These 3 Things Indicate it’s Time to Pivot… or Quit

Jenna Kutcher 

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March 31, 2021


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Whether you need to give up a small piece of your business to make room for something new, or totally shift gears into a different industry or niche that you’ve felt calling your name, this episode is all about making a switch in your own world.

And rather than seeing pivoting or quitting as a NEGATIVE… I hope to leave you feeling like this motion into new territory can be a beautiful, expansive, and transformative shift in some really significant ways. Let’s talk about three really telltale signs that it’s time to start moving into something new… and how to begin making the shift as gracefully and smoothly as possible.

You’re simply not passionate anymore

Now, let me preface this that passion has a natural tendency to ebb and flow but if the thing you once loved, the thing that lit you up has now become the thing you dread, it’s likely a sign that something needs to change. 

Sometimes passion dwindles from time to time in seasons of exhaustion and burnout, and it’s temporary. So it’s important to evaluate how YOU really feel about your business and industry and lifestyle, all together. I always say you can never quit on a bad day, if you’re thinking about quitting, I want for you to make that decision on a day that was great, that’s when you’re clear and sure. Look at the different pieces of your life and business to see whether you’re in a temporary period of fatigue or an actual state of true discontent can be really powerful and important before doing anything drastic.

Are you so run into the ground by your jam-packed schedule that you don’t even look forward to most days? Does your workload overwhelm you more than it excites you? Do you find yourself wishing you could take a year-long vacation?… And then another one after that? Then you miiiiight be burnt out. And by might, I mean absolutely.

If this sounds like you, the BEST gift you can give yourself is defining your “enough” point. I’ve told this story many times before but when I felt utterly burnt out, instead of acting purely on emotions, I leaned on equations to help guide me out of that season. I had just finished a wedding season where I made my first 6-figure income and frankly, it landed me in a state of burnout, so I sat down and crunched some numbers and realized that I valued my time more than money and I was willing to make half that amount in order to get my time back. 

If you can find your “enough” point and create a boundary around only booking that amount of work, it might be the first step in creating more space and time to dream for you. Before throwing in the towel on anything, look at areas you can begin protecting your time and peace better with boundaries. Can you outsource certain time-consuming tasks, even if they’re not business related? Even signing up for grocery delivery or a once-a-month housekeeping service can work wonders for giving back some of your much-needed time and mental clarity. 

Can you create more boundaries around your working hours or email time? Logging off at 6 pm every day or staying off email on the weekends might sound like a pipe dream, but truly, only YOU can create the limits around your time in order to protect it. Give yourself a few hard and fast rules on being more mindful with your day-to-day schedule and prioritize rest and unplugging, and see if any of the passion you once had for your business starts to return.

If it doesn’t… that’s a big sign that you’ll want to pay close attention to. And before you start judging yourself for not being able to keep the fire lit for your once-passion, remember that as humans, WE ALL evolve. It’s totally normal! We’re all constantly growing and changing. You are not meant to be one thing or wear one title, you are a multi passionate, multifaceted, multi-hyphenate human being and it’s okay to lean outside of your known area to try new things. 

You’re not bringing in a profit

Listen up, I know this it *totally new and mind-blowing information*… but if your business isn’t profitable, it’s not yet a business. Okay there, I said it! Maybe you’re like, “duuuuhhhh, Jenna,” but as my friend Tiffany Aliche says, you can either look like a business or BE an actual business and the latter requires offering something and getting paid for it. You might FEEL profitable… aka, you’re making sales and bringing money in…

But I’d challenge you to sit down and look at your sales alongside your expenses, a simple profit and loss analysis. You want to look at items including taxes, team members, cost to produce your product or service, business memberships or platform fees, office expenses, and even small things like PayPal service fees that you might not have thought to track before. 

I know it’s not a quick or easy lift to evaluate all of these pieces, but when you take into account all the small things that add up in running a business, you might just realize you’re not as profitable as you once thought.

The worst part? So many business owners are grinding and working themselves into the ground week in and out to turn sales and make more money, yet their profits don’t show much for it. And worse, a lot of companies aren’t looking at their profits and loss each month and wait until the end of the year to be shocked that they worked so hard to earn so little. 

Sometimes pivoting doesn’t necessarily mean changing up the direction of your business—sometimes it simply means getting smarter within the business you’re already running.

Do you need to raise your rates and experience to allow you to take on less clients so you can provide more value and make more money along the way? Do you need to look at what services you have running for your business on auto-pay that you don’t necessarily use or need? Do you need to add a new product or service to your offer suite that’s high dollar and can raise your capital, or that’s low dollar and an easy lift for you to incorporate regularly into your schedule?

There are tons and tons of options to make your business actually, genuinely profitable. When no one is taking advantage of your offers and no matter how you try you can’t sell a darn thing, it is likely a sign that your current concept isn’t working. But don’t freak out! You can pivot your messaging or your strategy and try a few new things: experiment, research, and test out different ways to promote your offer. If no one is paying for what you’re selling, it might be time to pursue the next idea or shift how you’re marketing yourself to see how you can bring in more profits.

For a new business, profit might not be instantaneous. In fact, a study by Kabbage, a small business lender, 68% of small businesses are profitable in the first year, but entrepreneur.com says that the average startup takes about 1000 days to become profitable. That’s around 3 years.

Of course, that doesn’t make it NOT a business because you haven’t earned back your investment in the first day on the market. 

My best piece of advice? Start your new business or investigate your new idea as a side hustle in order to build up the confidence and belief in yourself and to test the waters without having risk weigh you down. This gives you a longer runway to generate profit and allows you to not be stressed about having overnight success.

Your vision, life, or lifestyle is no longer aligned

There will be seasons of your life where what you thought you wanted and what you actually want aren’t fully aligned. It happens as we learn, grow, do, and evolve. Maybe you got married or had a baby or moved across the country. Or maybe it’s more abstract than that—you realized you don’t want to work 60-plus hour weeks to barely make ends meet, or a sick loved one helped you see that there’s more to life than working all day, everyday.

When something changes in life and you’re forced to either rebuild, try something new, pivot or evaluate your current decisions, it’s a good time to weigh out what truly feels best for you AND what makes the most sense for your future.

If it feels like you’re having to force your business decisions or MAKE it work because you feel all this external or internal pressure to make it work… then it’s likely going to start weighing more heavily on you and taking a toll on your mental health to keep pushing for something that just doesn’t make sense anymore.

What does success look like for you? When you think of what you’re working towards, does the work you’re doing today align with that vision? If you’re in a season of change personally, does the endeavor you’re working on support that change and help make it seamless and not stressful? The hardest lesson I ever learned was to build a business that supported my life and not to build a business that WAS my life. 

So… maybe you’ve woken up for too many days in a row dreading what you’re about to do, or maybe you can no longer sell with the passion or conviction required,  or maybe it’s some other big life change, realization, or an outside force prompting you to make a shift. 

Whatever it might be, you likely KNOW in your gut if it’s time to slow down, readjust, or make moves in a new direction. I’d encourage you to be brave enough to start taking the steps you need to make in order to take care of you, your family, and your future. It’s scary, for SURE, but even baby steps toward a better tomorrow will make all the difference if you just start now.

The Big Picture

Does anyone ACTUALLY like change? It’s one of those things that most of us tense up at the thought of… having to reorchestrate or rebuild some part of our lives, especially something as monumental as our businesses, aka our bread and butter and income and future. But… by listening to the signs that are pushing and prompting us, we can start making wise decisions to move into a new direction that makes most sense for us AND our businesses.

It doesn’t always mean closing down shop and starting something brand new, although sometimes that’s what it requires. Sometimes it’s also just adding something new, removing obstacles, adjusting details like pricing or offer suites, or branching out into a new arena. Whatever pivoting might look like for you in this season, I know you’re capable of doing so with grace. Just remember to take it day by day, one small step at a time, and to keep the goal in mind that you are building something that future-you will find peace in being a part of. That’s always worth a period of discomfort as we shift and grow, I’d say. Keep going!

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Before you get any further... Hi! I'm Jenna Kutcher!

A small town Minnesota photographer, podcaster, educator and puppy rescuer, my happiest days are spent behind my computer screen sharing my secrets with the world. I'm glad you're here.

I’m an expert at online marketing, a nerd when it comes to the numbers, and my obsession is teaching others how to make a living doing what they love (without it taking over their life). 

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