Major Course Adjustment

new-business-plant-and-ladybugA lot has happened since I wrote my last blog post.

I’m not usually a person comments on a dry spell in a blog. But this has been more than a dry spell. It’s been an entire change in direction.

Since the last blog post here, I’ve launched a new business, the Social Media DIY Workshop. If you look back through my last 20 or so blog posts, you can clearly see the birth of the new business. Or at last I can. Not only was I writing a lot about social media, but I was also writing about being in the midst of a change. When I finally realized that the change meant another business, I took off in that direction without letting anything distract me. Even this blog.

Starting A New Business

The new business is just a refocus within my existing business. It uses the same skills, and has many of the same deliverables. However, most people don’t see that. Most people see social media as marketing. I see it as software that needs training materials. And it lets me incorporate what I’ve learned in the last 16 years about customer relationships and marketing. It requires a lot of bottom-up analysis of the tools. It requires a thorough understanding of the job of the client. In other words, it’s just a twist on a traditional software user assistance project.

And I love it.

Adjustments

There have been a few major adjustments I’ve had to make along the way.

  • I’m running a product business. In the past, I created and delivered products, but under a service model. I’ve had to rethink how I organize my work, and think about how I design my products in a different way.
  • I’m the primary SME. In the past, I’ve had the expertise of experienced employees and other experts to fill in the gaps of what I needed to know. Now that job is on my shoulders. If I want to know how a Facebook feature works, I can check their help center, but mostly, I’m on my own.
  • I sell my products to unknown customers. In the past, I’ve developed deep relationships with my clients so I know a great deal about who will use my products. Today, I’m selling to strangers. But they don’t stay strangers! Thanks to social media, I can engage my customer base. I can ask them questions about what they need, and how I’m doing. It’s much more interactive. And fun.
  • I don’t get paid by the hour or project. In the past, I’ve usually known how much I would be paid for each project well in advance. I worked a lot on fixed price bids. But today, I never know how many webinars or ebook will sell in a day, a week, or a month.
  • I’m no longer responsible for the project execution. In the past, people hired me to deliver a solution that worked. My reputation was built on results. Today, I’m offering information and tools that people embrace and incorporate as they see fit. To the best of their abilities. My job is more about coaching than performing the solutions.

Overall, it’s an exciting change and one that I’ve embraced. There have been some tough patches. It’s not always gone the way I anticipated. But the surprises have been good. And my path has been filled with people who have offered me help and guidance, often out of the generosity of their heart. I’ve been very fortunate to build a community around me who wants to see me succeed.

Is your life calling out to you to change what you are doing? Is there more meaningful work that you want to do? I offer my life as an example of how satisfying it can be to really let go of the past and build a new path for yourself. And if I can do anything to encourage you along the way, don’t hesitate to reach out to me!

About author:

Charlene is the information strategist behind Crow Information Design.

2 Responses to “Major Course Adjustment”

  1. Nancy Scott says:

    I love two dimensions of your new business model: first, the emphasis on self-reliance; second, your (very original) product-versus-service framework. You’ve realized something fundamental, Charlene. This “new” economy may well demand getting back to creating *products.* As usual, you’re ahead of the pack. Congratulations.

    • Charlene says:

      Thanks, Nancy. The world is changing, and I am seeing so many things out there. It’s a great challenge to observe and break it down into components so I can understand how things work. I hope my efforts will help others along the way, also.

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