Know When to Fold: The Difference Between Giving Up and Letting Go

“Never quit.” Not bad advice. I basically said that in my last article. In reality, life is a bit more complicated. If you want to prevent some regretful decisions, click ahead to discover the difference between giving up and letting go.

1. Climbing the Wrong Ladder

Let go of work that doesn’t fulfill you.

Have you ever devoted a significant chunk of time to a relationship… only to end up devastated after a sudden break-up? What a terrible feeling!

Now imagine devoting years of your life to a profession you hate. Why would you do that? Yes, we all need money to survive and thrive… but work shouldn’t make you feel miserable.

If your job adds a significant amount of stress to your life, find a better job. If your business doesn’t inspire you, sell it and start another business. If you dread waking up every day, it’s time for a change.

2. Putting the Cart before the Horse

Let go of your search for a shortcut.

Most people are too ansty. They don’t want to practice their art or craft as long as it takes. They want to skip straight to the payout (don’t you wish real life actually worked that way?).

I speak from experience. Excited about a business idea, I put together a Kindle book in 2013. It sold like hot cakes at first. I even made it free for a week to drive traffic to a paid offer (online health coaching) on my website.

Problem: My sales page was mediocre at best. My site wasn’t optimized to convert said traffic. My offer wasn’t presented in a way that resonated with my demographics. Epic fail all around. Don’t make that mistake. Present your product or service to a small test audience before you invest much time, money, and energy into marketing.

3. Growing Attached to an Ineffective Plan

Let go of plans that don’t work.

Important – It’s impossible to tell whether a plan is working or not until you give it a fair chance for at least a month.

Some plans are so rotten all the patience in the world can’t save them. Don’t trust intuition in business (unless you’re a seasoned pro).  Data should inform major decisions.

As Paul Drucker famously said: “What gets measured gets manged.” The second you can tell a plan isn’t working, make a small adjustment. Sometimes that’s all it takes. If your plan still isn’t working after 5-10 tweaks, go back to the drawing board.

4. Failing to Establish a True Connection

Let go of unrealistic expectations.

Most people are too idealistic about their business. “If I build it, they will come.” False. Believing that would be a great way to go broke.

See the world through the eyes of your prospective clients or customers. They have work to do, bills to pay, and mouths to feed. How are you going to get their attention?

No one cares about your business. You have to give them a reason to care. To build trust and connection: let your personality shine in blogs, podcasts, marketing materials, and social media posts.

5. Obsessing with Vanity Metrics

Let go of busywork that doesn’t benefit the bottom-line.

A lot of folks are on Facebook and Twitter all day. If you’re an entrepreneur, you want to be where readers and qualified buyers spend their time. Being active on social media is a no brainer.

There is a downside, though. It’s hard to identify the ROI from social media. People get caught up in likes and comments, which is silly. This isn’t a popularity contest. It’s a business. Big difference.

6. Failing to Prepare for the Worst

Let go of your need for overnight success.

If you want to start a business, please be financially responsible. Save enough money to provide for at least six months without pay before you do anything hasty.

Do NOT put yourself in a position where you must make a sale today or go broke. People won’t buy what you’re selling, because they’ll sense your desperation (not an attractive quality).

Strapped for cash? Don’t rely on debt. If your idea doesn’t work, then what? Better to keep your job and build a business on the side while you save money. Circus performers might do crazy tricks without a safety net, but they’ve been practicing for years. You haven’t. Be patient.

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