There comes a time in business where you’ll need to pivot or quit something.

This could be a service you offer that needs to change, raise in price or evolve. It could be a wing of your business that needs to be shut down or it could be an entire business model as a whole that needs reworked for any reason.

Personally, I’ve found that times that I needed to pivot or quit something to be some of the most challenging and stressful times in my business.

I think that’s because there’s no right or wrong way to do it. It’s really about what’s best for you, your business and what’ll be best long term for both you and your clients.

That’s why I’m so excited to bring back onto the podcast Elizabeth McCravy to share her insight on the decision to close her membership despite having over 170 members join and how that actually helped grow her business and reduced her personal bandwidth overwhelm.

In this convo, we’ll dive deep into:

  • How to raise rates on a recurring service
  • How to not piss your current clients off when you change pricing
  • How to think long term for what’s best for you and your business
  • How to structure your offers around what’s most important to you
  • How to offer additional options if you close a service down

And much more!

If you’ve pivoted or quit something in your business, I’d love to hear your experience. Leave a comment and if you’ve yet to get to this point in your business…bookmark this episode and come back to it.

Your future self will thank you for it 🙂

In this episode:

00:05 – Pivot or Quit in Business
04:48 – Pivoting or Quitting
16:21 – Membership Offering Challenges and Changes
21:21 – Managing Business and Personal Life
26:26 – Managing Priorities in Business and Parenthood
33:39 – Discussion on Decision to Close Membership
41:50 – Pivoting and Learning From Business Challenges
50:35 – Pivoting or Quitting in Business
59:04 – The Importance of Pivoting in Business

Elizabeth’s Podcast 223 – Why I Closed My 170-Member Paid Membership (+ My 3 Biggest Mistakes!)


Connect with Elizabeth:

Featured links mentioned:

Episode #288 Full Transcription

Elizabeth: 

Trusting your gut instinct about something is really smart. Like you know, you know you have the answer. I think sometimes we think that, like you know, you’ve got to ask all the experts. Like we were saying, too much input can actually just lead to more confusion. And I would also say make time to spend time with yourself strategizing this decision and don’t make it just like what’s the word? Like just quickly out of stress, because sometimes we do have things going on in life and it might be like you’re having a really hard month and that makes you want to burn it all down and that’s not actually what you should do, you know. So make sure you’re not like in that sort of situation with it. Welcome to the Web Design Business Podcast, with your host, josh Hall, helping you build a web design business that gives you freedom and a lifestyle you love.

Josh: 

Hey friends, so great to have you here for this episode of the podcast where we’re going to take a deep dive into this topic of whether or not you should pivot or quit something in your business and I generally see this happen with my students and I’ve had this happen in my experience where you’re offering services and you need to change something, that you might need to change it because expenses are creeping up and you need to raise your rates. And if you’re doing something like a hosting and maintenance plan and you need to raise your rates, then the question becomes what do I do with my current clients? Are they going to be mad if I raise their rates? Do I grandfather them in with old pricing? What do I do? Have I need to pivot something? Often, this is the case when you’re adding a new service and that’s going to tweak and potentially not mess up your offers, but just change your offers. There’s a lot of different reasons why you might want to pivot and do something in your business that’s going to change some things up. There’s also sometimes where you might need to drop something and quit something for the sake of you, your personal life, your bandwidth or your business. Case in point I went as a graphic designer and web designer. I went to the point where I dropped graphic design completely and it was a big change in my business, so I had a lot of reservations about that. All that and more. I want to help you when it comes to pivoting or quitting. I’m so excited to bring back onto the podcast Elizabeth McCravey, who has a very, very unique perspective and some really good insight on this idea of whether to pivot or whether to quit something. Because Elizabeth, if you didn’t know, had a membership of 170 members that, just a handful of months into it, decided to stop it and decided to turn it off completely, while still making recurring income from 170 plus people. But you’ll find out in this episode why she did that and why it was actually best for her business as a whole, best for her personal bandwidth and just best in the long term. So if you are in a situation or a season where you’re trying to figure out your offers, you might want to turn something off. You might want to stop doing something. Maybe you want to just completely quit a service or a big chunk of your business to leave room for something else. This episode is really going to help you out, elizabeth, if you don’t know her. She is a coach, a podcaster and an awesome online entrepreneur. You can find out more about her at ElizabethMcraveycom. There she has show it website templates. She has a program called Booked Out Designer. She has a really great podcast called the Breakthrough Brand Podcast. So make sure to go to ElizabethMcraveycom. And for right now, here she is. We’re going to get into whether to pivot or whether to quit. Enjoy, my friends, elizabeth. It is so good to see you again. Welcome back on to the podcast for round two.

Elizabeth: 

Yes, it’s so good to see you too. I’m excited to chat.

Josh: 

I’m super excited. We’ve already had a great pre-recorded chat, just talking shop or both. Yes, I mean designer, coaches, I like to say influencers, thought leaders, coaches, course creators, podcasters in the space, and we were kind of sharing before we hit record. Like there’s an interesting point in an entrepreneurial’s journey where you’re doing something and, even if it’s working okay, you get to a point where it’s like it’s time to change things up, for whatever reason. You had a really interesting situation this year where you had a membership and decided to I mean, I’ll let you tell the story but really make a big change. I really kind of figured we’d focus on whether to pivot or whether to quit something to help folks out when they get to a change in their business. In this one, yeah, I’d love to.

Elizabeth: 

I mean, it’s such a hard decision and a lot goes into it, and when you are in that situation where you’re trying to decide, do I keep this thing that’s not working or change it? It’s very stressful and could be months of like anxiety inducing decision-making on your own. So yeah, it is.

Josh: 

Yeah, you just yeah. You hit the trigger words on the head there, anxiety inducing. It can be stressful. I told you like this past year has been probably the most stressful year in my business, just with the changes I’ve made in my business and just adjusting to the market and how courses are perceived now versus coaching and community. It is a lot of. For web designers. There’s so many different services you can offer. There’s so many different ways you can offer it. I know you teach mostly graphic designers and web designers as well, but like we’re in an industry where there’s no right or wrong way to do any of this, so it like just as freeing as it is to be able to do anything, that’s also like overwhelming and daunting. And then there does come a time and place I’ve found where it’s either time to change something or potentially quit something, and I’ll, before I turn it over to you, like I, when I sold my business, that was a huge, huge decision in my life and in my professional career and I debated on whether I should just pivot to like being the owner and hire people under me or completely release it and be the founding owner and a consultant for it and then focus on teaching full time. So, yeah, big decisions. What I’m curious, before we talk about your membership no-transcript Were there any other big decisions that have you’ve done in your business over the past few years, or was that the big one that was like the biggest change?

Elizabeth: 

That was, let’s see. So that was the biggest change that impacted, like financially, I guess, because I had 170 members. So I literally like went in and canceled recurring payments for 170 people all individually, which just feels really huge. But yeah, I made other big decisions. Like I mean, starting my template shop was a really big one because that required me scaling back one-on-one to make time to do the shop and believing that, like people will buy this and the time will be worth it. I also had a thousand years ago it feels like I mean it wasn’t a thousand years ago, like eight years ago, maybe seven years early in my business I had a I tried to get into the whole passive income like digital product situation. I created pre-made brands that people could buy on my website and it went. It did not go well and it flopped and I closed that. So that was like another like bad decision than like 70 years later, like I don’t know, I wouldn’t call the membership a bad decision, which I know we’re going to get into, but more like it wasn’t the right time or the right offer for me and a lot of learning came from that and I know you just said this year has been a hard year for you in business. I feel like last year was that for me, and it wasn’t even a bad financial year, it was just hard and a lot of stuff happening personally and then me being like I’m going to start this new thing was kind of like this is not really the best timing and I didn’t realize that till it was already started.

Josh: 

So that’s such a good point that, even if it is something that on the books would make sense and would maybe be right at some point in the business, it is about timing and seasons in life and actually just the last podcast episode we talked about what to do with your business is in decline or you’re having struggles and any sort of revenue and everything, and a lot of that is based off of your season of life, whether you have the bandwidth for it, whether, yeah, whatever that looks like. So that’s interesting. When to pivot, when to quit, I think is fascinating, especially for web designers who have a service or maybe they want to drop a service. Like I have one student right now Shout out to Michelle who’s like I don’t want to do social media anymore. So she’s getting into that place very soon where we’re going to get to like it’s such a good lead generator for her right now she doesn’t necessarily want to just drop that, but she doesn’t want to do it long. So we’re working on pivoting first before we quit that service and drop it. So, yeah, I you know we’ll get into the specifics on that, but I would love to know. So the personal side of thing for you with your members? Actually, for those who don’t know the story, do you want to just give the the download on on this membership? And then, yeah, what happened?

Elizabeth: 

Yeah, let’s talk about that. So I, for people who don’t know, first of all, I have a course called I’m a student at a college it’s called bookdesigner, where I teach designers business stuff, and then I also have show it templates and I’ve had both. I’ve had booked out designer at this point for like a little over two years of my templates for more like five years, my business more like eight years, and I also have a podcast that’s free content. So like those have been my offers for a while and that was working really well for me. My template shop’s been really successful and I’m really grateful for that, and so for a long time that was like the only thing I was really doing and that was great. What I have through my podcast had what I would call an offer gap, and you hear that term of like, basically meaning like there are people in your audience who are asking for something from you and you don’t have anything to sell them, and in business we’re told that that’s a problem Like you should solve, that you need to have something to sell the people who are there and want to buy something from you. So for me I have through my podcast, cause it’s not just for designers. It’s really for, like honestly, a lot of for my template, like track people who’d be interested in templates, but also stuff for designers. So it’s like a mix of both and I’ve had for years people who are interested in like they’ll be like, are you going to have a booked out service provider, like is there anything for us who are not designers? And I thought about making courses and have had all these course ideas even ones I’ve started on and not completed where I’m like this will kind of solve that. This is going to fix that offer gap. And then last year, kind of early in the year, I got hit with like maybe a membership as the solution and that can be a way that I’m serving these people who are really loving my podcast and they’re not designers but they want to learn business from me. They don’t just want to tip that, they want, like business strategy and coaching and content that’s higher level than my podcast. So that’s how the idea came into play and you can even hear me talking about it. It feels like it made sense and was solving a problem in my own business. So in July of last year of 2022, I launched the membership. It was called breakthrough brand all access. So playing off of the name of my podcast, which is the breakthrough brand podcast, so kind of taking the podcast content deeper, was the idea. And in that launch week I had 170 people join, which felt like a huge win. That was like not I think my stretch goal was like 200, but like my low ball goal was more like a hundred, so it felt like. Hey, we’re like right past the middle there, yeah. So I felt like a huge win and even at the time it was like back at hot, felt like, oh yes, this is perfect for my business right now the people joining mainly women business owners I’m like I recognize you, Like I recognize your name. You’ve been listening to my podcast for four years and I know you’ve asked me for this and like this would be such a good fit for you and I’ve had so much excitement around it. But one thing talking about when to pivot and when to quit, it wasn’t a great offer in terms of like there wasn’t a lot of clear which we can go through all the reasons. It wasn’t great and kind of, if you want to talk about that, but there wasn’t that much direction in what I was offering. I also think the price point was really low. It was $32 a month and what people were getting at that price point was a lot of stuff and it was quickly became like super overwhelming for me to maintain all the things I was offering for 170 people and the other stuff I was already doing in my business and in personal life.

Josh: 

So well, what a good lesson. What a good lesson, too, about, like when you price too low if the deliverables are over. Delivering for something too low that is. That is tricky, and I’ve I’ve experienced this in this past year with with my community, webzenner Pro, because it’s at a $199 a month price point, which is a top tier community for ongoing monthly. It’s not like a 12 month program or anything. It’s ongoing Community memberships that go nonstop are going to be under $100, but there’s coaching involved with it. Every member gets direct coaching with me. So eventually one day I might have a lower tier option that would have a different coaching aspect. But for right now, that’s that’s the deal. But I said it to say. I’ve had some times when I’m like, should I make it like 99? But then I’m like, can I? I cannot, I can’t like over deliver and cut in half the investment, like that would be too much for me. Literally that would. I would probably be in a similar situation where I’ve like got myself into trouble and I think this happens with a lot of web designers with just low pricing in general, but any sort of offer that’s like undercutting your value or your bandwidth. That’s also a hidden topic that a lot of people don’t talk about in the entrepreneurial space is a lot of people talk about value and knowing your value, but you also have to know your bandwidth and what you can realistically do with a price point in a timeline. So what for you was the? Was there coaching involved? Was it time intensive? Is that the problem?

Elizabeth: 

Yeah, and there was a lot involved and you want to say too that you just said about pricing. I think we can get into the mindset of like you can always go up on the price but you can’t go down with offers that are like a membership or course especially. I think that was my mindset and I wish I would not have fallen into that and would have thought more about the pricing, because in reality it’s not so sure the membership you’re locking people into that rate ongoing. You can change it if you’re changing the offer, but it didn’t feel like I could be like a few months later hey, all of you who are paying 32, let’s go up on the rate, just be like you don’t do that so it’s like for a course you could, because those people who bought it may be bait around. They paid this price. Now the next time it’s up it’s hard. That all makes sense. But membership feels different. So it’s something to really put a lot of thought into the price. But, yeah, what was included at that price point? So when I and this is something I changed immediately but it was all private podcast based, which I really I loved that aspect of it. Actually, I used Hello Audio. If anyone ever is trying to do private podcast stuff, it was a really great platform for it. But they were getting once a week a short like encouraging, just like to start your week message for me like a little business encouragement thing, which is something I really enjoyed doing those. And then once a month a larger piece of content that was teaching on something specific, kind of what you would expect from a membership, like one big piece of content. And then there was one group coaching call a month and a community that I was active in and everyone else was very active in. I went really well. So the big part for me that I would say was the thing that felt the hardest was all the content. So really quickly I changed it to where there was not that one piece of encouragement every week and instead it was just the one big piece of content, which was good, because that was going to destroy me doing that and also doing maintaining my podcast, which my podcast is mainly solo. So it was like. It was just like oh my gosh, my brain is like overwhelmed by this amount of content, and everyone was really understanding when I cut that and I think that was a good. Like okay, you have to decide. Like do you keep doing it because you said you were going to, or do you say like, hey, I’ve realized it’s not going to work, we’re not changing the price, but like this is getting cut out, which is what I did.

Josh: 

Gotcha and to dive deeper into that. Before we do that, I do want to say for anyone doing maintenance plans and hosting, I get this question a lot, which is what if I have to up my price because expenses are going up? My recommendation with that is always to grandfather in your current client base, if you can, at the rate they signed up, as long as it’s profitable, or just add a higher tier or more value and then just say you’ll still get a discount, like now. The price is this, but it includes a lot more value. It used to be 39 a month, now at 75, but you get this and this and this and for new customers it’s $100 a month. So I guess I could have been an option for you, but it is tricky when you’re it’s you. You know it’s a little more like your content. They probably signed up for your, your the certain things that you’re doing Now. You did trim back on the content. I’m kind of curious like before you started this membership, did the idea of the content seem feasible, and was it just when you got into it? Is that when the overwhelm started?

Elizabeth: 

Yeah, so it did seem feasible because I love making content, Like that’s probably my favorite thing I do in my business, like making course content, making podcast content, like all that. I don’t really run out of ideas easily, which I’m really grateful for, so that felt like fine. I think the thing that made the content hard that I was not anticipating is that I did not do what’s it called a success path in my membership and there was not much direction in who exactly this is for. So I had people who had multiple six figure year businesses in my membership and I had people who had no business yet, Like, and then all different industries as well. There was a lot of commonality in the types of businesses, but, generally speaking, a lot of different industries, which I loved because I was like I love all these women. Yes, this is incredible. But it did make me like when I was making the content, I’m like well, wait, which one of these different, like you know avatars, so to speak which one of these specific women is this content for? Am I talking to the woman who’s making like half a million a year, or am I talking to the person who hasn’t had their business start yet? And so that made the content really, really challenging and ultimately I landed on like. This is because I did have membership for a few months. I didn’t close it like immediately, but I landed on for more beginner content because the price point made sense for that and I but it was just interesting because I had so many people who were more advanced joined anyway.

Josh: 

Did you? Did you have I’m sure you had the thought of like should I do a higher tier? Did you go through that mind mapping or anything of what that might look like?

Elizabeth: 

Yeah, I explored a lot of ways to like revise it and make it make sense and higher tier would have been one of them Probably doing what you were saying like grandfathering in some of those people, and then the next time the doors opened, because I only had it open one time and I closed the doors and then. I closed it ultimately, so I only ever had one launch with it and I was always playing on going up on the price. The next time I saw it as like this is like beta group kind of concept. But yes, I think that would have been a good solution to it of doing tiers and also just adding more direction at a next opening of like hey, here’s exactly who it’s for and you can join. If this is not you, obviously, but like I’m talking and the content and the coaching is going to be for people at this stage of business. And the goal is to get to this stage but then have that originally. And yeah, I mean, there was there’s so many ways that for this particular offer I could have, like quote unquote, saved it and changed it and made it work. But I ultimately was like that’s not what I wanted and it was like a hard decision to close it. But that was what made sense, I think, for my own business at the time.

Josh: 

Well, and, like you said in the beginning, there was a lot of personal things that came into play as well, with just that season of life and your bandwidth. I mean I kind of wonder if you had started that this fall. It’s funny that we’re actually talking almost exactly a year from the last podcast. I wonder, because I did not sense that, by the way you, I did not sense that you were going through all that turmoil at that time. But I want to really be different this year and if you did something similar in the future, I wonder if, if you, if yeah, it basically just you know, no, you guys are expecting again, right?

Elizabeth: 

Yes.

Josh: 

Yeah.

Elizabeth: 

Yeah, I’m. So I’m pregnant right now with second baby and that’s yeah, you know, you said you didn’t, so not this year, not next year. Yeah, I know that’s the thing it’s like all year, like all about seasons of life. And yeah, last year the fall was a hard time for me for a lot of reasons, but at the same time, like while I was in it, I didn’t feel that tension of like life is hard, business is hard. But I had last year some things that happened all while I had this membership. My husband was having health issues that were ongoing. We were worried he had cancer. I mean. It was like he was seeing all different kinds of specialist and that was really just scary and unsettling. And we also did not have outside the home childcare yet. So it was just we had a my son was just around a year at that point and we had been tag teaming while both working while my husband was in grad school and seeing counseling clients. So it was just my work hours were super limited and I think that was really stressful to me and I had some team issues. Like I had two different hires that didn’t work out, which is like the way it goes and it is like, yeah, like now this year I have my team is awesome. Right now I’m like we got we got it locked in and like things are going really well in that sense. But I think some of those things going on kind of maybe like grasping at different focuses and had lost some vision for my business because I was not having as much time to work, which I think it’s something so important for entrepreneurs of like having bandwidth to go on a walk, to sit in journal, whatever it is that your process would be. But to like just think about like where am I trying to take this business right now? And I was not making time for that, but still have lots of ideas and it’s still fun. And last year was a good year financially still, despite all of my internal things going on. So it also felt like, oh, it’s actually everything’s fine in a sense. So it’s just interesting. Like kind of hindsight on it, you could say Well, protect your bandwidth.

Josh: 

That’s a great, great message. When it comes to offering services and taking on projects, whatever that looks like, I’m curious like because you are still doing a lot of other things too. I think that’s one thing to consider. It’s not like this membership was your whole business model. This was like one end of it or one leg of it. So that honestly, I think for anyone who’s kicking around a new service or implementing something new, I would always say whatever you do best and you do well, make sure that’s a strong foundation before you pivot or quit or test new things out. So I’m curious, like what was your time? What was the business setup last year with your membership? On top, you were still doing booked out designer and then your show at templates, podcast content. Was there anything else you were doing, or those the main?

Elizabeth: 

Yeah, those were the main things. I mean, those were the main paid offers. I have some smaller offers besides that, but those were the main things. And it’s tough because in some ways, like it felt like it made sense. I agree with you, I’m all about building up offers to a point and really just focusing on that before you add in the next thing. And now I actually we were talking about this before we hit record I’m working on a new course for podcasters about starting and scaling a podcast, because podcasts are something I’m really passionate about and so I’m excited for that and that does feel like it makes sense now, but at the time I think it was like a bandwidth thing and a season of life thing. Like we were talking before we record too, about how it’s, like, you know, keeping courses as courses or making, doing memberships back into things and like putting your courses into memberships. All these different options for, like, how to structure a course offer or other digital product offer, and I have so many ideas for things I think sound really nice, but don’t sound nice in my season of life, because I’m looking at like I have about five months until I have this baby and I’m going to take a maternity leave and then also we’re not going to go daycare immediately or anything. We’re going to do the tag team and again. So I’m really looking at next year being like I’m not going to be working that much, and right now I only work part-time. I work about 22 hours a week, so it’s like I just I’m looking at that being like 10 hours. I’m like, well, that’s not the time to like do something crazy, and so it’s just you have to know like what season you’re in, and it’s always helpful to me as a working business owning mom to remember that like this is not your situation forever. Like whatever your childcare and your you know motherhood capacity or fatherhood capacity is, it’s like they’re little in this time and eventually, if you’re not homeschooling, like they’re going to go to a school and your hours will increase again. And it’s just I kind of held onto that mindset of like I enjoying like the time now. Instead of being like wishing like for something later so.

Josh: 

I have to catch myself doing that and I’m such a kid guy. I love our littles. We have three under five right now. It’s absolute chaos, but I love them to death. I love working from home, I love having them home. I do catch myself sometimes and I think this is common for parentpreneurs when you’re driven and when you have a lot you want to get done. It’s so easy to step into that Like God, I can’t just wait. I can’t wait till they’re just, like you know, not around all the time so I can get some shit done basically. But that’s such a dangerous mindset. I know I’ve caught myself doing that and remembering like there are going to be times where I look back and like man, I wish they were toddlers again. I know that’s going to happen, but I just had a colleague of mine, daniel Hayden, on the podcast in the last episode or one of the recent ones, and she said she’s in the season now where her kids are teenagers and they’re just gone. They never want to be home. So she has a ton of time to work. But it’s sad, it’s like. I just wanted to say that because I think it’s an important reminder for everyone, like us who are in it with the young kids to manage and build your business around the lifestyle and have the priorities in place, and it’s easier said than done to when things are going well. It’s interesting because last year we were in a place where business was and business has not. It’s it’s still strong, it’s still stable, but it’s just not thriving like it was leading up to the 2023. And last year was pretty strong. We made a ton of money from selling our old house, so we had a nice cushion and I honestly just took it pretty easy for the most part Last year. I didn’t do any big launches or nothing too new. And then we went through a stuff, a bunch of stuff, with my daughter in the fall, which all kind of led to the perfect storm of this year to win. Like, when business struggles do come, then it becomes hard to spend time with family and I’m sure you’ve experienced this where, like, it’s hard to be present and not think about your business when there’s a lot of work to be done because you need to stop some leaks somewhere or whatever it is. Yeah, so I don’t know, I don’t have a particular question to that, but it is. It’s hard, I guess, essentially that I’ve found to manage the focus and priority at home when things are tough in your business for anyone who goes through? that.

Elizabeth: 

Yeah, I mean, I agree, and it’s especially if you’re dealing with like, like you’re saying, like health issues with a child or a family member of any sort, or just like not sleeping well because of your kids or other reasons I know. For me that was. We had a sleep regression last year during my membership time too. So, that was kind of like oh my gosh, I’m so tired. Yeah, but yeah, I agree, it’s just like I think it’s keeping a long term vision for your business and not comparing yourself to people in different seasons of life or seasons of business. I try to do a really good job of like keeping blinders on and knowing, like, what my goals are, and something I did this year that I think was helpful in this sort of thing we’re talking about of like keeping your focus in the right places. Last year, I was kind of like, what do I want to do? Everything sounds fun, but this year I had three words for the year that were like my business words and my whole team knew we had a vision meeting to kick off the year where we like went through, like okay, these are the three words. Here are the goals within each of these words, and every goal related to one of the three words, and we had a literation, which I liked, but we basically said that, like we’re not doing things that don’t relate to these goals this year.

Josh: 

But what are those goals?

Elizabeth: 

Yeah, so the three words actually have them, like, as I said, at my desk, I see them in front of me. So the words were templates, team and traffic. Traffic was to really get that alliteration, but basically meant like marketing and sales related stuff and like visibility is how I saw that. So basically what focusing on my template shop was like a big thing this year and then we also focused on team growth. I had two hires this year and also some like a bit of restructuring as to like what people were doing. But a template shop was a huge focus this year and obviously, like things happen that don’t fall into those three words. Like I’ve done multiple promotion periods for booked out designer and I’m still actively like doing that. But it was like new things needed to relate to those and so, as I’m working on this new course, it was like this doesn’t really fit into those, but I’m also seeing as more of like a next year thing and it’s because I’ve had all this focus that I even have the capacity to like. Do that.

Josh: 

Because this year’s been. Yeah, I love that you specified that, because it’s so important. When somebody’s growing their services or adding services or trying to serve their clients better, maybe there’s a need they know their clients are asking about and they’re trying to work in different types of services strategy. Whatever it is, what I have found is that a lot of students I coach who are feeling overwhelmed is they’re just trying to do too many different things at once, and I’m learning this myself. Especially when things are tricky, it’s like the natural thing is to just throw everything at the wall and see what sticks, but the reality is you can only get so far doing eight things at once. You really the best way forward is one thing at a time, with the majority of your attention on that. Of course, as business owners, there’s going to be other things, but it’s not like every day you’re working on the exact same thing. But I love that idea of focus. Case in point like for most web designers I’ve found, if they have web design services and then maintenance and hosting and then marketing style services for their clients, if they’re trying to boost their hosting, learn a new builder, do more web design services and now institute like social media and email marketing at the same time. None of those are going to be very successful because you only have so much bandwidth. But if you could take three months to boost up your actual web design services, leave everything else alone. Once that’s good, then up your maintenance plan and do everything like formalize that and then, once that’s in place, then offer something else in the growth style category. That’s where success comes and you’ll get further. I feel like I’ve learned you get further when you do things one step at a time and then just do that consistently with something else, rather than trying to do a bunch of different things at the same time.

Elizabeth: 

Yeah, and it’s like running a business is such a mental load of like different things that you have to like keep track of. So it’s like every time you add in something else, that is something else that you’re having to like manage customers or clients for, and market and manage the like back-end systems and processes. And yeah, if you don’t have the other things at a good point yet, it can feel like I don’t know that I can fit this other thing in.

Josh: 

That’s a great reminder. Get whatever the main services or whatever you’re doing to a good point. And yeah, very well said. So when was the breaking point for you? So you were a few months into this membership. I’m sure you thought about just tweaking in, like we talked about adding different levels and up in the price or whatever. But when did you have a moment where you were like, all right, I just I have to quit this, and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with quitting something or moving from something when it’s gonna be benefit you in the long run, especially with the season of life you’re in? But yeah, what was that moment like and when did that happen?

Elizabeth: 

Yeah. So I was debating all the different options of ways to change it or close it for a while and one thing I did that I would highly recommend anyone thinking about changing up an offer that you have actual customers or clients doing. I asked three different people, three different women one who was still in the membership and really active, one who was one of my few people who canceled, and then someone else who was also in an active. So basically asked all three of them. I just messaged them a link to my Calendly and I was like hey, I want to ask, have 20 minutes of your time, I want to ask you some questions relating to my membership and offers and I’m thinking about like changing some things that I’d love your feedback. And those three calls were so helpful in me just hearing like, okay, what do you think is working in this, what do you think is not? Why did you quit to this girl I chatted with who had canceled, and I knew her really well she’s also booked out designer and so, like she had, she canceled the membership for a few months and so she was a good person to even hear like, hey, what was not working about this? So that was something that was helpful and that even kind of led me to be like I think I just want to close it. Talking to them and I also did a lot of talking to other business friends and other people with memberships I joined a mastermind briefly, that was a lot of people who had memberships and I got to do a hot seat where I literally laid it all out and they gave me all these different ideas so many of them for ways I could adjust it, and I didn’t really like any of those ways.

Josh: 

And how daunting was that. By the way, sometimes you get too much input and then suddenly you feel even worse because it’s like, okay, now I have like 300 directions. I could go and I’m overwhelmed.

Elizabeth: 

Yeah, yeah, that was. It was so helpful, though, at the same time, cause well, one thing worth noting too, and I think this can be something that we struggle with as business owners and I had it in my head that if I closed it, all of these people were going to not trust me anymore and maybe even not like me, never buy from me again, that they would see me as a failure. I had like worked up this whole story in my head, so even the idea of like saying out loud that I was thinking about closing it felt very vulnerable, especially since, like it all in all, like it looked like it was going really well, like it was a lot of people joined, like I was right If you had like 19 people joined and be like okay yeah, we’re not going to move forward with this. And that’s the thing. Like I knew people would join it. Like I, I was had a lot of confidence going into the launch and also the price point was low enough that it was like a no brainer offer for a lot of these people and we’re saying the lives of a lot of very successful businesses. At $32 a month is not much of an investment. I had a lot of people also pay for the year in full, which is something else type to think about when you talk about closing something.

Josh: 

But I Did you refund them, by the way? What did you refund them so that?

Elizabeth: 

was so, yeah, that was actually such a helpful thing that I had to think through. So at first I was like looking at the amount I would have to refund everyone and that felt really overwhelming to me because that meant like a big dip in that particular month of business which I wouldn’t be refunding them for the whole year. It’d be for the months we didn’t do.

Josh: 

Like nine months.

Elizabeth: 

It was a little more. It was a little more than half the year, so like six months or so, but yeah, so that was like an overwhelming decision of just like how to manage that. And I had someone when I was talking to them about this like man, that’s going to be a tough time just doing all those refunds. But he had suggested someone who was in this mastermind so he like knows memberships really well. He was like, instead of just straight up refunding them without giving them any option those people paying in full because they care about you, they are all in with you offer them something else and let them pick between that or the refund. And so I offered all of those people a one-on-one coaching call with me, which is $350 for 50 minutes. So it was actually like a way better deal for them because that was not what they had paid for the whole year. So it’s like they’re getting that time plus like a $150 extra or something if you do the math, I can’t remember what it actually be or in a credit to my template shop, because a lot of these people are people who would appreciate my show at templates and most people took me up on one of those offers.

Josh: 

So that was really great strategy. Yeah, for anyone pivoting like that or quitting something. If there is that, yeah. If somebody didn’t pay in full, yeah, offer a one-on-one coaching call or bonuses or something else. That’s awesome.

Elizabeth: 

Yeah, and it was like he told me that idea. I was like that’s like such a no brainer. Now like hearing it, because the people who got that email about the coaching call I mean they were just like, oh my God, this is amazing. Yes, thank you, because I actually wasn’t offering that as a service at the time. It was more of like a hey, I don’t do this, like you can’t really do one-on-one access with me. The only way to get any kind of access to that was in bookdesigner. So people really jumped on that and I loved all those one-on-one calls so much that I ended up adding that as an actual offer in my business that I now do and I do like basically a few a month and it’s really fun for me and like fulfilling to help people in that way. But I loved those calls and it was like it almost felt like the nice closure I needed to, like closing the membership of like these people who were like hey, I was all in on this just getting to talk to them and like help them through, like whatever, the really whatever the reason was, and they made them join the membership.

Josh: 

So when it was when you went through ThriveCard I think I heard your episode in your podcast talking about that and you we’ll make sure we link that episode because you dive into a lot of detail on every little, every step of this but that moment of like turning it off, what were the next week or couple of weeks like after that? Did you feel instant relief? Did you feel embarrassed? Did you feel sad? What was all the above Like? What was the next couple of weeks like?

Elizabeth: 

They were good. Yeah, so that’s what we’re talking about. Like, I just said how I was so afraid that people would judge me and not trust me anymore and I got the most positive feedback from members when I closed it. So I would say, if you’re going to close something too, especially when we talk about having a lot of people in it, communicate it like really well and over communicated to those people. So for me, I sent an email to all of them. There was a video in the email where I was like literally explaining, just casually talking about why I was closing it. That audio got put in the private podcast feed and the email had all the text of like, basically what I said in the video. So there were basically multiple ways for you to like consume that this was closing. I posted it in our community as well and that email, if they paid in full, they had that option of like pick what you want to do and like you know let’s do that. So I communicated it really well and I was so nervous when I published the video and when I sent the email but generally speaking I had some of you will tell me it was the best membership they had ever been, which I’m like. Oh, that made me a little bit like I don’t want to close this.

Josh: 

I’ll get you to do version 2.0 once they settle down after baby two.

Elizabeth: 

You know what? I don’t think Memberships are like never for me. It was just like not the right season and not the right offer and I think it ever did do a membership Like gosh. I’d do it better with like more strategy and focus and a price point that made more sense. But generally speaking, people were a little shocked. I was closing it but I got some really sweet emails, especially from some of the women in the membership who are older than me and we’re like just sending some encouragement about like season of life stuff, and that was really helpful. So I went out. A few people emailed me and say like thanks for like showing what it looks like to pivot when something’s not working and like say it wasn’t working because there’s so much fear around like you can’t say you did something that didn’t work, especially when you’ve been in business longer. I feel like we sometimes think that’s like okay if you’re like your first year in business, but like when you’ve been in business eight years, don’t mess up it’s like no, we can still. You still make mistakes. And it’s like a yeah.

Josh: 

That’s a really good point. It’s like the further along you get. I almost I didn’t feel embarrassed this last year, but I just crossed a million dollars for Josh Hallco, so I just hit seven figures, which is awesome. I’m also in the most challenging season I’ve ever been in and like money’s tight. I’m like how the heck did that happen Now that I just make a million dollars. But things are, you know, like things are this challenging right now. It’s like it is a good reminder that even if you do hit a level of success you’ve been aiming for, it doesn’t mean that there’s not can be a lot of other challenges right along with it. I found that to be true with a lot of different entrepreneurs. I’ve talked I’ve talked to you about that. So, that that’s such a good point and honestly, I feel it’s better to pivot or quit something than to do a bad job like not being able to maintain it. Like that’s when if you would have just kept on going and you couldn’t show up for calls, you weren’t posting the content, you weren’t delivering on your promises you made, then those nasty emails probably want to come in or you would get refunds If you’re like, hey, you know, like what’s going on here, are they be concerned? So, and that could affect your brand in other ways. So I think that’s actually a good point, that it’s almost better to own it and just to admit it’s tight. It just didn’t work out because everyone’s going to respect everyone, like you’re right, everyone has had stuff, but it’s just not worked out, whether it’s a service or a wing of a business or an entire business itself. I’m kind of curious where a lot of the people that joined that membership? Were they existing clients and students of yours, or was it a different group of people altogether?

Elizabeth: 

It was a lot, I would say about half and half. About half the people were either template customers or a bookdesigner and about half of them were those people who have been like asking me to sell them something for a long time. So it was a good mix and and yeah, it is with for I was going to say with like the closing of it. Oh, you could ask like how it felt after and it did feel like it felt really good and freeing and I wasn’t sure what was needed. Sorry, I think that I really am forgetting what I was going to say about here. You say what you were going to say next. I’m forgetting what I was going to say.

Josh: 

Well, I was just thinking like a big pivot I had in my business as a web designer was going from offering like 50% graphic design, 50% web design to like 99% web design. I’d still did a little bit of graphic design, but that was a big pivot point for me that I was concerned about. I was like our client’s going to be mad at me. A lot of people were using me for graphic design and suddenly I wasn’t their guy anymore. Inevitably, though, I felt really good about that too Once I made that shift just to open up my hours and my time freedom, and I just liked working on websites more than brochures and door hangers. So that was an experience where, like, I made a pivot and I felt good I haven’t I don’t know if I’ve really done anything in my business that I’ve felt sad about or bad or like regretted, but there were different levels of intensity with different situations. Again, for you it was kind of like it’s not like you blew up your whole business. It’s not like you stopped book out, designer and show at templates and everything. It was just like one wing. So. But if someone wants to pivot a business, like I did with selling my business, that’s where it’s a different ballgame. I was literally shaking, emailing my favorite client saying you’re not going to work with me directly anymore. I just I don’t have the bandwidth to do this with my vision for for what I want to do with teaching. So, yeah, it’s just, there’s the. That’s how I was kind of curious about what that felt like versus you know any big. I mean, it was a big decision for your business.

Elizabeth: 

but yeah, you reminded me of something I was thinking, like I I think when we think about pivoting like that, and we’re right that closing a business would be different, so what I’m about to say may would not really, probably would not apply to that, but you were also selling the business, which is different.

Josh: 

But yeah, it wasn’t clear, yeah.

Elizabeth: 

With an offer, though I think sometimes we think about the changing and closing of it. It’s like, well, you got to tell everyone, you got to post on Instagram, you got to do a podcast episode about you got to send an email that this thing is not for sale anymore. I did not share that it was closed with anyone, except for my members, until almost a year later.

Josh: 

Oh, okay.

Elizabeth: 

So I did. I did those two podcast episodes that you listened to, which they really dive into, like what the offer was. Why close the mistakes? I made, lessons learned. It’s like a two parter, but those aired a couple of months ago this year, so it was almost a year after it all happened, and that’s when I officially talked about it. Besides that, though, when people did, I did have some people, after it closed, reached out and said like, hey, you know, I thought you had a membership, where is that? Raise join? And I told them but I did. It was looking like you don’t have to make it a huge ordeal, and I think that was the else in my head that closed. It was like, oh my gosh, I’d like to tell everyone that I’m real. It’s like you know what I actually don’t have to tell anyone, and when I do feel ready, I’m going to make a podcast content about this. But I think that’s something, and for me it’s like a content creator where I do a lot of business, content that is based on my own experiences, where I’m sharing like here’s what works, here’s what didn’t. I don’t like to share when I’m in it. I like to share when I’m out of it, because that’s when my advice is better. I’m not trying to be like a sob story on my podcast, so it was like I processed it. I made a really good like strong, like here’s my podcast stuff, so I’m going to say about it and I did it, you know. So it’s like it doesn’t have to be something you announced to everyone.

Josh: 

I think that’s wise counsel. I’ve heard a lot of other entrepreneurs say that too, and I thought about that this year. I was like I kind of want to vent, like it’d be nice to share this, but I also I don’t have any value to add other than like this is tough right now. I don’t. I’m, you know, I’m in an overwhelming spot. I’m trying to figure this out. So I’m probably going to do a bit of a post mortem on the last year or so, cause I’m I feel like I’m actually and the numbers are showing we’re starting to take back up. I’m kind of out of. I think the, the and a lot of it was just a little bit of the pivot in the market, pivot in my, my business and then personal life, everything all at once. But I’m coming out of that storm and it is like now I’m I’m getting to the point where I’ll probably release some, some podcast episodes sharing a little about what I’ve learned over this. This season. That has been very overwhelming. I felt like I’ve had the weight of the world on my shoulders, especially as we moved into a new home. We got a third baby. Now a lot of responsibilities. When you have a lot of responsibilities and and and business is tricky. That’s where the the stressful feelings really come in. So, like to your point, I was like I would have loved to have done something this year, but I don’t have anything any value to add other than what I know and and web design and what I help a lot of my students with. But I’m sure you will agree in that, like the tough seasons in business, that those are the best to learn from and to help people through when they come, when they get to them. Like I’m already well from what I’ve learned over the past year. All of the lessons and all the things I’ve done wrong are such good reminders for when people are in a similar situation where they’re like I might need to pivot my offer. This is work and this isn’t working. I’m having personal life struggles. How do I keep my business? Actually, I’ve been having a lot of conversations with this with people in pro who are having health issues or having people in their family, having one of my students her mom just, I think, got diagnosed with cancer, so she’s like she’s not able to work like she was. She’s helping her and then also trying to run her business. So different situation but I was able to share some of the things that I’ve done over the past year and a really hard personal season to keep things going and to be able to do, you know, be able to have like a almost like a plan B action plan for certain scenarios. So all that to say, the hard times in business are great training and helpful material for people moving forward.

Elizabeth: 

Yeah, yeah, I really believe that stuff doesn’t happen without reason and it is like, yeah, you’re able to help someone else, you’re able to grow in your own business and in the ways that you do things, you’re making better systems, like there’s so much that comes out of it. And I’ll be excited to listen when you do those episodes about your year, because I do think that’s so valuable when people who have like made it to open up and say like here’s what’s working, what’s not. And I think more people who are newer in their businesses need to hear from people who are farther along on that sort of thing, because it is really comforting and helpful information.

Josh: 

Great point and just to share with people if they don’t understand or know that like just because, like said earlier, you might hit a level of success or financial goals or revenue, there’s often a lot more that comes with that, with up to expenses and bandwidth problems, overwhelm, team problems, stuff like that. So, yeah, I totally agree. This definitely inspires me to definitely kick something out here once I feel 100% ready to do that. I mean, I’ve actually shared most everything. I’ve gone through it, you know, and sprinkles throughout podcasts, but it would be nice to do like a little you know 10 point bullet list of the main lessons I’ve learned through the most challenging year I’ve had. So I’ll definitely consider that. Well, yeah, so when to pivot, when to quit, this has been great, elizabeth. I know we haven’t had like a, you know we don’t have like five tips for it, but a lot of these topics we’ve covered in the way of, I think a lot of it is being self aware. That’s one thing that I’ve appreciated about you, and not only the situation but as a whole, is like you seem pretty self aware with your bandwidth, with your personal life. You are a work life balance. Example would be in a work from home, mom who’s at the you know, 20, 25 hour a week mark. I think a lot of it too. I didn’t want to leave, I didn’t want to stop this without hitting this point is I think it’s so important to be true to yourself with what you want in your business, and the reason I say that is actually meant to bring this up earlier, when you were talking about getting a lot of other input from other entrepreneurs and membership folks and a mastermind. You’ll get so many ideas and all of those ideas could probably work. This is something I’ve learned this year. I talked to pretty much everyone I know in the in the course realm and membership realm just to see, like what’s working, what’s not. What should I do? How should I pack some offers? And what I’ve realized is every direction could probably work, but it’s up to me to decide what do I want. Case in point like I had some some trusted colleagues say like dude, you should just like have a low tier, like a low ticket membership and just sell everything, do coaching on a different level. But, um, you know, just have like different levels of like low ticket stuff and just do things at scale. And part of me is like yeah, I mean, I could see that could probably work. But for me, what do I value? Like I value having a community where I know people’s names and I recognize people. So I I personally wouldn’t love having a community of 2000 web designers where it’s like I don’t know. Maybe I recognize a few people. I like If we just went to where I’m wearing the t-shirt, we went to word camp for a WordPress conference and I got to meet a lot of my members in person. It was the most life-giving thing for me. Like I got to hear their stories and we get to actually talk in person and they gave me their feedback which I would never get in a survey or anything. They were giving me real, honest feedback and amazing success stories and testimonials and I like that. I like having not a super tight knit like 20 person group, but I liked like the 200 person range, which is why I’m capping web designer pro at 250 right now. That’s a good size for me right now. Now I still have my YouTube channel, my podcast and my courses all available, so like that is scale. That’s to masses. I have over 1600 students now but for like my community where I know them well, I know their services, I know what they’re offering. I see their results a little deeper. That’s a good size for me. So, all that to say, I’ve been pulling a lot of different directions on things I could do, but I had to remind myself and ask myself all the time, like what do I want? What does my bandwidth look like? What’s the kind of what what would get me up out of the morning and say, like I’m pumped about this? I think it’s so important when it comes to figuring out your offers, because you really do have to make sure it aligns with your, your vision, like what do you want in your business?

Elizabeth: 

Yeah, and I think sometimes people think that’s like more money is like the solver of all things, and it’s like you know, I was asking myself and some people in this master round were like what it was making this much in monthly recurring revenue? Would you want it still? And it’s like it’s not about the money for me. With that I’m like I don’t know that I would actually if it like it was, there was too many problems that I didn’t like selling and offer I didn’t feel like was really strong, and so it was like it’s just yeah, you have to know what’s motivating you, like you said, what your business goals and priorities are. And I would also add for people that if you’re thinking about pivoting or closing something, that not right now does not mean not ever, and so closing it once does not mean that oh, now you have this little note on your computer that says you can never make that thing again. Like that’s not how it works. You can always do the same thing again or the same name. If you want to, Like you can do whatever you want. You’re the one in charge, and closing something right now might better suit you in your season of life and help you on it Like this year has been a great year for me without that membership, with the same two offers I’ve had for years without adding anything new yet except for new template designs, but it’s like focusing on those core offers was like what I needed. I actually think I probably have done better financially this year with less work hours than I would have if I’d kept the membership. So it’s just like it’s a long term yeah so it doesn’t have to mean you never get to do the thing.

Josh: 

That’s a great point. Might be a time and place for it, for sure. Well, elizabeth, this was so cool. I was really excited to chat with you about this. I heard that podcast episode. I found it fascinating because, again, it’s not like you had a failed launch and it was an easy decision because it didn’t work. I knew somebody else on my network who launched a big membership and it just completely flopped, so it was like a no-brainer to not move forward with it. But you did have a lot of I mean, 170 people, even at that price range is no joke. A lot of people would probably kill to have the opportunity. But not everyone has the same vision, not everyone’s in the same season of life. Not everyone has your business set up to what you said earlier. It’s so important to have the blinders on and not compare yourself with everyone else. Everybody’s business is unique to them. So a lot of good messages in this. Well, thank you so much for sharing your experience on this. Again, I think it’ll be really helpful for people when they’re considering a new service or upping their rates for something, particularly like maintenance plans or something recurring my gosh when it is time to sell something or pivot or move on from something even as simple as I did, going from graphic design to full-time web design. That was hard. I was nervous. I was like, am I going to lose all my leads? Because these are great lead-ins but a lot of good stuff. So yeah, I guess if somebody’s interested in pivoting something, you have like a I’ll put it to you. Since you’re not doing your little motivational weekly hits, can you give us a motivational hit for old-time?

Elizabeth: 

sake, I know Gosh, yeah, really Gosh. I mean I feel like just going back to all the things we said of trusting your gut instinct about something is really smart. Like you know, you have the answer. I think sometimes we think that, like you know, you’ve got to ask all the experts, like we were saying. Too much input can actually just lead to more confusion. And I would also say make time to spend time with yourself strategizing this decision and don’t make it just like what’s the word Like? Just quickly out of stress, because sometimes we do have things going on in life and it might be like you’re having a really hard month and that makes you want to burn it all down and that’s not actually what you should do, you know. So make sure you’re not like in that sort of situation with it and really analyze pros and cons, listening, whatever your process is. I know for me, I spent a lot of time praying about it. I spent a lot of time pro and conning, listing and walking, thinking about it, talking to people. I mean it was like a it was not a decision I made quickly, and I think that was even why I had a lot of like. When I did make the decision. I felt really good about it. I wasn’t like, oh wait, was this a mistake? So knowing that, like you have time to think about it and not now, doesn’t mean you never get to do the thing.

Josh: 

Woo, what a thought to end off of. That was the clip right there, elizabeth, well done. Thank you so much for round two. I’m already excited for round three here, when you open up your membership again.

Elizabeth: 

Oh yeah, maybe like five years from now, I’ll see. But, yes, thank you, josh, this was so fun.

Josh: 

There you have it, friends. So good to catch up with Elizabeth here in this episode. I really enjoyed, personally, her insights on this topic of whether to pivot or whether to quit. I hope it helped you out as well. If you are in a place where you’re in your business, where you haven’t had to come across pivoting something drastically or quitting something, it will happen at some point. Our businesses are not set in stone and concrete things. They’re always going to evolve and always going to change. So I hope that this episode is one that you’ll be able to refer back to moving forward over and over. So consider bookmarking it if you need to. You can always go to the show notes for this episode at joshallco. All of the links and resources that we mentioned are going to be there, including the episode links for Elizabeth’s podcast that she talked about, where she dives into even further detail into canceling her membership, and any other links and resources we mentioned will be there. And again, I hope this helps you out because you will get to a point where you got to pivot, where you got to quit. I want to make sure you do it right in the way that’s it’s right for you and that’s going to serve you in your business well in the long term. So I’d love to hear from you. Leave me a comment. Joshhallco Slash 288 is the show notes for this episode where you can leave me a comment. Let me know if you enjoyed this one or a takeaway that you had from it. I do read all of those and we’ll get back with you. Try to get back to as many as I can. If this episode helped you out, consider sharing it with a friend. I think this is a topic that not too many people talk about and I think it’s really important. I know it’s really important because some of the toughest seasons in my business have been these big decisions on whether to pivot or whether to quit. So I would love if you would share this with a friend who might enjoy this. And, without goes without saying, please subscribe to the podcast if you haven’t already, and leave a review. It means the world to me to see the podcast reviews. I would love to hear your thoughts on the show and it helps grow the show as well. So you can literally have a hand in helping me grow this podcast to help serve web designers all over the world. All right, friends, thanks for joining. See you on the next episode. We got some good ones coming up Ooh.

Web Design Business

The Web Design Business Podcast is available anywhere you listen:

Enjoying the show? Leave a podcast review 🙏