Is It Too Risky To Change Horses Midstream And Shift The Focus Of Your Business?

I don’t know.  But I’m about to find out.

Have you ever felt like your online marketing business is in transition or maybe you need to go back to the drawing board and reassess your focus, your purpose, or your goals?

Change is inevitable in life and I’m finding the same to be true in business.

For the past couple of years, I’ve been reaching out to single mom entrepreneurs who want to start an online business and those that are struggling to achieve success in their current business.  I love my niche and it’s become a very comfortable nesting place for me.  After all, I’ve been a single mom for almost two decades and I have mounds of online marketing experience so I feel justified in deeming myself an expert in my niche.

Good for me, right?  So why would I consider the notion of changing horses midstream?  Why take such a risk?

I have tremendous compassion and a sincere affinity for mom entrepreneurs.  I’m a nurturer by nature and nothing makes me happier than helping others – especially moms.  But in the process, I’ve discovered I’m shortchanging myself by disregarding a lifelong passion with thirty years experience attached.

So what am I getting at here?

I’m about to shift gears and bring my offline profession – online.  It’s high time to start serving a new target audience and share my expertise as a licensed perinatal educator and lactation specialist.

Will I be saying goodbye to solo mompreneurs?  I haven’t decided yet.  But I promise I’ll keep you posted.

If you’ve ever changed your business focus, niche, or target audience as an established online marketer, I’d love to hear your thoughts on why you decided to change horses midstream.

  • Appreciate your high-spiritedness and big vote of confidence, Maureen!

    And you’re right on the money about competition — we could spend all day, every day, worrying about our competitors, but what good would that do? It would only stifle our creativeness and stop us in our tracks from following our passion.

    Thanks for your positive thoughts and encouragement. 🙂

  • Hi Melanie
    Life is one big risk Melanie….so jump in with both feet and guide your horse across the river. You will have so many riches to share with people, there is always competition out there but if we worried about that too much, none of us would be here with our own businesses. Take all your knowledge from the last 20 years to use in your new venture. Follow your heart and passion and reap the rewards.
    Maureen x

  • Michelle, my wheels are already turning! I’ve got some ideas I’m playing around with for what I’m going to add to my site first. 🙂

    For the past 30 years, it’s been my experience the majority of the moms-to-be I work with absolutely do not want to return to the workplace after giving birth. They want to stay home with their newborns and not be counting down the days till they have to go back to their jobs. Some of them love what they do for a living but I still find myself hugging them as they cry to me. Mostly they hate the notion of leaving their babies all day in a daycare center with total strangers. And let me tell you … here in California, those centers charge an arm and a leg!

    You, me, and a whole lot of others can help these moms stay at home.

  • Bravo, Cheryl! I love an entrepreneur who takes a leap of faith.

    It all boils down to our highest priorities in life, doesn’t it? The things that matter the most and hold the most meaning will always pull us (or push us!) in the direction we need to go. It’s inevitable!

    Living with intention and having passion in your purpose is as good as it gets. What could possibly bring more contentment and joy that than?!

    Thank you for visiting my humble abode. May your journey be one of fulfillment. 🙂

  • Melanie! Good Job You! I have absolutely changed horse mid-stream. Why? I actually loved what I was doing. Felt like I was using my God given gifts, talents & abilities but what I discovered was that without putting God first & living with purpose I still felt unfulfilled. Once I began redirecting myself there has been such peace. It doesn’t mean that the financial side of things have caught up, but I know beyond a shadow of doubt that I am living with Intention & have passion in my purpose 🙂 Love & Hugs, will be watching your journey.
    Cheryl Muecke
    Faith Entrepreneur
    Peoria, AZ

  • That’s fantastic that you’ve been able to work through your decision like you have and it’s exciting to hear that you’re going to integrate the two niches. I can’t wait to see what you do!

  • It’s never too late to join a conversation here, Leanne!

    I’ve had some time since I published this post to sit with a business coach, brainstorm with a some of the most brilliant online marketers in my circle of influence, and search my soul a little deeper. I’ve decided I’m going to work to integrate both niches and I’m confident I can do it!

    Thanks for knocking on my door today. 🙂

  • I’m joining this conversation late, but to answer the question in your title, it’s too risky NOT to change midstream! What I mean by that is that I believe you have to follow your passion. If you’ve known in your gut that what you want to do (and need to do) is to bring your offline expertise online, then go for it! It probably feels scary because you’ve already built something and because you wonder if the new venture will be successful. But you need to do what’s in your heart/gut (in my humble opinion). I’m really interested to find out what you decide.

  • MELANIE! I’m so glad I found this post! It brings me shivvers to hear you say it, and now that you’ve said it, the path is before you.

    You know how I feel about this, and I CANNOT WAIT to see you soar.
    We’ll all be applauding, supporting, and so so proud of you.

    xoxo
    Marcia

    • Marcia — did you happen to notice a little bird on your windowsill lately? You know. The one that’s been watching you transform your business in BIG ways? Well, she’s been flying back to my house and giving me all kinds of inspiration and encouragement to make a shift in my focus.

      Thanks for sending her!! 🙂

      Hugs,
      Melanie
      xoxo

  • I just wanted to chime in with another “Go for it!” Melanie. I’m one of those who didn’t follow the crowd through pregnancy and childbirth, once I realized I did have a voice and could speak up, and I wish I’d found more support sooner. You can make a huge difference!

    On the note of blending the two, I can imagine you’ll find the perfect way to do it. I know so many so many new moms who are trying to juggle both motherhood with an infant and growing a home business.

  • I was hoping you would arrive, Martha!

    I like the way you think. “Branching out” is exactly what I’m going to do and, at the same time, work toward integrating both niches. I believe it’s do-able and the two might just end up blending together seamlessly. 🙂

    You’re a wonderful role model when it comes to having success in more than one niche.

    Thanks!

  • Good for you Melanie! Follow your heartstrings and you will be happier. However, I also think you don’t have to limit yourself to one niche. I am in several and it just means there’s more than one facet to my personality. Glad you are deciding to branch out! There will be plenty of Moms who will also want your solo entrepreneur advice so I have no doubt you can find a way to combine the two! Good luck with whatever you do 🙂

  • Jeanne — I could jump through my monitor and give you a big bear hug! Your thoughts are appreciated and lovingly embraced.

    Here’s a good one for ya …

    When I wanted to breastfeed my firstborn thirty years ago, my mom said, “In MY day, only the poor people breastfed since they couldn’t afford the formula”. SHEESH!! Talk about a lack of support. So I know exactly what you mean about being looked at as a “non-conformist”.

    Here’s my motto and mantra I’ve shared with all my expectant couples throughout the years …

    “It’s your baby, your body, and your birth”.

    I never advocate going against medical advice. But, for crying out loud, people need to take charge, educate themselves, and ask for what they want. Most of the physicians I work with are reasonable human beings and pretty flexible — thank goodness.

    Talking about older moms having no energy …

    I had my twins when I was 38. Truth be told, I haven’t recovered or regained my energy yet. 🙂

    I think I’m going to hold on to my singe mom entrepreneurs. I really do love my niche. But I’m definitely going to bring my offline career online. Can’t wait and I’m really excited! Maybe I can find a way to integrate the two. We’ll see.

    Your encouraging words are golden.

  • This is a great niche, although I hope you don’t drop the other one entirely. My “babies” are 41 and 39 now. When the first one was born, I didn’t know I had choices and I did what I was told. Two years later, I was ready to do it my way. Almost 40 years ago, I was really the odd guy out. I had natural childbirth, roomed in with the baby (unheard of! – and took an act of congress to get it done!) and breastfed, which wasn’t popular either. I wanted to have her at home, but back then, midwives were hiding out somewhere and I couldn’t find one. I wish more information and support had been available; it would have been so much easier. I had to fight popular opinion, the medical community and even some family members over what I considered my rights. Once the babies got here, I had a grand time. I was too young to be concerned with all the details – I just fed them, loved them, and played with them. I was 18 and 20 when they were born. I had plenty of energy and I don’t know how older mothers manage, especially since they think they can do it all and have children and careers and everything else at the same time. Makes me tired just thinking about it. Now, being a grandmother is the most wonderful thing that has ever happened to me. You rock on, Melanie!! Moms need you.

  • Nice to meet you, Peter! You are mature beyond your years and I really like your blog.

    You’ve made a good point here by saying we need to expand our reach as small business owners. And, yes! Change is the one sure thing in life … and it can definitely be a GOOD thing. Without change, things can start to become stale and stagnant.

  • As you said, change is inevitable. But i also believe that a business is dying if you don’t keep on expanding your reach, so change can always be a good thing?

  • Kathy, everyone here should take a minute and visit your awesome site, http://insightfulnana.com !! (Your “other” niche, which I love)

    The first time I visited, I immediately downloaded your family survival plan – it’s fabulous!

    I’m tickled to hear that you’re giving some thought to focusing (at least a little more) on reaching out to women and families. You’ve got SO much to offer. 🙂

    And you know what? There’s no reason under the sun why you can’t succeed at working on two different niches. You’re a bundle of knowledge and super organized. Go for it!

    And “ditto” on the support. I’ll back you up … bigtime.

  • Wow! I’m actually excited for you.

    Look at all the skills you take into another niche that you’ve learned from this one. You are a teacher… and you just will have a different set of students. Wonderful!

    I too have been looking in to changing my focus a little. I’m going to be paying a little more attention to my original niche of family and women. I was also told this niche was too over populated… and I bought into it for a time.

    If and when you make the change… let us all know. I would love to support you in any endeavor you attempt.

  • Thank you, Lis and Yvonne!

    Both of you know how I feel about you and how much I respect your work so I am most grateful for all your beautiful words of encouragement. Change can be doggone scary. But with friends like you, the transition will be a breeze. 🙂

    Love you.

  • Melanie, You’ve been hinting at making changes for a while and now we know. Go for it with all you heart and energy! It’s a part of who you are and who you’ve been for 30 years.

    Some of us, and I am one, tend to hang on too tenaciously to something even when it appears that that may not be the best course or best option. We have to learn to let go and move on. Carefully letting go one step at a time, but let go nonetheless.

    Don’t worry; if you’re a good rider who can control her horse (and you are), you can change direction midstream, or jump on the back of another. There’ll be some splashes in the water and perhaps a little resistance from your horses, but as long as YOU stay on the horse you want to be on, your ok. My best to you.

    Warmly,
    Yvonne

  • Melanie,

    As someone who’s just done exactly this, I give you a hearty “absolutely!” Feeling affinity is one thing – expressing your passion in a new and different way – is something much grander and more soul-feeding.

    I know you will be a phenom at whatever you decide to take on and the world of new moms (and dads) – not to mention the new babies – will be much richer because of your contributions.

    I look forward to seeing your new online life unfold.

    Warmly,

    Lis

  • Bobbye – thanks for sharing your wonderful and positive birth stories and for commenting on the new look of my blog. I’ve got to tell you, however, that this is a temporary change. I had a bucketful of technical difficulties with my previous theme (which I loved!) so I had to say goodbye to it.

  • WOW! Sheri and Bobbye – Can’t begin to pour thanks over you for your feedback! Means the world to me.

    I’ve had the “itch” for quite some time now to share my perinatal expertise online and stop ignoring my gut. The only reason I’ve been holding back is, essentially, because of the advice of others I know and trust who have urged me to refrain. Apparently, they feel the market is over-saturated already and my competition would be too stiff. Phooey!

    Know what? I’m choosing not to let that stop me and stand by my words in a recent blog post I wrote about everyone’s uniqueness – no matter the marketplace. Even if thousands of people are offering breastfeeding tips, for example, my perspective is still MINE.

    You two and others here have made my day – thanks! 🙂

  • Also love the website look! It’s been awhile since I’ve visited. Happy Thanksgiving (belated.) So grateful to have you in my life! XXOO
    Bobbye

  • Dear Melanie,
    WOW! I knew this was part of who you are. It strikes me as “niche-ier” even than solo mompreneurs. ALSO it is so very much needed — voices of experience, committed to helping people through a very challenging time.

    “Newborns don’t come with “how-to” manuals, but Melanie’s site/products/consulting/coaching etc are even better because she gives live feedback…”

    [Note: rant warning here]
    When I had my babies, my husband received Husband-Coached Childbirth for Christmas before Isabel, our oldest, was born. Two non-medicated births later (and a year of breastfeeding each)… Well, I’m sold on taking the most natural path possible. I absolutely LOVE to hear that someone with your experience and compassion will be putting a voice out there for helping new families with these brand-new experiences. In some circles, childbirth seems to be about scheduling something on the calendar. Sorry. That just makes my toes curl.

    I wish you all the best Melanie. Keep us posted! There’s a whole new generation (the shadow-boom children of Baby Boomers)…They’re coming. Your experience, wisdom, and knowledge can make a profound difference.

  • Hi Melanie,
    I know when I first started my online biz…I kept hearing you have to have a niche…then I found that my niche was completely different than what I thought it would be…after really finding my niche…I then, discovered two new loves…and people told me I would have a hard time reaching three different targets…and I have been able to successfully have three very different focuses in my biz…so whether you decide to give up one biz for another or do both…I know you will be a great success…What matters is what you want to do.. Sheri

  • Hey Barbara – thanks for your question!

    I’d like to start focusing on what is second nature to me and what I’ve been teaching in the offline world for 30 years – pregnancy, birth, postpartum, infant care, and breastfeeding.

    In other words …

    The business of babies. 🙂

  • Angie! I’m exceptionally pleased to see you here – especially since I’m aware you’ve been through some changes in your business. I love your philosophy and attitude about having the freedom to “drop” aspects of your online marketing business you’re not enjoying.

    Kudos to you and your business rocks! Every time I visit your site, it becomes instantly apparent to me that you are definitely following your passion.

    Thank you so much for knocking on my door today.

  • Best of skill!! What will the new focus be?

  • Best of luck, Melanie! Being a business owner is all about living your passion(s).

    I haven’t ever done anything drastic, though I do think I am in constant transition. My business doesn’t look anything today like it did when I started. That is one of the biggest things I love about working online. If I wake tomorrow and decide there is one thing I am really not enjoying as much anymore, I can drop it.