I started my business in May of 2014.
By June of the next year, I was over of it.
It wasn’t that my clients weren’t lovely people—they were. And it wasn’t that I wasn’t doing great work — I was. But I had learned a lot and evolved a lot and grown a lot in my first year of business, all while my business had stayed exactly the same.
I knew that it was time to make a change. It was time to rewrite the story of my business.
The story of your business, much like the story of your life, can (and will) evolve and change over the years. When we find ourselves stuck in a story that no longer feels good or authentic or true, one of two things tends to happen: we either remain mired in a situation that makes us miserable, or we give up on our business altogether — without realizing that we have the power to change it.
I stayed stuck in a business I wasn’t loving for awhile. I churned out the blog posts, sent a newsletter every week, brought on new clients, and regularly networked for more — all while growing increasingly disillusioned with the work that I was doing. It was in July of this year that I finally realized I didn’t have to run my business — or live my life — the way I had been, or the way anyone else did or the way anyone else might expect of me.
I get to tell my story however I want to. And so do you.
So, if you’re finding yourself disillusioned with the story of your business, let’s change it. Let’s figure out what actually works for you — because that’s the only way you’ll find joy in your business. And isn’t that the whole point?
Changing your business story isn’t just about re-doing the copy on your website, though. It’s about changing the story you share with the world — with potential customers and social media followers and your mom, of course — but it’s also about changing the story you tell yourself.
Let me show you how to do that.
REVISIT YOUR “WHY”
Why do you do what you do?
That’s not a rhetorical question. I encourage you to really think about it — bonus points if you get out a pen and a piece of paper and write it down. And don’t write what you think you “should” say; tell the truth.
It’s not easy owning your own business. So why do you continue to do it? What joy do you get out of your service? What opportunities, collaborations, travel, personal growth, does it allow you, that you can’t imagine living without?
You may have done this exercise before, but I encourage you to do it again, especially if you’re feeling disillusioned with your work. Because your “why” is your motivation; it’s what gets you up out of bed on the days when entrepreneurship isn’t so glamorous.
And when you regularly re-visit your “why”, you not only find your daily motivation; you also quickly recognize when the work that you’re doing no longer serves you (or anyone else). You are able to more quickly recognize when you’re stuck in a business story that no longer feels good, because the “why” will no longer be enough.
And it will be time to write a new one.
REIMAGINE YOUR AUDIENCE
Reconsider not just who you can serve, but who you want to serve. You’ve probably already heard of the “customer avatar” (if you’ve been in business for a minute, you’ve probably created one or two) — it’s time to revisit it.
What does your audience look like, talk like, act like? Where are their pain points; where do they struggle? What do they hope for? What do they want? What do they need? How do they talk? Where do they hang out? It’s not enough to think that you’re targeting women in their mid-twenties and -thirties — you need to know them intimately, inside and out.
What are they afraid of? How can you help them?
Create an avatar of an actual human being who know you can serve, and who you know you’d want to work with. Get so specific that you can see them in your head. Eventually, you will see them in your business, too.
REVAMP WHAT YOU DO
Now, take a look at your “why” and pore over your intended audience. You already asked yourself how you can serve them. Now, it’s time to get specific. What exactly can you and will you do to serve your future customers?
And I encourage you to think about yourself, too. It’s important to offer services or products that your audience actually wants, but it’s also important that these are services and products you want to provide.
Don’t immediately jump back into work that you’ll find yourself bored by in a few months. Truly consider the work that excites you; the work that you want to do. Once it aligns with the work your audience needs, you’ve hit the jackpot.
EMBRACE THE CHANGE
I struggle with change. Like many, I tend to get comfortable in certain situations (even if those situations aren’t necessarily right or healthy for me), and I’m unnerved when things shift. But I have also come to learn — even if through white knuckles and gritted teeth — that change is natural and expected.
Once you realize what it’s like on the other side — on the side where you actually enjoy the work that you do, and the people you work with — you’ll wonder why you didn’t make the change sooner. When you’ve done the steps we’ve already discussed, you’re ready. Pull the trigger.
LET PEOPLE (AND THE UNIVERSE) KNOW
You can’t just make the decision to do things differently, and then expect everything to change. You’ve got to take action, too!
Your business won’t truly change unless people know it has. Announcing the change is not only a great form of public accountability; it’s like hanging your new shingle up — you’re telling the right new customers (and the Universe) that you’ve changed, you’re ready for something different, BRING IT ON.
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Falling out of love with your business is natural. As you grow, your work needs to grow with you — but it can only do that when you’re conscious of the need for growth and take the steps necessary to help it evolve.
If you’re feeling bored, frustrated, or just plain over the work that you’re doing, think about how you might flip the script. Change the story. And do the work that more accurately reflects the woman you are now.
I’d love to hear your thoughts about this. Is it time for you to rewrite the story of your business? If you’ve done this in the past, I’d love to hear what helped you move through the discomfort of change. Share your tips and stories in the comments below!