How to Know When It's Quitting Time

When you ARE your business, it's hard to know when to stop and when to keep going. You are committed to growing your business, but sometimes more striving does not yield results. Sometimes you work yourself to a point of diminishing returns.

But how do you know when to keep pushing or when (and how) to stop, take stock of where you are, determine what else you're willing to commit to, and then (with a sense of accomplishment rather than failure) walk away?

Last week, I met with one of my clients who sells real estate. He's been in the business for a little under a year, and he knows it's a "long game."

He's not plagued by unrealistic expectations or constant questions of wondering if it's going to work out. He's committed.

He's doing the work and putting in the effort every day. And every hour that the phone doesn't ring, he's spinning.

It's not a real worry, but rather anxiousness. 

You know that feeling, don't you? It's the one that makes you turn around after you've left the house to see if you unplugged the iron. It's a nagging sensation that sounds like this: "Have I done all that I can? Is there anything else I can offer, show, do, or know to move my business along?"

These are the questions that keep you at your desk even when your to-do list is done. These are the questions that keep you from taking a weekend away or turning off your phone for a few hours to truly connect with someone you love.

These are challenges for anyone with an identify business. You know you have an identity business if how you make money is based (almost completely) on who you are. When you work in this space day in and day out, the line between making money and being yourself can get pretty blurry.

As you think about your week ahead, why not take a minute to consider your goals for each day and what you'll consider to be enough?

I asked my client to focus more on his daily work practices. Once they are complete each day, consider his work done for that day. If an opportunity comes up that is directly revenue-related, he should pursue it.

Otherwise, he is free to focus on the other essential elements of a successful identity business: connecting with others, pursuing your passions, and honing your expertise.

Once your daily work practice is done, take time to remember why you wanted to work for yourself in the first place.

Did you crave the freedom to take your kids to the park in the middle of the afternoon? Were you hoping to spend time at your favorite coffee shop doodling in your art journal? When was the last time you actually took the day to play golf? 

If you're interested in creating a daily work practice to keep you focused and ward off the point of diminishing returns, here are three tips:

  1. Make a list of all the things you need to do daily to stay connected with your sphere of influence, your referral partners, your prospects, and your clients. This may include sending handwritten notes, reaching out on social media, drafting a blog post, completing follow up tasks, and making sure your clients feel connected.
  2. Set aside time each day to work on these tasks. Be realistic about how much time you need and make sure you have the right tools and supplies on hand to get the job done. If you are a morning person, get this done early!
  3. Set a weekly push goal that you can work on as well. Maybe you've been procrastinating on launching your blog or setting up commerce for your website. Identifying one push goal per week along with your daily work practice sets a rhythm for making your big dreams a reality.

Remember, your daily work practice is non-negotiable, but not all inclusive. Each day, you'll also actively work your projects, your existing client relationships, and handle issues that pop up. But your daily work practice is designed to keep the engine of your business running - both in the slow times and the busy ones.

What are your daily work practices or your push goal for the week? Share in the comments below.