Episode 127: Pivoting and Reinventing When the Business Landscape Changes (with Terri Trespicio)

I’m really excited to have a great business owner, speaker, writer and client – Terri Trespicio. 

Just a little background  before we dive in. Terri is pretty freaking amazing. In normal business times Terri’s schedule is typically jam-packed with everything from keynotes and TEDx talks to conferences and workshops. It seems like she’s constantly on the go speaking about a range of topics to raving audiences. 

But… all that changed in late February/early March 2020. 

Terri doesn’t let ANYTHING hold her back. She was one of the fastest pivoting clients I’ve ever seen — and what she did from mindset to delivery to audience engagement was really a joy to witness. 

I wanted to have Terri on the show to talk about how she’s approaching things now that basically her 2020 plans went up in smoke… only to reveal a whole new way to serve her audience. 

Terri’s Bio: 

Terri Trespicio is an award-winning writer, speaker, and brand advisor who helps professionals of all stripes harness their creative genius to become better leaders. Her TEDx talk, “Stop Searching for Your Passion,” has almost 6 million views. She was recently named by Hubspot as one of the “Top 18 female speakers who are killing it” and cited as one of the world’s leading creatives by Creative Boom magazine.

A former magazine editor and radio host at Martha Stewart, she has appeared on the Today show, Dr. Oz, The Early Show, The Martha Stewart Show and The Anderson Cooper Show. Her work has been featured in Oprah magazine, Marie Claire, Prevention, Business Insider, Forbes.com, and Inc.com. She leads several events and retreats each year for people who want to surface their own creative genius. An in-demand, top-rated speaker, Terri is also a stand-up comic and has performed all over New York City and beyond. She lives in Manhattan. Start tapping your creative potential with the free guide, “5 Ways to Unlock Your Creative Genius”. 

Let’s dive in!

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Biggest Show Takeaways:

Walk us through what happened with your business  in early March 2020. How did it feel and what did that mean for you business wise?

  • I lost my entire roster of Spring and Summer events within a day and a half. I got the emails one after the other and it was devastating.I had some fantastic events lined up that would mean I was booked out for the rest of the year. But then the dream died.
  • I thought about what the Buddhas tell us: Do not be attached to outcomes. Do not be attached to how you think things will work out.  I’d gotten caught up in my own seduction of what this season would bring and I was wrong. We were all wrong. And there was no one to be mad at. Every person who ran these events didn't want to cancel their events. Everyone was sad. And you know how I dealt with it? I read the emails and I sat on my couch and I cried. I had to. There had to be a release somewhere. I sobbed like a baby.
  • Fortunately, it wasn’t like I was leaning on the events and had nothing else planned. As a brand adviser and a writer, I'm lucky to be one of the few people who can do the work from anywhere so I said, “Okay, what do I have that I can work with?”. 

What did you do once you realized basically your 2020 plan went up in smoke?  

  • I realized I needed to create many, many opportunities for income. I already was doing that, but because I was so booked out with events and stuff, I didn’t have time to focus on those other things. So I worked on a new opt-in and other content creation. 
  • I booked a webinar. A week from the day when I was supposed to be at an event speaking I created a webinar and I booked it. I offered  free training. I dribbled it out over LinkedIn and I got 29 people signed up. Within four days with Michelle’s help and me talking to my list a lot, I had 350 opt-ins to that webinar. I always say, “If you're offering something that's useful, people might sign up for it.”
  • I created something called the Six Week Sprint. That’s a paid, high touch offer. It's a small group of people who will meet with me every week to do their writing and get feedback on it.
  • Also, I just launched a new thing, a five-day challenge. Again, with Michelle’s help getting it out there in the world. I said, “Well, why don't I do just a short little mini writing workshop every day for anyone who wants a creative outlet, for anyone who just feels frazzled and needs to be focused and needs to not be watching the news for a minute?” I offered that and I just sent an email yesterday saying, “Hey, who wants to write with me for five days for free just to do it?”

What did you do for your pivot?

  • I don't feel bad about doing things for free when it's fun, because I think it serves people in a way that may lead to more resource gathering for them later. If people want to come and do free training and I never hear from them again, that's fine, too. I think that that's the overriding message here and the reason I was able to pivot.
  • If you're leading with “I need money now!!”, people can smell that and it puts you on the opposite side of the table from the people you want to serve. I never liked that. It's always made me uncomfortable.
  • Instead I said, “Well, I can help writers do what they need to do to be writers, but I can also help people who don't identify as writers to use writing as a tool.” I said, “What do people need? What is the thing I can serve with? What is my specific bag of tools and how can I serve right now?” That's why I feel so much has flowed in it. 
  • People are on their own journey. The goal for all of us, no matter what we do, is that we should serve in the way we feel best serving. I had that TED Talk, which is headed to having six million views. It's not because I'm anything special, it's because the message hit a note, which is you don't have to do this one thing for this one group of people and don't be so rigid around how you define it. 
  • I have a bunch of tools, so I considered what I could use them for. It's not magic fairy dust. I'm not special. It's more about considering if I can help someone feel good about what they're doing and tap into their own genius as a result. I see myself as a facilitator. 

How were you able to pivot so fast — do you just push through? Do things not bother you? Are you some sort of super human? 

  • I reached out to my people and you know what? I cried a little bit. I bitched and moaned for a day. Personally though, I have a real problem with a whining and poor me attitude. I can't stand it in other people and certainly not for myself. I thought about how nobody was there to save me when I lost my job. When something gets cancelled, that’s the external world. We can't control that, it's totally out of our control.
  • I knew I wasn't going to have a great career just because this one person booked me for this one thing. They like something about me enough to have me at their event. So I need to use that and keep offering it in a new way. You start to just strip away the trappings of an event or being with a group and realize it’s still you. If people are going to come into a room and watch me speak, then maybe if I can find them and reach out to them and cater my offerings to them, then maybe I can still pull in a crowd.
  • I realized that it wasn't about me. I don't expect someone to be like me or to like what I like, but if you have had some measure of success in any area of business, why can’t you pivot that? What’s the thing below the surface, below the kind of outer shell of circumstance, what’s that inner kernel, the thing that made that opportunity happen in the first place even if it's canceled now? That thing is still you.
  • Stop redefining your abilities in one area as a reason you can't do what you're good at. I refuse for that to be the thing that stops me, so I find someone, I hire someone or I learn it myself. Often I'll hire someone because I don't want to learn how to do everything, but get good at some things. And if not, then you shouldn't be in business for yourself. Maybe this is a gut check to find different work.
  • If you're dragging your shoulders around thinking all the world is against you, as an entrepreneur, the world is never actually with you. It's always kind of against you. You're always pushing water uphill a little bit.

What advice do you have for people who may be in the same situation that you were in where basically their 2020 plans won’t work anymore? What are a few things they could do to start realigning/pivoting? 

  • Ask for help. I contacted people that I trust, friends and colleagues, and I said, “I'm really worried, I'm upset about this and I don't know what to do.”. People showed up for me.  You put that call out to the world in your mind and in your openness to accept help, things show up. In fact, emails showed up in my inbox, not from my closest friends, but from people I just kind of knew. One woman who had been to one of my workshops, she wrote to me out of the blue just to check up on me.
  • This is a time for us to do that for each other. Write to the people who you think are fine. Never assume that you can't help someone. People want that connection. And our social exchange works like this. 
  • Give and be willing to receive what people give to you. It's there. It doesn't go away just because we can't hang out in a bar together. We can't get coffee together, it doesn't mean that that's not there. Don’t fall prey to this idea that you have to be some kind of soldier and be tough.
  • People will remember that you gave. They're going to remember the people who got out in front. Do we all need to make a living? Yes. But I'm not going out there thinking about how I can get people to give me money. It doesn't work. 
  • Taking action is critical. The action is don't sit and worry and don't try to do the new bigger work while you're feeling upset. You can’t do it when you're like that. Give yourself time to do that. Do what you do, watch TV, take a bath, eat ice cream. But then wake up fresh the next morning and decide you're going to think about, “What can I do?”.
  • Sometimes sitting in front of a computer doesn't help. When I got blocked the other night I used sticky notes.  I put them up my wall. I sat there for an hour and just played with my ideas.

Create Profit Without Worry – one system at a time. I’ll show you how to attract a steady flow of buyers without all the hustle with this free download →  5 Steps To Profit Without Worry.

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