First Person: Knowing When to Give Up on a Business Idea

Yahoo Contributor Network

I love working for myself. Venturing out as a writer was something I had planned for years before actually doing it. However, in my own mind, I envisioned myself writing books that would bring in a steady income, and that was it. What my endeavor evolved into though was much more than that. In fact, it grew into something that was like small business ownership as I moved further into freelance work. There were various customers with whom to deal, income streams to maintain, marketing and self-promotion to handle, and business opportunities to explore. And in the process, my writing of books was pushed to the back burner in an effort to maintain a steady income.

It was a tough decision to focus more upon income than dreams, but I've done it, knowing full well that sometimes I have to know when to call it quits on a business idea or venture.

Paying Attention to Others

While I don't tend to live my life based upon the vast majority of others, since if I did, I probably wouldn't be a self-employed, work-at-home dad, I do tend to pay attention to the advice and feedback of others. While I don't always follow this advice or heed the feedback, I do look at such input as a valuable gauge of the direction in which I'm heading at times.

For example, while I wanted to write books initially (and still do to a point), I have to pay attention to the feedback I'm getting. Not being able to find an agent or publisher for one book could be a fluke. Even two books might not be accepted by the general public. But after four books with no ready takers, it tells me that I just might not have what it takes when it comes to this particular dream. It's not something I like, and it's hard to accept, but sometimes being realistic and listening to what others are telling me (whether blatantly or subtly) is the best way to bring a harsh reality crashing home and can help me cut my losses on a particular endeavor.

Being Honest with Myself

As much as I love to envision myself as a number one bestselling author, the odds aren't that great. This doesn't mean that it won't ever happen, and it doesn't mean that I'm giving up on writing books completely, but being a realist helps to move on and explore other things in the meantime so that I can hedge my bets and develop other opportunities.

I have to be honest with myself when it comes to money and business. Dreams are dreams, but losing too much time and money developing dreams that may not be realistic or profitable can be the lost opportunity to explore other dreams. Admitting that I'm a hard worker with good ideas, but not necessarily the writing abilities to develop those ideas into sellable novels helps me cut my losses and move onto other areas in which I might be more successful and profitable.

Looking at Returns

I love writing books, and as a hobby, I will continue to do so. I certainly won't be devoting as much time to it as I used to though. Spending hundreds or even thousands of hours to develop a book that never sells is again, a hobby, not a business. When putting such items on the Internet only results in a few dollars of residual income a month at best, my return on time investment is shockingly small and is yet another indicator that it is time to call it quits, or to at least set writing books at a significantly lower priority level on my business idea development list so that I can explore other options.

*Note: This was written by a Yahoo! contributor. Do you have a personal finance story that you'd like to share? Sign up with the Yahoo! Contributor Network to start publishing your own finance articles.

More From This Contributor:

Preparing to Publish My First E-book

Why My Blog Doesn't Make Any Money

How I Differentiate My Blog

Disclaimer:

The author is not a licensed financial professional. The information provided in this article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal or financial advice. Any action taken by the reader due to the information provided in this article is solely at the reader's discretion.

View Comments