If you can imagine, I’ve thought about calling it quits many times over the last 14 plus years I’ve been in business. Like most entrepreneurs, I’ve experienced challenges like you would not believe: recession, depression and oppression! Some people might even call my experiences failures and that’s totally alright with me. It’s because I’ve known devastating financial losses and heartbreaking life upheaval, firsthand — and I know how to truly understand these failures when they happen.
Last weekend, my 26 year old son called me and he was clearly upset. He’d just read on Facebook that a childhood friend was dead. I called on every bit of supportive parental language I could muster. I expressed my love for him and sympathy for what I knew he was feeling. As more details surfaced, it became clear that my son’s friend had actually taken his own life.
Suicide is the ultimate act of calling it quits. Finite. Finished. The end.
It made me think of what I’ve done over the years when I’ve actually thought about calling it quits. What strategies have helped me to have the staying power in my business? How can I pin point what I know you as an entrepreneur can do when you’re feeling like you’re at the end of your efforts in business?
From the What Would WendyY Do? files, here are five things to consider when you’re thinking of calling it quits:
View perceived failure as feedback.
I think this is a common expression that you may hear all the time. But, when you’re in the throes of failure, you’re certainly not thinking of the feedback. Failure, in that case, feels hard and painful and real. When you think of failure as feedback; however, you pay close attention to what happened, why it happened and what you can do to prevent it from happening again. In that way, you’re intentional about surfacing the lessons from those experiences and that’s how you turn perceived failure into feedback. As a dancer, one of my favorite expressions says, “If you stumble, make it part of the dance.” I love how easily you can apply this thought to everything! #FailureIsFeedback #StumbleButKeepDancing
Ask for support from trusted friends, family or colleagues.
Having staying power in business requires really good relationships. Take time to cultivate and care for those relationships and when the times come, people will support you, too. Now, I don’t mean to suggest that you have the relationships so they can support you. Rather, I recommend that you always treat people the way you want to be treated. Relationships are the new currency in your business in the 21st century. Be sure you’re investing just as much time in creating and cultivating meaning relationships with friends, partners and colleagues as you are in being consistent in your business. #NoOneIsAnIsland #AskForHelp
Evolution is another word for change. According to bestselling author, motivational speaker and 20th century thought leader Leo Buscaglia, “Change is the result of all true learning.”
Markets shift. Relationships end. Colleagues come and go. Money comes in and out. Opportunities always abound.
The only thing that is constant is change.
Success in anything comes from being able to successfully adapt to change when it occurs. You must be willing and ready to adjust your actions when things change in your business. Be willing to explore innovation (something new) in technology, with your business model and with activities you engage in to promote your business. When you do, you’ll ALWAYS be ahead of the success curve.
Streamline your efforts.
I’ve seen entrepreneurs engage in more and more marketing and sales activities as part of their growth strategy. Unfortunately, “more” of anything can lead to overwhelm and burnout. However, rather than calling it quits, the best and most simple answer is to strategically cut back on what you’re doing to market your programs, products and services. Remember, less is more. That’s especially true when it comes to getting clients. If you’re trying to keep up with everyone else in the market, you may look like part of the crowd as someone who is disappearing into the status quo.
I can’t even keep track of the number of times I’ve reinvented myself and my business. At times, it was to provide clarity about what I offer or how I wanted to be recognized in the marketplace. At other times, it was necessary to refresh my brand with new programs, products and services. In late 2015, I symbolically closed the business I’d served in for more than a decade. I was able to identify the yummy parts of my business and create a whole new brand by making those areas of specialty available in a prominent way in the marketplace. Whatever the case for you, practice reinvention as a necessary strategy to stay relevant in the marketplace.
When I started my business many years ago, I knew it wouldn’t be easy and of course, it hasn’t been. On one hand, it’s been difficult, painful and stressful. (I’ve shed many tears throughout the years.) On the other hand, it’s been exciting, rewarding and joyful; and, I’ve loved every single minute!
Noted cyclist Lance Armstrong said, “Pain is temporary. Quitting lasts forever.”
Sustainable success in business demands commitment. Even though I’ve never been married, I liken commitment to business to marriage: Although you may experience ups and downs, ebbs and flows – when you’re committed, you go through those experiences knowing there’s something truly wonderful still waiting for you on the other side because you chose to stay in the relationship. Those experiences may be painful and stressful but your commitment and the relationship will outlast WHATEVER you encounter. And, THAT is SO worthwhile.
This year, I’m celebrating 15 years in business and what I know for sure is this: If you’re committed to long-term success as an entrepreneur, calling it quits is never an option! Don’t ever consider suicide as the final, finite and end to your business success.
My list is certainly not the end-all, be-all. What are your “go-to” strategies when you’re feeling like calling it quits? Share in the comments below.