So What Do You Do For a Living?

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How many times have you heard that question? As if our value to the world can only be judged by our vocation of choice, the question always comes up? “So, what do you do?” For some it’s an annoying part of the social small talk game that so many of us hate but as an entrepreneur with a business startup of your own, this is your golden ticket to new customers, new investors, and new opportunities. This is the time where your elevator pitch gets delivered as if it’s a famous and historic oration to Congress.

No longer can that annoying question be answered as if you’re annoyed, if should be answered with a response that you’ve rehearsed numerous times and it needs to have some key pieces of information in it. Here’s a sample of how you might construct it. Let’s assume that you’re the owner of a technology startup.

“I’m a Business Owner”

You don’t work at a technology company, you founded a company that provides low cost technology solutions to small and medium sized businesses who are on a budget.

How do you do it?

This is the part where you really pull them in. You do it by using a technology that you and your team developed that automates the process of compliance that once had to be done by a $40,000 per year employee with special certifications that businesses have to pay for.

Why Do I care?

Inn other words, what’s the value to them? Because what used to cost a business $40,000 per year plus the cost of getting that employee trained now only costs $10,000 per year.

How About the Out of Work Employee?

Address the most common objection. We’re not saying you should fire that employee. Maybe their job becomes a part time position doing more valuable work or maybe by spending only $10,000 on what used to be a $40,000 employee, you now have the work load of two employees for the cost of $50,000. That employee that no longer has to do compliance can now focus on tasks that make you a whole lot more money than shuffling papers.

Finally, as part of your pitch, if you’re actively looking for funding, work in some information about how the next phase of development will expand the services to more types of businesses once you complete the task of bringing on investment capital.

The Breakdown

When somebody asked you what you do, you first told them that you were a business owner, not an employee. Don’t underestimate what that says about your character. You then described what you do but you worded it in a way that didn’t talk about you but instead talked about the value somebody else can get from you. In other words you made your story valuable to the listener.

Even if they have no practical use for your technology you can be sure that they aren’t going to forget about your business. If they know somebody who even has a remote chance of having interest in your company they’re going to tell them not only to help you but more importantly, because it gives them a conversation piece when they’re making awkward small talk with somebody else.

It’s a win-win!

Now, start putting the perfect elevator pitch together and get excited about the next time somebody asks you, “So, what do you do for a living?”