Should you quit your startup or keep going? This is one of the saddest posts that I’m writing, as it signals defeat of my startup and also personal failure. But this is an informed-kind of defeat, and it is an important decision to make, because you don’t want to waste your time and your life on a startup that is essentially dead or part of the “walking dead”.
It Feels Hard to Quit A Startup You Built from Nothing
Recently, I’ve sold my startup business operations in Latin America. I’ve had to let it go. I’ve also chosen to wind down to a slower pace the operations in Australia. This is so hard to write about, and my heart and soul feels so burdened just by writing about it.
Because I spent the past 3 years or so building the startup with my all: My blood, sweat and tears. And now I have chosen to let it go. If you’re a startup founder or social entrepreneur who has built something from scratch and later have let it go, you can empathise with me.
5 Reasons Why You May Want to Quit Your Startup Now
If you’re pondering about potentially letting go of your startup too, either to sell it, stop it and move on to something else, then here are 5 reasons why you may choose to quit. I’m writing this because, like me, you may be so internally torn about whether or not to do it. Hopefully this helps you
1) Too much stress/unhappiness
Entrepreneurs and founders are often portrayed as heroic, unbeatable figures. But we’re human too, with flaws and feelings.
If you feel that your startup is bringing more negative stress that makes you feel depressed and screws up your body and mind (not in a positive way that challenges you to be better), then it may be time to let it go.
This was how I was feeling with my startup operations in Latin America. Investors were taking our startup on a different direction to what I wanted, and I felt so conflicted and unhappy.
We felt it was better to start fresh and cut ties with that investor than to keep going – in order to stay true to ourselves.
2) Not profitable
If your startup has been operating for a number of years, and you STILL have not figured out how to make it profitable or sustainable to keep it going and growing at a scalable pace, then it may be time to let it go.
As much as my startup helped thousands of people, and helped raise more than half a million dollars in fundraising to help families with their medical bills, it never reached a level of profitability and scale that could take it to the next level globally.
3) Too much competition
As you’ve been working on your startup, you may also find brutal competition. You would be fighting an uphill battle against the competition, and that’s what we found in the overly crowded crowdfunding space.
4) Better idea
Your current startup may also be involved in a relatively small market or a market that has several disadvantages. As you work on it, you may actually discover other markets that are much larger and easier to penetrate.
5) No passion
Finally, another strong mark of whether you should quit is if you have lost your passion for the business. Are you dragging yourself to work?
I loved the work of our startup because we impacted so many lives. I just didn’t like the fact that our investors in Latin America were forcing us into the wrong direction for it, and were focused too much on the short term profits rather than the long term value that the service could provide. It made me feel so depressed, and I began to slowly lose my drive and passion for it.
Is Selling a Startup Success?
Some would say that selling a startup would be a success, but for me, the startup was such a personal expression of myself that I wanted to grow it and help much more people than I did.
So, while it was great to sell it, I felt there was still so much more that we could have done with it, and so much more people I wanted to impact and help. In that manner, I feel it didn’t reach its full potential – or perhaps, I feel that I myself didn’t reach my full potential yet with it.