“What do you do?” How to answer this tricky question in 4 simple steps!

what do you do

Have you ever found yourself at a birthday party and dreading the question “So, what is it you do?” and when it finally comes you start stuttering and tripping over your own words?

[image url=”http://theguavaproject.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/whatdoyoudo-300×236.png” title=”What do you do?” alt=”what do you do” alignment=”left” margin_left=”8″ margin_right=”8″ margin_top=”8″ margin_bottom=”8″ shadow=”1″ width=”300″ height=”236″]

I know I’m guilty of it! Especially when I was transitioning from Engineering to Entrepreneur – I found it really hard to answer that question with ease!

First of all, I had been a full time engineer for ten years! So, the words “I’m an Engineer” would just roll off my tongue very easily. It felt safe, comfortable and better yet, I didn’t have to deal with the crooked faces and blank stares.

And then, once I mustered up some courage to make the transition in my head (and yes, it took some mind-shift work to get me there, but that’s a whole other post), I would say it so fast and start rambling so much that the other person would quickly get confused and immediately change the subject.


So, that’s the reason I’m writing this post today.  I want you to be able to go to your next social or networking event with full confidence that you will be able to answer the good ol’ What do you do? question with ease and grace.

I have a nice and easy 4-Step formula that will help you gather ALL those things you do and wrap them together with a nice little bow.

But before we get into it, I want you to understand that the most effective way to convert those casual exchanges into possible leads for your business is to answer the question by focusing your attention on them (person asking the question or ideal client) and NOT you!

Because as much as you want it to be about you and your business (after all, you love what you do and want the world to know!) – all people want to know is: What’s in it for me?  So, if you can answer that, then you’re golden!

[image url=”http://theguavaproject.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/what-do-you-do-zombies11.jpg” alignment=”center” margin_left=”8″ margin_right=”8″ margin_top=”8″ margin_bottom=”8″ shadow=”2″ width=”322″ height=”422″]

So the 4-Step formula is really easy and you can customize it to any job, business, trade, craft, etc.


Step 1: What?

Here is where you get to tell them what you actually do for your clients.  This is typically an action verb and it would go something like this:

I (or we or my company) + action verb (help, photograph, teach, work with, assist)

Step 2: Who?

You will have to do some thinking, research and planning before this part becomes very clear.  But this is where you get to describe who you absolutely love working with and/or you do your best work with. And be descriptive!

description + type of person or company: frustrated women or new mommies or young entrepreneurs

Before we move onto the next step, I have two Tips for you here:

  • Please avoid the use of the very popular term “Target Client” – nobody wants to be referred to as a target.  Instead, use other terms, such as ideal client, or people you do your best work with.
  • And this tip comes from the awesome Audience Segmentation Strategist – Susan Baier from Audience Audit: Before you start throwing around the demographics of who it is you want to work with: Age, Gender, Education Level, Salary – focus on what it is they want from somebody like you? What are they feeling? Are they frustrated? Are they in love? You will get to better define all the demographics after you are clear on this first part.

Step 3: How?

This part is all about your unique process or vehicle of delivery.  This is where you showcase your “secret sauce” and that thing that makes you different from your competitors.

through an in depth 3-month program or by photographing their special day

Step 4: The Benefit

And to close, you want to tell them the benefit of working with you!  What is it that they get from working with you? What problem do you solve for them? What do they get at the end?

create a 6-Figure business or bring the fun back into parenting or create lasting memories or live happier lives

When you’re done, you would have something like this:

Ex: For a Mommy Coach

I work with new moms through my New Mommy Support Program so they can leave the overwhelm behind and start enjoying motherhood.

And there you have it! That’s my easy 4-step formula to answer the dreaded “What do you do for a living?” question.

So, go ahead! I invite you to play with it, make it your own and PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE so that it rolls off your tongue nice and easy next time somebody asks.

Leave me a comment below answering the question “What Do You Do?” :)

[image url=”http://theguavaproject.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/What-you-do-300×172.jpg” title=”What were you made to do?” alignment=”center” margin_left=”8″ margin_right=”8″ margin_top=”8″ margin_bottom=”8″ link=”http://theguavaproject.com/1-on-1-with-jen/” target=”_parent” width=”300″ height=”172″]



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Jennifer Kent is an award-winning entrepreneur who helps you define your dream career and ditch your boring job.



About The Author

Jennifer Kent

Jennifer Kent is an award-winning entrepreneur who helps you define your dream career and ditch your boring job.