— April 13, 2019
“Keep at it.” “Stick through it.” “Stay the course.” These are all likely pieces of advice that you’ve told yourself or heard from someone else while freelancing and running your own business. News flash: It’s okay to be a quitter.
The usual piece of advice is that you can achieve anything as long as you work ridiculously hard. The problem with this thought process is that sometimes an idea or way of doing something simply won’t work. Spending all of your time on things that aren’t working can distract you from looking for other ways to approach business that will work.
Quitting Doesn’t Mean You’re a Bad Business Owner
Pivoting doesn’t mean that you’re inept. It’s not a bad thing either (unless you’re someone who constantly pivots). Pivoting when something in your business is not performing is a smart decision. This gives you the bandwidth to focus on areas of your business that are doing well.
Quitting Can Save You Money
If you’ve seen an episode of Kitchen Nightmares with Gordon Ramsay, you’ll definitely understand the power of quitting. Gordon Ramsay goes into restaurants that are failing and tries to turn them back around. Often the food is bad, the management is bad, and the service is bad.
The business is in some dire financial crisis or a few months away from closing. Despite the problems, the owners have kept running the business and are looking for a last hope. Ramsay tries to bring it back to life.
Think about all of the restaurants that aren’t lucky enough to get help from Ramsay, and that continue running despite signs that the business is hemorrhaging money. Sometimes we can get so stuck in our stubbornness to make things work that we do not see clear problems.
What does this mean for you? Think carefully about continuing to pursue a part of business that is costing you more money than it’s worth unless you’re willing to do something very differently (like hiring your own consultant to help you get things on track).
Quitting Can Bring a Sense of Relief
I enjoy making money, but my sanity comes before money. Are you working with clients or customers that are draining all of your energy? Quitting clients that are a significant income source can be a challenge.
I don’t suggest that you break up with all of your clients before getting new ones. But you should start marketing yourself to replace clients or put an end to one arm of your business if you’re no longer satisfied. Quitting clients to pursue new things motivates me and reignites my creative energy. Doing the same thing year in and year out in your business can be just as draining as doing it for an employer.
There is nothing wrong with quitting. Many business owners have quit different ideas or parts of their business to pursue other things. Quitting gets a bad rap, but sometimes it is the smartest thing to do. Don’t beat yourself up over failing at something in your business. Take it as a learning experience and use that information to guide you in your next area of focus.