Exactly how to write a mission statement
that perfectly captures what you were put on Earth to do (with a little help from Sleeping Beauty)
by Brittany Taylor
published September 20, 2016
updated May 30, 2018
¶ Do you ever feel like you were put here for a reason? I believe in purpose, and I don't think you need to have faith in a higher power to feel that way, either.
"Mission" is another word for your purpose. A "mission statement" is a tidy way to summarize it. That's what we're working on today: crafting a mission statement that gets at the heart of why you do what you do.
Before we dive in, here's what this blog post will help you accomplish:
- 1Begin thinking about your purpose, or mission
- 2Understand the importance of making your mission as specific, or niche, as possible
- 3See how a niche mission statement affects the work you do and how you want your professional life to evolve
Click here to get brainstorming prompts in your inbox!
What's the point of a mission statement?
A mission statement acts as a theoretical north star. It guides you through the world, helping you make decisions that align with your interests and your goals for the future.
It's also a powerful branding tool, regardless of whether you're building a personal brand or a business brand. It's the start of a manifesto and the source of your point of view. It's not just part of your brand's foundation, it is your brand's foundation.
Mission has the power to set brands apart. The best way to understand that power is to see it in action.
So that’s exactly what we’re gonna do...with a little help from my favorite fairy tale.
The example we'll be working with: Meet Aurora
You probably remember her from whatever version of Sleeping Beauty you were introduced to as a wee tater tot.
Aurora lives in a far-off place where’s there’s not a lot of industry, so she turned to online business to fund the repairs her castle so desperately needed. She wasn’t quite sure what she could do until, kaboom, she realized that working through her own personal struggles meant she could do the same for others.
Dawning was the end result. Aurora named her business after the day she woke up and realized she wanted to be living a completely different life. Through Dawning, she works one-on-one with other women who are feeling stuck in the middle of a major life transition.
We can do better than that!
For some people, Dawning's mission statement is good enough:
Basic mission statement
I work one-on-one with other women who are feeling stuck in the middle of a major life transition.
After all, it has the who (other women), the what (working one-on-one), and the problem (stuck in the middle of a major life transition). That's the basic template for a mission statement.
But honestly? That’s not enough for customers to understand what you do, exactly. It's also not enough to keep you on track as you make decisions and develop as a professional.
What makes a mission statement useful? A niche
A niche is a small section of a larger whole that something else fits into. In art, a niche is an indentation in a wall where a sculpture stands. In business, a niche is a narrow market you serve or a highly specific problem you solve.
A niche mission statement, in contrast to a general one, helps you clarify your vision and make it actionable, right here and right now.
That's good for you, because it keeps you on track and inspired. And it's good for your target audience, too, because they know exactly what to expect from you and your work.
Let's see how we can turn a general mission statement into a niche mission statement by digging into purpose and a vision for the future.
Step-by-step guide to creating niche mission statements for online businesses
Our made-up fairy tale princess business, Dawning, has the potential to go in a hundred different directions. We’re going to explore just a few of them here, (but if you’re into fanfic and you want to explore Aurora’s new life goal, please be my guest).
First, we’ll take a look at three possible mission statements that could be relevant to Aurora’s business and the service she offers.
Then, we’ll dig into those mission statements and turn them into quick sketches of different brands, each with unique values, audiences, and goals.
Three possible mission statements for Dawning, Sleeping Beauty's new online business:
- 1"I help young women who are seeking soulmates learn to love themselves again before they find their ideal partners."
- 2"I coach trauma survivors stuck in a cycle of hopelessness to a state of confidence, joy, and self-determination."
- 3"I help mid-life women who are bored with their current circumstances find fulfillment in new relationships and careers."
Now, we're going to build these mission statements out into brand messages that reflect the differences between these three unique businesses.
mission statement #1
I help young women who are seeking soulmates learn to love themselves again before they find their ideal partners.
Aurora knows how hard it is to battle the ideals modern media bombards young girls with. Not only do young women need to achieve an impossible level of perfection, but they also need to build and nurture perfect relationships if they want to find the fairy tale true love they grew up yearning for.
In her own experience, though, Aurora has seen that a happy relationship with a lover comes only after a woman establishes a peaceful, accepting relationship with herself. That’s exactly what this iteration of Dawning seeks to achieve.
This business targets women in their mid-to-late 20s, just a few years younger than Aurora herself. While she has casual experience coaching young women, she wants to be able to help more people than her schedule allows. So, with Dawning, she wants to create an online learning empire that integrates video coaching and training sessions with live calls and Q&A sessions.
mission statement #2
I coach trauma survivors stuck in a cycle of hopelessness to a state of confidence, joy, and self-determination.
Just because everything looks perfect on the outside doesn’t mean that’s the reality—something Aurora knows all too well.
Sure, she has that fairy tale princess quality, but that doesn’t erase trauma in her past. She’s done the hard work to accept her history, forgive herself for it, and forge a future, and she wants to help other women do the same thing.
This version of Dawning is an intimate service business that takes advantage of the Internet’s many capabilities to help women in circumstances that Aurora herself has faced. Many small communities offer few resources for women who need the help of a counselor and a coach. Dawning seeks to be one of those resources.
Aurora has been able to earn several certifications and take advantage of online business automation tools to keep her costs as low to make recovery as affordable as possible for her clients.
mission statement #3
I help mid-life women who are bored with their current circumstances find fulfillment in new relationships and careers.
Being royal isn’t the same as being happy. Watching her mother and her aunts and cousins growing up, Aurora touts this as rule No. 1 of fairy tale kingdoms.
Her unending optimism and desire to help her loved ones find true happiness has led her to advise her family on the sly. Now that she’s opening her own business, though, she’s itching to dish advise from a more professional place.
That’s where Dawning comes in. This third styling of Aurora’s solo enterprise is a one-to-few coaching business that’s supplemented by infoproducts. Most of Dawning’s business to date comes from small group coaching sessions and retreats, but Aurora is working hard to bring more passive income into her brand so that she can reach a larger audience 24/7.
One more thing: Your mission will evolve as you grow and change
You don't want the same things you did when you were little, and you're not going to want the same things in 10 years as you do today.
That's OK. That's life.
To accommodate that natural evolution, your mission statement will also grow with you. No matter if you're using it to guide your personal life, your professional life, or a business, you can adapt your mission to suit the life you want to live.
master your mission with a shiny step-by-step worksheet!
My mission isn't the only thing that's changed since I started my online business. See what else I've learned through life + work so far.
My name is Brittany, but my friends and clients call me "Britt." Online small business owners hire me to create content strategies and write their blog posts, email newsletters, and social media updates. I work with bosses around the world from the marshes of Charleston, S.C.