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From the Mouth of Ross Geller: Solo Entrepreneurs, Pivot!

In an episode of “Friends,” Ross, Rachel, and Chandler move a sofa up a flight of stairs. 

The arduous task is more annoying for Chandler and Rachel as Ross begins yelling, “Pivot,” every time they need to turn the couch. 

In the nearly three years I’ve been self-employed, I’ve heard Ross’s voice inside my head many times. 

For example, when COVID hit, my freelance writing work dried up, and a potential client offered to pay me to handle their company’s social media, ”PIVOT!”

Gif of Friends' Ross Geller yelling, "Pivot!"

When it became apparent to me that you have to work much harder and longer to earn a decent living as a freelance writer than seemingly anything else, “PIVOT!”

And now that I realize I enjoy putting all my digital communications and marketing skills and experience to work for clients, “PIVOT!”

Solo entrepreneurs pivot, too.

Pivoting in business isn’t new. Among tech startups, it’s almost cliché. 

Sometimes, a startup’s founders see a more profitable opportunity than the one they initially planned to seize. So, they pivot the company to pursue a more lucrative approach. 

Or, sometimes, things aren’t working out as the founders planned. For example, their company’s running out of money, and their investors are running out of patience. In these cases, pivoting is a form of survival.

Solo entrepreneurs need to pivot sometimes, too. 

Maybe we will change our services or the clients we want to attract. Some of us add a new revenue stream, such as selling a product or workshop. Or, maybe our pivot is away from entrepreneurship and back into a regular, salaried position.

Whatever our plan was for getting the sofa up the stairs, we realized we needed to pivot. It doesn’t always mean our approach was wrong or we screwed up. 

Pivoting just means things change, and we adjust accordingly. We learn, grow, and adapt.

Heeding Ross Geller’s advice

In Jan. 2020, I began my solo entrepreneur journey with a plan to do freelance writing for businesses.

Over time, that service offering shifted as I learned what clients needed, what they were willing to pay to address their needs, how my skills and experience aligned with that demand, and what I enjoyed doing. 

That’s how I’ve settled on my current business model: Handling content marketing and digital communications for financial services and housing industry organizations.

Pivoting isn’t evidence of an entrepreneur’s mistake. Instead, it’s a vital part of succeeding in entrepreneurship.

As we solo entrepreneurs try to make our way up the stairs, may we keep Ross’s sage guidance in the back of our minds. “Pivot!…Pivot!”

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