When to Quit

Stop!

At some point in time, perhaps early on in your small business, you probably wanted to quit. Maybe you are even facing those feelings right now. Quitting sucks, but sometimes it is the right thing.

Your Passion Isn’t There

To sustain a small business for the long term you must be able to maintain a passion for it. What happens if your passion disappears? You could be just as miserable running your business as you were working whatever job you were working before you started the business.

If you find that your passion has run out, you should quit. That is, quit whatever it is that you are doing that is draining your passion. Here’s the thing, you passion hasn’t gone anywhere. It is still inside of you. You have just lost sight of it. A common cause of this is that you get so caught up in the nuts and bolts of running your business you forget what got you started in the first place.

Take a long weekend. Bring along a blank notebook and a pen. Spend time alone and think about your passion. What got you going with your business? What excites you most about it? What is most draining? Write some broad vision statements. Rethink how you run things. When you come back to work, start quitting the things that just drain your passion. If you don’t know how to get from where you are to where you want to be, hire a coach. A good coach can help you figure out just how to quit those passion-sucking tasks and bring together a team to help you run your business. Before long, you will find that your passion is reignited.

You Have the Wrong Customers

Here is a common scenario. You start a business, hoping to make money. You have a rough idea in your head of what that business will look like. You want to help a certain group of people do a certain thing, perhaps. But when you first get started, you take any business that comes along, and you are grateful for it. Before long, you have a customer profile that is a little different than what you envisioned.

This path doesn’t always go bad, but it could. You could find yourself working with the wrong customers. They are people that pay you money, sure, but you are not excited to work with them. In fact, they drain you. They pull you in directions you would rather not go. If this is happening to you, you should quit. Quit the wrong customers, that is.

It is so important to your success and happiness that you work with the right customers. If you are having a hard time doing this, take some time to write a profile of your ideal customer. What do they need? What do they want? What passions do they share with you? What personality quirks of yours will they find endearing? What kind of work will you be doing for them?

Building your business around the right customers can energize you and help you move from drudgery to joy as you build wealth.

There’s No Money

When you got into business, you had visions of money. Come on, admit it. Maybe it was the new car, or the bigger house. Heck, for me it is a giant RV and a big plot of land. But maybe things didn’t work out quite like you imagined them. Maybe you are having a hard time finding customers. Or maybe, as is far more likely, you are getting customers just fine but you still aren’t generating wealth. You are making enough to get by on, but it is still a daily struggle.

If you are not generating wealth, you should quit. I mean, why should you go on for years in your business just getting by? You could get a job for that, with a lot less stress. If you own a business, you should be able to create a wealth-generating machine. What you need to quit is a mentality that just surviving is good enough. It’s not. You need to thrive. Your business needs to grow. You should be generating wealth for your family and for your employees, all while helping a great many customers. You also need to make your business self-sustaining, so it can go on without you.

If you aren’t there, you need to figure out why you aren’t. It may take a complete overhaul of your business model. Seriously, go back to the beginning and figure out what is going wrong. Bring in specialists to help you find out what is the matter. It’s not enough to just get by. You are probably a lot closer to generating real wealth than you imagine, so start devoting time every week to transforming your business into a money-maker.

Have you ever wanted to quit. Share your story and how you dealt with it in the comments below.

Creative Commons License photo credit: melanieburger


Bradford Shimp is the publisher of All Business Answers.

8 Responses to When to Quit

  1. Leora Wenger says:

    Good post. I'll start by disagreeing:
    “If you find that your passion has run out, you should quit. ” For some people. For me, as someone who was good at starting and stopping in my twenties, I know that sometimes I am going to like my work more than others. Sticking to my best customers, even the work is boring (I should be working on something now), has worked for me.

    “wrong customers” – maybe it's not so much that they are “wrong” as that you have not set up clear boundaries at the start. If you suspect a customer may be a problem, be very clear (in writing) what you will or will not do. With some customers, this can convert them to a “right” customer. With others, you may realize you shouldn't get started.

  2. bradfordshimp says:

    Thanks for your comment, Leora. I see your point. Yes, it is important to stick it out. The point I would like to make is that you need to keep the why in mind. In other words, do you even know why you are sticking it out. If you loose sight of your passion, it becomes very difficult. So, no, don't just change everything, but do rediscover passion and work toward it.

    Wrong customers is a hard idea to grasp. I wasn't referring specifically to bad customers (those that don't pay, that complain, etc.). I just mean that if you are a weird dude or dudette, and you want to work with people who appreciate that, you could get burnt out by working with straight-laced types all of the time. What's more, certain customers could have demands that force you to change your business away from what you want to be doing. I think you you should guard against that.

    Thanks for making us think. This is certainly a wide-open topic.

  3. Leora Wenger says:

    Thanks for the reminder to look for passion and to rekindle it. My passion is often feeling connected with others – sometimes it's with a client on a project, and sometimes it's with my blogger friends on a non-work topic. And sometimes it's with my neighbors who also love gardening.

    And often a good relationship in business, whether it's straight-laced or weird, can produce good results. Well said.

  4. bradfordshimp says:

    Ahh, yes. There is joy in a good relationship, and there is no reason we can't have good relationships with customers!

  5. Leora Wenger says:

    Good post. I'll start by disagreeing:
    “If you find that your passion has run out, you should quit. ” For some people. For me, as someone who was good at starting and stopping in my twenties, I know that sometimes I am going to like my work more than others. Sticking to my best customers, even the work is boring (I should be working on something now), has worked for me.

    “wrong customers” – maybe it's not so much that they are “wrong” as that you have not set up clear boundaries at the start. If you suspect a customer may be a problem, be very clear (in writing) what you will or will not do. With some customers, this can convert them to a “right” customer. With others, you may realize you shouldn't get started.

  6. bradfordshimp says:

    Thanks for your comment, Leora. I see your point. Yes, it is important to stick it out. The point I would like to make is that you need to keep the why in mind. In other words, do you even know why you are sticking it out. If you loose sight of your passion, it becomes very difficult. So, no, don't just change everything, but do rediscover passion and work toward it.

    Wrong customers is a hard idea to grasp. I wasn't referring specifically to bad customers (those that don't pay, that complain, etc.). I just mean that if you are a weird dude or dudette, and you want to work with people who appreciate that, you could get burnt out by working with straight-laced types all of the time. What's more, certain customers could have demands that force you to change your business away from what you want to be doing. I think you you should guard against that.

    Thanks for making us think. This is certainly a wide-open topic.

  7. Leora Wenger says:

    Thanks for the reminder to look for passion and to rekindle it. My passion is often feeling connected with others – sometimes it's with a client on a project, and sometimes it's with my blogger friends on a non-work topic. And sometimes it's with my neighbors who also love gardening.

    And often a good relationship in business, whether it's straight-laced or weird, can produce good results. Well said.

  8. bradfordshimp says:

    Ahh, yes. There is joy in a good relationship, and there is no reason we can't have good relationships with customers!

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