5 Steps to Help you Quit Your Business

Last month three of my Mom Inventor clients asked me if they should quit their businesses. I see now I failed them in my answer. I asked them for more details on inventory, cash flow, how much money was invested so far and how many retailers have really said “No.” I asked about their sales deck, margins, marketing, spouse, time and manufacturer. I asked them why they felt that way and dug into the details… and frankly, it haunted me. I couldn’t shake the feeling I failed them and their businesses and families by not giving them an answer.

So, I started a juicy noodle session with myself and thought more about the topic of quitting. I want to do better for my clients when they are feeling this way because I know there will be more of them. I want to figure out how to help quitters become brave winners.  I thought about how a Mom in business even gets to the point where she is asking herself and others if she should quit.  I thought about my own quitting emotions so many times over the last 17 years as an entrepreneur, having worked with over 350 businesses now and built/lost/grew 5 of my own and what I know to be true about quitters.

What I see now I should of said was simple. I should have said “YES” – If you are asking me if you should quit your business – the answer is most definitely “YES!” I should have helped them work through what to do next with that feeling instead of trying to change it in them by pulling apart the details. I couldn’t stop thinking about each one of them and the fact that they did not pay me to be nice – they paid me to be honest and share my experiences and wisdom with them for their best life to come shining through. That’s what I advertise. That’s not what I did. I failed them. Now, I want to fix it and maybe help some other Moms wondering too.

First things first. I came up with a list of the reasons that I and other Moms I know have quit or wanted to quit:

WHEN DO PEOPLE WANT TO QUIT?

  1. Tired
  2. Out of Money
  3. Out of Time
  4. Low Sales
  5. Repeated Unmet Expectations
  6. Government/Financial/Insurance/Retail Start Up Requirements way more than anticipated
  7. Bad Market Response (aka – people don’t like what you are selling)
  8. Slammed Doors
  9. Personal Struggles
  10. All of the Above

The truth is, if someone has mustered up the courage to step over their pride and ego and even consider setting aside all they invested and hoped for in their business to admit the best choice is quitting… it should tell me that YES. Something should be quit upon. Something must change. You are officially living out the definition of insanity if you just keep doing what you are doing and expecting a different result.

When you find yourself in a hole so big you feel like quitting  – IT’S TIME TO STOP DIGGING.

What usually happens is we talk ourselves out of it. We hear all the hustle lingo; “don’t be a quitter, if it was easy everyone would do it, go hard or go home, Rome wasn’t built in a day” kinda stuff blaring in our souls. We make excuses like, maybe I just need a mentor, a new strategy, to change my pricing, remarket, repackage, rehire, rebrand, refresh…re re re. Really? C’mon though ladies. Pause and REwind sweet Mama – I bet my pumpkin spice creamer you actually have done a lot of that already? People do not go from start-up to quitter overnight.

In my experience, Moms actually feel like completely quitting because the thrill is pretty much completely gone – along with all their money and time? The nifty idea to run a business while taking care of a family too is actually taking so much more out of them than they thought it would and not giving nearly enough back. No entrepreneur gets bit by the quitting bug unless their well is dry. Empty. Done. So dry in fact that they would be willing to face shame, embarrassment, defeat, judgment and the other useless wasted emotions they have talked themselves into, just to get out of staring down another day of low sales, low likes, bad reviews and rejection emails. They have put in what they were willing to in order to see if their idea had potential. They are out of the money and the time set aside. Their kids and spouse are out of patience and encouragement for late nights, Mommy being gone again, fast food and unfinished conversations. Chances are the quitter in you has been there for a while, wondering and worrying and now what she really needs is just to know what to do next to move on.

So that’s what I want to help with today. I know that this is a hard, brutal thing to walk through and I don’t think nearly enough business consultants talk about it because… well…it’s not great for their resume I guess… I’m over that that though. God always takes care of me when I am honest and helpful in taking care of others so here it is….

5 Steps to Take When you Feel Like Quitting:

Step 1: Stop Working Completely

Take a FULL break from the business for at least one week. Not 3 days. A Full Week. Break the cycle and addiction to your work and Mom Boss identity. No email, no checking in, no texting or posting. No one will die. Stop your excuses. I literally moved in with my parents once for 10 days in order to do just this. Just Stop. Breathe, get your priorities straightened back up. Talk to people you miss and do stuff you enjoy. See how you feel after that time. If you are dreading checking your email and getting back into work (and when you do you feel the same disappointment at the end of the day) – Move to Step 2. If you returned to work with orders to fill, maybe a few people to apologize to for not getting right back to them (if they matter, they waited) and some genuine excitement and fulfillment for what’s growing in your work – then it wasn’t quitting you were feeling, it was exhaustion. What you really need to do is to schedule more COMPLETE breaks from your business on a regular basis to remain valuable to your work, your family and the world.  Seriously. Schedule Breaks and Family Time Now. Click here for my post about how I had to do this once.

Step 2: Determine What’s Really Dead

If you returned from your break and feel the same lack of joy and purpose and success, determine if all of the business is stagnant or just part of it? If one of your products or services is selling well. Keep that. Kill off the rest and DO NOT fill that spot with anything new right now. Just do what IS selling and working and bringing you joy and only do that for a while.  That should mean less hours at work. Spend that extra time doing something your family misses you for – home cooked meals, sporting events, shopping, watching a movie with them, going for walks etc…join a gym, volunteer at school or church, start a book club, don’t fill the time saved by with more work. It shouldn’t effect your income if the dead parts were truly dead.  NOTE: If you haven’t noticed by now – I do not follow the work til’ you die so you can have a nice big house to clean and fancy shoes hustle mentality. I believe work is something you do to live, God did not make us to live to work. Especially Mothers. So if you are an entrepreneur in business to get rich and die, this is not the read for you. I take no offense.

Step 3: Get Rid of What’s Left

If you have an invention with inventory left that is not moving off your website or Amazon and you need to sell it off. Look for a place like Overstock, TJ Maxx, Ebay, Zulilly or even a local tradeshow that will take it. Try first to sell it off for a few bucks more than you paid for it. Be willing to part with it for exactly what you paid for it and if after 6 months trying this, it’s still sitting in your garage – GIVE IT AWAY. Schools, churches, sheltars – so many places will consider it a blessing and do something positive with it and wow how freeing it will be for you NOT to be staring at it anymore every time you go search through the garage for your crockpot.

STEP 4: Delete Your Existence

I know this sounds super harsh. Please keep reading.  I have had more than a few clients tell me that they wish they had not taken so long to do this with their past businesses.  If you keep showing up to the party, people will still email and tempt you with false hopes and it’s so not good for your healing and moving on. Cancel your website, delete your Instagram account and your work email. Yes. I know this is hard. Do it anyway. Do it for your family and for whatever you are going to focus on next. Stop dabbling. Be where you are. It’s like a relationship gone bad. You need a clean break. There is some pain here we cannot over look and although time truly does heal all wounds, you can’t start the process of it if you keep looking back.  If people ask you about it, do not feel the need to explain the details, people don’t really care anyway, most who ask are just looking to ignorantly judge you and you don’t have time for that nonsense. If it does come up, just say “It was an adventure, I learned a lot and I’m focusing on my family and other things for a while now.”  Do the best you can to box up your journey and move on. What matters most is what you are doing next.

STEP 5: Give Thanks, Apologize and Be Still

There is that age old question of if an entrepreneur is born or made. I think everyone in anything they do can be born or made that way. My experience has taught me that most Moms actually go into business because Mothering is so hard and unfulfilling for us. Please don’t be offended by that, maybe it’s not your situation but a lot of Moms are just desperate for something to do where they feel valued. They have skills and talents outside of being a wife and Mom that they really want to put to use and be noticed and appreciated for.  This can make it even harder to shut the door and move on when you are ready to close your business. The best thing I have done when sitting with failure is Thank God, Thank my Family, Thank my Customers, Thank my Mentors and Manufacturers and then…. relax and be still for a while. Trust me when I tell you those people who participated in helping you try out your idea want to be appreciated for the sacrifices made, and they want your honesty, gratitude and apology for anything you may see now you stepped on or over to try your idea out. This is especially important for husbands. I have seen 14 marriages fail, at least partly because of a Mom who is trying to do to much and starts a business for the wrong reasons. Truly 14, mine included.  Take time to have the painful, hard conversations about all you have been through. Then focus on what you learned and what’s to come and you will find SUCH crazy amounts of freedom, romance and excitement in that. I promise. Be still and chill for a while and enjoy a nap and some time to count the blessings you still have every day, there are so many. Maybe you will need to get a real job. Maybe you will need to move. Maybe you will start another business. Maybe you will end up divorced. You most certainly will not know anything for sure right now after all you have been through. Be still for a bit and let life teach you a thing or two.

NOTHING IS WASTED.

There is often so much inspiration and courage to be spread around through stories like yours. Stories of trying and learning. So much more than you even realize right now. My Boogie Wipes story is a great example of that. As you grow you will see that time is your greatest treasure and you will be thankful you grabbed on to all of it that you could.  If you live in what is happening and naturally needs you right now today – you really are living the American dream. Praise God you even get the chance to do that as a Mom. It’s where your best days will be played out and where you will know for sure that quitting has actually made you a winner.

If you want to talk more about you and your specific family and business needs in this transition – I can be reached at mindee@juiceboxconsulting.com. I’m happy to dig in and help get you settled into new habits, new ideas and a new start for brighter, better days ahead. You are SO worth it. Right where you are.

Love & Serve,

Mindee

 

 

&