February 4, 2023

Should I Quit This Business?

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One of the most common questions I get on Twitter and LinkedIn is:

“What are some signs that I should move on from a business idea or project I’ve been working on?”

It’s a tough question without a perfect answer. And I get why it’s so common.

As creators and solopreneurs, we pour our hearts and souls into our work.

And we can get so attached to a particular idea, that we can’t imagine closing it down and trying something new.

But it’s not always the right move to work every project to completion. You could end up wasting a ton of time and energy on the wrong thing. So it's critical to understand when to move on. And to give yourself permission to do so.

So today I'm sharing 4 tell-tale signs that it might be time to give up, and what I would do next.

Signs You Should Consider Quitting

Lack of Progress

If you've been working on a project for a long time, and you still aren't seeing significant progress, it’s time to ask yourself whether it's worth continuing.

Unfortunately, there is no “right answer” timeline for this. And sometimes, a change in strategy or tactics can fix the problem.

But if you've tried multiple approaches and still can't seem to make headway, it might be time to wind down and move on.

Especially if the next 3 points are also true.

Decreased Motivation

This, to me, is the really big one.

If your enthusiasm for your project is waning, it might be time to step away.

Without motivation, your work will suffer.

If you find yourself struggling to stay focused or to get excited about the work, it’s one of the most serious signals that it might be quitting time.

Misalignment With Goals

As we grow, our careers and life goals change, and certain projects may no longer be a good fit. It’s not worth investing your time and energy into a project that’s no longer aligned with your evolution.

I often talk to people about their goals and their work, only to discover that their projects are actually carrying them further away from their objectives. Not closer.

So, be real with yourself.

Does this project still align with your long-term goals and how you want to ultimately spend your time?

Lack of Growth

Human brains thrive on stimulation. If you're no longer learning and growing from your work, that’s a big red flag.

One of the most fulfilling aspects of working for yourself is the many opportunities to learn new skills and grow as a person.

If that’s not happening, it can be extremely unfulfilling.

And unfulfilling work leads to an unfulfilling life.

What To Do Next

When it’s obviously time to give up on a project, you’re going to feel disappointed.

But your next steps are crucial to your rebound.

First things first: take a break.

Give yourself a week or two (maybe more) to simply unwind and recharge. Mull over your learnings, and make note of them. If you can apply your lessons to your next move, all was not lost.

And nothing is worse than heading into a new project feeling exhausted and beaten up.

Once you’re recharged, it’s time to reassess your goals.

This break time helped me have a major realization after shutting down my private community.

I simply asked myself, “What type of life do I want to build, and what sort of projects fit into that lifestyle?”

For example, I knew that a 24/7 living, breathing community didn’t align with my goal of spending more time with my family and friends and traveling the world.

I had to be honest with myself.

The same thing happened when I assessed my coaching and SaaS advising businesses. These service offerings carried me away from my long-term goals, not toward them.

So eventually, I stopped offering those services too. I had to figure out how to replace that income, and that was a huge part of making a shift.

But as I started brainstorming new and different projects, I only considered ideas that were surely aligned with my evolution.

So you need to be real with yourself, about what you want out of life, and how you really want to spend your time.

What type of projects will give you energy and align with the lifestyle that you want?

Those are the right projects for you to invest in.

Final Thoughts

Quitting a project can feel like a loss. I know because I’ve done it many times.

But just know that working on the wrong thing for a long time is a bigger loss. Especially if the wrong thing carries you away from your life goals.

Quitting the wrong work is necessary so you can make room for new and more fulfilling opportunities.

Trust your instincts, and have confidence in your abilities.

The future is full of possibilities when your calendar clears out. And you never know what projects are waiting on the other side.

As the old saying goes…

When one door closes, another door opens.

See you next Saturday.

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