If there was an exact amount of time to know when you are flogging a dead horse in your new or current venture, then life would be easy, right? Sometimes people spend years and seem to get nowhere, then give up and never know if the next week or month they would have struck gold. Other times people take years or decades and then finally seem to make it big, like the 10 years it takes to become an overnight success. And other times people are simply too impatient and never even give their venture time to get off the ground before they quit again, and go in search of another easy, get rich quick pipe dream.
Only YOU can make the decision as to whether to keep going or to quit. To help you along the road, ask yourself the following eight questions to give yourself clarity on where you stand. If most of your answers are the same, you likely have the decision staring you in the face. After the eight questions are two ways to set about going into a new venture, and the five questions you must ask yourself before going into any new venture, to cure yourself from jumping from one thing to another and to another and repeating your previous patterns.
So, you should seriously consider quitting your current business, job or venture, when:
1. You have absolutely given it long enough
Beyond a shadow of a doubt you have given it long enough, or even longer. The reality is that most people have not, they have just convinced themselves they have because it took longer than they hoped, despite having no previous experience to know how long it should take. The probable answer, as long as you have checked the questions below, is you should give it more time.
2. If you know in your heart it’s not what you want to do
No one needs to tell you what you know in your heart, because you just know. The distractions of doubt, fear, overheads, risks, family and societal perception and projection, fear of failure and looking stupid and letting people down, all cloud your truth. Quieten all this noise down to irrelevance and then think about what you know you really want.
Many people who are thinking of giving up actually got into their current venture for the wrong reasons. Perhaps they were overly elated and didn’t do enough research perhaps they were overly desperate and just needed to make some quick cash. Perhaps they were following someone else’s plan like a boss, spouse or parent, rather then their own true calling? These again are distractions from the real truth that you know. Just because you have invested time and money into something doesn’t mean it is the right thing
3. If there is no market for it
If you passionately knew in your heart you wanted to decorate the top half of green Macaroons, it wouldn’t matter at all because there is no market to scale such as enterprise. Check Google, forums & Facebook groups, run polls, ask existing customers, use word-tracker tools, to check that there is enough of a market for your product or service. Which leads us to point 4. But first, just because you haven’t sold much doesn’t mean there aren’t customers and there isn’t a market. Don’t dismiss the market if you haven’t given it long enough yet. See point 1.
4. If the niche/industry is in big decline
My Dad used to own and run pubs, bars and small hotels. He did great in the 08s and 90s. The introduction of the smoking ban and supermarkets getting alcohol licenses and coffee shops and access to SKY TV at home all really damaged his trade. The trade and industry in general is in decline. He got out, but perhaps a little too late. You need to be honest to yourself about this, and make a plan to get out before it is too late. Or pivot.
5. If you have zero passion & enthusiasm for it
If all love for your venture is gone, not just temporary frustration or lethargy but full on you’re over it, then it’s time to get out now or make a plan to get out when you can. You can endure the thing you hate for a while, IF you make a clear plan and set a timeline to move towards your new venture. If you feel that it will never end, it will drain you and could lead to emptiness or depression.
6. You know you could put the same time into something else & get a much bigger pay off
Perhaps you are doing what you love, but you simply can’t earn enough on your time, or afford to pay others to run it for you. Let’s say you love all things drum, but can only command £10 per hour teaching the drums. No matter how hard you work you simply can’t cover all costs and have profit left. If this really is the case (after checking the competition & doing deep research), perhaps it is time to retire this a a hobby & get into a more profitable venture.
7. You are making someone else rich
If you are working your ass (or arse) off and all the money is going to your boss or the taxman or the ex-spouse, perhaps you need a new venture. Which leads onto the final point…
8. Something limits your upside
You keep hitting a ceiling. You are not getting rewarded for the value (not necessarily time) that you are putting in, and have been for a long while, because something imposes a false ceiling like a regulation change, a boss, lawsuit, injunction or other blockage that may need removing.
Evaluate all these questions. If many of them are positive and show your existing venture in a good light, then keep going. You can always save this post and come back to all the questions in six to twelve months. If many of them are negative, and have affirmed what you thought or feared, then you have two ways to change it:
1. Decide to quit now and start a new venture immediately
2. Create a specific plan with set timeline to replace income or reduce risk, & run the two concurrently (one part time, one full time). Then quit on that date.
To avoid repeating bad habits and patterns, before you go into your next or any venture, first ask yourself:
1. Do I love it? Not just now, but could I love it for a LONG time
2. Am I realistic about the time it takes & the challenges there will be. Could I even enjoy them?
3. Is there really a market for it?
4. Could I monetise it
5. Am I good at it & have useful skills that I can monetise?
You may not be able to answer YES to all these 5, but the more the better. That way you can be as sure as anyone can when to quit your current, or any venture, and the right one for you to start and scale. I hope you’ve found this useful. I did architecture at University but for the wrong reasons (because I perceived that smart people went to Uni & I didn’t want to be perceived as stupid). I wasted three years then did nothing with my degree. Then I took over Landlording at my Dad’s pub, again for the wrong reasons (he became ill, I went to help out & stayed for too long because it was comfortable). Then I became an artist, but wasn’t business savvy, was in the wrong area, and I did it because it was all I knew how to do. Once all the 5 questions merged above, I was able to become a millionaire before 31, get 3 world records, own, co-own or manage more than 700 properties, write 11 books, host a successful podcast, raise a family & become less ignorant, narrow-minded and scared. This is not because I am any smarter than anyone else, just that I found the right venture that didn’t feel (too much) like work. And so can you.