What Happens When You Head In The Opposite Direction

Six years ago, I dramatically* confessed to my Mastermind group that something needed to change, but I didn’t know what was next.

* Cue mascara face. Gasping for breath through snot inducing sobs. And a record setter on the “embarrassment meter.”

I’d been teaching sales training to business owners for a few years. Class after class. Week after week. 

Somehow “dis-remembering” that I had sworn off stand-up comedy after seeing Louie Anderson play the same room in Vegas two nights in a row — where every setup, beat and punchline was exactly the same, each time.

I have mad respect for Louie, but at the time I thought to myself, “hell to the no will I put myself on repeat, night after night. Zzzzzzzzzzz…” 

Sure, he kept the audiences laughing their asses off, but I knew that level of repetition would crush my soul.

Yet there I was — short term memory and all — perfecting my sales training and putting myself on repeat, week after week. 

Zzzzzzzzz…

It no longer held the same thrill, challenge or meaning as it once did.

I felt like a marshmallow that had fallen into the bonfire.

I got so burned out that I didn’t even want to put effort into marketing the self-study version that didn’t require me to show up to teach every week.

So I started creating new content and dabbling with other “safe” offers that were leveraged and affordable.

But nobody was picking up what I was putting down.

Which made zero sense.

My talks all around NYC were packed. And I had a loyal following for my videos on my blog. (Please tell me nobody calls it a vlog anymore.)

But nobody was buying my new stuff.

And that’s when I started to freak the fuck out. 

I was convinced the sky. 

                                               was.     

                                                           falling. 

If nobody bought my offers for $500, they’d never buy anything for $5000!
I’d better choose the park bench I’ll be calling home for the rest of my life.
It’s oooooooooover. 

Sure, you could say that I needed to learn to sell from the stage. Or refine some other skill. But I promise you that was NOT the root of my problem.

I really didn’t know WTF to do next and I was still on my “business coach detox” (a story for another day), so I didn’t have one person to turn to who understood all of me. 

I was afraid to create a higher priced offer — because, well — what if I put my ass on the line and failed miserably?

Like we do for each other, my mastermind sisters gave me loads of support and advice. Three even approached me with job opportunities with their businesses. Which, god love them, was exactly the medicine I needed.

Because it made me…

a) feel wanted after feeling beaten down by rejection;
b) comforted that I could get a job if I really needed to; and
c) recognize I had more of a contribution to make in my own business.

I had already hatched an idea for my next “thing” before my meltdown.

The problem was that it was unproven.

I hadn’t seen anybody — and I really mean nobody — zero, zilch, goose egg — offer what I had in mind. 

And with my background in business design, I’d pretty much seen it all.

There was nothing else like it.

But creating something that had never been done before felt like a kamikaze mission.

Scarier than being bored, stale and restless with the “knowns” I had outgrown.

So I resisted. Naturally.

With questions like, “Who am I to think I can pull this off?” rattling around in my head.

Until I couldn’t hold my breath any longer — and finally gave in.

I decided that while everyone else was running toward the “proven systems”, I’d head the opposite direction and experiment, instead.

I stopped dicking around with my lower priced products — and only offered this one new service for $6,000.

And son of a gumdrop — people bought.

Comedian Eddie Cantor is credited with saying, “It takes 20 years to make an overnight success.”

That’s no joke.

Once I made the leap to reinvent my business (without losing sight of what was best for my clients) I felt like Eddie was talking about me.

Looking back, the “overnight success” of that program happened for two reasons. 

First, I didn’t follow the standard advice.

Instead, I packaged and priced the program in a way that made sense for my clients and me. 

I wanted maximum impact for them.

And I was careful to avoid creating the “potential for boredom” mistake for myself in the process.

After six years, I can honestly say I nailed it. (Well, if you ignore that a constant launch cycle wore my ass out. More on that over here.)

And second, it worked because the math added up.

75% of my new offer was based on my experience with things I’d done, taught, coached or consulted on in the past. That baseline of expertise gave me confidence I could deliver. 

20% stretched me to learn more about how the less familiar topics tied into my expertise. This was the hardest part because I was afraid of getting it wrong. But I had to lean into the stretch.

And another 17% (yep, I know that adds up to 112% — good catch) was the thrill of being on the forefront of forging something new. Not just for myself, but for the business women who joined the program. As well as those entrepreneurs who eventually mimicked my model for themselves. 

As I phase that program out to make more time for my private reinvention clients, I can proudly look back (from its snotty origins and all) knowing that pivotal experience entirely changed my approach to all business re/designs.

Not just the strategy. But the whole messy, talented, amazing human. And the possibilities. And the resistance. And… well, everything.

Although your next reinvention may not involve mascara face, it will find you. 

Not because you haven’t done enough.

But because of everything you’ve already accomplished.

And although I’m no Mary Oliver, I took the liberty of writing you a (sorta) poem anyway…

Reinventions will inevitably come banging on your door
Some are more polite so yours may whisper, tap or knock
And like the rest of us you’ll avoid with a shush or cuss
But the Reinvention always persists
Because you are meant for more

*Mine usually come through the back door so it takes awhile to notice it’s in the house until it crawls up on my lap.

If you’re on the cusp of a reinvention and want a thought partner who eats, sleeps and breathes new life into businesses for humans like you (and you’re willing to forgive my mediocre attempts at poetry) — go ahead and schedule a time to see if you’re a fit for BEYOND.  

Let’s create your next big thing.

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Posted In: Business Model Design, Mindset & Priorities