What do you do?

Yesterday we talked about “Do What You Love”, and today, “What Do You Do”. It is the magic question of the day for me.

And it also happens to be the Burning Question in Danielle Laportes weekly series.

This used to be easy for me! (answering this question)

There was a time, not that long ago when I effortlessly answered this question with, “I’m a Certified QuickBoooks Pro Advisor with a small accounting/bookkeeping practice. A great referral for me is a friend or family member who owns a “mom & pop” type of operation, does their own bookkeeping, but sometimes gets frustrated doing bank reconciliations or year end journal entries. I typically spend a few hours with them each year making their business work flow easier. How about you?”

The short version used to simply be, “I’m Loralee, and I’m a QuickBooks ProAdvisor who loves working with small business owners”.

People GOT it.  Even the long one that seems a bit windy, wasn’t. It was a conversation starter. I had changed my “talk” over time because I often heard, “I don’t use QuickBooks” and it was the end of the conversation. But adding, “ a great referral for me” seemed to open up the space for people to think of a creative solution for me. And it let them know I was looking for referrals. Plus, 9 times out 10 they did have a friend or family member who had vented recently about how frustrated they were when they had to get ready for year end, or doing bank reconciliations. These key words really helped people put the puzzle pieces together and stop me later to hand me a name, scribbled on the back of a card.

Did I mention it was EASY? It really was.

But maybe it was because I’d been in the business so long. Or simply because I had a very clear image of my niche.

Now that I’ve been revising my offerings, I no longer have a great introductory speech, with a hook. And here’s where it gets really ugly.

Yesterday afternoon, while at the home where I’m housesitting, a new neighbor stopped by to introduce herself.  She didn’t know me, nor that I wasn’t the home owner. And when she asked me what I did. Not only did I have nothing to say, but I found myself kicking some dirt around on the front porch & looking at my feet, because I really didn’t know what was going to come out of my mouth this time (I’ve been down this embarrassing road before)

And what came out sounded something like this.

“Well, I’m not sure really. I help a lot of service based business owners with their online businesses. And I used to run this accounting practice, but then started writing a book and went off on a tangent”.

Yes, I really did say that “off on a tangent”. And then I did completely go off on a tangent. She politely listened to my story, and thankfully I was able to bring to conversation back to something we were both interested in.  But very awkward.

Later last night I met a woman named Peggy. I told her a similar story (without kicking things on the ground & looking embarrassed). I talked a bit about the groups of people I work with while they’re finishing their projects, like in WordPress Play Days. And I thought she was following along. She seemed so interested and engaged.

But the real test came when she introduced me to her neighbor, and explained that I ran accountability programs for people who want to use Facebook.

How did that happen?  I decided not to correct her, and went on my merry way.

Soon, I will nail this again & have an elevator speech that easily slips off my tongue. But until then, let me share the longer version.  Maybe one of my savvy readers will be a wordsmith & I’ll be dancing through networking circles again with shoulders back & an “I’m Loralee, I….” speech that makes people ask, “Really? Tell me more!”

April 2012 Version of my elevator speech:

Hi, my name is Loralee Hutton and I’m revising the text & images for a story I wrote in 2009 about a Princess who left the castle to sell her art in a local market. It’s an entrepreneurs tale of unlimited abundance. I also help entrepreneurs who are building their online business sort through some of their technical challenges, most often by getting in and getting my hands dirty with them. Action makes all the difference in moving a business dream forward, and I love to help with that. p.s. I love to travel. I packed everything into storage last August and have been exploring ever since.”

Sometimes I mention that I live a Portable Lifestyle, with mixed feedback.

That’s me, for now! How about you? What do you do?

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    • is it possible to use Facebook less than 45 times a day? (j/k)
      Your work ROCKS Sarah!

  1. Hey Loralee,
    I love this post especially your honesty regarding being unsure. Isn’t it funny how we all “know” what we do but sometimes it’s hard to put into words. It comes back to preparation. We all need to prepare prior to engagement. Not to sound scripted but to ensure we get our key messages across.
    As for “a great referral for me…” Simply brilliant!
    Cheers, Caylie

    • yes yes! Some wise woman suggested it at a networking event. I imagine only a few people caught on to the idea that afternoon, but it worked so well for me I couldn’t forget. Let me know if you try it yourself?

  2. Hi Loralee,

    An elevator speech seems like a simple enough thing to do, but maybe depending on the business, so many of us have trouble with them. I’ve been through many phases.

    I’ve had long ones, short ones, ones I’ve rehearsed so much they sounded pathetic and I’ve presented some off the cuff ones which sounded confusing even to me.

    I’ve had 30 sec ones prepared antd then been asked to speak for 3 mins. On other occasions, after rehearsing all the way to the meeting, there was no opportunity to present one.

    I’ve though about the idea of writing one out and handing it to everyone, but that’s probably not a good idea.

    Here’s my latest short one.

    Hi, I’m Madonna. I help people break through the unconscious blocks (not that any of you here have any blocks) and tap into a successful mindset and I do it without you ever having to change your mind.

    Elevator speeches. They drive me nuts.

    Madonna recently posted..What Could You Learn From This Up and Coming Poker Star?My Profile

  3. Really enjoyed this post Loralee & it is a great reminder for me to dig out my elevator pitch and polish it up! I’d put it in the ‘must do that sometime basket’!



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