Last week I shared my struggle with Shiny Object Syndrome, but I’m happy to say I’ve recovered and am back to work, fully focused. I’ve got several exciting projects to tackle in the next few months; I’ll be writing a book for a client and editing two other new compilations. So, I need to keep the shiny distractions to a minimum. That does not mean turning down the spigot on creativity and the self-check ins with my direction.

In the next few weeks, I’m sharing the basic building blocks I use with clients as we begin the book writing process. Writing a book requires confidence and clarity around your why and your message.


Do you worry that everything you teach or promote has been “done before”? Do you think you have nothing new to add to the conversation, or that everyone has “heard it all before”?


This kind of thinking is the number one killer of new businesses, and it is absolutely not true.

  • Wendy’s hamburger chain was conceived long after McDonald’s already had a huge piece of the fast food pie.
  • Dominos and Little Ceasar’s exist in the same niche quite well (as do many, many others).
  • Lowes, Home Depot and Menards are always packed with eager do-it-yourself-ers.

Clearly, if there were only room for one superstar in any given field, many of our most-loved businesses would not exist today.

Yes, there is absolutely room for you.

But let’s take a closer look. If you really think about it, these “competitors” are unique individuals. You won’t find a Quarter-Pounder wanna be on the Wendy’s menu. And Little Ceasar’s sells itself as the less expensive alternative to other pizza places.

At first glance they may seem the same, yet they appeal to different audiences.

For new (or even established) business owners, this is a powerful lesson. To stand out from the crowd, you need to embrace your unique story, too.

Step 1: What’s Your Why?

Susan M Sparks (c) 2017

One of my whys…time for creativity.

The first step in your journey to your one-of-a-kind business is to discover your “why.” This is an essential question that all successful business owners must be able to answer. Your why might be as simple as more money or more free time, or it might be as complex as wanting to start a charity or spend summers on mission trips. There are no wrong answers.

Some ideas to get you started:

  • I want to spend more time with my kids while they’re little
  • I want to support my parents as they age
  • I want the freedom to travel
  • I want to support a charity that’s close to my heart
  • I want to live a certain lifestyle
  • I want to write a book

What does any of this have to do with business? Everything!

Only when you can define your unique “why” will you be able to build a business that you truly love, and that you are passionate about. That’s why so many heart-centered entrepreneurs feel like a failure at a job—they simply aren’t passionate, and it doesn’t feed their “why.”

Only your own business has that power, and it’s up to you to discover your unique meaning in life, so you can build a business that allows you to achieve your goals.

Exercise: Create a Vision Board

Vision Board

One of my current vision boards

A great way to discover your why is to create a vision board. It’s easy and fun, and gives creative entrepreneurs a fabulous way to visualize those dreams and help make them a reality. It’s also so much fun that it doesn’t seem like you are working, but building that visual representation is a powerful tool.

Begin by leafing through your magazines and cutting out any pictures that appeal to you. You can also gather pictures of your family, friends, favorite vacations or anything else that will help define what you want your ideal life to look like. Since you are not using images for anything other than your private use, you can search online for every image imaginable and print them out. If you do publish an example, please credit the original maker if you can.

Arrange your images on a large piece of paper or poster board. Get creative with notes, goals, favorite quotes, or anything else that helps inspire you. Then post your completed vision board on your office wall, where you’ll see it every day and where it will serve as a constant reminder of why you do what you do.

Take a few days to put one together. Next week I’ll share how to uncover your story and be comfortable sharing it.


Susan M Sparks offers copywriting, publishing services and coaching for aspiring authors. She is the author of four books, including the Amazon Best-Seller “The Student Life Jacket”  and ghostwriter for many entrepreneurial non-fiction titles. Need help with your blog or book? She can be reached at

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