5 Signs It's Time To Quit a Business or Give Up on Your Venture
The one thing you might have heard at least a couple thousand times in your lifetime is the phrase 'Don't Give Up.'
It's true - if you never give up, you're bound to succeed, right?
I know this might not be the best start to an article, but giving up can usually be the reason you become successful.
Owning a marketing agency, I was scared of one thing.
That was quitting and being stuck in the mediocre life I was living.
For 6/7 months, I tried to force myself to enjoy the business, and trust the process.
I had already invested 1000s into learning about social media marketing and building an agency.
Every day, I would be half-awake in my bed - conscious, but not fully awake, thinking about the misery I would have to live through again today.
It was so bad that I would rather sleep myself through the whole day than wake up and 'work.'
"Every day is one day closer to your first client."
I tried and I tried, day after day of outreach flew by - almost no results.
I started to go through days, outreaching and expecting not a single reply in return.
It was humiliating and it felt like the whole world was spinning whilst I stayed stagnant in my sorrow.
One of the last people I spoke with regarding the agency was in a similar bubble to me.
The last thing I remember from our conversations is how he said at this point, "He'd rather be working a 9-5 than this."
He was an ambitious young man with lots of fight in him.
Like me, he had also been dedicated for almost a year to building up an agency.
To hear something so degrading and defeating come out of his mouth finally showed me everything I needed to know in order to break free of the shackles that were holding me back.
Was it our fault entirely?
Were we doing something wrong?
Or did we just fall for the stigma and hype surrounding the business model?
No matter, I had finally made the right decision and quit.
It was a near-impossible choice to make, but one that I had to make for my own betterment.
A few months after giving up on the marketing agency, I'm now in a position to really pursue my dreams of starting and scaling a fleet of SaaS businesses.
Something I'm truly passionate about, rather than something I was forcing myself to do.
So how do we know when it's finally time to give up on a business venture and move on?
Let's talk all about that now.
Are you passionate about your business?
I have spoken about this topic before.
Not long ago, I'd laugh at anyone who told me 'be passionate about what you do' or 'follow your passion.'
In my head, I'd fire back a measly reply like 'I don't have a passion, I just want to make money.'
That reply is normal, especially for someone who has not yet experienced devastation in their business.
Today, I completely agree, well partly agree, with this statement.
Without some sort of passion for your business, you'll end up giving up faster than you could imagine, especially when there are no real, tangible results materializing.
Before starting my first business, the dropshipping store, I was an extreme introvert.
A marketing agency, a business where talking to people is the sole growth engine for your business, was nowhere near the ideal business for me.
I hated it!
With what I'm doing now, building and growing SaaS businesses, I like it a lot more.
I'm a pretty young individual who grew up in an era where owning smartphones and tablets in your teen years was becoming normal.
Technology, even though I'm not the best at it, has become at the forefront of my life.
Being involved in the software and technology space is an ideal fit for me.
It's a fun and innovative industry, but a very fast-moving one too.
Every industry has its ups and downs, so you just need to find your fit.
When there's a misalignment here, it can become extremely hard to face the challenges that come at you.
Take this sign with a pinch of salt.
There have been many people who don't like what they do yet managed to make a fortune off it.
Ask yourself if the business still means as much as it did to you when you first started.
It's all about the confluence with other signs.
Keep reading to find out if this should be a sign worth considering for yourself.
How long have you been going?
Every business is different in a lot of ways.
Some businesses could take years to become profitable, some could even take years to get running.
In my own experience, the reason I started an agency in the first place is the low barriers to entry.
All you needed to start was to pitch your service.
You didn't need to know how to deliver your service (even though I did) because you just get a service delivery person to fulfill client work.
It was free to do everything too.
You send messages to prospects through Instagram, email, LinkedIn, Facebook, or wherever else they may be.
When I started with my friends, we had the agency up and running in less than a month.
Now, I may be able to have it up in less than a few days.
We spent weeks, months of outreach until I was the only one left in the business.
Deep down, I knew exactly what to do to make an agency work and so I was slightly happy that they left because I could have all the profits WHEN they come.
That's a big 'when' because they didn't come.
It was a hard lesson to learn, but I now believe it's a lot better to have 50% of a large pie compared to 100% of nothing.
After 4-5 more months of grueling pain and a state of near depression, I finally decided to quit.
I decided that I've given the business long enough and seen no results.
Every time I set a financial goal to reach, I was faced with nothing but extreme disappointment once that time came and no progress was made.
Relative to your business, how long have you spent on it, and is this time frame average in your industry?
For example, in a SaaS business, it can take 5-12 months to build an MVP sometimes.
With the agency, it can take up to a month to have it all ready.
If you've been at it for too long and seen no results, you may want to consider quitting and moving on.
Are you making progress or profit?
Most of us know of businesses like Amazon which happily went 4 to 5 years making no profit.
This should NOT be something that we all try to replicate in our own lives and businesses.
Jeff Bezos was a visionary who saw Amazon becoming what it is today.
He strategically accepted this fate as something necessary to get what he wants in the end.
That is market... no, world domination.
Our goal may far misalign with what Jeff Bezos wanted.
A lot of us may just want freedom and happiness, with control over our time.
This doesn't demand a business that generates almost a quarter trillion dollars per year.
In your own life and business ask yourself what your goals are.
What is the reason you're doing what you're doing?
What is your WHY?
If you don't know, this article here may help you out.
With this figured out, ask yourself if you're making a respectable level of progress or profit in your business.
Going back to the agency example, your metric may be the number of clients or profit.
With a business in the health tech industry, you may be thinking about progress and what metric that is for you.
Once again, if you are not making a profit or progress and it's been long enough - you may want to consider quitting.
You don't want to be on a sinking ship... or however the saying goes.
How much control over your business do you have?
Not long ago, I was building Condensr. An app that brings the world's biggest ideas and insights from best-selling authors and condenses them into really fast and detailed 10-min narrations.
Starting the business, I was more enthusiastic than ever.
I was still in my marketing agency, but my face was finally glowing with hope as I thought I've come across a gold mine.
The ultimate mission behind Condensr was to be, like Amazon, the world leader in our industry.
We wanted to make knowledge accessible to everyone in the world so everyone can chase their dreams and aspirations.
I followed the 'Lean Startup' methodology and did many customer discovery interviews.
I paid a team of developers to build my wireframe and I worked with freelancers to summarise and narrate the books.
We were so close to launching an MVP, but I felt everything going downhill.
I was uncovering a large number of competitors I never knew I had, many free alternatives, and worst of all, I felt like I had no control over the outcome of my business.
I didn't know how to program, so I had to rely on others to do that.
I didn't know how to narrate, so I had to rely on freelancers to do that.
I didn't want to spend all my time summarising books, so I had to pass that down to a freelancer too.
I had little control over how fast we're making progress and it was stressful.
It felt like I just had to wait on others to do their job, and compared to many people, I work a lot faster than most - during weekends too.
This did not align with many other freelancers or developers who only worked Monday to Friday.
I didn't know what to do in my day-to-day, and doubt just built up about the business until it chewed me up.
When you choose a business, it's best to either have a passion for it (sign number 1) or have experience or expertise in it.
With my most recent business, Hawk - I owned an agency and I was also a salesperson.
This makes it easy to identify the pain points that this audience faces, and the disadvantages of other businesses I will soon compete with.
Do you have experience or expertise in your business?
If you don't, then how much control do you have over it?
If it feels like you're just hoping for success and no longer part of the reason it succeeds, you will probably want to give up.
What feels right?
Sometimes, you already have the answer but you may be looking for a confirmation or sign to do it.
During the last few months of owning the marketing agency, I already knew I needed to quit.
I hated waking up and getting to work because I didn't want to endure the pain and agony of failure.
It usually took me a while to get to work.
When I woke up, I had a morning routine where I would read through something called an SBA worksheet, similar to affirmations, then I would sit down and read a book for at least half an hour.
From here, I could either get to work or I can have breakfast.
I always chose to have breakfast first because I didn't want to go into my workday yet.
Whenever I'm eating, I try to take a break from work.
This varies from 15 minutes to an hour sometimes.
Whilst owning my agency, I decided to watch videos longer than usual because I didn't feel like going into my workday again.
I felt down and close to depression all the time.
Negative thoughts flooded my mind, and I couldn't get them out.
Doing something with the expectation to fail is one of the worst feelings ever.
So ask yourself these questions below:
- What is your body telling you?
- When do you wake up?
- How long does it take to start work?
- How do you feel about doing it?
- What thoughts are constantly in your mind?
Answer these questions and it can confirm what you've known to be true all along.
Our bodies are smart and designed to help us survive.
They may be telling you exactly what you need to know.
So here were the 5 signs it's time to quit a business or give on your venture.
Instead of 'giving up' or 'quitting,' let's call it 'pivoting.'
People are right, actually, when they tell you not to give up or quit.
As long as you don't give up on your mission, dreams, and aspirations, you should be successful.
Has there been a business you've quit which paid off?
Let me know in the comments below.
Till next time,