How to Answer “But What Exactly do you DO?”

by | Jun 8, 2023 | 0 comments

Category: Business

As small business owners, we’re often asked to explain what we do in a clear and concise way. It’s a simple request, but one that can be surprisingly difficult to answer off the cuff.

We get so caught up in the grind of things and in our passion might launch into some lengthy explanation of our journey of how we got to where we are, or the philosophy behind our work or the company we built.

But at the end of the day, what people really want to know is:

What exactly do you DO?

Let’s explore this question in depth, looking at the challenges of explaining our work and a strategy we can use to communicate our value more effectively. We’ll draw on examples from our own experience at The SpeakEasy Cooperative®, a business coaching and consulting firm that helps artists and creative entrepreneurs build sustainable businesses.

By the end of this post, you’ll have a clearer understanding of how to articulate your work and communicate your value to potential clients and collaborators.

You’re at a party. Or a gig. Or your kids’ soccer game.

Someone asks what you do.

You launch into a delicious winding narrative of how you became a performing artist, or a touring singer songwriter, or a budding musician, or a voice teacher, or own a multi-teacher studio, or all of the above.

You explain your teaching philosophy, your songwriting style, your artist persona.

You lay out the seismic shifts of identity that have brought you to who you are today.

Forty-five minutes later, they respond. “Cool. But what exactly do you DO, though?”

Oh friends, I’ve been there. In fact, I was there last week at my kids baseball playoff game. EMBARRASSING to be the person who runs a company that literally teaches people how to say what they do clearly and concisely not actually DO THAT. Le sigh.

It can be difficult to distill your work into the most concentrated information.

Insights for Effective Marketing and Growth

I’d like to let you in on a little marketing and growth insight for 2023:

Use less sales language. Use more direct language. Show the inventory, then build rapport.

This is a twist on what marketing coaches in the online space have touted for the last several years. Yet, culture is shifting, and instead of “woo me first sell me later” people are over run with options and they need the information relevant to them in order to decide to book your band or sign up for your studio.

We could use retail as an example:

  • They need to see the storefront (visual brand)
  • They need to enjoy the perusing shopping experience (customer service)
  • They need to see the inventory clearly (services laid out)
  • They need to see the price tag (transparent pricing)
  • They need to have flexible payment options
  • They need to have a stellar sales experience (honest feedback from sales clerk, information about products, story of the shop owner)
  • They need to know why they should bother (results, results, results)

Since we have recently seen a ton of new people joining us on the “Friday Jr.” Newsletter, I’ll use The SpeakEasy Cooperative® business as an example of how clear and concise you have the freedom to be.

Here is our answer to “What exactly do you DO, though?”

Ask me what we do here at SECO and this is what we’ll tell you:

The SpeakEasy Cooperative® is a business consulting and coaching firm that teaches artists and creative brains how to be business owners so that they can create a sustainable business that supports the life they desire to live. We believe that personal development leads to professional development.

The SpeakEasy Cooperative currently offers consulting and coaching services in these ways:

The SpeakEasy Cooperative Membership Community

Ongoing monthly subscription, mostly DIY, only structured if you want it to be, plenty of fun. $99/mo

How to Run Your Biz Without Hating Your Boss 10 month Accelerator Program

Highly structured business program that cover nine foundational business principles in real time, via Zoom training, high touch coaching, small cohorts, workbooks, feedback, and more. $6000

The MTS (Multi-Teacher Studio) TapRoom Six month freshen-up program for team based businesses

Integrated add on to How to Run Your Biz Without Hating Your Boss that then walks the H2RA team based business owners through implementation of the differences in operations, marketing, brick and mortar consideration, hiring, and finances that a team based business needs. $4000 additional to H2RA.

VIPRoom High Level Mastermind

Invitation only – year long, weekly, high touch, high level coaching and consulting program for industry disruptors and those seeking to scale their sphere on influence in the arts. $10,000/yr

SECOLive Live Mastermind/Retreat Weekends

Live events designed to bring our online community into physical space. Not a conference. A mastermind meets workcation meets retreat. We provide dedicated time for business owners to make decisions about and begin to implement the next growth spurt of their business. We have keyboard karaoke. We eat good food. We rest. price dependent on event.

This year it’s Oct 19-22 and is $1200.

The Art of the Inquiry Ebook

a fancy little eBook designed to help voice teachers have a more effecting inquiry and onboarding process so that they develop lasting relationships, increase retention, and create more revenue. Pay what you can, starting at $9.

The Art of the Inquiry:

The Secret to Revenue, Relationships, and Retention

Discover each step of the inquiry process and get tangible actions items to implement in your own business right away. GET YOUR COPY HERE.

The art of the inquiry ebook cover.
by Michelle Markwart Deveaux

1:1 Coaching and Coaching Packages

Bespoke, information upon request. Our in-house coaches provide custom coaching for based on your needs, and at a special reduced rate for our members.

What you will Learn In these SECO Programs

(I mean, ya gotta engage and all, we aren’t gonna plug you in matrix style):

  • figuring out who your business serves
  • the way the business serves them (the offers/products)
  • how said business manages its revenue, COGS, expenses, and profit
  • marketing and sales
  • which systems and tools it needs to deliver the offers/products most effectively
  • money mindset and financial acumen (such as how to leverage debt)
  • conflict management and compromise
  • policy enforcement, boundaries
  • making decisions while not allowing cognitive bias to skew too far off base

The organization/company I own teaches all of this and more. So there’s a short list of how we continually have helped literally hundreds of people who WANT to learn business skills, grow, and change their identity set, and recognize that they own a business, even if they aren’t so great at it yet.


Now, it’s your turn!

Fill in the blanks with your own info:

[Business name] is a [type of business] that [does what for who] so that [client type] can [results].

[Business name] currently offers [type of service] in the following ways: [list all the ways]

How does that feel? How did it go?

Write me back in the comments, and SHARE THIS POST!!!!

I want to know what YOUR business does – with clarity.

Michelle Markwart Deveaux blog signature
Michelle Markwart Deveaux

Michelle Markwart Deveaux (124)

As CEO of FaithCultureKiss Studios, LLC, I lead underestimated humans through the personal and professional development needed to create successful solo and team-based businesses.

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