven, she co-founded the altMBA with Seth Godin.

Here's what she said:

"The idea of what is it for is thinking about the end result and outcome and goal of what it is that you're trying to do. A lot of times, you might see a tactic, and it's kind of like a shiny object, you see your friend doing this or a competitor doing that. And you think, 'Oh, that's so cool, we should do something similar.' And you don't really think about, why would we do this? And what would it get us? Like, why is this worth the time, energy, effort, resources, right?"

I fall prey to this all the time and I see a lot of creators do the same. One example is Shiny Platform Syndrome"Oh, I should totally start a YouTube channel."

But if you don't think a few steps further down the path...what you'll actually create is a MASSIVE commitment without a goal or measure of success.

On Friday, one of my best friends called me to ask some questions about podcasting. I told him everything I know, answered all of his questions, and I imagine he'll be able to put together a great podcast.

But what is it for?

If you're starting a podcast because you want to build an audience...I'm not sure podcasting is the best solution to that problem.

If you're starting a podcast because you want to learn audio or deepen relationships with your existing fans, then it could be a great solution.

When you ask yourself what something is for, you actually need two answers:

  1. What is this for (for me)?
  2. What is this for (for others)?

You NEED to be clear on both so that you 1.) can measure whether you are being successful for your OWN goals and 2.) have confidence this is something people will seek out, find, and appreciate.

Just apply this to any project you're about to take on.

I'm building a Creative Companion membership 🤫 – what is that for?

Well, for me, it gives me one core offer to build my business around. It helps me simplify the journey from content consumer to customer. It's also a way that I can invest the most in the people who love my work the most.

For the member, it's a direct line of communication with me through real-time events and 1:1 conversation. It'll provide a transparent, behind-the-scenes look at my business, and it'll be a place to find people to collaborate and grow with together.

Two months ago when I began scoping out this membership, I hadn't articulated what it was for (for me). And without that answer, it was hard to get excited about the project. If I'm not excited about a project, it's not going to be sustainable.

I also hadn't really articulated what it was for (for others). And without that answer, it would've been hard to get others excited about joining! If I can't get others excited about the project, what's the point?

It seems obvious, but if you start to tune in to your thoughts and ideas, I'll bet you have a lot of "should" and "want" stories. I should do this. I want to do that.

You just need to go one step deeper – why should you? Why do you want to?

What is it for?

If you can articulate compelling answers, the project will be much more successful. If you can't articulate compelling answers, then I suggest you don't start until you can.

Mindset

Jay Clouse Twitter

Writer, podcaster, and community-builder helping people become professional creators. I write this blog and host Creative Elements, a narrative-interview podcast talking with today's top creators.

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