We are pleased to introduce you to Summer Alexander! Summer is an author, speaker, and entrepreneur who prides herself on being practical, honest, unapologetic, and encouraging to all those she encounters. We are honored to share her recent story with hopes that her transparency is encouraging and motivates you to keep pushing during these unprecedented times.
Pivoting in a Pandemic by Summer Alexander
This will either be considered brave, encouraging, or completely embarrassing. But I need to have a real conversation about pivoting in a pandemic.
Let me start from the beginning.
I’ve been a small business owner since 2011. I started with $26 after being laid off from my job and several years, tears, struggles, wins, and successes later I finally had a six-figure business.
I know some businesses go from $0 to $1M in like three days but nah, that’s not my story.
I undercharged. I undervalued myself. I took on clients that were not a good fit. I took on projects that were outside of my core capabilities.
But eventually I refined my processes. I streamlined my services and identified my niche. I found the sweet spot where my unique expertise met a need in the marketplace and then I thrived.
I got multiple corporate contracts that were 5 figures and lasted multiple years. I had speaking engagements on big stages and was invited back over and over again. Finally, I had made it!
Then things changed.
We had always talked about moving out of Chicago to escape the cold. I was born and raised there and still love the city to this day…
But. The. Cold.
With a name like Summer, I was never meant to exist in winters that last 6-7 months. When an opportunity for our family to move to Dallas presented itself, we didn’t hesitate to decide to make the move.
Within a few months we packed up and left the place that we had known as home all of our lives. I was excited but also nervous. I had spent 6 years at that point working my business full time and now I was moving to a new city where we essentially had no family and no friends.
During my first year here in Dallas I traveled back to Chicago seven times to work on client projects and attend paid speaking engagements. The next year was the same. In an effort to establish some roots, I joined a couple of business groups in Dallas and was even the local chapter Board Vice President for a national organization for women in technology.
However, I never really put forth any strong effort to build a clientele in my new hometown. I was content to continue working with my long-time Chicago clients and traveling a few times a year.
I would soon learn that strategy was risky and somewhat foolish. (I’m honest if nothing else lol)
As an entrepreneur there is no room for complacency, resting on your laurels and getting comfortable. You must always be creating, innovating, and remaining future focused.
Now enter 2020 (with her trifling self).
The world came to a screeching halt. Client projects were reduced and/or postponed. Events I’ve spoken at for the past several years were canceled.
Which brings me to where I find myself today – needing to pivot due to the global pandemic.
I’ve done some virtual presentations this year and which isn’t really new for me because I’ve done virtual presentations for nearly 10 years. But what started as “let’s do what we have to do to make this work virtually”, has now become the new norm. Like much of the world I adjusted in the moment with an understanding that this would eventually be over, and life would surely go back to normal soon.
Nearly 6 months in and normal ain’t here and will likely never be the “normal” we once knew anytime soon. It’s time to make the pivot a little more permanent.
I’m embarking on a journey for the next year and I’m inviting you to join me. I have to let go of the fear and anxiety that comes along with “starting over” and establish a business presence here in Dallas. I love it here and I’m not leaving, this is home.
I can no longer rely solely on my Chicago clients to sustain me. I haven’t traveled one time this year and have no plans to get on a plane any time soon. Therefore the livelihood of my business rests on my ability to successfully rebuild from the ground up.
I’m going to document the actions I take, the marketing I do, and all of the efforts I put forth to build my business from what feels like scratch. I’ll also share my results – the good and the bad, the tangible and intangible.
If you are just starting out, let’s do this together.
If you have been in it for awhile but are in need of a reset, please join me.
If you’ve been frozen in place or halfheartedly marketing your business, let’s go.
If you are looking to get started or grow as a speaker, this is the place for you.
If you have been talking about starting something (a book, a YouTube channel, an Etsy shop, an eCourse), now is the time.
I’m not trying to sell you anything. I’m just looking for some accountability and support on this journey and I hope to inspire a few folks to push themselves to take action along with me.
I’ll share the resources I’ll be using, the mistakes, the wins, the income I generate, and the strategies.
If this interests you, please join my newsletter by clicking here and I’ll notify you every time I post an update. My first post goes out on 9/1 and I will share my 12-month strategy for growing my business back to the six figures it was when I left Chicago.
What I need from you:
Share this with other entrepreneurs who you know need a jumpstart and some motivation.
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Positivity! I’ve worked hard to create peace in my life. I only surround myself with positive people and will not engage in divisive or negative conversations.
With that being said…
If the words BLACK LIVES MATTER bothers you, this ain’t the place for you. I am unapologetic in my call for equality and justice for Black people and part of my contribution to the movement is to support Black women entrepreneurs in surpassing revenue disparities that currently exist between us and all other women-owned businesses.