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How to Decide When to Give Up On Your Blog, Business, or Project

This is the third podcast in a miniseries about what you need to do to find success as a blogger on online entrepreneur. The first episode was about the importance of establishing the habit of starting new things, instead of just coming up with great ideas and thinking about them. The second episode was about the importance of persisting.

Today’s episode is about how to decide whether now is the time to quit your blog, business or project. There is definitely a time to quit a project; it’s a part of life. But timing your quitting can be important! I share my own personal experience, as well as questions you can ask yourself to work out what is right for you. Stop! by Niklas Kreuzer on

In This Episode

You can listen to today’s episode above or in iTunes or Stitcher (where we’d also LOVE to get your reviews on those platforms if you have a moment). In today’s episode:

  • Inspirational quotes about the benefits of persistence
  • Why you should ask yourself if it’s time to quit
  • 4 questions to ask yourself to help you decide if it’s time to stop
  • How to decide if you should be quitting, or just slightly changing direction – and real life examples of people who have done this successfully

Further Reading and Resources for How to Decide When to Give Up On Your Blog, Business, or Project

Other episodes in this miniseries on the important things bloggers/online entrepreneurs should do to find success:

Real life examples of people who have successfully ‘pivoted’ or changed direction:

Full Transcript Expand to view full transcript Compress to smaller transcript view
Hi there and welcome to episode 90 of the ProBlogger podcast. My name’s Darren Rowse. Today, I want to talk about quitting. I think it’s actually an important thing that most bloggers and online entrepreneurs need to do at one time or another. I want to talk about how to decide whether now is the right time to quit or whether there’s a different approach that you can take in the situation that you find yourself in. You can find today’s show notes at

Let’s talk about quitting. It’s not something that really is the most uplifting topic in some ways and it’s something that a lot of people avoid really talking about. As we’ve talked about in the last podcast, persisting is something that is very common in entrepreneurial advice. This podcast really comes about because I wasn’t satisfied that the last two podcasts had it all in it.

Those of you who are joining us now might want to go back and listen to episode 88 where I talked about the most important thing online entrepreneurs need to do and that is starting. Then in episode 89, I talked about the second most important thing we need to do as entrepreneurs and that is persisting, and I told the story of the Cavanagh brothers who struck gold simply because I persisted longer than anyone else. I truly believe that those two things are just so important and as entrepreneurs, we really need to focus upon those things. We need to be starters, we need to have a mindset of starting, we need to be ‘persisters’. This is good solid advice and it’s no wonder that it features in many entrepreneurial teachings.

I found some quotes as well; I was going to share in the last episode as well. I love this one from Albert Einstein, “It’s not that I’m so smart; it’s just that I stay with problems longer.” He persists. Bill Bradley said, “Ambition is the path to success. Persistence is the vehicle you arrive in.” Marabel Morgan says, “Persistence is the twin sister of excellence. One is a matter of quality, the other is a matter of time.” There are lots of quotes that we could talk about on the topic of persistence and that’s because it’s so important.

But I do think we do need to talk about quitting. Because as I said in the last episode, if those two Cavanagh brothers, those gold miners hadn’t persisted with no results, they actually would’ve done themselves a disservice. There is a time to quit. There is a time where we find ourselves digging in the wrong spot. When should you actually give up on your blog, your business, or the projects that you’re working on? It’s a question I get asked quite a bit particularly from bloggers who’ve been at their blogs for quite a while. They’re losing some passion, or they may not be seeing the results that they want, or they feel like they want to start something else, and that’s often the time we feel disillusioned with our current projects too.

There’s definitely a time to quit a project, that’s part of life, but timing your quitting can be important too. I want to give you some questions to ask if you are in that place of wondering whether you should quit. These are four questions that I’ve asked myself before quitting and not quitting in the past as well. Hopefully, by asking these four questions, you make a better decision about whether now is the right time to quit? Now, I will say before I give you these four questions, this is just the process I go through and there may be other questions you want to throw into it. I ask myself all four questions because I see a lot of bloggers giving up because the answer to one of these questions is a negative. Let me go through them and then I’ll explain it a little bit more.

The first question that I ask is one that I suspect most people ask, “Am I enjoying it? Is this blog or is this project or is this business giving me energy? Is it something that I enjoy?” Now, obviously, that’s not just a good enough question by itself but it should be part of it. If it’s not giving you energy, if it’s sucking energy from your life, maybe that’s a sign, maybe, that you need to quit. Now, I put that in conjunction with these other questions as well, so don’t just make the decision based upon what you feel at the moment and whether you’re enjoying it at the moment.

Second question I ask myself is, “Am I good at it?” Take an objective look at the quality of what you’re doing. If you look at your blog and it’s high-quality, it’s really good, but you’re just not enjoying it, maybe you need to persist with it in some ways. This is the second question, “Are you good at it?” You may actually need to get someone else’s opinion on that as well because it’s very hard to be objective about whether you’re good at it or not.

Third question I ask myself is, “Is there demand for what I’m doing?” Think about the potential for your blog. Don’t just give up based upon the current reality of it. Think about the potential. Is there demand and is the demand growing for what you’re doing? Maybe it’s not succeeding right now because you’re just a little bit early and everyone else is about to arrive where you are. It would be such a pity to give up on your blog if in a year’s time your blog’s topic is the big thing and you would’ve been the first. “Is there demand for what you’re doing?” Or, “Is the demand shrinking?” Perhaps it’s not working because it used to be a popular thing but it’s not so popular anymore. If your blog’s a Myspace blog, a blog about how to use Myspace, maybe you missed that boat, maybe it’s time to quit. Look at the popularity of the thing that you’re writing about. Are you positioning yourself for growth?

The fourth question that I ask myself is, “Are people responding to what I’m doing?” There’s a way you need to look at the actual results. Paying attention, not only to the feedback you get, what other people are telling you, but some of those cold hard stats such as traffic, such as your earnings. If you are blogging and you’ve been blogging for 10 years now with the hope of being full time one day, and you are not making anywhere near full-time level of income then maybe that needs to inform what you should do. I’ve seen a number of bloggers who probably should have given up a number of years ago because they’ve invested in something that’s just not got any return.

The idea here is to look at, “Am I enjoying it? Am I good at it? Is there demand for what you’re doing? Are people responding to it?” As we go through those questions there’s actually another word that I would put associated with each one. The first one, am I enjoying it? This is about your energy. Are you good at it? This is about the quality. Is there demand for it? This is about potential. Are people responding to it? This is about results. The idea here is to look at your energy, the quality, potential, and the results together. Because I see a lot of people making their quitting decision based solely upon one of those factors while ignoring other potentially good signs.

For example, I see bloggers quitting just because they don’t feel like it anymore. It’s about their energy but they could be just going through a rough patch. Maybe ignoring that they’re doing something that is significant even though they don’t quite feel it at the moment. Maybe there’s huge potential just around the corner that they’re ignoring. Maybe the indications are from their readership that they are on the right track in their stats.

There is a time to quit but it might not be now. These are four questions I would ask. Now, I would say there is a time to quit but maybe instead of quitting, you need to pivot. This is the other thing that I kind of want to focus a little bit upon here, is that I would always prefer to pivot than quit. Because whatever you’ve been building over the last few months, the last year, the last decade, hopefully in that, there is at least some value that you can leverage for your next thing.

As I look at successful entrepreneurs that I’ve met over the years, there’s hardly anyone that I can think of that has had success as a result of traveling in a straight line. Success is rarely, if ever, the result of traveling in a straight line. Almost every successful entrepreneur I’ve ever met has a long history of pivoting; they changed directions over time. I believe that successful entrepreneurship is often built upon being able to relentlessly focus upon and persist with that task at hand but also simultaneously having the ability to have loose expectations and to be able to spot new opportunities as they arrive and to change direction. It’s almost a bit of a paradox there—the ability to persist but also to change direction. These are two things that you need to hold onto as an entrepreneur.

If you are at a point now where you’re feeling like you just want to quit—and maybe answering those four questions that I’ve just gone through gives you the indication that you should quit—I want to encourage you to ask one more question. Rather than just giving up, “Is there potential to pivot? To take what you’ve built so far in a different direction?” Perhaps in what you’ve already built there’s a spark of opportunity that you could leverage.

As I talk about this, I’m thinking of a blogger here in Australia, Donna Moritz. Some of you will know her, she’s got a blog called Socially Sorted, a great blog. It’s a blog that’s all about social media but particularly about visual content in social media. Now, that’s not what her blog used to be about; her blog used to be more about other aspects of social media, it was a more general social media blog–from my memory at least. It was doing okay but it was only when she realized that the content that she was writing about—visual content—that was the content that was really taking off with her readers.

She looked at her stats, she realized that that’s what she probably should be focusing upon rather than the broad topic of social media. She decided to pivot. She decided to change her blog’s focus and focused just in on that narrow segment of what she was writing about. I think it’s actually probably the stuff she enjoyed writing about the most as well. She was best about it. The quality of her work in that area was higher. She seemed to enjoy that more and people were responding to that. In answering those questions, she could very well have said, “Yeah, I’m going to give up.” But rather she decided to focus on visual content. I’ve got a post that you can read that tells that story that Donna wrote.

It’s rare to find a successful entrepreneur who’s doing exactly the same thing today that they were doing five years ago. In fact, if you are doing exactly the same thing that you were doing five years ago today, it could probably be a sign that you’re in a rut. Pivoting is a sign of life in my opinion. Maybe rather than quitting today you need to pivot.

I want to give you one last example, it’s the Buffer Social Blog. A lot of you have probably used the Buffer tool. Their blog, I love, I read it quite regularly. But do you know back in January 2011 that blog started as a Twitter tips blog? It was just focusing on Twitter tips. They realized that wasn’t getting the traction that they probably could’ve. They decided that they needed to pivot. They pivoted in late 2011—about a year later—to be a social media tips blog.

They widened their topic but again it still didn’t quite work. It still didn’t quite find its market, still didn’t get the response that it needed to. They didn’t feel like they were doing the right thing either and so they decided to pivot it and to broaden it even further. They decided to make their blog into a life hacks blog. It has lifestyle tips; it does still have some business-y kind of tips, but they found their stride when they pivoted the third time. Again, I’ll give you the further reading for that in today’s show notes where they tell that story. It took them two pivots before they found what they’re on about and perhaps you need to pivot a couple of times before you find what it is that you will have most success with too.

Let me just quickly say again, there is a time to quit, but it might be better to pivot. Some questions to ask, “Are you enjoying it? Do you have energy for it? Are you good at it? What’s the quality like of what you’re doing? Is there demand for what you’re doing? Is there potential? Are there people responding to it?” Look at the results and then before you quit ask yourself the fifth question, “Is there something in what you’re doing that perhaps you should pivot to focus upon more?”

I hope somewhere in the midst of all of that, some answers for those of you who are thinking about quitting at the moment. There’s nothing wrong with doing that but maybe the pivot is a better thing to do at the moment. I hope this has been helpful. I look forward to getting your feedback on this. Maybe there are other questions that you think maybe would be helpful for people to ask. Please leave a comment over at because I’m sure other people would benefit from your wisdom and your experience of quitting or pivoting in the past.

Also, if you’ve got any stories or examples of times that you’ve pivoted, I would love to hear those stories. I really enjoy reading that type of story. I might actually ask your permission to use that in a future keynote that I’m giving on that particular topic. Again, that’s I look forward to chatting with you in episode 91 of the ProBlogger podcast.

How did you go with today’s episode?

Have you had a time when you wanted to quit? What did you decide to do? If you chose to ‘pivot’, or change direction, what did you choose, and did it work for you? Do you have other tips or tools that helped you make your decision? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

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