This article was created by BlogHer for PMI.
If you’re an entrepreneur in 2020, the word “pivot” has been drilled into your psyche. What was once a trendy buzzword is now an actual skill you need for unexpected circumstances like, say, a pandemic. That isn’t to say pivoting is a 21st-century invention—it’s always been around. In the past, it was more adjective and less verb. Think “resilient,” “flexible” or “agile.” Now, being an entrepreneur means being about that action, and so the pivoting craze was born.
So how exactly does one “pivot?” It’s truly relative. For the small business owner, it could mean adjusting your internal operations or introducing a new product category. For a small business leader, it could mean overhauling your social media posting schedule. If you’re a creator navigating the corporate landscape, pivoting could be as simple as betting on a job that’s outside your wheelhouse but better aligned with your personal goals. Ultimately, pivoting of every kind has lasting power when it’s rooted in transformation, the kind that can’t be measured with numbers, likes, or pageviews.
The best pivoters are those who recognize (and do) the internal work before transforming their business. The catch-22 for many is that personal evolution and trial-and-error go hand in hand. But there are also those rare moments when the ones who have done the work step up to school the newbies before they can make those all-too-common rookie mistakes. Such was the case during BlogHer Biz when a group of five boundary-breaking, industry-shifting women came together to share advice for transforming (and scaling) a business.
And while they gave plenty of tactical tips that any entrepreneur would want to execute, this panel—moderated by SHE Media CEO Samantha Skey—felt more like a girl’s night in where everyone just so happened to be a bonafide boss. In case you missed it, here are the gems I’m still thinking about days later. If you’re a creator and/or business owner, this is can’t-miss advice for staying encouraged as you do anything, but especially when you’re pivoting in any sense of the word.
Marian Salzman, Award-Winning Executive, Author, & SVP at PMI
For Salzman, transformation is a daily commitment that requires dedication and honesty.
“Part of transforming is making peace with what I’m great at and peace with what I’m really terrible at. I used to think of it as a massive drastic change. Transformation might be a daily process. It might be something that takes years. It takes a lot of work to make true change happen. To be a true transformer, it’s not a one-off. It has to be something that we live and breathe. One of the mistakes lots of people make is planning their careers. It’s the journey. The destination will work itself out.”
Carolyn Rodz, co-founder & CEO of Hello Alive
“Transformation is part of life. You’re always evolving. You’re always growing. Always be finding opportunities. We have to start chipping away at the building blocks to solve [problems]…That’s when the big transformations happen. People want to help. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Be prescriptive about what you need.”
DeNeige Watson, Executive Director of Geopolitical and Threat Intelligence
“Transformations are much more interesting and compelling when they come from within. Curiosity is what keeps you going, young, fresh, and moving forward. You’re not going to get all of the answers from inside your staff. Diversity of thought is very important. You need to make sure that you’re not being driven by the next quarterly statement. There’s an art to deciding when to call something a failure. If you call it a failure too soon, you miss an opportunity. If you do it too late, hopefully, you can pick up the pieces.”
Gina Pell, Content Chief of The What
“The pivot is no longer a sharp turn away from failure but a series of flexible turn towards success. When I was younger, I used to think transformation was something I had to schedule. Connecting with interesting and curious women is transformative to my soul, both personally and professionally. I learn something every time I talk to curious and interesting women. It has nothing to do with our age, but with how curious we are. We have fails and that’s part of the process.”
This advice is just a sampling of the wide-ranging expertise shared by these changemakers. Rewatch BlogHer Biz (above) for their entire panel and, of course, take notes.