Dealing with the Constant Need for Change
“Each year as things around us change, or we change, we will find it necessary to make subtle shifts in the way we’re living and working.”
As we settle into a favorite chair with a good book for a long evening’s read, we may reposition ourselves several times before we’re comfortable. Maybe the light isn’t just right, or the pillow needs fluffing, or we can’t quite reach our cup of tea. Subtle shifts are needed for maximum comfort.
Business is like that, too. Each year, as things around us change, or we change, we may find it necessary to make subtle shifts in the way we’re doing business. Our prices may increase in response to market conditions or a change in the economy. Our marketing methods may change because of new technology or because the old ways aren’t working anymore. Business or product names may change in response to industry changes or how customers and clients themselves are changing.
Most of us go to great lengths to resist change because it automatically takes us out of our comfort zone and makes extra work for us. A change of name, phone number, or pricing means we have to write new advertising copy for our brochure, catalog, or ads, and explore new ways of reaching the larger market we’ve targeted. Suddenly we need a whole new series of printed materials or perhaps a presence on the internet or a complete overhaul of the site we already have.
Changes Forced by Circumstances
As we grow older (and hopefully wiser), we are sometimes forced to make changes because we’ve received an important wakeup call, such as a serious illness or life-threatening disease that suddenly shows us what our real priorities in life are. Some years ago, a little dance with breast cancer cost me a lot of time, money, and energy due to surgery, follow-up doctor visits, and six weeks of daily radiation treatments. I was lucky the cancer was caught and halted in its earliest stage, but the experience woke me up to the fact that I was getting older and wasn’t going to live forever. This turned out to be a positive life experience in that it forced me to take a closer look at my life and make some important changes in the way I was spending it and running my home-based business.
From time to time, we need to ask ourselves if we are living life the way we really want to, and when that life includes a business at home, the questions become all the more pointed. Change, though hard to make, brings its own rewards. Upgrading your business will enhance your professional image, and this may prompt your customers or clients to respond differently, perhaps with bigger orders or more business. But increased business may also impact your family life and force some changes in that area too.
In the process of making necessary changes to my own business, I discovered another important benefit of change. Satisfaction with the changes I had made lowered my business stress as well as my blood pressure, which helped my attitude and gave me renewed ambition and energy to tackle new goals.
The Pain and Benefits of Change
Making changes is always painful to one degree or another. When I decided to cease publication of my print newsletter in 1996 and gradually close down the book publishing and mail order end of my business, I went through an emotionally difficult and financially painful “withdrawal period.” Suddenly, after fifteen years of speaking to a devoted following of readers through my newsletter, I no longer had an active network or a soapbox from which to deliver information, opinions, and advice. My income dropped dramatically, and I couldn’t replace it quickly because I was then spending all my time writing new books that would not yield royalty income for more than a year.
It was a difficult decision to make, but I’m so glad I did it. In time, I got back on track financially and my work became less stressful because I was then doing the one thing I loved most and never had enough time to do before—writing 100 percent of the time. Once I got going on the web, I had my soapbox back as well. What’s interesting to me about all this is that I’ve been a professional writer since 1971, but it took me all those years to actually get to the place where I really wanted to be. And I couldn’t have gotten there at all if I hadn’t gone through all the growing pains and changes along the way. Each subtle shift in the way I worked or managed my business automatically repositioned me for something else that wouldn’t have come my way if I hadn’t moved in the first place.
Based on all the interviews I’ve done with other business owners through the years, I can guarantee that a similar kind of progression will happen to you. So don’t get too comfortable where you are right now unless you are already exactly where you want to be for the rest of your life.
Author’s Note: This writing is an excerpt from Make It Profitable!, a crafts marketing book that was published by the trade in 2000 as I was developing my first website. © 2000 by Barbara Brabec.
Anyone who has observed my personal life and business activities on the web since then will realize that change has been my middle name in all the years since. And now in 2021 I’m still changing the way I work and dealing with ever-changing computer and web technology, the business after effects of a pandemic, and learning how to efficiently operate a new website that better positions me as a writer, self-publisher, and author’s consultant. It’s anyone’s guess what’s still ahead in the “Department of Change.”
The Need for Change as You and Your Business Grow Older. Because you work at home, your business will always be affected by changes in your personal or family life, and you’ll need to keep revising your life and home business plans as you age and the world around you keeps changing
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