How to prepare your online business for a pivot
What happens when you’ve built a successful business, but over time you lose your passion for it?
What if the type of content your audience expects now feels like a nightmare to create? What if you wake up dreading the work you’re doing and the tasks on your to do list?
If that’s you, know that I’ve been there so I understand what you’re going through. This exact thing happened to me last year.
At some point, the idea of writing another ‘how to’ Squarespace blog post was just soooo unappealing. I’ll be honest talking about tech tutorials and Squarespace this-and-that got a bit old for me.
But what the heck was I supposed to do?! My entire business was built around this one topic!
I suppressed my loss of passion and pushed on.
“This is the business you built. This is the topic you decided to be an expert on. This is literally what brings in an income and is your livelihood, you can’t just stop it,” I thought.
I felt stuck. Stuck in the business I had built for myself.
I didn’t think I had another option, so I kept pushing on. But every time I’d go to write another ‘how to Squarespace’ post, I’d procrastinate and then eventually change the content idea to be something else.
I felt more excited to be talking about general online business. I loved talking to other people about the specifics of how they were building their business and I loved sharing the stories of how my business was working, what was going on behind the scenes in my own business, and my thought processes and ideas related to online business.
But there it was on my calendar ‘write blog post: what you need to know when switching Squarespace templates.’ Ughhh!
After a few painful months of going through this, I did indeed pivot my business. And today I’m going to share with you what I did and what my advice would be to others if they’re thinking of doing the same.
Here’s how to prepare to pivot your online business
1. Know that you have permission
It basically took a business coach kicking my ass to get me to accept this one.
I explained my desire for a new direction but quickly followed it up with all the reasons I couldn’t/shouldn’t pivot.
“But I’ve built my success around becoming a Squarespace expert. That’s what I’m known for. That topic literally generates 100% of my business income. I’ve spent yearsss building up what I have now, I’d be an idiot to throw that away. And there’s already people out there doing similar things to what I want to be doing. I don’t want to be a shitty second version of someone else’s business.”
But here’s what you really need to know if you feel like you want to move in a different direction:
You’re allowed to.
Yep, that’s the simple game changer.
Normally in life there’s something stopping us from doing what we want.
We’re still in school. Or our boss won’t allow us. Or our parents are going to be all distraught if we throw away our potential and don’t become a lawyer like they dreamed.
But here’s the thing. Your business is your business. And if you want to pivot it, you’re allowed to.
Now, if you’re like me, it took a business coach telling me this straight to get me to accept it.
So while you really don’t NEED anyone else’s permission, I realize that you may be looking for it.
So let me transition into business coach mode for a hot minute.
Paige The Business Coach: “You have permission to pivot. You’re allowed to. If that’s where your heart is leading you, go get after it already!”
2. know that You don’t need to burn the bridges
Let’s follow that up with, you don’t need to stress about throwing away everything you’ve built.
If your business genuinely helps its customers, it would actually be a disservice to your people to throw away what you had previously built.
If your content and offers are still valuable and still relevant and still needed in the world, then don’t feel that you need to throw them away!
Without a doubt, I know my old content and courses have helped and will continue to help literally hundreds of thousands of people, so they’re not going anywhere.
Know the pivoting doesn’t need to mean killing your old business topic completely.
But there is a decision you need to make about how to deal with your old topic and your new one. Read the next point for that!
3. decide to separate your businesses or keep them under one “roof”
If your old business topic and your new one are roughly related, or your ideal clients are similar, it’s really simple, you just add on to what you already have!
My pivot? I wanted to talk more about building an online business. And my original business topic was talking about Squarespace website design.
And you know what every online business owner needs? A website. Boom.
So now my message is just slightly different.
Before I started with “I’m a Squarespace expert, I’ll teach you how to build a fabulous site.”
Now I’ll come at it from the perspective of “I help people build online businesses. When you build that business, you’ll need a website. I suggest Squarespace because X, Y, Z. Here, I’ll teach you how to build a fabulous site.”
So I challenge you too to look at your new topic and your original one.
If they’re related, keep ‘em all under the same ‘roof’ or ‘business.’
If they’re unrelated, remember, you don’t need to kill it, but you might be best served by separating it into its own little house.
An example for you. My online course building mentor Mariah first got into online business by sharing how she renovated and turned a RV/camper into a home-on-wheels.
Then, she learning how to kill it with online courses, and moved away from ‘how to renovate a camper’ to ‘how to package up your genius into an online course and earn from it’.
The camper info and course was still useful, but Mariah wanted to focus on online education.
So the camper renovation business kept its own site, and Mariah built a new site for her new business.
Mariah now has multiple sites/businesses. She keeps together what makes sense, and separates the rest.
(Also, for SEO purposes, Google is going to have a lot easier of a time ranking Mariah’s sites for the correct stuff with those two very different topics on different sites.)
4. build a personal brand, not a traditional business
I used to have a ‘business name,’ my domain and business name was The Paige Studio. Then when I started getting the first inklings of maybe wanting to add more interests into my business, I switched it over to just my name Paige Brunton.
There was a really specific reason for this.
As a person, passions change, and that’s fairly easy to explain and for people to understand. I felt that if my business revolved around me, that I could change the topics I talked about.
If my business revolved around a topic, say Squarespace website design, changing the topic would be a harder thing to explain.
I still believe in Squarespace and think websites are vital. As purely a traditional business, there was no good reason for me to switch my topic. If Squarespace went down the drain or there was some better website design solution, a pivot would make sense. But otherwise, why switch?
The only reason I needed a switch was due to me, not due to something going wrong with my business topic.
Advice: If you are starting to feel the first pings of passion waning, get more visible in your business.
Make you and your personality a more prominent part of the business. If you want your business to pivot, you need to have the confidence to put your face front and center.
Pivoting a faceless business for no valid reason is going to be a hard sell to bring your audience and customers with you.
So get visible and slowly begin making your business not just about your topic but also about you.
There we have it friend! Those are the 4 bits of advice I’d give to my old self as she sat there struggling with changing desires, but feeling locked into what she built.
I hope those bits of insights help you!
And let me also just give you a bit of encouragement.
Changing my business direction has given me ALL the energy and excitement back. I wake up literally bouncing out of bed and running over to my laptop because I’m again so stoked about what I’m working on. Writing posts like this, as opposed to ‘how-to Squarespace tutorials’ gives me all the passion that I had at the start of my business again.
Pivoting will indeed give you your passion back.
So whatever it is your heart wants to chase after, don’t wait, go get it!