Why Entrepreneurs Need a Reason to Quit
Let’s face it; entrepreneurship is hard. When you start a business for the first or the fifth time, you do not know what you are getting into with that adventure. You envision the success, but no matter your determination or skills, the path will be full of challenges. How do you know when enough is enough? This question is hard to answer but to help guide the response, I believe that all entrepreneurs need to give themselves a Reason to Quit – and, they need to do it now.
Why Entrepreneurs Need a Reason to Quit
What is a Reason to Quit? When I say a Reason to Quit, I do not mean that you need to leave your business today. Keep working hard and do not stop what you are doing! A Reason to Quit is setting a predetermined circumstance that if it happens, or in some cases does not happen, you will quit your business. Until that moment, you will fight through the challenges. You will give it your all until you can either say “I am succeeding” or “It is time to stop.” Setting this moment in advance is important. Never decide your Reason to Quit while you are having a bad day or experiencing a tough work challenge. While some people might be motivated by these times to keep fighting, that might not be you. You might then build your Reason to Quit around where you currently are and give up before it is time.
My Reason to Quit My Reason to Quit states: By the fall of 2018, I need to be making enough money from my business to afford to send my oldest to private school. My income must increase every year to cover the increased yearly tuition and afford to send my youngest to private school starting in 2021. If these minimums are not achieved by the specified time frames, I need to evaluate going back to working for someone else. The education of my children is important to my husband and me. We have our sights set on sending our daughters to private school. While the goal of running my own business is important to me, I will not let it stand in the way of my children’s education. Currently, I am one year into running my own business and one year away from sending my oldest to school. Want to know what I will be doing one year and one month from now? I will be running my business as the proud mom of a kindergartener in private school. How can I be so confident about this? Well, I really can’t. However, I know that whatever challenges come my way over the next year, I will fight through because I have not reached my Reason to Quit.
It is different from Your Why I have heard people say that if you want to achieve something, you must define Your Why. Your Why is what it sounds like it is. It is stating and making it known why you are doing what you are doing. When you are having a rough time in business, you are supposed to think back to Your Why for motivation. My why is, “Running my own successful business is a dream of mine. I want to be in charge of a company and have a flexible work environment that is not possible in most corporate offices. When I reach the end of my career, I want to know that I have given it my all to achieve that goal.” I see Your Why as the carrot that is always dangling in front of your face. It is there to keep you motivated; to keep moving you forward. However, what happens when that motivation brings you somewhere you never intended on going? While sometimes that is a good thing, what if that somewhere requires you to make sacrifices you never planned on considering and might later regret? Giving yourself a Reason to Quit can help you evaluate if continuing to follow Your Why is the best thing to do. When you reach your Reason to Quit, it can mean that your current path is not supporting something that is important to you. That something might be different from Your Why. Set Your Why, but also give yourself a Reason to Quit.
It is not a plan B Some people believe that you should not have a Plan B because it always gives you an out. You always hang on to that thought that you could be doing something else which might produce more success. I agree with this. If you are not going to put all you got into Plan A, then Plan A is not worth your time. A Reason to Quit is not a Plan B. It is not saying that you will do this or you will do that. Instead, it is saying that you will fight like crazy for something until you regret fighting more than quitting. It is about knowing that tipping point.
How to define yours When running a business, you need to fight for success. However, there are times we should stop, but we do not because we are afraid to say we failed. The key to defining your Reason to Quit is finding the tipping point between not pushing far enough and regretting that you did not give up sooner because of the impact it is having on your life. It sounds hard to define, but it might be easier than you think. In most cases, your reason will either be based on success, impact or a combination of both. To get you thinking, fill in the blanks on the following two sentences. Success: While the sky is the limit for the upper bounds of my financial success scale, __________ per year is the lower limit. I set this as my minimum goal because this amount will allow me to __________. I need to earn this yearly amount by __________ to be considered successful. Impact: I do not want my business to negatively impact my __________. I will know my business is negatively impacting __________ if __________. Now, look at the sentences you wrote and decide which one is most important to you. Maybe you automatically thought of something to write for impact but struggled with success. If that is the case, the impact is most important for you. If you cannot decide, both might be equally important and should be included in your Reason to Quit. Once you know what’s most important, use it to guide your Reason to Quit. Write it in a way where at any time you can say “yes, I have reached that point” or “no, I have not reached that point, and I should keep driving toward success.” Make it clear by using precise measurements and time frames.
Examples: Success Completed Sentence: While the sky is the limit for the upper bounds of my financial success scale, $15,000 per year is the lower limit. I set this as my minimum goal because this amount will allow me to continue saving for retirement as we live off my spouse’s income. I need to earn this yearly amount by the end of 2018 to be considered successful. Reason to Quit: By the end of 2018, I personally need to be earning $15,000 from my business. Making this amount will allow my spouse and me to start once again saving for our retirement. If by the end of 2018 I am not receiving that amount, I need to consider other ways of earning additional income, so I do not hurt our retirement goals. Impact Completed Sentence: I do not want my business to negatively impact the relationship with my family. I will know my business is negatively impacting my relationship with my family if I am unable to be home for bedtime at least four nights a week. Reason to Quit: Being a part of my children’s bedtime routine is important to me. At the same time, I understand that starting and running my type of business will require me to be out of the home in the evenings occasionally. If after one year of business, I cannot be home for bedtime an average of four nights a week, I will know that this job is impacting the relationship I have with my family.
How to use your Reason to Quit Once you have your reason defined, use it! Whenever you are struggling or doubt if you are on the right path for success, read your Reason to Quit. If you are not there, keep working hard. If you have reached your Reason to Quit, do not just immediately throw in the towel. It is just a reason. While it is helping you draw a line in the sand, nothing is saying you cannot toe the line or cross it. Listen to your gut. If you feel like one more month, or one more push will get you there, then do it. Keep moving forward if you do not believe it really is your time to quit. However, if you do push through, adjust your Reason to Quit to match your new schedule or goals. So, what is your Reason to Quit? Let me know in the comments.