How To Weather “The Dip” When You’ve Pivoted To A New Thing

New list member Alison Knott wrote with this tantalizing question (shared with permission):

“Any tips on how to weather “the dip” when you’re doing something new after years of doing it “the old way”? Logically I know this too shall pass, but the lizard brain is screaming “just take any project or else there will be dooooooom!”

That feeling that your pipeline will never be full of your dream work and you better take everything that comes your way? Pretty much everyone who has pivoted has felt it.

The trick is what you do with that feeling.

If you’ve prepared for the shift financially—like say banking six months plus of your pre-pivot income—you can calm your lizard brain when it acts up: “I have a bunch of cash tucked away, I’m gonna be OK. No thank you client-that-doesn’t-fit, I’m gonna hold out for better.”

But let’s say you don’t have a significant (to you) financial cushion—or your lizard brain doesn’t care because it still needs to see revenue flowing in right now.

You’ve got options.

Take a short-term assignment that uses your skill set, but doesn’t lock you into long-term work or price tags.

Let’s say you pivoted upstream from content creation to marketing consulting. Taking a content gig or two from former clients won’t lock you into continuing that forever.

Just be up-front about the limited duration of the work—and price it so your lizard brain can take a chill pill.

And don’t load up on these or you’ll be reminding yourself why you pivoted to begin with. One. At. A. Time.

Build a runway with your former clients and buyers.

Trying to convert former clients to your new pivot works an agonizingly small percentage of the time. If they were happy, they liked the old you, delivering the old way.

But. You can build a runway from your old thing to your new.

If you’re moving from pure execution to a strategic consulting model, instead of immediately dropping all the execution clients, maybe you keep one or two of your best and work both models for a transition period.

The transition ends when you’re financially and emotionally ready to leave the past behind you.

The lizard brain is real. Even when you’ve done all your planning, positioning and communication ideally, it will STILL rise up and try to slap you back to the old way.

You just have to tell it to back the heck off.

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1 Comment

  • Great insights Rochelle. As you say, whilst it’s commercially sensible to help existing clients gain exposure to your ‘new’ services, they like the old you where they’ve got you. You’re neatly boxed, thank you very much! However, the beauty of them seeing and hearing about the new you is that they a) give you feedback and objections that you can prepare for next time b) word of mouth is a powerful tool and c) when they move on and up they will remember you – years later even! Thanks again for this article and best wishes to you from the snowdrops in England.

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