In the times that we live in it’s not unusual to change roles at work, or even in business. However, if your business is built around a personal brand online, then you’ll need to figure out a way of transitioning without hurting your brand.
Have you ever found yourself in a place where you knew that you shouldn’t be, but you stayed put because you felt the pressure to remain there?
I’ve been there, and it can be one of the most confusing places to be. And any decisions you make moving forward from that place won’t be made without sacrifice.
In this post, I’m going to be sharing a bit about my story, and how I transitioned from being a full-time photographer to being a hair and business mentor for busy women.
It’s a difficult topic for me to write on because the decisions surrounding it were tough, but I hope it helps your transition be smoother than mine.
A LITTLE ABOUT PIVOTING
I read a number of books when I was navigating my transitioning period, and one of such books was Pivot by Jenny Blake.
Something that she said in the book stuck with me. She said that in this life we are always being pivoted, and being aware of this could better help us navigate work changes instead of having them forced upon us.
She goes on to further say that as a professional, it‘s important that you expect to pivot every 2years or so. So plan for it.
I thought this was profound because it’s so easy to spend years, or even a lifetime, feeling stuck doing work that just doesn’t leave the impact that we’d like, meanwhile making a few tweaks would make a world of difference!
What made me wrestle
As a print journalism graduate, my first pivot came when I decided to pick up the camera and tell stories that way instead of practising journalism.
I built a reputable brand as a photographer and became known for this.
In the course of the seven years, I established great friendships with my clients, and I became the go-to person for family and glamour portraits for women.
So it was extremely hard for me to decide to stop shooting and explore what else I could do with my life.
Me stopping shooting was a combination of a few factors, but the main reason was that I knew that I wanted to stop trading hours for money. I didn’t want to have to be physically present in order to be paid.
While there’s nothing wrong with this if you happen to be in a job that works this way, for me I felt like I wanted something different, to make an impact without killing myself in the process.
I’ve seen friends and family work so hard, but have their income dry up when they fell sick or couldn’t work as hard anymore, and I knew I didn’t want that for myself.
At the time I had no idea what this would look like, but I knew that where I was wasn’t working for where I saw myself.
The one BIG piece of advice
If there’s was one piece of advice that I wish I’d gotten sooner it would be this; Don’t be so busy working in your business that you forget to take a step back and figure out what the vision of your business and life need. As your business grows, your leadership capacity will need to grow with it, otherwise you will feel crushed under the weight of it all. Which may lead to burnout and loss of passion even.
Brand-proofing your change in roles
A lot of my business building happens online, so here are some tips of how you can fail-proof your brand as you navigate the changes in your business.
1. Make your online messaging bigger than your product or service – Figure out what you are in the business of. You could be providing a tangible product or a service, but message your marketing to address the needs/why. This way even if you decide to shift, you’ll remain relevant and won’t need to start all over again.
2. Give yourself a time-frame: If you know that you have to make changes, give yourself a time frame to do so. This will help you complete projects and hand over what needs to be handed over. I gave myself a few months to transition if nothing changed. This way I could stop taking clients and do the shoots that I needed to do.
3. No announcements without clarity: To avoid looking like you are flip-flopping, don’t make announcements about ‘big changes’ until you know exactly what it is that you are doing. Have you ever tried to follow someone who wasn’t clear on directions? Exactly.
4. Work with a coach/strategist – Finding someone else that’s walked the same road, or someone that’s really good at helping you gain clarity and direction can be one of the best money and headache-saving tools you can employ. When you are emotionally and financially invested in something it’s easy to not make objective decisions. So a coach/mentor/strategist will help you see the bigger picture.
5. Trust your Instincts – it’s easy to question everything, including your instincts, when you are transitioning. But your initial instincts are often a good guide to where you should go next. Seek counsel, read books, but also trust that voice within you nudging you in different ways.
Changes to expect
As you make the transitions, you’ll run into some issues as expected. These are the 2 main ones that you can expect for your home-based online business
a) Losing some followers – your vibe attracts your tribe, so if your vibe shifts, some of your tribe members will leave. Don’t panic if this happens. Some people were following me because of my photography, so I didn’t expect them to stick around once I started talking hair 🙂
b) Insecurity – clarity breeds confidence, but transitions often require moving forward in faith, what you trust will happen. So you’ll probably experience feelings of insecurity, and questioning your life’s purpose and work. It’s important that you surround yourself with markers/success indicators and people that will cheer you on.
How did you navigate transition if you’ve ever gone through one? Share below!