Fact: To date, I have yet to meet a single entrepreneur who hasn’t sat at her desk one day and seriously contemplating chucking her laptop, her clients, or her entire business out the window. (Myself included. Many, many times!)
We started businesses so we could do the work we love. Shouldn’t we be happy and grateful because we are our own boss? While we’re definitely lucky — it doesn’t mean running our businesses is all sunshine and rainbows 24/7! The “over it” feeling still happens – and it could be for any number of reasons.
For example, a short list from my own experiences over the years includes: comparing myself to others and coming off second best; feeling I’m not progressing quickly enough; feeling exhausted, lonely, and overwhelmed by self-doubt; caving into constant client demands AGAIN; crushing disappointment; or just still not making enough money.
The truth is that, while the highs of running your own business can be astronomical, the lows can make us feel like we’ve been ground down into the dirt. So it’s not surprising that so many of us have daydreamed about throwing in the towel at some point.
This is something very few people talk about, but I reckon in order to deal with those dark moments in a healthy way, we should talk about them often.
If you’re totally over your business and ready to quit, that’s the moment we need to start asking for help, and talking about it with people we trust who “get it”, so we can figure out what to do next.
What do you do when those “Over it” feelings really start to set in?
I’ve got a few ideas, lady. So settle in! Read on to discover the prompts and questions I ask myself anytime I’m wondering if it’s time to quit.
Start by remembering why you began.
Most of us were inspired to start our businesses because we really want to make a difference in our community/our family/the world. When I feel like quitting, I’ve learnt to check in with myself on my bigger purpose, and how my “why” is currently feeling.
Some of the questions I ask are: Does that original calling you identified still light fire under your ass? Does it still motivate you? Or does it no longer feel aligned?
Perhaps you have recently uncovered a new calling that isn’t as aligned to the work that you’re doing now. If you have, it’s totally okay.
You may not need to quit your business. Instead, you may need to refocus on your why and how you can use your business as a vehicle to help further your mission.
Examine the version of yourself that you’ve become.
I’m betting that you probably set out on this entrepreneurial journey excited to become the best version of yourself. You could probably see a vision of how setting up, running, being involved in your business daily, and working with your clients would help you become the ‘YOU’, you want to be.
So a great thing to do is to check in and say: “Hey… am I actually evolving into the human I want to become?”
For example, are you the person/friend/daughter/partner/mother/ philanthropist/creative/entrepreneur that you want to be right now? Or have you lost yourself completely in your business? Is the stress of running this business running your life?
This will help you get clear on your values, the person that you would like to be, and how you can incorporate both into your business and current day to day.
When I walk my clients through those questions, it brings back a whole lot of inspiration and motivation into their life. They realise they didn’t need to quit their business, but instead, they needed to come back to themselves.
One woman show.
Another thing to ask yourself if you’re feeling over it is: “Am I trying to do everything myself in my business?”
Being a one woman show can be so bloody exhausting and isolating. If you want your business to grow, there’s a good chance that at some point you’re going to need more support than just yourself. However, for some crazy reason, the first strategy for many women is to just try to take on more and more and more yourself. I’ve been there too!
When you’re doing everything by yourself, of course, everything sucks. Of course, you’re going to think it’s time to quit. It’s exhausting and completely unsustainable.
I suspect it’s because we feel being able to do it all ourselves is a sign of strength. Overcoming this belief is definitely a struggle for me. But it’s something I’m working on because you can’t grow your business, be the best version of you, and focus on your big vision, if you’re scrambling 24/7.
If it’s money that’s holding you back (i.e. thinking you can’t afford to pay someone), I assure you: it’s probably not as expensive as you assume to get the help that you need. Do some research. Get some actual quotes. And then decide the best course of action for your highest self.
Running your business isn’t fun anymore.
If you aren’t having fun and never spend time on the activities you love anymore, you and your business will suffer. No wonder you’re thinking of quitting!
Many of you will know that finding ways to be happier in business every day is something I’ve become pretty damn passionate about recently. I think that is incredibly important. In fact, research shows that there’s a link between our happiness and our health, our success, and even our sales!
If your business doesn’t feel fun, spend a week tracking how you spend your time. Set up a simple table or spreadsheet and track the tasks or projects you work on, and how you feel after doing different activities.
If you’re spending most of your time on tasks that suck you dry rather than light you up, see my above point about getting some damn help, and delegating tasks that aren’t your strengths. If they have to be done, delegate those tasks to someone who really excels in ‘em. This step alone can be a complete game changer.
Review the last quarter. If you’ve just come out of a launch, or if you haven’t had a weekend off in the past month, or if you always work late into the night, or if you’ve been ill recently, or have otherwise been stretched too thin? Perhaps you need to Netflix and chill.
There have been A NUMBER of times when I’ve contemplated throwing in the towel because I’ve completely run myself into the ground. I didn’t need to quit. I needed to rest, refuel, set and hold some boundaries, and generally take good care of myself!
If you can relate right now, please consider taking the entire weekend off from your business. If you’re deep in it (as I’ve been many times!), I know that probably sounds like an outrageous luxury, but actually, it’s not. Building a sustainable business for the long term is a marathon, not a sprint. So, pace yourself accordingly.
Be aware: In my experience, it can take a bloody long time – much longer than you think – for adrenal fatigue to heal itself. (Speaking of adrenal fatigue: thriving holistic wellness is definitely worth prioritising and investing in because it will be your secret weapon on this entrepreneurial journey.)
Recently failing at something could be another reason you want to quit.
The truth is that failure is a common element to most entrepreneurial success stories. If a launch or promotion didn’t go well, or if something unexpected has happened, or if you just really feel it’s not working, ask yourself how you could integrate the lessons you’ve learnt and pivot your experience and strengths into your next step.
(BTW constant big, blowout launches aren’t a necessary part of building a business, anyway!)
If you haven’t yet experienced the success or results that you’ve been hoping for recently, but your business has at least a small group of die-hard fans who love you? Don’t throw in the towel. Instead, review your strategy or consider pivoting your business model.
Lack of progress
A lack of progress can also stir up “I’m done with this” feelings. So many of us don’t give ourselves credit for how far we’ve come — so do a recap. Take some time to journal and review the progress you’ve made in your business over the last year. I bet you’ll be surprised by how much you’ve achieved.
Personally, progress is key to keeping me motivated, so I love tracking my progress towards goals. Even the smallest baby step in the right direction can make me feel like I’m on my way to kicking goals.
The overwhelming majority of women entrepreneurs I speak to wish they were more progressed than they are and feel disappointed that they aren’t where they thought they’d be yet. They feel everyone else is moving faster than they are. To be clear, almost everyone (EVERYONE!) I talk to feels that way.
So turn your focus to progress rather than winning the race. (There’s no race, anyway!) Anytime I turn my attention to the progress I’m making, I’m way less likely to want to quit.
And finally? When you feel ready to never crack open your laptop again, ask yourself this question:
If your bestie came to you with the same situation, what advice would you give her?
I say this because more often than not, we can be arseholes to ourselves — like we’re worst enemies. We judge ourselves and rip into ourselves, and say things we would never dream of saying to others, let alone someone that we love, respect, admire, and believe in, like our best friend.
So when you’re ready to leave your business behind you, think: What advice you would give your BFF in this situation? Then follow through with that.
Now before I head off, I want to ask:
Have YOU felt like quitting your business? If so – how did you pull yourself out of it? Did any of my prompts and questions resonate?
Much love and I’ll see you next time.