Business – Sometimes You Should Give Up

February 5, 2008

Fortune Teller


Never give up. How many times have you been told that to be successful in business, you should never give up? But is it always true? Or are there times when you should give up altogether?

You don’t need a fortune teller to find the answer. If you wonder whether you should give up your business, here’s a question I asked myself before selling my last business:

Is Your Business Taking You Towards Your Main Goals?

What are your main goals in life? Is your business taking you towards them, or does it prevent you from achieving what you set out to do?


The Time And Money Mistake I Made

The main reason I sold my last business was because it was not taking me towards my main goals. I went into it for the wrong reasons. My ex owed me money and he was doing badly in the business. I took over and turned it round because I wanted my cash back.

The trouble was, I spent all my waking hours working on the business and it had taken me away from my main goals. Plus, I’d achieved what I set out to achieve. So, there was no longer a compelling reason for me to stay in the business.

Yes, I got my money back, but I also gave up a few years to do it. With hindsight, if I’d continued to persue my own goals, I’d still have made that money back and I’d have been closer to achieving them.

Boat Going In Wrong Direction
Image by VMOS

Are You Making The Same Mistake?

Is your business moving you towards your own goals? Or are you sitting on a boat going in the wrong direction? Be brutally honest with yourself. Should you be doing something else that would help you achieve your goals?


Money v Passion

Maybe your business isn’t taking you towards those goals, but you’re making a decent amount of money. And, if you switch directions, as I did, your income may drop for a while. But, if you’re passionate about what you’re doing, you’ll be more successful in the long run.


Still Not Sure? Seth Godin Was Too Late

If you’re still not sure whether you’re on the right boat? Then, you need to read The Dip by Seth Godin.. Seth’s book came out too late to help me. But reading it could save you a lot of time.

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Comments

16 Responses to “Business – Sometimes You Should Give Up”

  1. Mike Goad on February 5th, 2008 12:17 am

    My sister-in-law’s husband owned a business that was fairly successful at first. When advances in technology essentially made his business obsolete, he still tried to make a go of it, refusing to give up. He was too proud to admit it was failing and look for a job. It ended up destroying the marriage.

    The business? He owned a small print shop in a large metro area, but couldn’t compete with computers and printers in almost every business and the bigger print shops.

    Mike Goad’s last blog post..Early to rise ? and early to crash

  2. Barbara on February 5th, 2008 2:20 am

    Hi Catherine,

    In our business we let go of parts of it. We were working nearly 24/7, but it began affecting my husband’s health. We slowly downsized, keeping only the part that he loves most. We are now happier, healthier, and have time to “smell the roses”.

    Barbara’s last blog post..Bloggers Are Missing Huge Opportunities

  3. cathlawson on February 5th, 2008 2:39 am

    Hi Mike – that is a sad story. I guess that when there’s no longer a demand for what you’re offering you have to change to meet customer demands or jump ship.

    There’s still quite a few small printers round here. And I try to use them when I can, but they’re just so slow. And you can order the same things on the Internet and have it within a couple of days instead of 2 or 3 weeks.

    Hi Barbara – Once you are working so much that it’s affecting your health, it just isn’t worth it is it? It was good that you were able to downsize though.

    Some people won’t and they push themselves until they’re too ill to work at all anymore.

    cathlawson’s last blog post..Business – Sometimes You Should Give Up

  4. Nez on February 5th, 2008 2:44 am

    Sometimes the writing IS on the wall.

    Think:

    *horse and buggy when the railroads and later cars came on the scene.

    *radio dramas once television came on the scene

    and more recently music stores like Tower Records, which filed for bankruptcy, no doubt due to iTunes, discount chains, (and piracy, or so they say).

    As small business owners, we do have to keep tabs on current technologies and not be complacent.

    Luckily, blogging is a good way of doing that.

    Nez’s last blog post..Frame of Mind

  5. JoLynn Braley on February 5th, 2008 3:31 am

    Hi Catherine,

    This could apply to the blogging biz, too, for example – if you pick a blogging niche that isn’t clicking for you, and maybe it would be better to quit that one and move on to another. Tricky though, because you have to look at whether you’ve really applied yourself or not. Very good points you have here. :)

    JoLynn Braley’s last blog post..MTV’s True Life, I’m On A Diet – Eating Disorders & Double Standards

  6. RacerX on February 5th, 2008 3:46 am

    Great Post as usual.

    Any business really needs to be judged by the ROI. If you can make more doing less at you 2nd tir favorite you have to consider it.

    The toughest part I see are the third generation businesses. Often they stick around way too long out of a desire to preserve memories. Unless you are in the antique business, move on.

    RacerX’s last blog post..Book Tag…

  7. cathlawson on February 5th, 2008 4:37 am

    Hi Nez – this is so true. If you stay on the ball, you can see things coming way before they happen. And it isn’t always just lack of demand that can affect your business. My last business was flood restoration – so we were almost always busy.

    But, during my last year or so, insurers were willing to pay less and less for each job and the margins weren’t as good. I was really concerned that it would reach a point where we couldn’t provide a decent quality service and still make a profit.

    I didn’t know Tower Records had gone bust, but I can understand why.

    Hi JoLynne – That is so true. I think many of the Make Money blogs find themselves in this situation. They start out, because they don’t know what else to do.

    But, the trouble is, they haven’t got a clue how to make money themselves, so they regurgitate the advice of other people. You really have to be interested in your topic don’t you?

    You picked a great niche – people are always trying to lose weight. And even people like me who are lazy about it really benefit from your well researched health posts.

    Hi RacerX. Good point – I suppose that would depend how really determined you were to go for your first goal – and how achievable it was.

    Those third generation business are sad. I feel sorry for the ones where the kids feel pressurised into taking over something they really don’t want.

    cathlawson’s last blog post..Business – Sometimes You Should Give Up

  8. Pinny Cohen on February 5th, 2008 7:13 am

    Hey Cath,

    Thank you for sharing your mistakes so we don’t have to learn the hard way as well!

    By the way, the “RSS Subscribe” text link (column 2) is sending me to your blog main page, instead of letting me sign up for RSS. You might be missing a lot of subscribers that way.

    Pinny Cohen’s last blog post..Super Bowl Ad Review: 2008

  9. cathlawson on February 5th, 2008 8:31 am

    Hi Pinny – thanks. And thank you for letting me know about the RSS error – I would probably never have noticed it for ages.

  10. Ian Denny on February 5th, 2008 6:06 pm

    There’s nothing wrong with quitting. It isn’t failure. If you pick yourself up and try again, then it’s better to have quit before things got worse.

    Ian Denny’s last blog post..Cast The First Stone, I’m Guilty Of Small Business Dreaming

  11. cathlawson on February 5th, 2008 6:36 pm

    Hi Ian – thanks. Quitting is a positive thing, if it’s the right thing for you. Many people thought I was mad, because I was giving up an excellent income to start from scratch. But as you know, there’s too many things that are more important than money.

  12. Mrs. Micah on February 6th, 2008 1:10 am

    I have to say that the blog takes up most of my waking and non-otherwise-working hours. But it’s what I love, it’s helping me with some of my goals, and it’s not a failure.

    However, I’ve taken on some contracting work that I had to give up. Or my last full-time job was just wearing me down without giving anything back in terms of satisfaction or advancement towards goals. It was pretty strictly a work-for-money job, with the exception of some skills I polished (telephone, in particular).

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