Ep #258: How to Reinvent Yourself and Your Business

The Design You Podcast Tobi Fairley | How to Reinvent Yourself and Your Business

Reinvention is something that is vital for all of us. I reinvent myself and my business regularly, it’s a practice I truly enjoy, I’ve gotten pretty good at it, and I get questions about this process all the time. So, if you feel like you need to shake things up in your business or your life in general, this episode is exactly what you need.

Knowing when something has run its course is super important. Of course, the next thing doesn’t have to be a complete departure from what you’re used to, but making shifts and pivots at the right times and being willing to test them is one of the keys to longevity and satisfaction.

Tune in this week to discover why you might need to consider reinventing yourself. If you’re bored or unhappy, or if your current approach to business isn’t paying the bills, I’m sharing how to explore some small shifts and pivots, what I’ve learned about the Innovator Mindset, and what it takes to start reinventing yourself and your business.

What You'll Learn From This Episode

  • Why reinvention doesn’t have to be a monumental change, but can be a series of small shifts and pivots at the right times.
  • Some of the pivots I’ve made throughout my life and career and how I’m currently reinventing myself again.
  • How pivoting, shifting, and reinventing becomes clearer and less scary with practice.
  • Why reinvention in one area of your life or business can have a positive impact on other areas.
  • Some of the most common questions I get about my shifts and pivots and why I can’t tell you what’s right for you.
  • How to commit yourself to pivoting, shifting, learning, and growing, instead of living in fear of wasting your time and money.

Featured On The Show

Full Episode Transcript

You are listening to The Design You Podcast with Tobi Fairley, episode number 258.

Welcome to The Design You Podcast. A show where interior designers and creatives learn to say no to busy and say yes to more health, wealth and joy, here’s your host, Tobi Fairley.

How are you friends? I am so excited to be back with you with a solo show today. The last few weeks have been fabulous guests. We’ve had a lot of those this year and they’ve been amazing but today you get me, all me, just me. So here’s what I want to talk to you about. I want to talk to you about reinventing yourself, which I feel like I do often and it’s a practice really that I actually enjoy, believe it or not.

I was recently on the podcast with my friends, Joann Kandrac and Kelly Kole, the Inside Design Show. So if you haven’t heard it, head over and hear it. We’ll link it in the show notes but Joann said something like this to me. She said, “Tobi, I think you have reinvented yourself”, or maybe she said, “Pivoted more and better than anyone I’ve seen in the industry over your career.” Which was such a compliment to me and I took it as such. But I also actually agree with her that it’s actually something I practice and that I do regularly.

Maybe it’s the manifesting generator human design that I have that’s responsible for it because I definitely get bored with things. And I kind of feel like some things ‘run their course’ as I say all the time. So I like to change things up a lot. And for me it’s not usually a complete departure from what I was doing. It’s kind of more like a shift as Joann said, maybe it’s a pivot but usually my shifts aren’t a full 180 degrees. So they’re not the exact opposite of what I’m currently doing. Maybe they’re a 90 degree or 45 or somewhere in the middle, maybe 120 but usually not a complete 180.

And so I often call my new ventures or my new shifts something that are adjacent to my other offers or services or even in my personal life, adjacent to my hobbies. So the reason I wanted to talk to you about this today is that I get a lot of questions on how to do this, how I shift, how do I think about this? How do I think critically about what I want to do next or what I want to stop doing? And how do I know what to pivot to or what to launch or what to create?

So I started thinking about this recently that if I could bottle this up for you, if I could define it, if I could clarify it, if I could put it in a little framework or tie it with a bow or send it over for you to be able to practice on your own in your own life or business what would that even look like? And it led me to some interesting information that I really couldn’t wait to share with you here. So one of the most important things I want to reiterate so far is that this idea of reinventing myself and pivoting for me is a practice. It’s not something I do occasionally.

It’s something that I do regularly and so if you practice something you usually get pretty good at it or at least better than you used to be. And so I have used the word ‘practice’ several times already today but like any other skill that I develop in life or playing tennis or building a muscle or getting into shape, getting good at adapting or shifting or pivoting is the same thing. With time it gets easier or it gets less scary. I don’t know if it ever gets easier but it gets less scary and it gets less sort of mercurial or unclear or whatever word you want to use.

It’s easier to understand, let’s put it that way, the more I do it. So I’m sure the first time I tried a pivot which I’ve just done a webinar recently and I showed kind of the timeline of my business. And I started way back in 99. So the first time I really started making some major pivots and maybe that first pivot was when I started coaching and teaching courses way back in 08, was probably pretty bumpy. I might have felt terrified but I can assure you I also felt excited.

But the fear that I probably did have was around whether the new thing I was going to create would actually work or not because let’s be honest, any time we create anything particularly if it’s something in business that we’re selling there’s always a good chance that it won’t work, at least not the first version of it or the first iteration of it. So it’s the willingness to create something and it not work and then tweak it as many times as it takes to get the product or the service of the thing to align with a particular audience and their needs so that they want to buy it and that they want to buy it at the price I’m selling it for.

Now, sometimes when I pivot it’s not in business, it’s not a new revenue stream or it’s not a new idea. Sometimes pivots are in my personal life. And also those are really a practice for me. The current pivot I’m practicing is spending more time being creative and spending more time doing things like painting and doing needlework that I would call adult play. Because remember my word of the year is ‘play’. So this is actually a pivot for me, believe it or not because I struggle to play. I have practiced working for so many years that I’m better at working than playing.

And so since I’m currently reinventing myself again both in my business and also in some personal ways, pivoting towards play it’s all a balancing act really because I’m excited about both. And I can get pulled in one direction and it can pull me away from the other thing. So usually for me that looks like getting pulled in the direction of more work than my personal pursuits because I love work, I love what I do. I do many different things. They’re all fun and I’m always keeping them fun and interesting by reinventing myself or launching new things.

And so I have to really pay attention and be intentional about the practice of whatever thing I’ve decided to pivot towards. So for me I’m in the process of hanging signs around my house that say play or remember to play so that I don’t just continue my commitment to the work and the new stuff we’re doing at work. But I also practice and follow through on my commitment to being creative and having more fun.

So here’s the good news about doing these two particular things for me at the same time is that the more I practice being creative and playing in my free time or making time for that the better I also am at work. Because my work is creative and when I practice creativity on a regular basis then I can make the work I’m doing feel more like play and most of the time it actually does. Now, I love nothing more than building new things.

And in my business I’m currently building my ecommerce side in business with a little side of a retail space that’s going to open soon. The commerce is opening in April. And then I’m working on a short term rentals business right now. So it’s in the planning phases for the properties with a little bit of demo happening on them but not a lot happening yet. But what we’re really building right now is the brand piece of it which I absolutely love. I maybe love building the brand part of a new company more than I like doing the work that the company’s going to do.

So building brands is really, really fun for me and I’m working on that brand. It’s a sister brand. It’s not just Tobi Fairley doing short term rentals. It’s a sister brand we’re creating with its own identity which is so much fun. And so all of this, both the planning and designing of what’s going to happen in these properties and the planning and the designing of the brand all feel like play at the moment. And the planning and designing and selecting and buying and launching of the ecommerce site definitely feels like play. But it’s still a lot of doing. There’s a lot to do so I have to be careful not to burn myself out.

And as a good manifesting generator does I prefer to have a lot of things going at once. It’s when I feel most effective and most productive but also I’m not just a man gen, which means I like to start a lot of things. I’m also an Enneagram eight. And so if you know anything about the Enneagram or the Enneagram eight in particular, one of our mottos is if it’s worth doing it’s worth overdoing. So I have to really be careful because I tend to overdo and that definitely comes up in overworking because I put so many things, irons in the fire at the same time.

So it’s all good and I enjoy it but I have to just be mindful about it. I have to be careful not to get myself overcommitted and overtired even though it sort of feels like a good tired and a satisfied tired and a productive tired. But sometimes I’m still just tired. So I do realize that not everyone is wired like me. Not everyone is listening to this who is a workhorse or an Enneagram eight or a multitasking manifesting generator who’s also a creative, not everybody is just like me that’s listening.

And that particular combination that I have because this is true for all of us, but my particular combination is both good and bad. We both have either side of the coin. So the thing that makes me so great, that makes me a workhorse and a multitasking genius and a creative also is the side of me that can work me right into fatigue or exhaustion. And you probably have both sides. Well, you for sure have both sides of your coin, whatever your coin is, whatever your particular identity or personality or traits are. But yours isn’t necessarily going to be like mine.

And that’s really important for you to think about because I have people comment all the time on my social media post. And they first of all say things like, “I don’t know how you do it all.” Or, “It’s exhausting just to see all the things you.” But then I have a lot of other people who say things like, “Tobi, I want to be you when I grow up.” To which I usually reply, “Are you sure? Because I can be exhausting.” And I am but I’m also fun and I also do a lot of stuff. And I also create a lot of things and I also take a lot of action and I also have a lot of success because of it.

So if you’re imagining reinventing yourself or pivoting or launching new things I caution you to know yourself and to not compare yourself to me as much as you compare yourself to what is possible for you when you show up in the way that makes the most sense for you. So what do you dream of? How much do you like to work? How many things do you like building or running at the same time? These are all personal choices.

And it’s important we’re honest with ourselves about what we prefer because me doing a bunch of things at once is not better than you doing one thing at a time if that’s what you prefer for you. Now, for me it is, it’s better for me. I like working in that way. I get bored when I do one thing at a time. I just start meddling and creating new things when I constrain and take things all the way down to one thing at a time but know yourself. Often when I’m talking about all I’m doing, especially if I say I’m tired, my mom will say something like, “I’m sorry you have to work so hard.”

And I think it’s important and I usually try to remember to say that, “I’m choosing to work this hard.” I’m choosing to do all these things at once. And if I wrapped all of my current ‘hard work’ up and it was complete, I’d just fill my days with the next set of things that I want to do. So it’s really important that even when I say I’m tired because I am, for me I have a lot of privilege, I have a lot of financial privilege, I do have the sort of privilege and honor to be able to kind of do the things I want to in a day and make space for those things in a day.

But let’s just be clear when I am saying I’m tired, whether that’s complaining or whatever we want to call that. It’s still important to note that I’m choosing it. Now, yeah, I’m influenced also by the world and the patriarchy and the productivity hustle mindset in our world. And so those of you who know I’ve really adopted an anti-hustle approach it can be a little confusing because you’re like, “Wait, you’re doing all this stuff but you’re anti hustle.” And that’s true for me because hustling for me is more about proving myself and trying to be enough.

And I’m not doing these things to prove myself currently. I’m doing these things because they’re fun. Now, sometimes proving myself sneaks in a little bit. It’s like do I want to have the best ecommerce site in the world? Do I want to have the best short term rental brand in the world? And maybe I do because I like to do things well but I have to just really check myself and be like, “Are you doing this because you want to? And are you allowing yourself to take a break when you need to?
Or is there something in there in your mind, in the back of your head that’s like, “No, I’ve got to keep going, got to keep going, I have something to prove?” And when I have something to prove that’s usually where hustle comes in. So as long as I’m doing it because I like it, doing it for fun, letting myself take breaks, letting myself nurture myself and yeah, there’s some moments when kind of everything if I put a bunch of irons in the fire everything can some together and get real busy for a little while all at the same time.

But if it stays that way constantly, I have to check in and say, “You didn’t take a break.” If I notice myself skipping weekends, skipping vacations, not going on a spring break with my daughter which I’m doing in a couple of weeks, not relaxing at all then I’ve got to really step in, take a hard look and say, “Okay, this kind of looks like hustle.” But I want us to remember, don’t feel sorry for me if I’m tired. Remember, I’m choosing this work and I prefer and I think this also is a manifesting generator trait, but also probably Enneagram eight too. If it’s worth doing it’s worth overdoing.

I feel often most satisfied when I’m tired at the end of the day, when I left it all on the table or all on the computer or all on the podcast or whatever phrase we want to say. But when I exhausted myself and my energies and my creativity during a day, then I have a satisfied tired and I can sleep well. It’s the right feeling for me. Some of you hate that feeling so know yourself. If you really want to take a look, ask yourself, am I like Tobi, if you’re taking a good look at yourself? Do I like to do a lot of things at once? Does that make me feel most alive?

Am I bored when I’m not doing a lot of things and when I’m not taking risk and when I’m not reinventing and tweaking and shifting? Because for me that’s true. If I’m not doing all those things I feel bored. It’s aligned with who I am at my core. If you’re like, “Taking risks does not make me feel good, taking risks depletes me, reinventing myself feels hard, it feels terrible.” Now, it might feel terrible because you haven’t practiced enough yet and it does get a little easier. But you also may be perfectly fine with right where you are.

So if you’re similar to me then the way I show up and the way I’m describing this today may work perfectly for you. But if you’re not similar to me in personality or by design or with your energy level, and trust me, none of us are better than others. No one personality type, no one Enneagram, no one human design is better than others, they’re just different. But I urge you to get really self-aware about who you are, what you like, what you want, what works for you. That’s the only way you will be happy and successful long term.

Which brings to mind some other questions that I get asked all the time. So people especially in my coaching program will ask me things like, “Hey, Tobi, I see you’re posting on TikTok and reels every day right now. And you said your following has really grown. So do you recommend that we all post every single day on both platforms?” So when I get questions like this my answer is always pretty close to the same and it sounds something like this.

“I cannot tell you what is right for you with your social media. I can tell you what I’m currently doing, how it’s feeling to me, what’s working for me, the results I’m getting. I can describe that for you and tell you I did this and this happened. But I can’t guarantee it’ll happen for you and I can’t tell you it’s right for you and I can’t tell you, you will like it. And I can’t tell you it will work. You have to be willing to test things in your own life and your own business and see how they work for you.”

We are in the age of and have been for a while, of this idea of well, it worked for me so now I’m an expert on it. So I’ll just tell you what I did because I’m sure it will work for you too. And a lot of the times we’re also saying, “Let me sell you a book or a course or a program where I teach you what I did to get these massive results because you will for sure get them too.” And here is what I believe about that. For some people who buy the thing, the course, the book, the thing and implement it, it will work for them but for other people it won’t.

It kind of reminds me of diets. Someone figures something out about a diet, writes a book on it and a certain group of people who are very similar to the author will get the same results when they do the same thing. So maybe their biology is similar, maybe their build is similar, maybe their energy level is similar, maybe their preferences and likes about working out or eating are similar. And so in some way maybe even their personality type is similar. So yes, some people will get great results with that thing.

And we then pretend that if it worked for the author and it worked for these people then it should work for me too. And I think this is where the problem comes in and this is why I don’t tell you all to do exactly what I do. I tell you what I do. I tell you why I do it. I tell you how I think about it. I tell you what results I got. I tell you what parts were hard. I tell you where I shift but I don’t say, “And this should look exactly this way for you”, because that is not going to be true.

So where the thought fallacy comes in is, and really a more accurate thought actually that I like better is to say, “It worked for them then it may work for me too. It worked for Tobi and it may work for me too.” But we just don’t know yet, I can totally try and see if it does. I can test it out. I can test it and ask myself, do I like it? Did I get results? Do I want to continue to do it? And whether that’s a diet or a social media strategy or something else, you have to be willing to try it, to test it, to iterate on it to see if the plan or a version of that plan or even some parts of that plan are right for you.

So I love using myself as a laboratory. I think of myself as a laboratory for myself and other people when I’m testing things and trying things and pivoting and reinventing because I do love sharing my results, good and bad, with you. And I don’t like or at least I don’t like any more telling you that you should do something a certain way. I might have done that years ago but I’ve wised up and I now know that that’s your decision.

But by all means I do encourage you to give things a try, to give it a whirl to see what happens. It may be perfect for you and it may not be a fit at all. Well, and let’s be honest, it may be somewhere in the middle but you won’t know until you try. So if I’ve learned anything in my 51 years it’s that things work out best for me when I trust myself more than I trust the other gurus or teachers or coaches or consultants or authors. I’ll listen to them sometimes. I might get an idea from them but I trust myself.

So I might listen to their podcasts or their books but I’m the one who knows if the thing they’re telling, if the thing they’re selling, if the thing they’re pushing is right for me or I at least know whether I’m willing to test it and see if it’s right for me. And sometimes I even know from the beginning that something isn’t right for me right now at all and maybe it never will be based on my experiences or my personality type or my awareness of myself.

So I want you to learn to trust yourself to know or to learn through testing and trying if something is right for you and that includes when you’re reinventing yourself or pivoting. So I think this is why a lot of you get stuck because you’re like, “Tell me how you do that Tobi, because I want to do it and I want to get it right the first time.” And that is not even possible in what I do because the whole practice of pivoting and reinventing myself is that I never know if what I’m going to try is going to work.

I never know if what I’m going to try is going to be the right idea until I try it. And that’s going to be the same for you. So if you’re happy where you are you never have to pivot or reinvent yourself and you don’t have to apologize for it. You can listen to this podcast and be like, “That’s so fascinating, Tobi, and I’m not pivoting or reinventing myself, at least not right now because I like where I am.” That’s all good. That means this podcast episode is not necessarily for you.

There might be some wisdom in it that you can pick up but you don’t need to leave this podcast and say, “Well, Tobi said she reinvents herself all the time so I better do it too.” That is not the case but if you are bored, if you are unhappy or the things that you ‘re currently doing aren’t working or aren’t selling or aren’t paying the bills do you want to try a shift and see what happens is an important question to ask yourself. And I hope you’ll at least consider the question.

And I do have a great piece of advice for those of you who want to pivot or even fully reinvent yourself but you’re not doing it, you’re stuck, you feel stuck. Let me give you some, I don’t know if it’s even advice, it’s knowledge. Let me give you some knowledge, some insight on what may be happening and where you may want to get some coaching or do some work on yourself to move forward to get unstuck based on this information because it was really, really insightful, I found it recently.

So a few days ago I taught a course on creating successful revenue streams for the business of home in the course series called Launch. And I had a lot of fun creating the course or the training and doing the research because let’s be honest that is a lot of what I’m talking about when I reinvent myself in business. It’s how to create new revenue streams. And so whether I’m tweaking an existing revenue stream or retiring something or replacing it with something new which I do all the time and I’m currently doing. I’ll tell you more about that next week.

Then this is really what I’m practicing. So I started thinking about why am I really good at doing this and what is different about me than others who struggle to pivot or reinvent or even launch things or retire things? What is different? And yes, as we’ve already said in this episode, practice makes perfect and I’ve been practicing that for almost 25 years but I realized there’s more to it than that.

There’s more to it than the fact that I have a bias towards taking action because I’ve been practicing taking action for years. So I just, I do it, I jump in with both feet. That’s important. If you’ve ever heard me talk about life coaching and the think, feel, do cycle that the brain goes through regularly as part of our biology, the way we’re wired that leads us to taking action. Then you know that we think a thought and then that thought creates a feeling or several feelings. We actually aren’t just thinking a thought. We’re thinking many, many thoughts.

And all of those thoughts are creating feelings and it’s from those feelings that we take action. So we think it, we feel it and then we do. Now, it doesn’t always feel like it’s that cut and dried because sometimes we don’t even notice the thoughts we’re thinking, we just notice how we’re feeling. And that feeling makes us take action or even procrastinate. And so we might notice the feeling first. We might even notice the action first or the procrastination like why am I always procrastinating? Why am I always stuck?

And we don’t notice the feeling that’s leading to it or the thought that’s creating that feeling. So we notice our behavior and we even might call that being paralyzed or procrastination or stuck or in a funk, all of those things. That might be what we notice first. But it’s still the part of the action or inaction, part of the think, feel, do cycle. So I wanted to understand when I was doing this research even more why some people like me are biased towards taking a lot more action and some people are more prone to stay in inaction.

So I started doing some research and came across this super interesting concept called innovator mindset. And one of the guys that helped create this is named Dennis Stauffer. I know nothing about him. I know that he did write a whitepaper or whitepapers on the topic. So it’s not just a simple concept he came up with and just shot out on the internet real quick. He and some other people have done some deep work on this concept. But what it really looks like is to have a mindset that biases you towards innovating or taking innovative action.

And so what I learned and again I don’t know Dennis, I haven’t studied him. Hopefully he’s not problematic. I need to go do a little more research but at the moment I’m really, really fascinated in his content about the innovator mindset, really resonates with me. Because what I learned is that, and it was so fascinating to me and it rang very true for me and for the people I coach is that to be a great innovator. And that is what you’re doing when you’re reinventing yourself or reinventing your business or launching and thinking up and creating and launching a new revenue stream.

Here is what you have to do to be a great innovator. You have to be willing to feel uncertainty and still take action anyway while you’re feeling uncertain. You have to be willing to fail at something. You have to be willing to feel like you’re wasting time and wasting money because you may be, you won’t know until later. And on the flipside, if you’re a person who’s trying to feel certainty, a person who thinks or says things like, “I don’t want to waste time or money on something that may or may not work.”

Then you’re probably going to struggle to innovate and to reinvent yourself and to launch new revenue streams because you’re going to struggle every time you don’t quite know if something’s going to work. And trust me, you’re never going to know on the front end if it’s going to work or not. So you’re going to struggle to launch, you’re going to struggle to grow new revenue streams.

You may launch some but even if you get past the launching phase a lot of times you’re going to give up on them way before they become successful because you’re not willing to stay with them while they feel like they’re failing and while it feels uncertain. You’re going to quit. You’re going to jump ship instead of staying the course and staying there with them and paying attention and tweaking and shifting and working them until they become a success.

So I’ve noticed so many times including very recently in my coaching programs that people say these exact words to me, they want to learn and they want to do something new and they want to launch something new. And they’re dying to make more money, which I’m going to talk to you about next week a little bit more. But they say almost these exact words if not these exact words, “Tobi, I just don’t want to waste time”, or, “I just don’t want to waste money”, or “I don’t have time to waste” or “I don’t have money to waste”, or both.

And so I always think to myself when I hear those words and I’ve probably said this out loud. And I don’t say it to be arrogant. I don’t say it to be like, ugh, you think that but I never do. But what I do notice is that I don’t typically think those thoughts. I don’t typically think I don’t want to waste time and I don’t want to waste money. No, trust me, I think all kinds of problematic thoughts, we all do. I have a human brain just like you. And so I have plenty of things that are in my way that keep me in my own way and keep me stuck at times.

But this particular one of, I don’t want to waste time or I don’t want to waste money is not something that I personally struggle with. I don’t worry about it. It’s not really something that I think a lot because I am always willing to spend time and spend money trying things and building things and tweaking things and iterating on things and even retiring things or killing them or sunsetting them that aren’t working. Maybe they worked once and aren’t really working anymore because things change and consumers change and people want different things.

So I’m willing to shift and change if something’s not working now or even if I’m just tired of it or I’m just bored with it. And I don’t feel that necessarily means the thing was a failure or that I was a failure. Even if the thing that I try to create never makes it, never gets off the ground, never has any buyers. I still don’t think of that as wasting time and wasting money and a lot of you do.

And this is a really important shift for you because I think of it maybe as spending time and spending money but I don’t think of it as wasting. Because I always feel it gives me something when I go through that process, when I test things, when I do research. I learn at the very least and everything I learn gets me closer and closer to the next thing that I create or launch being a success or even more success than the one before.

So I am committed to building and growing but I don’t think about all of the time spent researching and launching and trying and tweaking and even retiring things as failure. And I don’t get too attached to the things themselves because if I did I would never retire something even though it had stopped working. And again sometimes it’s still working beautifully but I still retire it because I want to do something new or something different.

And in business if we never retire anything and we just keep adding new things and new things and new things we really confuse our customer because we have too many things for sale. And then we put our energies into the new thing and it might start to take a toll on the thing that you didn’t get rid of. So I like to keep some things. I like to phase things out over time and replace them with new things. And again that’s not always because they aren’t working. There’s a multitude of reasons that I shift and change.

Sometimes it’s just my personal interests have changed. Sometimes it’s I believe the consumer has changed in what they want and what they’re looking for. So it’s all really important that I don’t get attached to the things themself. And I found in this research that that was actually a key part of innovator mindset. So the way it was written in this research I was doing is that great innovators have confidence in themselves to keep taking action but they’re very humble about the things that they’re testing or trying and whether or not they will work.

So I know me and I know if this version of something I create doesn’t launch that I’ll keep tweaking it and working at it until something does. But I’m not attached to this thing. Now, ironically the people that I hear talk about being most afraid of wasting time or wasting money are also the people that I think get most attached to their ideas and don’t want to let them go or tweak them because again they feel like it’s a waste or a failure. So I will hear people say, “Well, I have this genius idea and I know who it’s for and what it’s for and I know the audience. I know exactly how I’m going to create it.”

And I’m like, “Okay, maybe but don’t get too attached to it yet because you haven’t tested it. You haven’t put it out in the world. You haven’t gotten feedback from people to see if this is what they want.” And so, so many of you have things you’ve created that never take off. And so then you just kill them and think, well, that was a failure, I’ll never create anything again. Instead of being willing to say, “Well, the exact format or combination of things that I was selling or providing wasn’t quite right.

What if we keep tinkering with it and tweaking it and iterating it until we find the sweet spot and a bunch of people do want it and they buy it at least for a while until it’s time to change it again or until we decide it’s time to change it again.” That is what an innovator mindset looks like. So I know that where I start with an idea at any moment when I’m pivoting or reinventing or just creating is just the starting place. And that idea or concept by the time I launch it may not even resemble where it started.

And after it’s launched a few months later or a few years later the thing may again not resemble what it looked like when it launched. So let me give you an example of this. So my Design You coaching program started as a program for creative women feeling burned out and who wanted more health in their life and their approach to business. And I was creating this at a time where I had been very burned out.

And so it made a whole lot of sense to me and I could see all kinds of evidence that there were other people especially women in the world that were feeling burned out too. Now, this was in 2018. We feel really burned out in 2023. But people were burned out in 2018. I was burned out. And so I thought that this is what the program needs to be. Now, that is still an underlying value of the Design You program. We still talk about creating things in a sustainable way so that you aren’t burned out.

But not long after I launched Design You in the summer of 2018, so almost five years ago, not long after I got really excited about digital marketing and I realized there was a big void in the market of digital marketing and creating courses and all the digital business model for creatives that interior designers in particular, it was happening and there was a lot of it out in the world of course creators but I didn’t see creatives and interior designers doing digital stuff and meeting their clients online.

So I started developing a course within Design You about digital marketing and scalable products and it wasn’t long at all that that really kind of became what the program was known for. So we started with it being about burnout and fatigue. And then I kind of shifted to say, “Well, one of the ways to not be so burned out and so fatigued is to create a scalable product that you can create once and sell over and over again.” And it really morphed into being more about that.

And it stayed a lot about digital products and courses and scalability mixed with a side of don’t burn yourself out mixed with a side of let’s manage your mindset. And it stayed that way for a while. And all of those are still components of Design You. But then during the pandemic it became all about how to navigate the pandemic and how to navigate uncertainty that we were facing. And then it became about how to CEO in a whole new way because we were really having a lot of burnout and fear and actual illness from the pandemic.

And so the needs of our clients became different. So it kind of shifted again. So almost five years in, which is where we are right now, it’s time in my opinion to tweak this program again and the way we work with people again, hint, hint. I have some big news coming for you really soon about that. So I’m not attached to the thing, including this particular thing I created. I know that whatever I’m currently selling or creating is just the current version of what I’m offering.

And God willing I keep creating for many, many, many more years, many, many, many versions of things to come. That will be a reflection of my personal interest, my personal desires and what I’m seeing out in the world and what my customers need. So I’m not attached to the things. I’m attached to the idea of creating and providing service and supporting people who are also creatives. That’s what I’m attached to. But I’m not attached to the way that we do that at any given moment because people and the economy and the consumer mindset and technology and a whole bunch of stuff changes all the time.

And I’m always going to be pivoting and reinventing to align with what currently feels like it’s the best offer for the people we work with. So as I move through versions of things none of the time that I’ve spent and none of the money that I’ve spent do I ever believe was a waste you all. And over the past 25 years I, if we added it all up, have spent millions of dollars in my business and I don’t think any of those were a waste. They have also all been part of creating millions of dollars in revenue.

So I have spent time. I have spent money on all kinds of things including things we never launched for a number of reasons or that we decided wouldn’t work or that we just decided by the time we got it completed we liked another idea better and so we shifted to that or we just didn’t get around to launching it and probably 10 other reasons why we didn’t launch things. But even those things that I developed to a point and then never launched, I learned something in them every single time and they moved me closer to being a success in the next things that I did launch.

And so I think the main thing that you may notice is that mainly I’m in a continual bias towards action and a continual bias towards testing things and a continual bias towards tweaking and iterating things. And the research that I did says that this is pretty much the definition of an innovator mindset. Innovators are adventurous. They are willing to take risk which means they are willing to risk failing every single time because every time you start something new there is just as much or more chance that it won’t work as that it will work.

And so if you’re not prone to innovator mindset or haven’t cultivated an innovator mindset then the opposite is true probably for you. You, instead of being a person who’s willing to be adventurous and takes risk are probably a person who craves certainty, who fears failure, who fears wasting time or money. And people who lean towards the practical, the prudent, the pragmatic, the responsible, if those are things that describe you, then you are in this place of people who crave the certainty and fear of failure.

And the important thing to know here is that the people who lean towards the practice of being responsible, being prudent, being practical and pragmatic, when they do face uncertainty they tend to become risk averse and cautious. When you do face uncertainty that’s when your fear of failure rises so you tend to move away from action instead of having a bias towards action. You tend to delay taking action.

And so people that have this sort of mindset or personality type, I don’t even want to call it a personality type because we can change things about ourselves. But if you’re in the habit of leaning more towards certainty and away from failure then these things are probably true for you. And so a lot of people who do this, you delay taking action and you miss opportunities because of fear. You leave promising ideas unexplored or untested. You struggle to face new challenges or to adapt your business over time.

And you stay stuck and potentially could go out of business or sort of become that self-fulfilling prophecy that you will fail because to always be adapting to how the world is changing and the consumer is changing over time requires you to be willing to innovate and risk failure all the time. And so what happens if you become risk averse and causes you delay taking action? You leave promising ideas unexplored and untested and you don’t adapt over time. You actually become the target of other people’s innovation.

So a lot of you are that for me right now. You’re sitting here listening to this. You’re the target of the things I’m innovating, my courses, my programs because I’m looking at you saying, “Why are they not taking action? Why are they delaying action? Why are they missing opportunities? Why are they so afraid of failure? Why do they not test and try and iterate?” And so then I create a program or a product or a thing that helps you do just that. So you stay stuck and you become my customer because I innovate and I figure out the thing that you’re not doing. Isn’t that fascinating?

And this is all of us. I’m somebody else’s target in other parts of my life where I’m not moving or changing or growing or forming a habit or whatever it is that they’re selling that resonates with me. So if you’ve been wondering why you’re stuck and you want to reinvent yourself or your business and you want to pivot or at least add in a new revenue stream but you never seem to do it.

I want you to check and see if you’re hanging out in the practical, pragmatic, responsible thought space. If you’re like that it would be irresponsible if I wasted time or money. That would be irresponsible if I tried something and it didn’t work so I’m just not going to try it. Now, I get it, the world, our parents, our teachers, our advisers, the financial advisers we all have, have taught us to be practical and responsible. It seems a good idea but it can also hold you back. It can hold you small.

It can keep you from ever launching the big idea that would create financial rewards beyond your wildest dreams because you don’t take the chance. Because the only way to hit it big is to risk failing. The only way to really create wealth is to risk losing all of it. And that’s why most people never do it. It sounds risky. It is. They’re too afraid of the consequence of failure. And I’m not pretending those consequences aren’t real, you all, they are. But if you are staying stuck this is the likely reason why. You’re afraid of the consequences of failure.

There’s a quote that I think of so often, I think of it literally on the regular, every month if not every week. And I don’t know it exactly. I could go look it up but I’m going to just tell you my version because it goes something like this. You can’t set sail while keeping one foot on the dock. That foot on the dock is the practical responsible part of you. And that foot on the dock is trying to create certainty for you. And that foot on the dock is trying to avoid failure. And sailing and staying on the dock are mutually exclusive. They cannot happen at the same time.

You cannot be out in the middle of the ocean and also be on the dock at the same time. And innovation cannot happen in certainty. Innovation is out in the middle of the ocean. Certainty is on the dock. They cannot happen at the same time. And I would say that reinventing yourself and pivoting can’t happen in certainty either. You’re always risking the thing that you step away from. You’re always risking that it was better than the new thing you’re building or becoming every time, you all.

And this is true in life in general. We’re single and we think we want to get married and we’re always risking that being married is worse than being single was. But when we’re single we sure do think we want to get married, some of us anyway, the same thing with children, same things with launching businesses, same thing with everything you do in life. Every time you become the new thing you’re risking that the old thing might have been better. But also what if the new thing is heads and tails better than the old thing? If you don’t ever try it you will never know.

It’s a risk but it’s a risk that you’re required to take in order to see what is possible. And the most important thing is that trust and faith in yourself that even if the next thing you create or invent or innovate isn’t better than the one you walked away from, that that’s okay. Because you know that you will keep tweaking it and testing it and trying it and adapting it until it is better because you know that there are so many ideas still in you and that you won’t give up. You will just reinvent yourself again and again and again and again.

This is what keeps me doing this, you all. This is my lifeblood. Creating is who I am and it’s worth the risk of failure to me but it’s up to you to decide if it’s worth the risk of failure to you. But please know that if you aren’t taking the risk it is still a choice and sometimes it feels like it’s not a choice because sometimes we’re like, “Well, I don‘t have the time and I don’t have the money.” But as I’ve said to many people, there’s so much money in the world. There is money that we can get access to. There are investors.

There are other things out there that can allow us to try things and partner with people and do things if we’re willing to feel uncomfortable. So it’s still a choice and it doesn’t always take loads and loads of money. Sometimes it just takes time. Sometimes it just takes a mental shift to be willing to be so uncomfortable that the thing might fail. And that absolutely is a choice.

Okay friends so that’s what I have for you today. I hope it inspired you. It might have terrified a few of you. But this is what it is like to bottle up pivoting and reinventing. It is the innovator mindset. It is the willingness to take risk. It is the willingness to set sail and take that foot off the dock.

So think about that as you go through your week and I’ll be back next week with some more very exciting thoughts including some thoughts about the big shift that I’m making in my Design You program. It’s going to be juicy. It’s going to blow some of your minds and so come back next week and hear all about that. I’ll see you soon. Bye for now.

Thank you so much for listening to The Design You Podcast, and if you are ready to dig deep and do the important work we talk about here on the podcast of transforming your mindset and creating a scalable online business model, there has never been a more important time than right now. So, join me and the incredible creative entrepreneurs in my Design You coaching program today. You can get all the details at

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Hi! I'm Tobi

I help creative women (and a few really progressive dudes) design profit-generating, soul-fulfilling businesses that let them own their schedule, upgrade their life and feel more alive than ever!

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