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Sometimes the best advice just isn’t that great to hear. It’s really fun to plan for the times when everything is working perfectly… but sometimes things just don’t go how you want them to.

This might not be the most popular topic… and it certainly isn’t the most fun — but it’s absolutely essential.

You need to know when it’s time to move on… and that’s what this video is all about — how to make the best of those uncomfortable situations.

Please leave a comment below and tell me what you think…

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61 Replies to “When Is It Time To Quit?”

  1. Incredibly timely video. I’m about to open cart in 2 days and it’s not looking hot. I may have to cut bait on this product.

  2. I got a lot out of this episode and it’s so true: we never want to quit things that we’ve invested time and money into.

    But sometimes, that is what needs to be done. (However difficult it is).

    I think it’s important to constantly be reviewing projects etc and whether things are going to plan.

    And finally, let’s remember the great saying: “The definition of insanity is to carry on doing the same thing with no results”.

  3. Thanks for this, Jeff! I appreciate this video, especially the notion that we are not failures if something just doesn’t turn out right. I guess the really tough part is to know exactly when are supposed to cut bait. I know there’s no formula and often it will be a gut feeling vs. a completely rational decision. Important nonetheless to keep in the back of our heads.
    As I prepare for my first launch ever in a few months, it will be intersting to see/feel this process play out in real time and a real way for me.

  4. Another useful lesson, Jeff, thanks! It’s an easy trap to fall into, especially as everything we do is aimed at establishing our position of authority, or expertise. I try to follow your posture of complete authentic transparency, and admission that you are forever a student in addition to being a teacher. My motto: share the knowledge I have gained; don’t be afraid to ask when I don’t know; be a perpetual student – permanent beta. Thanks for being an inspiration, Jeff.

  5. Thank you for this Jeff. Came at the perfect time. We’re not failures if we cut bait! You can almost say, “I’ve figured out a way for this NOT to work.” I’ll echo Matt & Irek above — what signs do we look for to say, it’s time to move on?

  6. Heléna Kurçab

    Reply

    Incredible that this should arrive today, Jeff just a few days after I had made a decision to walk away and had actually journaled it using the same words you did.

    I had concluded that I had been continuing to “throw good money (and time) after bad”, because of thinking I ‘shouldn’t’ waste the investment. I made the decision to forget the investment that was actually hindering me from moving forward with my business and instead do the stuff I know so as to recover the investment.

    Following that decision, I feel so much lighter and more productive. Came to terms with the fact that I wasn’t stupid or hopeless or lazy. I was simply consciously ‘shoulding’ about stuff that was not useful, while my subconscious, which knows better, was protesting strongly.

    I always look forward to your Sunday Sensibleness, Jeff.

    Thank you.

  7. I’m in this boat right now, fishing, but not catching anything. I am definitely stewing over this very topic in my fledgling photography sales business. I would think, unless you are very well known or have a large following already, anything is likely to take a long time to get going. I seem to recall that you should give any new business 2-3 years to be profitable.

  8. This is a confirmation I have been praying for. I knew I needed to focus my efforts. After watching and learning about building my business and platform but I just wanted the focus to be my choosing.
    The thing is even with only 13 blog posts and 40 likes total the vast majority of attention focused on one topic. 3/4 of the comments I received were on one post. So maybe it’s a little premature but I may as well give them what they want, mature my writing voice and save the other ideas for later.
    Thanks!

  9. I enjoyed this vlog Jeff. Relevant advice for business owners, entrepreneurs, corporate executives and people stuck in the wrong career. Each of us should evaluate what we’re are doing, and if what we’re doing is not working, or not making a difference in terms of goals and objectives, then cease that action, and move on to actions that will bear fruit, and bring us a bountiful harvest.

  10. Jeff I appreciate your video so much, it’s not that it’s the first time hearing these concepts but the reminder is valid, sometimes we are beating ourselves up about what to do with your business and even our lives.

    I am personally struggling with what to do to get my life on a different track. …I have never given up and I have tried several things but I am now 36 and still haven’t attained what I am going after actually quite the contrary….

    Jeff on the topic of letting something go. ..should you ever let go of your dream of being your own boss and just settle for a job and whatever life that gives you?

  11. Thanks, Jeff! This is just the medicine that I needed this morning. I was completely bashed on a social media site because of a post which I thought would be very helpful and informative for the community. In fact, I was asked to leave the private group. Wow! The information in the post was intended to inform and help. In the past, my posts have been praised and appreciated. I graciously left the group after communicating with the site admininstrator. It was time to “cut bait.” Thanks, again.

  12. It is like trading in the stock or commodity market. (I was an exchange member and floor trader for 17 years.)You must have a stop loss order – know when it is time to quit. Reminds me of the TV program Shark Tank when the presenter is advised he has a nice hobby, but it is not a money-making business and it is time to move on.

  13. Hi Jeff,

    Love your authenticity and humility. I’ve been following you for a few years now, and I appreciate your generosity of spirit with all your videos. I loved this one – I think it’s something many people struggle with – how do you know when to walk away. Your three questions were the biggest aha for me personally: what’s wrong here, am I going to be able to turn this around, do I have a great plan for turning it around. This to me was the crux of the whole thing. There are those who give up a little too quickly, and then there are those like me who never run out of hope, even when we should. I think this stuff comes really naturally to you, and you’re a pro at it. I’d love to hear more on your thoughts around your three questions. Thanks, Jeff, and all the best to you!

  14. Great video Jeff. I remember one of my best mentors telling me when I was really frustrated about something not working, “when you find yourself in a hole, stop digging.”

    It is hard to walk away but it often leads to the next best thing. Thanks for the reminder.

  15. As always Jeff, your wisdom is on-spot! I find watching you every Sunday morning is my gift for the week. My “when to stop or cut bait” relates to knowing that this journey is definitely a marathon not a sprint and my own inner knowing that directs me in tough decisions. Thanks so much for your wisdom!

  16. Jeff,

    What is the criteria that you used with the product in the past that you “cut bait” on? When do you know it’s time to go? It’s interesting to hear that often times people don’t change course quickly enough. I fear quitting too early, which probably means that I don’t quit early enough.

    Thanks,
    Cecilia

  17. I’m not great at picking my head up and evaluating how well my results are going, I’ll admit that. I’m getting better and loved the video reminder.
    I do think it’s important to remember that there’s a difference between a goal and a path. If the path isn’t working to get to the goal, then walk away to find another path or find a mentor to help you see what’s not working, but never give up on the goal unless you decide it wasn’t where you wanted to go in the first place. Three feet from gold and all.

  18. That’s a great topic and I ask myself that question often. While I agree with everything you said, there’s always counter examples of people who, for example, wrote a book, were turned down by 70 publishers and when number 71 said yes, they ended up on the New York Times Bestsellers list. (That’s Michale Hyatt’s story). So, it’s hard to find where that line in the sand is telling you it’s time to move on. But I think you provided a great clue when you talked about emotional bankruptcy. When you’re feeling like the idea is bringing you more pain than joy, especially if it affects your livelihood and your relationship with people you care about and care about you, this is a sure sign that there had to be a better idea out there.

  19. Great video, Jeff. As I contemplate my ineffective habits and lack of business growth, I am faced with this same question. Timely and superior content as always.

  20. Thank You, my Friend. I don’t think this is ever an easy message to hear. Even more difficult to implement, whether in one’s busines or personal life. That makes it a very important message to share. I needed to be reminded of this today. I appreciate the gentleness and kindness in which you delivered it.
    With much gratitude,
    Debi

  21. This is why I enjoy so much learning from you. It thanks wisdom and humility to recognize in front of everybody when something did not work out the way we expected. Great video Jeff! Thanks for the valuable lesson.

  22. Jeff, I am alive now listen you in Brasil. Very great this time. Congratulations to you and Érico.

  23. I was reading some comments below and I guess that knowing the difference between when being persistent and when quitting is the Key here. The key is to know when to quit, and when to go further than the road….

    Thinking aloud I would say that I would never quit before I had learned a lesson in failing , before I sensed that what I was going to loose staying on the game outweighed what I would loose quitting.

    Thank you for making us reflect Jeff, on this subject and for allowing me to change Humankind every day!

  24. David Woody

    Reply

    Great words for today, Jeff. Too often we get stuck with the mentality where we have to see something through until the very end. Rarely are we blessed by others, or do we bless ourselves to stop what we’re doing and move to something else.

  25. Thanks jeff, finding myself pondering this topic a lot lately…
    What if I am more than ready to cut bait but my partner is fully set on fishing?

  26. This about it everyday lately… Then I read another success story and I realize that my vision has to be tempered by the reality of the market and the amount of time/energy I’ve actually put into the project. I like hearing your message, Jeff. It’s another ingredient in the recipe of this project of mine.

  27. And this great advice applies equally powerfully when it comes to moving on from a business that has served you well in the past but no longer gives you enough fulfillment or takes up time that you want to spend concentrating on meeting your new business goals. Thanks for posting this, Jeff.

  28. Thanks Jeff for your usual brilliant, practical insights. Here’s another thing: when you make your business plan for a project you should do a “pre-mortem” examination. In other words, what can go so wrong that I have to quit?. Forewarned is forearmed!
    Tom L

  29. Sometimes we need to close a door so that another door can open for us. Thanks for the video share. It’s a big “note to self”!

  30. In September of this year we walked away from a three year venture we had over $1,000,000.00 invested in. That was the toughest thing I’ve ever had to do. Not only did we walk away from a huge investment but over 50 people lost a job. the biggest thing for me to overcome is to stop looking back. My hind sight keeps speaking to me. It is time to pick up and move on. Thanks for letting us know we are not alone.

  31. Hey Jeff,
    Thanks for addressing such an important concept. One of the things I personally struggle with when something isn’t working is knowing whether I should just “cut the bait” or simply CHANGE the way I’m approaching things. Could it be that the idea is good and the product or service is needed and wanted, but it’s the way I’m going about it that could be sabotaging me? I’d love your insight on this.

    BTW I’m a new member of Launch Club, and we just had our first call with Jon — he gave me some great feedback about setting up JV partners. I’m looking forward to taking things to the next level with the help of the Launch Club team!

    Melissa Koerner

  32. We had to “cry uncle”, and as soon as we did, the flow began again. It was hard to stop a project we had poured too much time and money into…because it was a good thing, a service- but it was not working. when we finally said, we quit…we were rewarded. We could not ignore the signs.

  33. As a former project manager, I’ve seen projects go nowhere forever because people didn’t have the guts to stop them. For me, it’s also about asking the question, “What else can be done? What is the problem?” Before it’ s time.

    Thanks Jeff!

  34. Jeff you did a great job on a topic that none of us wants to hear. I especially liked your reminder, that if we work on something, it doesn’t work out and we have to move on is that we are not a failure. That happened to me in the past year and I feel like I am still picking up the pieces with lots of self doubt. I will keep your words in my head and my heart so that I can work on my self compassion

  35. Jeff you are very bold to even take on such a subject matter. When I first read your headline, I thought you were talking about an exit strategy or succession plan. You obviously are on point and on time! In addition, I am looking at the fact that we are going into a new year. With this in mind, I do not want to take UN productive habits or activities into the new year. I am now faced with making a major decision and that takes on two things to consider. One is I do not want to let down many folk who have believed and supported me by using the services that I provide. The other thing is I was set up be someone that has deeper pockets than me who have defamed me to get what I have established. So, I have decided to pick my battles and those who are watching will see just why things turned out as they have. With this in mind I always put integrity above profit.
    So, Your message was timely and confirming just what I have decided. There is a quote that goes shake the dust from our feet and keep moving! Good Job! Gary Cross- Brunswick, Georgia

  36. Now on the flip side I have been known to pull out after having enormous success as well! I more time that not do win at what I do so therefore I sometimes TAKE THE MONEY AND RUN!

  37. I totally understand! I had to do that one year ago and now my life is so much better! You can’t beat a dead horse!

  38. Great video Jeff. I put a lot of effort into a quick launch for a corporate art directory that I’ve been editing publishing for nearly 30 years. Sales have dropped off terribly during the past 5-6 years and I thought quick launch at 50% for a 4 day period would help bring in some money. but one person bought it! I’ve been trying to decide whether people simply aren’t interested in the informaiton anymore, that it was holiday, whatever….but continued to spend time to try to pull it out because I need the money so much right now — and I don’t like to quit. So you video is good advice!
    Thanks

  39. Jeff, (and community)

    First thanks for the id and the time and effort you put into these!

    Secondly if I could get opinion on this subject. I have been working for a friend at his startup, but it after have a
    Conversation with him last week, come to find out that I’m going to have to cut bait and move on…but how soon? I don’t have anything solid just yet to move too, and have been working on my own thing on the side for a couple of months.

    But I do need to move on I think cause it’s costing me money to work there…

  40. Thank you for sharing this message, Jeff! Yes, I’ve written about this topic because I feel that we’ve been taught to think that if we give up on an idea, we’re “losers.” But we aren’t. It’s okay to let go and learn from the experience!

  41. Randy Niederer

    Reply

    Jeff, this is so true in large dollar sales scenarios. It can at times be difficult to walk away because of all the time and effort that you have put into the deal even though you know that you have no chance of winning the deal.

    Thanks for the reminder.

  42. Several years ago I learned from a straightforward source that if you have a losing investment, stop waiting for it to bounce back. The emotional beating isn’t worth it, just sell it for whatever pittance it may be worth, and move on. Hard advice to swallow. So I am at a crossroads with my career today, at the funny wobbling point of 5 years when I tend to get magpie disorder and switch to something more sparkly and attractive (and away from failure). I have money invested that went nowhere. Not a single bite. I’ve made no headway; in fact, am slipping frighteningly backward. Here is my black hole: is it time to walk away? Or am I ready to bail right before the miracle happens? That’s where the void is – I just don’t know how to know. :/

  43. Thank you Jeff. The timing for this is perfect. I have spent $10s of thousands on a project that is giving me doubts. I will have to have a long conversation about where to go next.

  44. Thanks Jeff for this one. I tend to be like a dog with a bone with any project. I just never give up on it. I can become a bit “blinkered” and not take in new information. I’ve taken this to heart and will remember it. Cutting bait early is better than wasting more time.

  45. So true. Thank you for reminding me how important it is to let go. Very timely. 🙂

  46. Hi Jeff,

    I was at your presentation in São Paulo yesterday and was amazed with your sympathy and power to motivate people change their lives. I’m sure that every one out of the 2500 people in that auditorium went crazy about launching and willing to move on with their lives.

    Thank you and Erico to change my life already even before my first launch!

    Cheers!

    Elton

  47. Jeff,
    I really appreciate the power of what you offer regularly. You provide guidance and content that guides strategically yet keeps people grounded in the things that matter most. Thank you!

  48. Tina Travis

    Reply

    The Leaves rustling in the wind was very timely.
    Thank Jeff for sharing your knowledge and wisdom and business
    Skills.

  49. Thank you for sharing this message, Jeff! I appreciate this video, especially the notion that we are not failures if something just doesn’t turn out right. I do think it’s important to remember that there’s a difference between a goal and a path. If the path isn’t working to get to the goal, then walk away to find another path or find a mentor to help you see what’s not working, but never give up on the goal unless you decide it wasn’t where you wanted to go in the first place. Three feet from gold and all.

  50. Hi Jeff,

    I really appreciate your calmness and your honesty. In a year that has had many challenges, its a great reminder of how to address disappointment with grace and prepare for the next move forward.

    Thanks again,

    Alex.

  51. Great advice. Thanks, Jeff! My husband and I opened cart on our seed launch, but we’re going to postpone everything until after the new year. There’s actually more interest than we expected and new avatars identified themselves! The timing is the issue. So we’re going to listen and aim for after the holidays. This will give us more time to grow the list which grew from 0 to 90 in just a couple of weeks. So thanks for letting us know it’s ok to stop and readjust!

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