When you start your own business, you probably think this is going to be IT forever and ever.
In some cases, that is what happens, but more often than not, I see entrepreneurs getting stuck in their business, and after a few years, they want to pivot, change their audience and change what they do.
It can be extremely difficult to make the switch.
I went through this myself when transitioning from fitness coaching to business coaching.
Sure, this pivot didn't happen overnight, but I did learn a thing or two along the way that I want to share with you.
Mainly, I'll teach you how to
- communicate to your clients that you're pivoting and cutting ties with them,
- kill your previous offers on time, but not too soon, and
- create a financial buffer as you're easing into your new path.
Lesson #1 Signs to pivot your business
If you're unsure whether it's time to pivot or not, that says it all right there.
But there are other indicators, too.
Perhaps you have a full client roster, but you're not getting excited about the work that's waiting for you. Instead, it makes you exhausted because the work isn't giving you back the energy that it used to.
This happens, and it's normal. Along the way, you may even start to feel guilty that you have worked so hard to build a business and are now considering leaving it behind.
I know these feelings so well. I used to be you.
I used to really, really love my job as a fitness coach and had amazing clients.
But the emphasis was on the job. That has changed.
Now I don't look at my current work as a job because what I'm doing now really lights my soul on fire.
My coach, Sarah, once asked me, “Does it make your heart leap?”
Ask yourself this, too. Is what you're doing making your heart leap? If not, that's a major sign it's time to switch things up and pivot.
Lesson #2 Ignore any negativity in your environment
Before transitioning, I quickly realized that my passion wasn't in fitness, it was coaching people. Specifically ambitious women who struggled with their confidence.
Suddenly I would be answering more questions about business than fitness, e.g., how to start as a personal trainer, build a waiting list, get people to buy from you, and so on.
While I was thrilled to be stepping into this new role as a business coach, I dealt with a lot of imposter syndrome at the time.
The imposter syndrome was fueled by prejudices from the fitness and non-fitness community, and on top of that, friends, who I believed to be in my inner circle, discouraged me to pivot, telling me:
“You shouldn't aim higher.” “Don't raise your prices.”
I used to hear things like this from my environment all the time.
In my core, I felt that there was more, not just money-wise, but I felt this unfulfilled potential. I felt like I could make an even bigger impact on even more people by pivoting to business coaching.
Therefore, feel in your core what's best for you and your business, and be honest with yourself. Ignore the external negativity and never make yourself smaller because others tell you what you can't do.
Maybe you're also interested in this: Take your business on a vacation: Workation vs. Organization Retreat
Lesson #3 Communicate your pivot to existing clients with respect
When you've made up your mind about switching your business focus or transitioning into something else, you need to tell your clients.
State your decision.
Thankfully, my coach helped me out at the time in how to communicate my decision to pivot to my existing clients. And I want to share her advice with you.
Communicate your decision without sharing feelings. This helps you to stay clear of any emotions and focus on the business side of things only.
Be clear and thank your clients for the time you've spent together.
Maybe you'll be inclined to refer them to someone else or offer them another alternative.
Don't do this. Remember, this is not personal. It's a business decision.
You're allowed to make your own decisions for the future of your business, change direction, change prices, and decide who you want to work with.
You never need to apologize for a business decision, but you do need to communicate it clearly and respectfully to anyone involved.
Reminder! State your decision, put a deadline on when you'll be ending the collaboration, and don't say sorry. Leave any emotions of out this. Thank them for the wonderful time you've spent together.
Lesson #4 Build a financial buffer to ease into your new path
While setting up my business coaching business, I kept on working with two of my previous fitness clients to maintain financial stability.
Too often, we think it's all or nothing when we change directions or pivot. People will tell you things like:
“You should quit your job.” “You should cut all ties immediately.”
But it's perfectly fine to do less of something and more of something else. It's not an all-or-nothing situation.
Instead of quitting your full-time job, switch to part-time for starters, for instance.
It doesn't make you weak to want to have a financial buffer. Of course, you shouldn't stay in that space forever, but if you take the big leaps, it's comforting to know that you have a safety net financially.
Lesson #5 Kill your previous offers, but not too soon
Especially if you've gone for the strategy of easing into your new path, don't kill your previous offers right off the bat… unless you simply disagree with the things you have put up in the past.
For instance, I still had fitness lead magnets and weight loss course material online. I couldn't stand to see some of those around anymore, and I killed them.
Similarly, I unpublished email sequences and slowly eliminated other course materials from the time of fitness coaching.
It wasn't always easy. At some point, I had a crisis of conscience. I had grown my Instagram based on fitness and fat loss and had a solid following. Therefore, I decided not to throw it away.
I kept some content online but started actively focusing my efforts more on business coaching as I was getting more and more questions on this.
Recap: pivoting doesn't happen overnight, and it's perfectly fine to phase into this new stage of your business step by step. That also applies to the content you have created in the past. Consider keeping some of it online until you make the final jump.
As I evolved more, gradually anything that was fitness-related disappeared and 100% of my content became about business coaching and self development.
Lesson #6 Stay true to your passion
Looking back, I kept ignoring who I truly was for too long. Fitness was always a passion, and I'm so grateful for what it has taught me.
But deep inside, fitness coaching wasn't aligned with who I am. Business coaching is. And I can feel it in my gut.
My coach Sarah once told me I'd always been a business coach, I just did fitness coaching for a while.
Whenever you see a sign that you're not passionate about what you do (anymore), check in with yourself.
Is what you're doing aligned with who you really are? Does it light your soul on fire?
Wherever you came from and wherever you're going, you're never starting over. You're continuing to grow and evolve into even greater things.
- Never be apologetic about wanting to change what you do. Embrace what you want to do.
- Leave room for a financial buffer. You don't have to put yourself in an all-or-nothing situation.
- Have self-respect and value your own beliefs. Don't sell something you don't believe in anymore.
- You have time. Take a chance and know that you can always go back. If you don't take the chance, you can't move forward.
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