February 2004… I was 24 years old. I had been married for 2.5 years and my husband I had just moved from California to Maryland. I stayed on consulting for the company I left in California while Jason started in his position as a government employee. I was looking for work but didn’t want a ‘career’ because I knew we would start a family soon. So… I started my own business.
Show of hands for those in the room that thought opening your own business would allow you to earn money in your pj’s, while watching your favorite tv shows, and having lunch with your friends when they called.
Yep, that was me.
When I started my company, it wasn’t a big bang. It was a slow build, one customer at a time. I was providing services as a residential organizer and learning along the way how to do it well and how to grow my business.
But, within a year I had enough business to bring on a contractor to help and I had set my sights on creating a business that eventually could run without me.
My business was a Model T. It was top of the line revolutionary for me, at the time. Organizing as a business was still fairly new and novel. Not a lot of people had an organizer and it was easy to offer my services when people would call. I offered 1 thing, they needed 1 thing. Life was good.
Fast forward fourteen years… I had become one of the top organizers in my area serving chronically disorganized people. I had trained dozens of other organizers, created my own organizing system, written two books, appeared on tv, won awards in my industry and my Model T, which had worked so well to get me to this place was no longer working.
I felt called to move into a new direction. I was ‘leveling up’ to a Tesla. More energy efficient and a new energy source, sleek, streamlined, more cutting edge.
But now, more people in general, owned cars. There were more varieties, more options, more choices.
My business and my life were still built on the Model T format.
How would I turn my Model T into a Telsa? Could I reuse some of the same parts? Can you make plastic from metal, I wondered? It looks so sleek on the outside but it’s complicated under that shiny hood. At least with the Model T I could see everything I had and how it all worked together. Now, I was yet again in uncharted territory only this time it was so much more complicated. I had to keep the Model T operational while at the same time turning it into a Tesla. How in the heck was I going to pull this off?!?
After being in business for as long as you have, maybe you are also experienced a Model T to Tesla Conversion?
Or you are in one right now.
Here are a few lessons I have learned:
- Spend time acknowledging what made your original business great and why. It can be easy to get frustrated with your old model but you built a successful business on it so don’t walk away without taking the parts that did work well for you.
- Recognize what you have that can be transformed. It may be the case that you can’t use the Model T body as it exists now but maybe you can melt it down and use the metal to form the framework of your Tesla. Your client on boarding process, networking, etc are made of the same essence but may need to be transformed for your new model.
- Let go of the parts that just won’t work any more. This is the point where you recognize that Model T tires will not fit on a Telsa. Period. Sometimes you need to just let go. That is ok. Say thank you and move forward.
I would love to hear, what lessons have you learned?
Are you burned out, overwhelmed, and chasing too many ‘good ideas’?
You’ve built the business, make it work for you, free your time, & create more impact.