You know somebody once told me, “Never make decisions when you’re under the cloud – wait until the sun comes out. “And that is great advice. Get some space away from the situation.
Let me tell you about the time I most felt like quitting my business…
When I feel like giving up on my business… OUTLINE
- [0:00] Changes to this podcast in 2018
- [2:48] A time when I felt like quitting my business
- [4:37] What should you do when you want to quit?
- [6:21] Why it’s important not to make decisions when you’re under the cloud
- [7:18] What if God DOES show you that you’re on the wrong track?
- [8:18] If you’re going to stick out out – go into “learning mode”
- [10:18] Why making the same mistake repeatedly is inexcusable in business
I think it was about a year and a half into my business, Podcast Fast Track…
that some events happened all kind of right in a row that made me want to quit.
I was discouraged, I was down, there were things that made me doubt myself and my abilities – and whether or not should have started this crazy entrepreneurial journey in the first place.
In particular the thing that made me want to quit was that I had a client who canceled his subscription to our podcast production and show notes service. Then another one. Then another one. Three customers in a row who bailed out.just when I thought I’d been doing a really good job for them.
To be honest I saw the first one coming.
The businesses had been growing pretty rapidly and I was scrambling to keep up with the workload. I was trying to create systems so that I could bring others on to help me out – I was doing all of that at the same time.
It was during that time frame I’d made a handful full of mistakes on that particular client’s work. I made the mistakes, not my team, me.
It’s strange how that happens – all of the mistakes happening on one client’s account. I mean if they’d been spread out over two or three client, I don’t think I would have lost any of them. But that’s how it all started, that’s how I began wondering if I should quit my business.
Then when the second client cancelled her subscription, and the third one just on the heels of that, you can imagine my state of mind. I mean if you’ve been there before you’re asking all kinds of questions…
- What am I doing wrong?
- Maybe be I’m am no good at this.
- Maybe I should have taken on the risk of starting my own business in the first place.
And sometimes the worst case scenario you hear in your own mind… “This just isn’t going to work.”
What should you do when you hit that point?
And if you haven’t hit that point yet and you are starting a business, I’m pretty certain you will come to everyone.
So I want to answer the question here, “What do you do when you want to quit your business?”
The first thing I would say is you need to get some space from the issue.
I learned the hard way that I don’t make good decisions or good assessments when I’m in the pit of despair. You know I had to get some space, to get away from the situation for a little while so that I could look at it unemotionally even eventually, dispassionately.
Because I want to see what’s really happened, not what I feel has happened. When I was able to do that in the situation I told you about here’s is what I was able to see…
Number one, the first client’s issues were entirely my fault.
I had made mistakes.
He lost trust in me – and trust is the most valuable thing that I can give to a client so that was completely understandable. That he said, “No thanks, we’re gonna to handle this another way” is completely understandable.
The second client was reorganizing his business and decided the podcasting didn’t fit into his plans. Okay, that kind of thing happens in any type of business there’s nothing I can do about that one.
The third client was in the middle of some heavy life issues. There were two deaths in his family within one month. It makes total sense that they were off-loading all the non-priority things.
Again, there’s nothing I can do about that.
You know somebody once told me never make decisions when you’re under the cloud. Wait until the sun comes out.
That is great advice. I’m am glad I thought clearly enough to do that in this situation, and I highly recommend it for you too.
Get some space away from the situation.
Secondly, don’t be afraid of the possibility that it could be quitting time.
There’s always the possibility that the LORD is using a difficult or discouraging circumstance to redirect you. I’m learning not to be afraid of that possibility – after all, maybe I’m not cut out to be an entrepreneur or a business owner. Perhaps it’s something that I was induced into and excited about but it really doesn’t fit me. Maybe I made a mistake in my initial decision to take on something like this.
If I’m going to live a humble life I’ve got to be open to those as possibilities.
And you know in the end, if God shows me that I shouldn’t be pursuing a certain course of action or a business then that’s a good thing, isn’t it? Even if I don’t think it is at the time, even if I feel like a failure at the time.
There’s actually something very admirable about noticing you’ve made a misstep and then correcting course. And we can always rest assured God’s got our best in mind.
So in the situation I told you about I spent some time in prayer. And I sought the counsel of spiritually wise people – my wife among them. People that I respect. I did that so that I could determine if the discouragement was a course correction that I needed to heed – like quitting the business – or if it was nothing more than an obstacle or speed bump that I could learn from and overcome.
Prayers for wisdom work. God promises that they do.
So don’t be afraid of the possibility that it actually could be quitting time you got to assess.
The third thing – you should go into to the learning mode.
I mean if I get through steps one and two and I feel I should remain where I’m at, you know pursuing the business, then it’s time for me to assess what I did to contribute to the problems that occurred.
I already mentioned that I’d made mistakes on the first customer’s service. Three mistakes in close succession for that customer, so what do I do with that?
Well, I need to own it.
There’s is nothing wrong in admitting that I made a mistake. In fact, you can’t move forward until you DO admit that you made mistakes.
So I had to own those mistakes inwardly and outwardly. I contacted the client, I admitted the mistakes clearly and openly, and I apologized. I told them the steps I was taking to correct the problem and I asked if there was any way I could continue to provide the service they originally hired me for.
In that situation, you know the story – they said “No thanks.” But I did what was right by owning my mistake.
Another thing you need to do when you go into a learning mode is you need to consider God’s role in the issue.
The way that I look at that situation is that God’s hand was clearly in it. I mean…
- He could have prevented me from making those three mistakes, all on the same clients account.
- He could have made the mistakes minor instead a major in the client’s eyes.
- He could have retained the client for me even after I made the apologies…
But He didn’t.
And I’ve got to trust that God knows what He’s doing in my business, that He’s got a great purpose in what is happened. After all, it’s His business, not mine. I’ve got to learn to rest in Him. Even in a disappointment like that.
When you’re in learning mode you also need to pinpoint how all the mistakes happened and tweak your procedures and your systems to avoid the same mistakes in the future.
In business, making the same mistake repeatedly is inexcusable.
It really is – it’s inexcusable.
Because as a service provider or product supplier you have committed yourself to deliver a certain amount of value. If you make a mistake – wonderful – we are human and we make mistakes. But we learn from those mistakes too – and part of what we learn is how to adjust the way we are delivering that good or that service so that the mistake doesn’t happen again.
You see I’m not being a good manager or a good steward of the business God has given me if I allow all those mistakes to happen over and over. So we make adjustments to the way that I do things. That’s my systems. That’s my procedures. I change things, I make checklists, I do things to avoid the same errors happening repeatedly.
If needed, I make sure those adjustments are communicated to my entire team so that everyone knows how to avoid that potential problem.
In the situation I’ve described I was open with my team about my mistakes so that they could all learn from them. And that’s hard to do as a business owner but you know your team will respect you more for it. Not only does that model the kind of behavior that you want to see in your team, it also builds trust in you as a leader, even though you made a mistake.
The fourth thing that you need to do when you experience a business failure or you’re tempted to quit is to revisit visit your purposes for being in business in the first place.
It’s time to refocus.
What I did was I spent some time reminding myself why I’m doing this thing called business.
Here’s my quick bullet point list that I went through…
- I’m providing for my family – that’s a huge responsibility in a massively important thing to me
- I’m am creating things that will benefit people – and I really do want to help people with the majority of my time, and let’s not fool ourselves if we are working we spend the majority of our time at that.
- And it should be something that is benefiting people.
- I also have the blessing right now to do things in a way that uniquely fits me. I mean I love that about this business, it uniquely fits me and that’s very fulfilling.
- I also to remind myself that I maintain the lifestyle of freedom and availability to my family and to my church to my community to my friends that I believe God wants me to have.
For example, it wasn’t long ago that our pastor had forgotten that he was gonna to be gone in two weeks on a Sunday. He texted me and asked me if I could fill in and do the preaching that week.
That was a great opportunity – and it was a great freedom to be able to say “Yes” because I have a business that allows me to structure my life in such a way that I could put in the extra time to do a quality sermon for the church family. That is vitally important to me.
Another thing that I had to remind myself was that I’m am gleaning experience from my business that can help others. Through this podcast, through my blog, through my life coaching business and other things, I can pass along the experiences that I’m learning in business – and they’re not all going to be pretty and wrapped up neatly with a bow from the LORD. Sometimes those lessons come through the hard mistakes we make.
I also have to remember that once upon a time I was pumped up about this thing that I call my business. And I have to remind myself that deep down, even though there’s been a discouraging season, I still AM encouraged and pumped up about it.
The last thing that I had to do when I was tempted to the quit was this: I had to get to work.
For me it’s vital that I not sit in the discouragement or any inaction the discouragement spawns. I can’t do that for very long once I’m convinced that I’m still on the right track. I’ve got to get moving again.
I truly think this is a vital – that you get moving again quickly.
The doubt and the fear and the insecurity can’t be allowed to creep into your soul further. If it did, it would be devastating the second time around.
So in my case, the week after I got the last of those client cancellations, I got busy.
- I sent out over two hundred and fifty marketing emails to prospective clients in one week.
- I dove into the creation of a new mini course that I was making.
- I started into the final edits on my second novel.
In other words, I just got busy.
But that brings us to another great question – “What if you don’t feel like getting busy? What if it’s extremely hard to get past that discouragement. What if you just feel like you can’t?
First of all, pray. Ask God for the strength and the motivation that you need.
Secondly, believe that He’ll answer your prayer. Don’t be guilty of what we do so often – we pray something and then we step away and continue to worry and fret about the thing we just prayed about.
If you’re asking God to give you the strength that you need to get moving again, believe me, He’s is going to answer that prayer.
So begin acting the on that belief. In other words get busy.
It’s really a mindset battle when you want to give up on your business.
These discouraging times really are a mindset battle.
Did you recognize that from what I described in my situation? Whether you actually quit your business or not, you have to win the battle over discouragement.
As a believer in Christ you have to learn to overcome those down feelings and thoughts that threaten you, because they will derail you – they will suck faith out of you if you let them.
And depending on your unique past, the battle may be harder for you than it is for other people.
But that doesn’t matter. Your obstacles are your obstacles.
It’s still a battle that you have to fight and win.
It’s a battle that’s vital because it has to do with how you think. Perhaps you’ve heard me talk about this before, but how you think will dictate the course of your life. So you have got to win the battle against discouragement.
Successfully fight one battle after another after another and you will begin to build the spiritual and emotional muscle you need to get past the wrong beliefs and feelings that tend to hold you back not just in business, but in life.
It’s a battle where you cannot give up.
You cannot quit.
Even if you do decide it’s time to throw in the towel on something like a business.
My encouragement to you is this:
Grab your Bible right now if you can and fill yourself up with truth. Do it daily if you have to – and most of us do.
If you are not subscribed to the Morning Mindset edition of this podcast – that’s what the Morning Mindset is about.
It’s a daily four and a half to five minute long audio, encouraging you and me with truth from the Bible to fill us up. You can find the Morning Mindset set here.
And I want you to keep it at that daily practice until you see the light at the end of the tunnel.
Keep at it. Don’t give up. Don’t stop even when you DO see the light at the end of tunnel.
The LORD will be there to meet you, to fill you, and to fill you up every day as you meet Him.
So I want you to consider a few questions…
- What do you find helpful when you want to quit?
- What helps you get your head on straight and keep moving?
- How do you go about assessing your circumstances?
- How do you determine what to do next and how to keep going?
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