Reinvention: Your Only Job in a Different Economy

Whether the market has outgrown your product, or you have outgrown your position, deciding to reinvent your companies, your life, or yourself can mean the difference between success and failure.  Sometimes that decision is forced by the hand of the economy, other times it is offered by the hand of opportunity, and it can also come out of the ashes of great loss and tragedy.  Regardless of the circumstances that bring you to that crossroads, reinvention is the choice that opens new doors, offers the promise of potential, and optimizes your chances for success.

Learning happens best when we learn by example.  You can often find something in another’s experience that provides the spark of inspiration you need to light our own fire.  Here are some great examples of people and companies who chose to reinvent themselves by opening the door to potential and who found success on the other side.

Tippi Toes Franchise – Broken Arrow/Owasso, OK

Karri Jones is many things, but the most important things are being a wife, being a mother, and being present and available for her family.  After building a successful career in the financial services industry, she found herself at a crossroads after the birth of her daughter.  Faced with the choice so many families must make, should she sacrifice time with her child so she could continue to bring money into the household or find a way to survive without her income so she could stay home to raise her child, she decided the only option was to find a way to do both.

In mid-2010, Karri and her husband became the owners of the Broken Arrow/Owasso Tippi Toes children’s dance company franchise.  With no background in dance or experience running a small business, Karri’s decision to reinvent herself through her work was a true leap of faith inspired by her desire to make a difference in the lives of children, including her own.  She choose this particular franchise because the values of the company aligned with her own which opened the door for her to have her daughter with her, bring money into the household, and find fulfillment in her work as she watched self-esteem and creativity blossom in each of her dancers.  With the support of the franchise, her fellow franchisees, and her husband, Karri conquered a challenging learning curve and finished the first year a solid success.  In her own words, Karri explained what reinvention has meant to her.

“I never could have imagined being here, but I’m so glad we took the leap.   Nothing but great things ahead!  My daughter has her mum and my husband has a wife who is fulfilled in her work and therefore a much better partner.  Change is scary but the rewards are priceless.”

Lijit Networks – Boulder, CO

When it was founded in 2006, Lijit Networks offered free search tools that websites could use to provide search capabilities within their own site.   They built a strong customer base accumulating user base of more 12,000 online publishers and bloggers in the first three years.  Sounds like a smashing success, right?  It was, just not at making money. In 2009, after several failed attempts at using direct sales to generate revenue, CEO Todd Vernon was faced with a tough decision, find a way to reinvent Lijit into a profitable business, or watch his company die.

Vernon started by completing changing the direction of the company.  By letting go the original vision which could not be monetized, he was able to reposition Lijit as a value-added partner in the mid-size online publishing market who delivers products that facilitate channel ad delivery and offer insight into audience analytics.  The result?  The company increased revenue from $60k in 2009 to $2.8m in 2010.  On track to top $10m in revenue by 2012, Lijit serves an average of 100 million ad transactions per day and boasts a publisher network of more than 40 thousand sites.


Crucial Vacuum – Spanish Harlem, NY

Chad Rubin had always been looking for a way to get out of finance and when the economy tried to make him a victim and he was laid-off from his job as an equity research associate on Wall Street, he saw opportunity rather than loss.  Chad saw a niche opportunity in the online retail sector and using his previous skills and experience, reinvented his career, building ecommerce business,, from the ground up. 

Rather than becoming the middle-man and acting as a value added reseller of other companies vacuum cleaner components, Crucial Vacuum got rid of the middle-man.  They manufacture and sell their own brand of high quality filters, bags, and belts made to fit the top models of most major vacuum cleaner brands.  The company sells direct to the consumer, focuses on customer service and satisfaction, and has grown to a five-person operation.  When asked about the results of reinventing his career, this was Chad’s response.

“Phenomenal growth on the top-line and bottom-line, along with a much better positive spirit.”



Jim Mathis, CSP is The Reinvention Strategist™ , an international Certified Speaking Professional and author of the soon to be released book, Reinvention Made Easy- Change Your Strategy, Change Your Results. To subscribe to his free personal and professional development newsletter, please send an email to: [email protected] with the word SUBSCRIBE in the subject. An electronic copy will be sent out to you every month. For more information on how Jim and his programs can benefit your organisation or group, please call 888-688-0220, or visit his web site: