MPW Insider is an online community where the biggest names in business and beyond answer timely career and leadership questions. Today’s answer for: Describe one make or break moment in your career–how did you navigate it? is written by Stacia Pierce, CEO of Ultimate Lifestyle Enterprises.
After hosting the Women’s Success Conference for 10 years, I decided it was time for a change. I had been a motivational speaker for many years. I traveled the nation speaking at women’s events and hosting my own annual conference. Each year, thousands of women and teens would show up to my conference with the expectation of learning how to lead successful and fulfilling lives.
But then I started to receive letters from many of the women who attended my conference. They were inspired not only by what they learned at the conference, but by my business acumen. The conference had given them the courage to launch their own businesses and now they were coming to me for advice. This went on for about two years before I decided I was ready for a shift in my career. It was time for me to narrow my focus to women in business. I wasn’t exactly sure how this would fare with my current audience—or how many people would follow me in this new venture. I was taking a big risk by switching gears, but something told me that I needed to take the leap, follow my instinct, and try something new.
At my 10th annual conference, I announced that I would be making some major changes, beginning with a private business retreat. The cost was significantly higher than my conference registration and I was only interested in working with those who were serious about becoming an entrepreneur. I opened up the event to only 25 people and we sold out in one week! This immediate response helped to reassure me that I was moving in the right direction.
Over the next few months, I rebranded my business, products, and services. I launched my first business-coaching program and restructured my Women’s Success Conference. Yes, the audience was only a fraction of what my old conference brought in, but it didn’t matter. I was now speaking to an audience that wanted my specific expertise and I was ready to share it with them.
Now, five years later, my business and conference have exploded in ways I could have never imagined! From sold out tour events to our ever-growing annual women’s conference–taking the risk to expand my career was hands down the biggest make or break moment in my life. Yet by narrowing my focus, I’ve actually been able to make a greater impact and help even more people achieve their dreams of becoming an entrepreneur—and there’s nothing more fulfilling than that.
Read all answers to the MPW Insider question: Describe one make or break moment in your career–how did you navigate it?
This CEO’s best tip for career advancement by Robin Koval, CEO and President at American Legacy Foundation.
3 questions to ask yourself before accepting a job offer by Donna Wiederkehr, CMO of Dentsu Aegis Network.
3 lessons executives can learn from athletes by Pascale Witz, executive vice president of Global Divisions at Sanofi.
Why I quit my job to start my own business by Gay Gaddis, CEO and founder of T3.
Ex-Oracle executive: How to take smart risks at work by Liz Wiseman, president of Wiseman Group.
Build-A-Bear CEO: How to navigate difficult career decisions by Sharon Price John, CEO of Build-A-Bear Workshop.
Why I gave up everything to start a career in Singapore by Perry Yeatman, CEO of Perry Yeatman Global Partners.
Why I choose to put my children before my work by Lauren Stiller Rikleen, president of Rikleen Institute for Strategic Leadership.
How this Google executive handles stress at work by Margo Georgiadis, president of Americas Operations at Google.