Business Reinvention: A Surprising Case Study

Business reinvention can happen for economic reasons, or to take advantage of new technology, or to reposition the business in the market. It can also happen organically, from life changes, as it did for Genece Hamby, a former packaging and branding specialist who reinvented her business as a digital artist and poet with a branded line of art and gift products.

I share Genece’s story with you because I think you’ll be inspired and encouraged as you consider the reinvention of your own business. Her story is a prime example of how life circumstances, when seeming to be negative, can actually help us to find and use inherent strengths and passions we can apply to our business.

Genece began her career in sales and technology, which later evolved into package and conceptual design. Using what she had learned about “branding” in her 30 year career, she became one of three initiators in the world of the “personal branding” concept in 2001.

Personal Branding DNA (what is Distinct, Notable and Authentic about you) was a 12 week intensive personal branding program focused on building a solid individual brand from the inside out. Genece enjoyed contributing to the development and success of her clients and individuals certified in her methodology throughout the world (Australia still remains a leader in Personal Branding DNA). Although her business seemed a success, her personal life was undergoing some critical changes that would cause her to reinvent her business in a surprising way.

It started about two years ago after suffering from severe tinnitis that made it challenging to use a telephone. Since 95% of her business was done by telephone, she started seeking other approaches to Personal Branding DNA. Unfortunately, she made a wrong choice in partners; someone who betrayed her little by little until she decided to take a “sanctuary” break from her business.

While contemplating her future direction, she reconnected with a lifelong passion for writing poetry and creating imagery. Throughout her life, she’d been told by family, friends and co-workers how she might consider being a writer, poet or artist. Every time life got tough, Genece would retreat to poetry and art as a way to heal. As she puts it, “When I’m writing poetry and creating art, I gracefully slip into a quiet sanctuary of great inner peace and calm. It is where my soul feels most at ease”.

This past year she lost her beloved cat and her stepfather and returned to the Midwest to care for her aging mother. That’s when her poetry and art started shaping into a new career as a contemporary artist and poet. It was quite an organic process that wasn’t expected. She figured she’d return to Personal Branding DNA; but life had different plans.

“A year of caring for my mother didn’t allow much time for anything except painting and writing. That’s where the reinvention began for me”, says Genece. “During all of this, I began to see my life as the ultimate creation–the fully accepting and living from my most authentic core of human expression.

Over the past 35 years I had something to prove to myself, my family and the world. I felt an inner urge and need to help in any way possible to make other people’s lives work. Only, every time I strived for my own success through leading others to their dreams, I failed. And when I failed, I’d always fall back to writing and creating beautiful imagery as a way to deal with life.

This new honesty has changed my day-to-day expressions. I paint more and write more. I am beginning to live the life I secretly dreamed as a young girl. The things that I dreamed of are now my inspirations for art and poetry. Today, I can’t even imagine not spending my days this way.”

According to Genece, the reinvention is only just starting. Right now she sells her digital artwork and has a growing line of branded home and garden products that combine art and poetry. She just finished a list of gift shows where she’ll be exhibiting in 2008. Her second book, “Food for Thought”, a book of visionary poetry to feed the soul, will soon be released.

Genece uses her background in both sales and technology to the hilt. With most of her artwork being digital, she uses Digital Painter X, Wacom Tablet and various stylus pens. She uses web and e-mail based marketing, writes a weekly newsletter and a daily blog, and participates in blog communities for artists.

Genece confesses, “My sanctuary of stillness, beauty and grace are now the cornerstones of all my choices. Funny, life doesn’t seem so hard anymore. It doesn’t seem in a hurry to be anywhere but right here with my words and imagery in the moment. I know I am giving from my greatest gifts, talents and passions. Perhaps my art and poetry will still contribute to others living their dreams through inspiration and devotion.”

Do take a look at Genece’s work, and visit her blog, I think you will immediately see why she’s on the right track.

For Genece, it took the negative to bring out the positive. Hopefully that won’t be the case for you. But if it looks like things are unraveling in your life or in your business, it might be a clue to look for the silver lining.

I hope Genece’s story has inspired you to consider how you can use your own life circumstances, talents, passions and skills to reinvent a business that can become part of your own life legacy.

Take command of your business and make it a wonderful year.