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Changing Direction without Burning Bridges

This month is all about taking stock and when I sat down with my friend, Tara Gentile, to discuss my business, she showed me a few things that both terrified and inspired me.  While my business has been chugging along well, I slowly had been feeling that I was stagnating. I had hit a limit because what I wanted to create would not be bought by my current customers.

That terrified me!  Here I am creating things that I love but there’s nobody in my current network to appreciate them as much as they should be appreciated.  So what to do…. How do you change directions in your business without burning bridges?


While many people would just continue to trudge on with this stagnating business, I’ve decided to take the terrifying leap to split my business and leave behind my current clients. Now, I didn’t make that decision overnight but after many chats with friends, family, and business friends, I realized that by splitting things to focus on the market that includes my most valuable customers, I’m saving myself years of hardship and stress. It’s best to notice that your boat has a leak when you’re just a few feet from shore than when you’re out on the ocean, right?

Now, I know that many of you are not in this position but I think each of us needs to take a really clear look at where our business is now, where we want it to go, and the customers we currently have. Are they in sync? If yes, then you’re in a good spot. If you’re like me and people don’t appreciate (and buy repeatedly and excessively) the work that makes you feel most fulfilled, then it’s time to shake things up to grab the attention of the people who will appreciate (and buy) your best work.

Wondering how I plan to move my business to grab the attention of my most valuable customer? I’ll be splitting my business into two parts: fabric/embroidery and fine art. The fine art will only offer high-end, canvas prints that start at a price point that aligns me with the galleries I secretly (okay, not so secretly) want to see my artwork in. I’m ditching the paper prints that sell occasionally (because they’re too expensive for shoppers at craft fairs) and focusing on grabbing those art lovers who aren’t afraid to pay gallery prices. My embroidery patterns and kits will stay at their price point (and thus not burn any bridges) and that’s what I’ll be taking to trade shows and craft fairs because they’re already selling like crazy.


So how can you get to your most valuable customer if you’re not reaching them yet?Ask yourself these important questions:

  • Are you offering your product in THEIR price point? (My bet is they’re willing/wanting to pay a lot more than you assume they will.)
  • Are you selling your product at a place that THEY shop? (So for me, people who are art buyers/art snobs don’t buy at craft fairs. They buy at local galleries and online galleries.)
  • Can your product be improved to increase its value to better catch their eye? (For me, that’s making my prints on canvas instead of paper. No framing required and it looks like a million bucks on the wall.)

Changing your business structure to find your most valuable customers is scary but it’s so important if you want to make your business the best it can be.

These changes can eliminate a crisis where, after several years, you realize your profit has been slowly becoming less and less and less. So take action and take stock of your business now!

Is your business where you want it to be?  If not, what do you plan to do to fix that?  Let me know in the comments below. I’m happy to help and put my mind to work for you.


Megan Eckman

Megan Eckman has written 146 posts in this blog.

Megan Eckman is a quirky pen and ink illustrator who never outgrew her overactive imagination. Her work merges the style of old fairy tale illustrations with modern fantasies. When she’s not drawing (and giggling all the while), she can be found pacing her apartment writing more stories to go with her artwork.


Sue Bertozzo

I love it Megan, very interesting and thought provoking, that’s for sure. I wish you every success in you onward and upward journey. 🙂

Megan Eckman

Thank you so much! It is a very interesting topic since it’s so hard to take a BIG step back and really look at where things are going. I’ve been avoiding it for months now.


Megan, this is amazing! (And no doubt scary!). But I love the courage and forward-thinking you’re showing by going in this direction. xx

Penny- Elizabeth Neil

Honestly I’m thoroughly lucky that I don’t rely on the income of my Etsy shops right now, because they’re all very dusty! I used to do assemblage jewelry, but after a serious car accident 2 years ago and a series of personal losses since then, my creativity depleted to nothing and I gave it up. I concentrated on my vintage shop, considered selling my photography and now I’m dabbling in the idea of making replica primitive furniture but I don’t have the space. I’m worried I will just go back to jewelry because I have a good customer base (my name means something in my field, without too much ego) so I won’t be ‘starting again’. I don’t hate that idea, but it doesn’t fill me with passion. Since virtually dying two years ago I’m all about finding something that fills me with passion, but I can’t seem to access anything that keeps me interested for more than 2 weeks.

Megan Eckman

I would advise picking something that fills you with passion. Otherwise you’ll soon grow to regret it and it will show. So many people are already unhappy in their jobs so why choose to be?

Julie-Anne Rogers

Very timely message for me. I have been thinking hard about this for my own embroidery business. I started my website with traditional embroidery projects to find my way but now I want to branch out from the conventional to the more unique but it’s scary!

Megan Eckman

I’m glad it resonated with you! Yes, I love unconventional patterns and they sell really well at shows. People want something funky and new to start out nowadays.


Wonderful article Megan. I love your quirky embroidery patterns and that is what I look for when searching out new embroidery patterns for myself. Your art work is so beautiful and creative and you will go far as an artist. I look forward to seeing more embroidery patterns created by you 😀


Thanks, Chandice! I kind of have to go far with this as I’m not made to do anything else. Hehe. I worked retail for 8 months and I’ve never been so grumpy. I was even checking people out in my sleep I was so drained creatively.

What say you?