When to Call it Quits at Your Startup

Everything ends. Not to be pessimistic, but not everyone is cut out to be an entrepreneur. And, unfortunately, the last person who learns this is the entrepreneurs themselves. I've seen a current of articles on this topic lately, so I wanted to weave some of their points together to help you out if you're feeling underwater and too prideful to flail about for a life preserver.

Well, there are a few schools of thought on this. First of all, ask yourself: "Am I willing to walk away from this idea? Is it really that great?"

If you hesitate to answer this or can even imagine a potential escape route, then you have no business even running a startup. That advice comes from marketing evangelist/Twitter guru Laura Fitton of Pistachio Consulting in an interview with GenConnect.

Other reasons to quit your startup, from Greenhorn Connect, a Boston entrepreneur hub: you don't like talking to people, you like nights and weekends off, you're stubborn to a fault or you're not passionately obsessed with your idea.

Another flip of this is, say, you're working for an entrepreneur and thinking of quitting there. Kathy Ver Eecke's always entertaining startup blog Working For Wonka had a post on this topic, and in her experience, she says that if you're thinking of leaving, "the door will most likely lock behind you… to an entrepreneur, the company is their baby… you were a trusted family member and you've just insulted the family."

Makes sense. But the person who started it all up obviously has more at stake than anyone who comes in to work for it. There's less shame in admitting the idea just isn't working. Entrepreneur Ryan Carson, the founder and CEO of Treehouse, blogged about this very topic not long ago where he details exactly why some of his startups failed and when he realized the "cash-flow models showing how we'd be doing millions of revenue… was a fantasy."

Don't be afraid to admit you've failed. It's very often the first step closer to becoming a success. 

David Wolinsky is a freelance writer and a lifelong Chicagoan. In addition to currently serving as an interviewer-writer for Adult Swim, he's also a columnist for EGM. He was the Chicago city editor for The Onion A.V. Club where he provided in-depth daily coverage of this city's bustling arts/entertainment scene for half a decade. When not playing video games for work he's thinking of dashing out to Chicago Diner, Pizano's, or Yummy Yummy. His first career aspirations were to be a game-show host.

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