By Carriece Jefferson
Pivoting was a hard pill to swallow in the beginning
Crafty Hands Club was nothing short of window dressing. Yes, it had a social media presence. There was a website. Table displays were seen at vending events.
But I fell short on sales.
In public, I presented well, but I couldn’t communicate the value well. Behind closed doors, there were a lot of tears, frustration, anger, and doubtful moments.
I’ve always prided myself on being adaptive and embracing change. That is, until last year, during the third trimester of my pregnancy, when I was faced with one of the hardest decisions ever. I realized that no matter how flexible someone is, a small part of us can be blind to making a change. Therefore, I changed directions from selling DIY jewelry kits to being a digital magazine and education platform for crafters.
Actually, I should’ve made the decision a long time ago. Switching from a subscription box for jewelry making to craft kits had already made me look unstable in some people’s eyes. Now, having to change again would really make me look like I’m in love with playing switcheroo.
When you’re carrying a whole human being, your mindset changes.
I believed in my business so much that I blindly tried to make things work. Looking back in hindsight, a lot of decisions were made from places of desperation, laziness, and lack of knowledge.
As much as I loved creating kits to help people make jewelry, there wasn’t a need or demand for the product. Not even for beginners. What’s worse is that I sold very few products during a time when the world was in quarantine.
It’s a crushing blow when you look on the shelves and see so much unmoved inventory.
With a bleeding wallet and a bruised spirit, my confidence was essentially nonexistent .
Throwing money at a lot of problems
Buying craft supplies to have “just in case.”
Vending at events where little to no sales were made.
Giving away free items (swag bag sponsorships) without any real strategy.
Creating unnecessary expenses.
Attending conferences, workshops, training, and webinars only to acquire a pile of notes.
Going to networking events when they were just parties and drink meetups in disguise.
Business works only when you do the work.
The few times the business made sales, I got comfortable. Instead of finding my audience, getting to understand them, and letting them tell me what they wanted, I tried to fit an audience into the product.
Talk about arrogance.
But what about passion?
I know many business owners say you should choose a business that you’re passionate about because it’ll get you through those trying times. Having strong beliefs about something is okay, but making decisions on pure emotion is dangerous. Regardless of the level of zeal that’s there, you need to know if there’s a consumer base to support the idea.
An accounting professional by day, I decompress by making crafts or writing. But transferring your hobby to a business is altogether different. A business requires you to show up constantly. More time and resources are required. It’s a machine that never stops, and it’s definitely not for the faint of heart.
You can’t expect customers to show up when you don’t as a business owner. Just because you buy a horse doesn’t mean you’re invited to the Kentucky Derby.
Business is more than I was prepared for…
Jewelry making was a small part of Crafty Hands Club. I needed to learn how to communicate its unique selling proposition (USP), build an audience, speak the language of the target market, engage with them, provide lots of visual content, and gain convertible traffic to the website.
To be honest, I never fully knew why customers bought from me, which made it even more difficult. My marketing was like air: everywhere and nowhere at the same time. Imagine trying to get an audience to react to a call to action, and absolutely nothing happens.
You will be faced with the brutal, honest truth. There will be times where you must walk away from things you love that are not financially sound. Those are the facts that aren’t taught in business school.
To pivot in business
It’s not the end of the world. As a matter of fact, businesses make pivots all the time. It simply means to shift gears or change directions. During the pandemic, some businesses pivoted by going online, while others fell by the wayside.
When to pivot in business
The word “pivot” was referenced a lot during the pandemic. It doesn’t need to be a national crisis in order to know when something has to be altered or dismissed in business. My problem was that I wanted the DIY kits to work so badly that I kept trying new tactics for the sake of refusing to give up.
The power of knowing business numbers helps with better decision-making. At the end of 2020, I changed lanes because I didn’t want to go another year of losing money. I was tired of my plans and goals simply staying as wishes. I asked myself, “is this something that I really want to do?” When the answer was no, it was time to change.
“I was tired of my plans and goals simply staying as wishes.”
Why making a pivot is important?
Once I removed the emotions from the decision, I realized how important it was to pivot. The longer you choose to be in denial of the current reality of your business, the harder it will be to pivot. Pivoting, when necessary, will save you from making further costly mistakes.
What’s a pivot strategy?
Before I decided to switch lanes again, I had to brainstorm the things I’m good at and if they could work as a business. I knew I wanted to keep the name. I was also good at writing, teaching, speaking, and crafting. Suddenly, as I sat quietly on the sofa (4 weeks away from having my son), I realized I could transform Crafty Hands Club into an online magazine and education platform. I not only have the experience but also enjoy it, and I know it’s something I can be consistent with.
I had clarity, peace, and felt free.
” I had clarity, peace, and felt free.”
This time, I am much more careful. There’s no acting on impulse. I listen more. I’ve gotten better with positioning Crafty Hands Club. Creating content isn’t as difficult like I thought a year ago. I’m enjoying the process a lot. More time and thought is given. My mindset has significantly changed.
Before making any changes in business, ask yourself: is it time to switch lanes or choose another highway?