One word that might be hindering your business

There are countless young women trying to make a living in the creative industry. From wedding photographers and event planners to graphic designers and calligraphers, numerous talented ladies are striving to turn their passion into their full-time job. This market is saturated with young entrepreneurs, and while I admire all of my peers who have made the leap and are striving to make it in this industry, I'm realizing how easy it is for all of these new small business to run together. 

Months ago I started brainstorming ways to branch out and differentiate myself from my peers. I examined Elle & Company's mission statement and noted the use of one word that's frequently used in my network of creative friends. The more I thought about that word, the more I noticed that it was not only causing me to blend in with the crowd; it was leaving me directionless. So I began to steer clear of it. I revised my mission statement and headed in a new direction, and within a couple weeks my readership and my sales doubled.

It's possible that the same word that held me back might be hindering you, too.


In general, it's a great word. Seeking to offer encouragement to others is an admirable goal, and we all know the world could use a lot more encouragement. However, encouraging others shouldn't be the sole purpose of your business.

Here are some of the mission statements I've seen from many well-meaning creatives:

"I want to encourage others to live an authentic life." "I want to encourage people not to give up." "I want to encourage and empower others to be the best they can be."

These mission statements sound fantastic. They sound like something that every customer, client, and consumer would want. But the problem with these lofty ambitions is that encouragement is a very broad term. There are countless ways that you could go about encouraging others to live an authentic life, not give up, and be the best they can be. When encouragement becomes your sole purpose, you will constantly be chasing a moving target. You will end up right where I was: frustrated and directionless with nothing tangible to offer. 

So how do you break out of the encouragement trap? Three ways.

Solve a problem.

Instead of setting "encouragement" as your goal, set out to solve a problem. Is there a need for more honest, witty greeting cards out there? Make that your mission. Do your clients need a talented photographer on hand for each of life's seasons and milestones? Come up with a solution for that. Your business will be profitable when consumers see their need for what you're selling.

Recognize the difference between help and encouragement.

The definition of help is to "make it easier for someone to do something by offering one's services or resources," while the definition of encouragement is "the action of giving someone support, confidence, or hope." Help provides tangible services and resources; encouragement does not. Instead of striving to encourage your customers, offer them a great service or product.

Aim to be the best at what you do. 

The most encouraging, inspiring people are those who are the best at what they do. Hone in on your strengths, develop them, and share them with others.

Breaking out of the encouragement trap will not only give you direction in this competitive industry; it will help you stand out among the other creatives in this field. Instead of striving after being an encourager, embrace the roles of problem solver, helper, and expert in your business.

Do you need help with the direction and mission of your business? I would love to chat with you. Leave me a comment, visit the contact page, or send me an email at lauren{at} 

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