How to Quit. When Throwing in the Towel is the Right Decision.

Quitting is quite difficult for stubborn intelligent people. They will try over and over to get what they want and sometimes this is the wrong move (they just don’t have the right talents/skills). This is because they have a large ego. The two fastest ways to take down your own ego is to 1) quit something and admit it wasn’t for you and 2) to try new things… Becoming a beginner again. We’ll focus on the first part since the “self-improvement industry” is full of lists and challenges to get out of your “comfort zone”.

Before talking about things you can quit, we’ll start with things you’re not allowed to quit. You’re not allowed to quit when it comes to your *health or your finances*. Having tip-top health at all times is a pre-requisite and when we say you can’t “quit your finances” we mean you cannot lose control of your money. If you find that your health is suffering or if you find that your net worth is falling (to the point where you may have to work again)… then this is an emergency. If your health or your finances are in disarray this is a nuclear problem. You’re going to solve the issue by throwing all the resources (*time*) at both issues… solve it fast. In short, you’re not allowed to quit if something terrible happens to your health or your finances since you don’t have a choice.

Decreasing the Chances of Failure

Step 1) Make a Decision: Before doing any task you’re going to ask if you want to be the best at it. The reality is that most tasks do not require you to be *the best*. Being in the top 20% is more than good enough for the vast majority of tasks. As an example, you don’t need to be in the 1% when it comes to music, sports, art or languages. If you decide that you want to learn to play an instrument or speak a different language… This is something that can be done on your free time and will never require you to *quit* outright. These activities are like the electricity in your home, simply running in the background being accessed and used when you need it.  

Step 2) Choose the Use Case: Once you’ve filtered through hundreds of tasks, you’ll find a handful where you say “I could be the best at this” (again the best being top 1%). The key question is… what is the purpose. If you’re trying to become the best language teacher in the world… there isn’t much value there. Even if you learned 10-20 languages, there are programs that are sold to teach languages… and on top of that Artificial Intelligence will be able to translate paragraphs and books in one language into another language within seconds. Therefore you need to have a specific use case for being in the 1% in the activity. Being in the 1% in eating contests? Not worth the time. Being in the top 1% in terms of sales? Absolutely worth the time. Being in the top 1% in a sport? Could be worth the time… So on and so forth. All of the items that come to your mind need a *definitive* purpose. Remember, you may want to be in the top 1% for some activity that doesn’t generate any $$$ and that is 100% fine. Just don’t fool yourself into saying you want to be in the top 1% for something with no market when the *end-goal* was to make money.

Step 3) Choose Your Edge: The best part about regular people is how they are hyper competitive in every single area of life… a waste of time and resources. If you’re truly differentiated you don’t really need to “compete” you simply have a specific edge that you don’t give away. As an example, trying to compete in a commodity market with sales tactics won’t work since you’ll be eaten alive by Amazon. You’re free to “compete” but you’ll be swimming up stream all day and all night long. Trying to compete with services can work since emotional connections are difficult to replicate and attempting to compete with a brand new process can 100% work as well. Remember to choose a specific competitive edge that will not be easy to replicate. Once that’s set in stone, when the standard competition heats up, you’ll have an edge while maintaining the ability to monitor your peers for new ideas. Without a specific edge, there is no way to make it to the top since you’re fighting for the same pie so to speak.

Step 4) Tweak 1,000 Times:  People say you can’t become creative and that you’re born with it or you’re not. Naturally, we don’t think that makes much sense. Creativity can mean a lot of different things. It can mean a new sales process, a new marketing angle, a tweak to an existing product and much more. Think about the car… while Karl Benz created the very first car (a German man), Germany does not have the largest number of car companies and it does not have the largest automobile manufacturer. The point? You don’t need to be first, you just need to carve out a slightly different version and a new market will open up for you (Efficiency provides recent examples).

Step 5) Stare into the Abyss: This is the most brutal part. We can’t emphasize enough… when you have done steps 1-4 correctly, you’re going to have a firmly held belief that your idea will work. Since we focus on cash flow positive type businesses, the good news is that you’ll know if you can succeed or not within a year or two. You’ll stare into the abyss for at least 1-2 years, this means going through step 4 over and over again… researching, trying to fix and implementing new ideas. As long as your numbers are going higher every single month (compare equivalent year-over-year growth) then you’re going to stick to this plan for the foreseeable future.

Step 6) Time to Quit… Not Yet… Whenever someone says “we sell our winners”, it means they built something that they can’t seem to grow anymore. No one in their right mind would sell any business that is growing and outpacing their opportunity cost. As a mathematical example, if a business does $10K a month and the seller says “it worked so we want to sell it” you know that is a lie unless the owner found a way to make more than $10K a month (and grow that number doing something else). You never sell a growing business that is cash flow positive unless you have something better to do. Before quitting any rational person would: 1) try and outsource the maintenance work, 2) try to cross pollinate the brand/product into another category and 3) adjust their advertising strategy. If all three fail, then it is time to consider quitting….

Time to Wave the White Flag

Step 7) Find the Value Proposition: Before you click sell, you want to make sure you can replicate your success elsewhere. Notice… We make the assumption that it is *practically* impossible to fail at your first money making venture. This is because we take a different approach to starting out (as outlined in Efficiency). Since you’re going to make some money, you want to figure out  *why you made that money*. How do you figure out how you made your money? You replicate the exact same process onto an ancillary product. This is also why people become “serial entrepreneurs” they know what worked and are able to replicate it. Lets think about this… Before you click sell on your “failed” project that makes say ~$2,000 a month… You’re going to build a similar site to $2,000 a month in a shorter time frame. Take your existing business model and overlay it onto an ancillary product. If it took you 3 years to get there, get it done in a year or two. If you can do this… it means you know what your unique edge was. (yes the first idea will start to suffer but that is fine)

Step 8) Last Step Before Calling it Quits: Go ahead and place your website up for sale… See what type of people bid on the asset. Do you get a lot of offers? Do they seem to come in fast? Are they all from a specific type of buyer (internet searches are your friend)? If so there is always a sucker in the room and in this case it would be *YOU*. If offers come in fast or from a specific type of person… it means something is seriously wrong with your website and it’s time to revisit the business and talk to people in the field. Find the expertise (of the buyer) and say your website is no longer for sale. Pay a $2,000-3,000 consulting fee to get a similar person (not the same buyer) to look at your site and fix it. If they still can’t do it well… Then you’re fine to sell!

Step 9) Call it Quits: By the time you’re calling it quits you’re in fantastic shape. 1) you can replicate your success, 2) you can feel good about being unable to scale your idea and 3) your absolute worst case scenario involves you churning out websites over and over again for a profit. The same old saying “build until you hit the knee in the curve then sell” is the model for people with a specific knowledge niche. Go back to selling your website and monitor its health over the next year. This is an important last step once you hit sell. Chances are… there is always someone smarter buying (if it’s your first successful site), so by following the changes in 12 months you’ll know what they did to improve it (someone solved your problem for you!)

Step 10) Back to the Drawing Board: Lets review, by the time you’ve called it quits you’ve learned 1) what worked in the first place, 2) how to replicate another basic version of the success and 3) how to monitor all of the people who were interested in purchasing your “failed” idea. Notice… even if you end up finding a way to outsource the task and keep a thousand or so in cash flow, we suggest quitting and selling it. This creates a real education. By selling it, you’ll see if the person was able to fix it and that knowledge will be worth significantly more than a couple of thousand dollars a month in semi-passive income.

Concluding Remarks: As you can see, quitting isn’t that bad if you do it intelligently. When you quit you’ll be left with more tools. These tools will then lead to more income in the future. If someone wants to start a failed idea (life advice from a 19 y/o traveling the world for example) then they didn’t do steps 1-4 and deserve what they get… a mediocre life. Starting something that is flawed from the beginning (scale, no emotion/value add and easily replicated) shouldn’t happen. Besides… If you really have no ideas at all there is always sales! Sell a product for someone else.

For the newer readers… if you’re interested in learning more about making money, staying in shape and doing so without choking off your personality… You’ll probably like Efficiency, Get Rich Without Giving Up Your Life. The benefits include:  1) How to get into the top 10% physically with one hour a day of exercise; 2) How to eat correctly to be in the top 10%; 3) How to figure out what type of intelligence you have; 4) How to use this type of intelligence to choose a career and the *right* company: Wall Street, Technology or Sales; 5) How to start an online business and sell (the basics and all you need to start); 6) Clear outline of how to create and start an online product business with correct copywriting; 7) How to go into affiliate marketing if someone wants to take a stab at the competitive space; 8) Overview of how affiliate marketing operates and how to do it, 9) How to do all of this and maintain a normal social life (avoid choking off your personality).

Comments

  1. Matias Page says

    Wow! Loved this point particularly:

    “By selling it, you’ll see if the person was able to fix it and that knowledge will be worth significantly more than a couple of thousand dollars a month in semi-passive income.”

      • RE Guy says

        An education cannot be given, it has to be taken.

        It’s about time and attention, not information, which is why it’s a question of opportunity cost (what else you could have gotten or done with your time and attention) instead of information (because A. information is decentralized with the internet and B. you’ll never convert that information to knowledge until you spend the time and attention applying it. Otherwise it’s just theory)

    • MBplayboy says

      This. I usually tell people the same (or also that they should chase bigger $ bizs) and they become too emotionally tied to something “that already makes $”. Yeah, minimun wage employees make $ too, moron. Scarcity mindset kills.

  2. Ayn Rand says

    Would be an interesting question when it’s time to leave AM for most high-level people… I often think about how it’s probably more lucrative to have a real biz without all the liability.

    At what price is that worth quitting? Who knows

  3. 1st Yr Analyst says

    Another excellent piece as usual.

    Currently attempting to devise a strategy whereby I could utilize a the downtime I have in the office to scale up an online biz, and hopefully it will result in the bitter-sweet feeling of arriving at the moment where I’d have to choose whether to sell or stay the course!

    Definitely looking forward to reading Efficiency in order to find some actionable advice on how to get the ball rolling in this endeavor. Additionally, I am particularly excited for the diet advice. Will be highly value-add since I sit on my ass 12+ hrs/day at the office.

    Cheers.

  4. Anonymous says

    I hope this isn’t foreshadowing as far as this blog goes -_- please let us know what your next project will be if you sell this thing.

  5. Ragnar Lothbrook says

    Should products be profitable from the get-go? We are selling a high end beauty product and it takes a few re-orders to make back our advertising outlay. So far we have been holding back on spending on advertising since it takes about a year to break even on every customer. Of course after that first year if we still have the customer, then its all gravy.

    Love the book BTW. Just getting started.

  6. Shine says

    Hi WSP,

    I found your blog after reading your primer on TMT and Healthcare sectors. Have really enjoyed this blog and the content – thank you!

    I was looking into Efficiency but was puzzled whether it is more suited for those who have not been following the blog and looking for an organized, condensed way to learn, or if it contains new content that would be helpful for someone who has read the blog as well.

    Thanks!

    • Wall Street Playboys says

      Vast majority is new content we wouldn’t give away for free.

      If you’ve read all of the posts they some of it will certainly be repetitive (15% or so) but that’s due to organization more than anything else

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.