How to Turn Your Entrepreneurial Ship Around Without Capsizing

You’re the captain of your entrepreneurial ship, sailing across the open water looking for your next destination. Maybe you embarked on this entrepreneurial journey thinking that you’d strike land easily, but as it turns out the water is a little rougher than expected and you’re not sure you’re going in the right direction anymore.

How can you turn your ship around and head in a new direction when your captain’s instincts are telling you to go?

When you’re manning the ship you’ve got a lot of people to take care of between your crew, and your passengers. If you have any employees you need to get them in on the plan to change course. Your audience and tribe will also need to be on board to understand why you’re making course corrections.

Here’s the thing: when you’re an entrepreneur, it’s easy to change directions. It’s not like you have to go back to school, graduate, and apply for a job in an entirely new field. You can tweak your mission statement, start up a new web site, and be on your way to a business that’s 180 degrees away from your previous one.

It happens all the time! In fact, being nimble and willing to change when the winds change is part of what makes entrepreneurs who they are, and successful at what they do.

Nimble Entrepreneurs

Here are some examples of entrepreneurs who have adapted to new ideas, changing winds, and taking on different passengers.

1. Heather Allard has sailed to many different destinations as a copywriter, the creator of the first wearable baby blanket for active sleepers, and now The Mogul Mom. She did it all with a small crew, including two toddlers.

2. Carley Knobloch went from mothercraft coaching to starting a digital revolution for women with her new weekly video series Digitwirl. What I especially love is that Carley brings her best self to everything she does.

3. Pace & Kyeli Smith have gone through several wind changes, from their first book The Usual Errorchange businesses, to starting The Freak Revolution… and now leading the much anticipated Connection Revolution. They share their insights about finding their direction in their latest course called Profitable Idealism.

4. Natalie Sisson has spent time in the start up scene, traveling up a storm, and looking good while doing it. She started off as WomanzWorld and now calls herself The Suitcase Entrepreneur, where she helps your business take off.

5. Annika Ek ran a successful coaching business, and helped many entrepreneurs figure out their life purpose, myself included. Now she’s sharing her Swedish roots and runs Truly Swedish Designs, your place for Scandinavian interior decor.

How to Change Business Directions

So what should you do if you want to change the direction of your business? Here’s your step by step guide, that ensures you won’t capsize in the process.

1. Figure out your motivation for changing directions. This might mean checking in with your values, your life goals, and what you want to contribute to the world.

2. Once you’ve got your new direction translated into understandable coordinates (your values and vision), it’s time to explain it to your crew. Tell your VAs, your designers, and your CPAs your new vision.

3. Then it’s time to bring your colleagues on board, if not literally at least figuratively. The other ships on the water won’t know to give you space to turn around, so put it out there and let them know your plans.

4. Make sure to let your passengers know that there are going to be different stops along the way. If they’d rather get off at the next stop to catch another boat, no problem. When you change course you might lose a few passengers, but if it’s in line with what your heart desires you’ll also take on new ones!

5. There’s no time like the present! If you want to make a switch, move the rudder and set the sails for your new business direction!

My own business changes

Of course I wouldn’t be writing about this topic if it weren’t something I had experienced before. I’ve gone through many business direction changes, and two of them are worth sharing with you.

The Witch Switch

Back in 2009 only a few months after I started my raw food business, I noticed my brand was not connecting with my audience.

So I went from “Raw Food Switch” to “Raw Foods Witch”, got a new logo, and started to add a little sparkle to everything I did. Not only did the business take off, but I was having a lot more fun going in this new direction!

The Techy Trade

More recently I’ve fallen in love again with my technology, software, and online business building side. That’s why I’m writing here more often, and will continue to do so in the future.

With the techy switch I’m going back to my roots and doing what comes most naturally to me: building online presence, design, social media, and online businesses.

It feels great to be able to help others do what I’ve done with my raw food business online!

Ahoy matey, what say you?

I’d love to hear about any changes you’ve made in your business. Have you ever made a 180 degrees turn around, or just adjusted course once you understood the waters better?

Let me know in the comments below!

Nathalie Lussier

 

29 Responses to How to Turn Your Entrepreneurial Ship Around Without Capsizing

  1. I think we tend to fear switching directions – but it’s just one of those things we have to do as entrepreneurs to find what works. You can’t ever take one direction too seriously – but at the same time have to commit to what you’re doing. A tricky balance!

    • @scoutiegirlblog Ooh that’s a good point Tara, it’s not that we want to be stuck with one direction… but we also need to put our hearts into it, otherwise what’s the point right? :)

  2. I love this post! It’s something I haven’t seen addressed a lot. I’m always wondering if I’m going in the right direction, and want not so much to turn the boat around as to split off into three different boats that can go their own ways while still keeping one on the original course. Which, of course, is beautiful Acapulco!

    • @lbelgray Ooh see, I think it’s kind of natural to want to multiply ourselves to explore all the cool islands. Though I must admit that Acapulco sounds divine right about now, and I think you’re definitely traveling in the right direction! ;)

  3. Aw, thanks so much for including me in this awesome post, Nath!

    As a Gemini, changing course is something that comes naturally to me. LOL. And, my three kiddos keep me on my toes and keep me ever-changing. :)

    But really…I’m always, always, always experimenting, tweaking, evaluating, rinsing and repeating. I’m never afraid of change and I’m never afraid of admitting that things I’ve tried didn’t quite work out.

    Most of all, I’m NEVER afraid of pursuing a new dream. :D

    Thanks again, Nath!

    Heather

    • @HeathALL Ooh I hadn’t made the Gemini connection, that’s really cool. :) I think experimenting and tweaking is the way to go, thanks for sharing your mindset to help others change course! :)

  4. I love this post Nathalie! Heather & Carley are great examples of “coming about” and letting the wind take them in new directions. Great great post!

  5. I like the way you communicate the internal changes with colleauges and customers. clear, concise, community building.

  6. Hey Nathalie, I’m in the midst of an ‘about face’ myself. It’s good to know that others do it and it works………all the different scenes and destinations along my life journey has been leading me into this new direction and I’m very excited………and a little nervous too :).

    • @GinaRafkind Hey Gina, thanks for stopping by and sharing your journey with us. It can be a little scary, but don’t they say that fear is excitement without breathing? ;) Glad this was helpful for you!

    • @NathLussier Lol! Yes that seems right! And I guess since I’m feeling the fear I must be going through another growth spurt………… :)

  7. Woo! Feel the wind! It’s so good to be able to bend instead of break; to be able to shift with the currents and go with the flow. (:

  8. Hi Nathalie,

    I’m a raw foodie that has followed your presence online for some time. This is a great article, and really resonated with me. Especially the question you asked at the end! I’ve recently changed course, or at least narrowed my course. My original website was (and is, lol) a trainwreck. I was overwhelmed with fear, indecisiveness, and lack of focus, and due to limited confidence, hid my business under the guise of a health website and blog. (Its Sandiegohealthbuzz.com). Even though my business isn’t necessarily web-based (health insurance), the principles you talked about here are the same. So I changed/narrowed course, and finally built an online presence I’m proud of! (SanDiegoInsuranceforSeniors.com) You can actually tell what the site is for when you get there, lol.

    So I think its good to follow your gut as you go, and however you start, at least you get experience, and you can always make adjustments! That’s how we learn and grow.

    • @PaminOceanside Hi Pam! Thank you so much for stopping by and sharing your own experiences on the open water. It sounds like your newfound clarity is going to help you really grow your business and online presence. Way to go! :) Making adjustments is the name of the game right? :)

  9. Oh, wow… thank you so much for including me in this article! When you’re inside a direction-change in your business, it can feel like you’ve lost your rudder, so it’s nice to reframe it as a change of direction for the ship (and I will now be done with nautical metaphors).

    I have been such a fan of what you’ve done with your business, and how you’ve evolved since you started, and I think you have a flair for creating a strong brand and a strong connection with your audience… so you’ll be able to take those talents to any business you start in the future.

    As for me, I feel more fully representational of my “true self” (whatever that means!). Digitwirl evolved very organically for me, and now feels “right”. So trust your gut and follow your new loves as passionately as you followed the others!

    • @CarleyKnobloch Hehe I love your nautical metaphor, and it’s awesome to hear a how you felt about your changes as well. I definitely feel like you’ve got a lot to share and that you’re definitely using your strengths with Digitwirl! :)

  10. YES! That’s the beautiful thing about being an entrepreneur in today’s world of inexpensive technology – you can change directions quickly, easily and for a very low investment.

  11. I could not identify with this post more! I have been blogging for over a year now and loving it, it started with http://naturallyartsea.wordpress.com I’ve learned a lot from that blog. Then last summer my husband and I decided to readjust our sails literally and move to the Caribbean on our sailboat to follow his dream to be a captain, so I blog about that as well at http://www.friendscharters.com but now it’s my turn, I’m a knitter and I’ve always wanted to write a book, so my sails are once again set for another horizon! http://Www.purlingoverthepast.com Do I feel a little crazy for having so much going at one time? Yeah, but I like it that way. What this blog post did for me when I read it was help me make sense of what I’m doing, I am creating a brand and an online business, and it fits perfectly into my life, making absolute sense to me! Thanks!

    • @Kristi Hi Kristi! Wow I love how the post was so on target for you, both because you are into sailing and because you’ve been doing a love business shifting as well. Thank you so much for the comment, for sharing your story and your sites… I loved checking out the photos! :D

  12. Hey Nathalie !

    Interesting switch – I have started my blog business about a year ago – the overall tagline was “spread your influence”
    It wasn’t very compelling, neither for me not for the audience, and when I thought about changing it in the midst of an inspirational lowdown, a good friend of mine said:
    Mars, don’t give up, the WORLD needs YOU !
    BAAAAAAAAAAAAM !
    I said: what a KICK_ASS slong and I went for it. It not only changed my attitude, but my entire business as well. I now wake up excited and ready to start expanding my biz and helping awesome people from all over the world !

    And btw – your switch was ass-kicking: the Raw food witch is much more visual and edgy than your last “branding” – no wonder it took off !

    • @MarsDorian Hey Mars! Thanks for stopping by my new digs and sharing your own journey. I think it’s funny how sometimes the point where we want to give up can become the turning point. :)