We are constantly bombarded with the “never give up" mentality. Every sponsor, coach, and mentor is quick to remind us that we can do it if we just keep trying.
I'm sure you've heard the fable of the poor lad who dug for years without ever finding gold, then gave up and sold the mine to another prospector. The new miner picked up the digging where the previous owner left off, and promptly found his fortune in gold just a few feet beyond where his predecessor gave up.
It's a nice analogy, and one that cetainly has its place. But I don't believe this idealism applies to every situation.
What abot the thousands of other miners out there who spent their entire life digging but never found a single nugget? Let's face it. Not every mine shaft, real or proverbial, is going to yield gold.
Certainly, it takes time to see a profit from any venture, but how much time (and money) should we be willing to sacrafice? There is no easy answer to this question, and I think it's ultimately an individual decision.
To put this little spill into perspective, consider this. If we keep doing what we are doing, we are sure to keep getting what we are getting.
Personally, if I spend between 6 to 12 months on a project, and the returns are minimal or non-existent, I feel pretty good about restructuring my entire strategy, or even dumping the whole venture and looking for a new approach. Even if I am seeing pretty good returns, I may feel the work going in by far supercedes the rewards coming out of the whole operation, and therefore ask myself the honest question of whether or not I can justify proceeding down my current path.
Bear in mind, I'm not talking about 6 to 12 months of posting to free classifieds and working for a few hours a week. I'm talking about a long, hard drive that involves spending a good deal of money and most of my time. If a business is going to grow, it should exhibit at least a small amount of progress, given solid attention and a reasonable monetary investment, within the time frame mentioned above.
After a cetain amount of loss, it's a wise decision to rethink your methods, and even ask yourself if what you are trying to do is valid. Again, only you can make the decision of when, if at all, you are going to draw the line and let go.
Businesses fail. It's part of life, but it isn't necessarily a horrible thing. If we keep an open mind, we can learn a great deal from our unsuccessful efforts.
The bottom line is this. It's perfectly ok to drop something that isn't working for you, and change direction completely, if you feel this is necessary to meet your ultimate definition of success. After all, if you can't change your mind, how can you be sure you still have one?
Tim Whiston is a full-time entrepreneur and internet marketer. He publishes a monthly ezine, and is the author of Net Marketing Exposed .