My first nine months in business, I could barely keep up with the work. I had an extensive network in the journalism industry, and in 2005, there was still more than enough magazine freelance work to go around. But in 2006, everything changed. I went from saying, “No” to work that wouldn’t fit into my packed schedule to hearing, “No” when I asked editors if they had any assignments for me.
Ouch. If I wanted to stay afloat, I needed to adapt.
I took a careful examination of my magazine journalism skills and decided that writing offered the most potential. As a writer, I could offer my services to marketing firms, lead a location-independent lifestyle, and charge a substantial hourly rate. So in 2006 and 2007, I started to build my marketing professionals network, and by the summer of 2007, I was so busy that I barely had time to chew and swallow my food.
Although I had financial success, I felt bankrupt emotionally and really wanted to do work that let me leave my computer and interact with people. I explored new business possibilities with a coach and decided to pursue public speaking to share a message of hope and encouragement. (And leave my keyboard!) In December 2007, Real Life E was born and has developed into a time coaching and training company to empower women in business to achieve work/life brilliance™ through Schedule Makeovers™
Here are lessons I’ve learned from rebranding my business to meet my personal and professional goals:
· Dip or Dead End: Before you rebrand, ask yourself if you’re in a dip or a dead end. If you’re in a dip, pushing through the hard times will lead to exponential success (See Seth Godin’s The Dip). If you’re in a dead end (like I was with magazine journalism), exerting extra effort will lead to little benefit.
· Fix Problems: Instead of looking for “opportunities,” look for problems. I saw that many of my friends felt overwhelmed with work or struggled to build a business without burning out. Schedule Makeovers™ are a solution to their struggles.
· Set Your Hours: When you first start this process, it will be really difficult to spend time doing sales and marketing for your new brand. I recommend setting aside specific blocks of time for this task. (I started with five hours a week.) Then as your new company becomes larger, it will naturally take more of your time and you can phase out your older products and services.
To thrive in these uncertain times, you must consistently adapt your products and services and brand to meet market demand and achieve more and more of your ideal lifestyle.
If you’re struggling to rebrand your business, check out www.ScheduleMakeover.com or contact me at esaunders@RealLifeE.com. I can help you develop a system for moving forward on your goals in a focused manner so you don’t feel overwhelmed.
Elizabeth Grace Saunders does key note speaking and phone and e-mail coaching to empower women in business to build businesses and achieve work/life brilliance™ through her exclusive Schedule Makeover™ process. Inc magazine, NBC, and The Chicago Tribune are just a few of the places where Elizabeth has appeared, and she’s happy to offer you tips on savvy scheduling and time management for work/life balance and business development.
This post was inspired by a suggestion from Natalia Oberti Noguera, Director of the NY Chapter of Young Women Social Entrepreneurs.