Finding one's way

I met Anders in MicroConf Europe.

When he introduces himself, he says something like this: “Hi, I’m Anders. My goal is happiness. I want to be happy and make people happy… and I run a software agency.”

I appreciate happiness, so I felt this immediate connection - I knew this was a fellow who I should listen to: “Awesome! I’m The Happy Bootstrapper! So nice to meet you.”

When I did listen, his advice was to find my “Why” - the root cause that drives me. He recommended a book for that: Simon Sinek’s Start With Why.

People don’t buy WHAT you do, they buy WHY you do it

If you’ve sold anything, you’ll know that purchase decisions aren’t logical.

The easiest way to sell a product is to tell people something that could be out of their own diary. Something that resonates with them so much that they immediately feel the connection.

It’s not just “knowing who your customers are” either, it’s a connection deeper than that. It’s your customer’s brain recognizing something that aligns with its values and beliefs.

To pull that through, you must be aligned to those same values - or you’re faking it and people can see it.

Do things that match your why, and likeminded people will love what you sell

Anders said he was doing a time tracking app. He sent me a link to the landing page and asked my feedback. But I didn’t see a time tracking app, not really. What I saw was a method - something like Agile, but that can actually make both managers and developers happy. It could be huge.

Happiness + getting things done. Anders’ why made this innovation and product possible.

Back when I was taking 30x500, Amy and Alex introduced me to worldviews. We all have one - and when a product matches our worldview, we love it. When a product does not match our worldview, we hate it.

If a product tries to be everything for everyone, people may use it, but no-one loves it.

Can you see the opportunity this presents?

At the end of the day, it’s not the features and benefits that sell - because there is no perfect feature set. Different people want different tools. Different worldviews drive people to create different products - even when the feature set seems to be the same.

My Why: to amplify the creativity of people who make things better

There are people who want to create things to make the world better - I can amplify their creativity and chances of succeeding.

Do you want to revolutionize something? Do you want to make people’s lives better through what you create? I’m here to serve you. That’s what makes me happy.

I believe that creative minds are happiest when they create something that people love and actually use. I love to support creatives to succeed.

There are lovely apps, things that can make people’s life better. I want to be a part of those successes - I want to help people to have their software used. Make products reach more hands. Art that no-one sees is art wastes. Software that no-one uses is software wasted.

FirstOfficer is a product that aligns with my why. I believe people can feel that and that’s why they love it.

What? Your why is to serve others?

Yes. I want to do something meaningful, big, yet I’ve never had the drive.

I’ve always enjoyed spending time with creative people who understand that they can change lives. They can change their own life, and they can change other people’s lives through what they create.

And I’ve always known that I’m not the person who will actually change the world. Not at a scale. Still, I’ve also felt that I was missing something, that I wasn’t working on my full potential.

I’m a creative myself, but I’m not truly happy unless I create something that empowers others.

When I see my customers become more confident and reach their goals, it’s like crack to me. I’m so proud of them, even if I contributed just a little.

Getting the actual fame isn’t my thing. Personally, I feel that I’ve achieved what I want to achieve. I’ve been following my guts for several years already, doing the right things. Now I just know WHY this makes me happy and I can leverage on it.

I can also stop feeling bad for turning down interviews and talking opportunities. They don’t align with my why. I’m not the star who should take the stage - my customers are.

Finding the why is like finding a key to a locked door

A single why can translate into thousand products and things to do - all of which can make you feel that you are doing what you were born to do. That gives a lot more opportunities for you to make a living doing something that you love.

Simon Sinek’s why is “to inspire people to do the things that inspire them”.

What makes the why’s so powerful is that your why isn’t attached to a single product or product type. Sinek sells books, courses and even canvas bags.

Whatever he can make to inspire people, he does. People who believe and want to be inspired - they buy the products.

How to find one’s why?

Sinek’s process for finding your why (not in the book) goes through your past experiences and picks both best and worst moments. Your internal why doesn’t really change, so all you need to do is to find the big pattern in your history.

Finding your why is a great investment - happiness guaranteed. Go for it!