First this: I have no ulterior motive. It matters not to me nor the PopUp Business School if you are successful with your business or not. There is no quota to fill, no target to hit and no incentive to get you into business. All that matters to me is I do my absolute best to help you to create and live your best life, because that's what we are here to do.
You've probably already discovered that entrepreneurship and starting small businesses is not a linear process. I can't remember meeting anyone who went from zero business experience to successful idea launched, making money quickly and with maximum enjoyment and satisfaction in one move! If you have, then congratulations, incredible effort and I’m really pissed off because it’s taken YEARS to create this monster.
Secondly I have no answers for you; you're the only person who really knows. I do have a a few important questions and one or two clues to help you decide you next move. My best advice is to answer the questions and write your answers down magic happens when you write things down)
Thirdly I am not a natural entrepreneur; my feeling is they are unicorns. Which is a pain because that means each of us has within us the capability to become one.
If you’re thinking of quitting then it’s probably because you’re not enjoying the experience, either because you're overwhelmed with too much work (put up your prices and outsource the bits you don't enjoy) or you’re not making enough money (if it's the latter read on).
1. You've become disconnected from your reason why
So if you’re thinking of quitting, I’d probably go back to the reason why you wanted to try out this business stuff in the first place. Here are mine:
Has anything changed for you from your reason why. If the answer is yes, cool. Maybe it’s time to re-evaluate how you pay the bills. But if things are STILL true then will quitting really help you get closer to you what you want. Maybe by fully committing will actually get you closer, faster.
Entrepreneurship doesn't solve any problems - it just means you swap the problems of working for someone else with the problem of where the next buck is coming from. Or the problem of having an annoying boss with the problem of the buck stopping with you. Which problems would you rather live with?
2. You’ve not fully committed
Have you FULLY committed and taken responsibility to make this business happen? This has regularly been my problem. Unfinished projects that in themselves are great ideas that have really been half-arsed attempt will accompany me to the grave. Here are a three of those juicy questions I promised:
3. You’re not looking after yourself
Sometimes we're just plain exhausted and (from personal experience I don't tend to stop until I drop). Then from my pile of exhaustion on the sofa I feel like I can't do this any more. What do you need to do to look after yourself?
4. You’re not investing in your learning and development
Starting and growing a business doesn't really solve any problems it just presents different ones (that sometimes feel tougher than the ones you originally had). How to defeat this you have three main things:
1. Learn new things
2. Learn new things
3. Learn new things
5. You've stopped having fun
This is a tricky one. It's closely linked to point three but something I only realised recently was that I had a tendency to spend too much time in discomfort. Whenever there is growth there is stress but you can’t operate in uncertainty 24/7 without losing your marbles. Stop worrying. Be grateful for what you have got rather than anxious about what you haven't. And look how far you've come and how much you've learned.
6. You haven't got the right to say it’s not working?
If you’ve happened across a business idea that works 100% first time, it plays out exactly how you planned it AND you LOVE every second of it then know this:
I’ll be very happy for you and extremely pissed off in equal measure. It's taken me years of failing, learning, adjusting, regurgitating, failing some more and dealing with unexpected opportunities and problems daily before even getting close to the results I want.
These are the questions I would ask you:
Have you focused on one idea?
Have you niched down properly?
Have you taken huge proactive action to promote your business?
Have you taken a critical look at HOW you've executed, learned and adjusted?
Have you taken the trouble to learn more?
If the answer is no, you don't have the right to say it's not working yet.
CEO & Co-founder of the PopUp Business School.