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Have you ever felt like quitting your online business? I know I have at least a couple of different times since I launched back in 2015.
For me, these feelings usually creep up when my work life balance gets out of sorts. This leads to me feeling like a failure in every part of life.
When I’m completely overwhelmed and struggling, I start questioning my own ability. I start wondering why I ever thought I could manage to grow a business while homeschooling a large family. I wonder why anyone would ever hire me to write for them or help them grow their business when obviously I’m not good enough.
And the more I let these negative thoughts stew, the stronger the desire to quit my business grows.
Instead of thinking about the negative, I use these periods of self-doubt to refocus on what’s important. I go through a series of tasks that help me get in a better mindset. They seem to be working, since so far I haven’t quit! 😀
1. When You Feel Like Quitting Your Online Business, Do Some Reflection
Reflection has been key to me overcoming my desire to quit my business. I make some time (I love doing this while taking a solo walk!) to think through the following prompts:
- Why did I start my business in the first place?
- Where do I envision my business in the next year or two?
- What’s my big picture/long-term goal for my business?
- Are the tasks I’m working on currently getting me closer to that vision?
- Is there anything I need to quit so I can pour more energy and time into what I care about?
- Is there a way to streamline tasks so I have more time?
- Could I ask someone for support in a specific area? (ie: outsource, ask my husband to cook for a couple of nights, rotate the kids through a couple of more chores, ask my parents to keep a couple of the kids for two hours, etc.)
There’s a lot of ground to cover, so this doesn’t always happen in one session. But, I do take time to think through each one. It’s important to take time to reflect on why you started, where you want to be, and how compatible what you’re doing now is with your long-term goals.
2. Drop Low ROI Tasks
Not everything I do for my business impacts my bottom line. While I’m reflecting, I do think about which tasks I can drop.
In my most recent round of reflection, here are two business tasks I decided to drop:
Weekly Facebook Lives
I know video is a great way to connect with my audience. Except, my Facebook Lives never got much traction. I think the most shares I got on one was still below ten. I had a few people who were very encouraging with these, and I’m so thankful for them.
Side note: Doing these lives also helped me to overcome my fear of speaking in front of people. In fact, while we were at Candidate Seminar with Baptist Mid-Missions, my husband and I had to share our testimony and call to missions with several groups of people. Including a church with well over 1,000 people in attendance!
Three months ago, I would have been paralyzed in fear. But, I just pretended I was “going live” and made it through. I’m so thankful for that, so I definitely don’t regret the time I spent going live.
But, taking time out each Friday to go live took time and planning. I had to think through a script, overcome my nerves, and pray that our internet connection would be strong enough to broadcast.
This final one was a huge part of me deciding to stop going live each week.
Though fiber optic internet has been buried in the side of the road next to our house for over a year, it’s still not connected to anything. We are relying on really slow, metered internet.
And the more people trying to use this service, the slower it gets.
Fridays are not a good time to go live. There are LOTS of people online Friday nights.
I’d have to try and try to get a good connection. And this frustrated me. It made my nerves soar.
And I realized, this task wasn’t worth keeping at this point in my business.
So I dropped it! I still plan to go live occasionally, but right now it can’t be a weekly thing.
You don’t have to do what everyone else is doing to grow your business. Be you and do what works for YOU!
Contributing Regularly for Free
I have been submitting monthly posts for a homeschool blog for a year now. But, in reviewing my stats, I have not received a single click-through to my site from these posts.
The benefit I thought I’d receive just isn’t there.
And, when I have so much else going on, and we’re preparing for a new baby, it just doesn’t make any sense to continue.
So I’m dropping it.
Writing for free has it’s purpose. It’s a great way to build your portfolio, and gain confidence.
But, if you aren’t benefiting from the arrangement, it’s time to reevaluate.
Other Tasks I’ve Dropped in the Past
These aren’t the only low ROI tasks I’ve dropped, just the most recent. In the past I’ve also stopped:
- Trying to actively engage on all the social media channels (most didn’t lead to any views on my posts)
- Clients who were very needy or didn’t pay my going rate (mostly ones I got in the beginning of my career…)
- Offering certain services that were more time-consuming or labor intensive
When you’re struggling with your business, it’s the perfect time to refocus and hammer down on what you WANT to do. There’s nothing wrong with pivoting.
3. Believe in Yourself
It’s kind of crazy – I grew up in a writing family. My mom and older sister are both FABULOUS writers in different ways. My mom can knock out feature posts like no one else I know. She can take anybody’s story and turn it into an amazing article that keeps readers hooked. She’s been published in newspapers and magazines more often than I can count, and even had a recurring column in the local paper. I discovered early on that I’m not a feature writer.
My older sister can create fiction (especially sci-fi and fantasy) so well. She can keep track of characters, settings, and everything else in her head. It makes my mind spin to try – fiction writing is definitely not my forte.
Because of this, I never saw myself as a good writer. I kept comparing myself to my family members. Since I couldn’t write what they wrote as well as they did, I just decided I wasn’t meant to be a writer.
In school, I rarely wrote for enjoyment. I knocked out school assignments and research papers and everything, but beyond that, writing wasn’t something I did. I wasn’t one of the “writers” of the family, after all.
This meant when I launched my business, self-doubt was one of the biggest obstacles I faced. I have questioned many times why someone would hire ME to write when there are so many better writers.
It’s taken me a long time to realize that even though I’m not a fiction writer or a feature writer, I’m still a good writer! I can write blog posts and non-fiction material really well.
I had to believe in myself enough to discover what I was good at.
But, when I’m feeling overwhelmed, those feelings of self-doubt come back. I have to knock them out once again, often by reading some of my better pieces that I’ve been paid to create. This helps remind me that I am a good writer, good enough to be paid by multiple clients and published on many different websites.
If you’re feeling like quitting, make sure you aren’t letting self-doubts rule the show. Take time to review what you’ve done so far. Chances are you are your own worst critic.
4. Dare to Dream BIG
But, every once in a while, I start seeing a bigger vision. I start dreaming big instead of putting myself in a tiny little box.
As I’m reflecting on my business, I tend to start seeing little glimpses of what could be. I imagine myself helping many struggling stay at home moms balance diapers and deadlines and lead a more organized, less stressful life where they can do everything they want to do.
I’ve even pictured myself doing some public speaking (which I never would have thought about a couple of years ago…).
When I’m dreaming big, the path to achieve seems more clear. I know that spending time growing my own brand is worth it, even if it means less money right now. It will pay off in the long-run.
This means I may need to drop some of my client load to make my dreams a reality. I need to focus on adding videos to my course, creating helpful blog posts, and making more products available.
I need time to focus on what really will move the needle for me.
What is your big dream?
Take time to think about it, and let your mind wander. See what you could be doing in the next two years.
Once you have a big vision, see what steps you can take now to make it happen. Baby steps really do pay off – they just take a little more time.
When you feel like quitting your online business, it may be your big vision speaking to you. It may be saying – don’t forget about me! You’re wasting your time on x,y, or z. It’s time to buckle down and grow in the right ways.
5. Pray for Guidance
This one probably should have been first, but these aren’t necessarily written in the order they need completed. God already knows the end result of this struggle we’re facing about our business. He knows the best path for us to take.
But, we need to seek His guidance. Prayer is essential when you’re a busy mama balancing diapers and deadlines. You can’t do it alone! I’m so thankful for the leading God has given me so far in my business journey.
6. Talk to Someone
You also need someone you can talk honestly to about your business. Someone who understands your struggles, and can help you navigate the feelings you’re experiencing.
My husband is my sounding board. He’s listened to all the reasons I think I should quit my business. And he typically has some great advice for helping me decipher if it’s really time to quit or if I just need to tweak.
He helps me work through my feelings of inadequacy, and reminds me of successes I’ve experienced along the way.
Sometimes just talking about the problem really helps it seem not so big in my mind. It’s more manageable after I’ve shared my burden.
Think about who in your life you can talk to. Do you have an online mentor, a close friend, or an understanding spouse? Find someone you can talk to.
7. Make Sure Your Foundation Is in Order
Are you struggling to make time for your business because you’re having a hard time keeping up with cleaning, cooking, and everything else? If your homemaking foundation isn’t in order, you honestly might not have time to give your business.
Perhaps taking a bit of a hiatus while you focus on the essentials would be the better route than completely quitting. You can use this time to get some solid systems and routines in place so you aren’t as stressed when you come back to your business.
If this is you, I offer one on one coaching services designed to help you bring your dreams of a successful online business to life.
8. Decide If It’s really Time to Call It Quits
Not every online business works out. There are legitimate reasons for calling it quits.
I can’t tell you not to quit your business. Only you can decide what is the best decision for you.
If after going through the above steps, you still feel like quitting is the best option, it really might be.
If your passion for your business is gone, continuing to throw more time, money, or energy at it might not reignite the flame you once felt.
Perhaps there’s another business you want to start, but you won’t have the time to pour into it until you quit this one.
If it is really time to quit, make sure you give your clients and readers a bit of notice. Don’t just stop doing the work or showing up in their inbox. They deserve to hear directly from you that you will be stopping.
If possible, don’t leave your clients in a lurch. Get the work finished up that you agreed to do, or offer to help find a replacement. Your online business reputation is important, because even if you quit this gig, you might start another one someday.
Have You Ever Felt Like Quitting Your Online Business?
If you decided not to quit, what other tasks helped you arrive at this decision? I’d love for you to share your story in the comments!
Lisa Tanner is a former teacher turned homeschooling mom with 11 kids. She's also a successful freelance writer. Lisa enjoys helping other busy moms find time to start and grow a side hustle of their own.