Forget the Why. To Start Your Own Business, Begin With the WHO.

You know why you want to do this thing. What you need is the people who you’ll serve.

Shaunta Grimes
7 min readAug 21, 2021

Photo by Jed Villejo on Unsplash

If you and I ever meet in person and you ask me what I do — I’ll tell you I’m a writer and I own an online writing school.

I’m a writer first.

I have been, all of my adult life. It doesn’t matter that I’ve very rarely ever made all or even most of my living purely writing — especially not writing fiction.

Ten years ago: I’m a writer and a drug court counselor.

Five years ago: I’m a writer and a teacher.

My whole life: I’m a writer and . . .

You get the idea.

In 2015, my life changed dramatically.

That was the year that I started Ninja Writers. I didn’t do it on purpose. Honestly. I just wanted to make a little bit more money, because I wanted to stop being a writer and a teacher’s assistant.

God, I hated my day job. Hated it. It was the most stressful, miserable work place situation I’d ever been in. I love teaching. I loved the kids I worked with. But the teacher I worked under was an absolute nightmare.

So, I started throwing spaghetti at the wall. I did everything and anything I could think of to replace that income.

I was already a published novelist at that time. My first novel came out in 2013 and my second was just about to release. So, I figured that the best way for me to get out of this terrible day job was to write another novel. Sell it. Give myself some breathing room with an advance check.

That isn’t what changed my life.

What changed my life was deciding that I was going to write about my process of writing a novel. When I started doing that, I accidentally found my people. And when I found my people, starting a business was actually easy. It just happened.

Everyone tells you to figure out your why. In my experience, the why is pretty much a no-brainer. I wanted to quit my job. I wanted to not be poor. I wanted to earn a living. There are only so many why’s out there and my experience…

Shaunta Grimes

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