Why I Said "Goodbye" to a Successful Business
I've been thinking about this post for a long time. I kept going back and forth in my mind, deciding if I should even bother posting it. It doesn't contain any tips that will help your current business. It has nothing to do with clients and serving them better. It can't be broken down into bullet points or action steps.
But it might help you in a different way, so I've decided to go for it.
In the winter of 2016-2017 I basically dissolved a very successful business I'd had since 2013. And to everyone on the outside, I'm sure it was hard to fathom. Let me explain...
I'd been a leader in a great direct sales company for a few years and loved it. Leadership is one of my favorite things. Teaching and motivating others gets me excited. Being able to cheer for someone when they hit a goal sets my heart on fire. Being a successful leader meant that I also had cash bonuses, free products, special events, and even three completely paid for vacations.
I was living a dream and was literally getting paid to party with fun women and teaching others how to do it too. I loved the company, I loved my colleagues, and I loved what I sold.
In the fall of 2016 I hit several huge milestones all within a six-week timeframe. I promoted another leader under me, I hit a really big sales goal, I earned my third free trip, and a few other big achievements. These were goals that at times seemed so impossible and far away. And then they all came to fruition around the same time, which also happened to be around the same time as a horribly upsetting election cycle.
In late November and early December I'd normally be jumping for joy. In retail it's prime money-making time as people buy gifts for friends and family. Plus we have family birthdays, then Thanksgiving (yum!), and decorating for the holidays. But I didn't want to leave my couch, much less my house, to go to parties.
I was mentally flipped upside down so much that it allowed me to take a step back and really look at my business. I had accomplished so much in a short amount of time. My future was bright and shiny. I used to feel baffled when I'd see other leaders leave the company. I figured few reasons would be good enough to ever leave. I simply couldn't imagine it before.
But I realized for all of my success, and for all the joy I had for the women killing it on my downline, I wasn't happy.
I was chasing carrots. I'm a good carrot chaser. I'm basically Lisa Simpson minus the saxophone. If there's something that I can achieve and chase after, I will do it, and do it well. The Type-A monster inside of me relishes a challenge. I love "winning" simply for the sake of knowing I won.
Carrots can help you stay focused and striving, but in the end, you might just get sick of carrots. You could look around one day and be suffocating under the weight of all those carrots, and find yourself praying for a different row to hoe.
I was really scared when I had this revelation. Too many people were counting on me to keep going. I thought maybe current events had made me depressed, and if I just had some time away I'd get my mojo back and be better than ever. That's what I'd seen happen to other high-level women in the company. Surely it would be me. I'd overcome this mountain and one day be able to tell others they could do it too.
But months went by and nothing changed. Logically, on paper, it didn't make sense. To step away seemed utterly baffling. I'd give up the good pay, the flexible schedule, the leadership, the fellowship, all of it.
I made the grave mistake of not listening to my intuition at this point. My inner voice was telling me to get out of sales. To take a different path. To really sit for a bit in my discomfort. To allow myself a time to not work and reflect on next steps.
But I didn't do that. I figured joining a different company with different product would give me the boost I needed to feel the joy of working again. And it worked for awhile. Building the new business kept my brain and hands really busy and my days really full. It meant I simply didn't have time to listen to my gut. I had to get sh*t done, right??
But six months later I was successful on paper, but my ire had grown worse. Every time I had to leave my house to do a party, I would be secretly praying the hostess would cancel. Something didn't feel right. Again, logically, none of this made sense.
I love working with others. I love meeting new people. I love new challenges. I love selling in a way that feels good and fun. (If you don’t believe this is possible, check out my posts on selling without feeling sleazy and my top 5 selling secrets.) But I was running full speed ahead away from the voice that was telling me what I really needed to be doing.
I knew I was meant to be helping others in their own businesses. I'd already been doing it just for fun with my friends who had started businesses, but it seemed too absurd to think I could actually make a career out of it. I knew I had to completely close this new business, even though I felt embarrassed about it, and keep moving forward.
I'd have to start fresh, from the "ground up." There would be no safety net of structure that I'd become accustomed to having. It would be me, and only me. And that scared me to death.
But I knew I had to do it. The pain of not trying was worse than the pain of continuing down the path I was already on.
I knew people wouldn't understand. I knew some might talk about me and say things like, "How does someone have so much success and then just throw it all away?" or "She's going to regret this and then come back and have to do the work to build it all back up."
But that's the thing...I knew I could. Anything you've done once can be done again. I realized my success wasn't a fluke. I was successful because I'm a person who stubbornly goes after things, even when it feels scary and hard. I'm the person who says, "Oh yeah, watch me," when someone implies I can't do something. I've been this way since I was five, so I don't imagine it changing anytime soon.
So here's what I'd hope you learn from my mistakes...listen to your intuition. Set up your dreams and your goals for things you earnestly want, not just "shiny pennies" or "gold stars." While I truly believe in goal-setting and celebrating milestones, be sure to focus on things you really want, not just things other people have laid before you.
It can be really hard to want a different path or outcome than what the world tells you you should want. People will question you and doubt you. A lot of what you do won't make sense to others, and it's ok. It only has to make sense to you.
It's ok to close up shop on something because you no longer find joy in it. There's a difference between "quitting" because you have a momentary frustration, and ending a chapter because it no longer serves you.
You already know the right choice to make, you just need to trust yourself enough to make it.
With heaps of love and high fives,