Why you should care about Ikigai


We recently stumbled across the concept of Ikigai, the Japanese term for ‘a reason for being’. We’d seen examples of similar concepts before, like David Hamil’s ‘The Ideal Job Venn Diagram’, but the idea of Ikigai really struck a chord with us.

What is Ikigai?

Essentially, your Ikigai is the reason you get out of bed in the morning, or your sense of purpose in life. It’s a combination, or converging, of the following:

  • What you love
  • What you’re good at
  • What the world needs
  • What you can get paid for

Ikigai. Source: Toronto Star

We’ve worked with many training providers, coaching professionals and subject matter experts over the years and, on reflection, we’ve realised that our clients with a strong sense of Ikigai are often the best placed to take their products and services online (and therefore get the best results). Why?

What you love

Our clients love what they do, and their passion is reflected in their actions.

Their drive and enthusiasm provide the zeal for the digitisation project, help to move it forward, and are essential in overcoming any roadblocks that may occur in the process.

What you’re good at

Our clients are good at what they do. They make an impression and have the offline results to show for it.

Naturally, any online learning product, such as an online course, needs to be grounded in real expertise. If it isn’t, it will soon become apparent.

But all great learning products don’t just provide information; they also instigate change. This is the ‘secret sauce’ that all great trainers, coaches and experts deliver face-to-face in their talks and meetings.

The challenge is to capture this ‘secret sauce’ and present it digitally, without losing any of its impact. And that’s where we come in!

What the world needs

In our line of work, we come across lots of new product ideas and, putting it frankly, some are solutions for problems that don’t really exist.

They’re reminiscent of Chindōgu; the Japanese art of inventing useless gadgets to solve everyday problems (that aren’t really much of a problem).

Luckily, we partner with clients who already have sales and have proven that the world needs their products or services. Their challenge is now to determine how they can digitise their existing expertise.

When taking your expertise online, as well as considering what the world needs now, it’s also useful to consider what the world may need soon. In a fast-paced world, catching the next wave may actually be more beneficial than serving up what’s already out there.

What you can get paid for

As we’ve mentioned, our clients have already proven they can get paid for what they do face-to-face. And this is an essential starting point.

But delivering your services through a digital asset comes with a whole new set of pricing considerations. You’ll need to ask yourself:

  • Will it need a different pricing strategy (depending on the perceived value it offers and the competition in the market)?
  • How does it stack up against your existing services and the competition in the market?
  • How will you attract customers online and what will your customer acquisition costs be?

Although you may be able to distribute your products/services to a wider audience, and your delivery costs may be cheaper than when you’re on the road, finding an audience online may be expensive, so you may need to absorb this cost into your pricing. But that’s a blog for another day…

Ikigai: are you convinced?

It’s said that finding your Ikigai can help you live a long and happy life. How does your current situation stack up against having a sense of Ikigai?

If you want to know more about Ikigai, check out Dan Buettner’s TED talk, or this Telegraph article.

Andy Jack

Andy Jack

Andy loves helping experts, authorities, specialists and key persons of influence to monetise their expertise with online learning. When not on his laptop, he'll usually be found up a mountain!

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