When to Quit Being an Entrepreneur

October 9, 2012

The last few months have been eye-opening for me. I’ve met so many fantastically  motivated and talented people who are searching for the holy grail of entrepreneurship. Even though I work for myself, I took a detour here, I don’t really work for myself. I work with/for the enterpreneurs (read VC’s and developers) to make sure that businesses are working and running the way they should. I help build teams, set processes, engage the marketing, PR folks, and pretty much everything that one would need to run a business. The sad fact is that not every company or entrepreneur has the funds to hire someone like me.


Being an entrepreneur is hard work. If you don’t think running your own online business is difficult at times, then you probably aren’t working toward your full potential. After all, when you’re an entrepreneur, you are your own marketing department, customer service representative, website designer and product developer ñ not to mention content creator. And that’s just the start of the list! But eventually there comes a time when we all must take a step back and evaluate our progress with our business ventures, and for some, this period of reflection ends with the choice to quit being an entrepreneur.


The Right Reasons to Quit Being an Entrepreneur



1. You’re barely making minimum wage. Although the beginning of any business is usually slow and you should be prepared to work long hours without immediate returns, your business should not be draining you. If you’re struggling to put food on the table because of your business ideas, then it’s probably time to take a harder look at where all the money is going.


2. You no longer enjoy the work you do. To truly stick through the tough periods and early 18-hour days, you should enjoy working on your business. Obviously there will be some off days that leave you wondering what on Earth you’re doing, but for the most part your business should be a passion. Like anything else, your enthusiasm shows through your work, and if you dread trying to further your business then you should rethink your startup idea.


3. You’ve exhausted all avenues and still aren’t making profit. If you’ve already tried to network and all of your connections have failed thus far leaving you running into the red, then you should at the very least rethink the angle that you’re approaching your business from.


The Wrong Reasons to Throw in the Towel


1. You’re a victim of “Shiny New Object Syndrome.” It’s easy to get distracted by the next best idea when your current business seems to be progressing at a snail’s pace. However, jumping from one new idea to the next is the fastest route to failure, and certainly not a good reason to give up on your business idea. Instead, focus on your goals and you’ll see a return in the future as a result of your consistent efforts.


2. Running a business is too hard. Being an entrepreneur takes hard work, persistence and dedication to your goals ñ you will never find a business idea that won’t be challenging at times. Instead, think of ways to make things less frustrating in the future rather than dwelling on quitting your business.


3. Your friends think you’re crazy. Although friends and family should always support your ideas, they probably won’t understand what you’re doing in the early stages of your business ñ especially if you’re running everything online. Very few people who aren’t involved in Internet business do.


So, are you ready to quit being an entrepreneur?


In the end, quitting your business is a personal decision that no one else can make for you. For some, it’s the right route; not everyone is cut out to be their own boss. Should you decide that your current situation is not bringing you the satisfaction that you thought it would, it’s important to look at ending your current business pursuits as a change of direction and not as a failure. Who knows, you may just need a break while getting a steady pay check to rekindle your business interests! However, if you truly have the entrepreneurial spirit, then you’ll never quit being an entrepreneur  even while you’re working under someone else.

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  • Sean @ One Smart Dollar October 9, 2012 at 3:42 pm

    I used to work 50-60 hours a week for a bank before I started doing online market full time. I work more now, but I love what I do. I wouldn’t change a thing

  • Gillian @ Money After Graduation October 9, 2012 at 3:45 pm

    Great post. I hope people don’t give up too easy before giving it a real shot. My friends think this whole blogging world is crazy, but I love it and wouldn’t change a thing!

  • Lance@MoneyLife&More October 9, 2012 at 3:53 pm

    I definitely am not making minimum wage but my side gig is not my bread winning source so I can afford to do it. Hopefully it eventually takes off though!

  • Andy Hough October 10, 2012 at 12:19 am

    Since I like blogging I’d continue to do it even if I only earned minimum wage. I hope that I will continue to earn more than the minimum though so I don’t have to test my resolve.

  • The College Investor October 10, 2012 at 1:51 am

    I watch Shark Tank every Friday, and one of the most common questions asked is if you’re ready to put everything into the business – even if it means making minimum wage. I think if you have a great idea, and truly believe in it, working all hours to get it done is worth it, and you shouldn’t quit!

  • Jordann @ My Alternate Life October 10, 2012 at 2:17 pm

    My fiance is an entrepreneur, I think I’ll send him this the next time he wants to give it all up for a steady day job.

  • American Debt Project October 10, 2012 at 3:46 pm

    Both the wrong and the right reasons were totally on…I know I get tempted to quit ideas and move to the next thing too fast but that didn’t work so I am really staying put on a few ideas. And I would say not a day goes by without someone telling me I’m crazy 🙂

  • John S @ Frugal Rules October 10, 2012 at 3:53 pm

    Great post. My wife and I run our own business and have found that you need to do what makes you happy and what you love. In my last job I was working too many hours, paid little, and not making any headway. Sure, being in business for yourself is hard work, but what worth while thing is not?

  • Grayson @ DebtRoundUp October 10, 2012 at 4:19 pm

    This is an awesome post. I actually fell under one of the reasons to quit being an entrepreneur. I owned a business for 4 years and was making good money, but I started to hate it with a passion. I finally decided to stop the business and it was one of the best decisions i have made.

  • 20's Finances October 10, 2012 at 8:36 pm

    I hope you aren’t thinking of throwing in the towel. Great points. I like that you went beyond the argument of saying everyone should stick with it because, well, not everyone is cut out to be an entrepreneur. 🙂

  • Omar October 10, 2012 at 10:18 pm

    Love the post. Great headline…I could not help but to see what this post was all about….One of the most important things that I have learned about being an entrepreneur is that you cannot do everything yourself. You can outsource several tasks. Another thing that I learned is that you have to set realistic expectations and goals. It can become depressing when you fail to reach your lofty expectations time and time again.

  • Brian October 11, 2012 at 5:02 am

    It depends on how you define entrepreneur. I think we all have to be somewhat entrepreneurial if we want to get ahead in this society. However, being a full on entrepreneur and working for yourself is definitely not a decision to take lightly.

  • Eric J. Nisall - DollarVersity October 11, 2012 at 3:17 pm

    I think once the entrepreneurial bug bites you, it’s pretty hard to give it up completely. I’ve known people who were forced to partially give it up just to get balanced again, but never completely walking away from having side projects or working on the next business they will eventually go full time into once again. Too many times, though, I’ve seen people do it the wrong way. Some have closed up shop before even giving the business a chance to succeed, and others have held on for way too long hoping that things will turn around. It really is a lot harder than most people expect but all it takes is that one breakout venture to make all the work, frustration, and /or previous failure(s) totally worth it.

  • Thomas S. Moore October 11, 2012 at 8:36 pm

    I think the quitting is based on the individual and most entrepreneurs I know never really quit. Sure they may have an idea that just never worked but they find a way to keep going. If the means a day job to put food on the table and working the hustle on the side they do it. They love it and dont mind the hours to chase the dream. If its worth it you will do it. Its not cut out for everyone and too often people see someone else doing and think oh it must be easy.

  • Jacob @ iheartbudgets October 11, 2012 at 8:52 pm

    I have 2 side gigs, that I hope to become full-time, so I am just getting started, the thought of quitting has not crossed my mind. I like the idea of having a threshold so your whole financial life doesn’t sink with your failing business. Also, I think people tend to quit too early. Entrepeneurship really stretches your limits of what you think you can accomplish, and in a good way.

  • Paula @ Afford Anything October 13, 2012 at 12:29 am

    “Shiny New Object Syndrome” — too many ideas, not enough execution — is PRECISELY why my business doesn’t grow as fast as it otherwise would. If I could just focus …

  • Budget & the Beach October 13, 2012 at 3:48 pm

    I’m barely keeping my head above water. Unless my freelance income significantly picks up, I need/want to go back to full time.

  • Elizabeth @ Broke Professionals October 14, 2012 at 4:22 pm

    I think your #2 – if you don’t enjoy it anymore – is soooo key. There’s no point in doing any job if you don’t feel fulfilled doing it! (I’ve learned that the hard way.)

  • Dominique Brown October 14, 2012 at 4:31 pm

    My wife just quit her wedding planning business. For her she experienced the burn out of being a working boss.. Her main problem was her inability to let go.. so wanting to be everywhere and touch everything caught up with her. I on the other hand, love delegating and working on the issues from the top down. So, I will not be quitting real estate any time soon 🙂

  • Parvinder @Readtoawake October 15, 2012 at 7:04 am

    I completely agree with you that being an entrepreneur is hard work and there are lot of responsibilities that you should handle all by yourself. It’s a great advice to leave when you don’t enjoy anymore what you do.

  • Brick By Brick Investing | Marvin October 20, 2012 at 12:47 am

    Great article! As an entrepreneur myself there are a laundry lists of things you do that aren’t publicized during marketing campaigns to “Become Your Own Boss.” Thank you for your transparency!

  • Jeff November 5, 2012 at 10:45 am

    Great post. Although things have slowed a bit for me I just consider it a little bump in the road and use the extra time to redouble efforts. As well as exploring new ideas.