Should you stick at something, even if it’s failing?

How many times have you looked at your business and thoughts “should I stay with this? Because I think it’s failing”

We surrounded every day with stories of massive success, overnight success, and people claiming to have generated hundreds of thousands of dollars in the space of a few months.

Sometimes it feels like our own businesses are moving along at a much slower pace. There are a few signs to suggest that you shouldn’t quit.

But on the other hand, quitting can be the fastest way to finding another route to success.

Let’s explore some of the reasons that you should stick at something, even if it’s failing.

1. You haven’t exhausted your options yet

One of the biggest mistakes that many businesses make, is choosing one method of growth or marketing or sales, and never truly exhausting it. What I mean by this is that we have all these options available to us, that it can be overwhelming.

  • Facebook marketing
  • Remarketing
  • Paid traffic
  • Webinars
  • Organic social media
  • Paid email drops
  • Content marketing
  • YouTube video marketing

The list goes on. There are so many methods and activities that we can undertake to grow our business.

Typically, we’ll try and do ALL of these at once. All the energy and time that we put into all of these different options, when we look back over our results, it can look like we haven’t really made any progress.

I remember talking to my sales coach about this. He asked me, “Mike, how many of these options have you run into the ground and become an expert on?”

I found my reply was hard to write because in truth, I hadn’t run any of them into the ground. I hadn’t committed to one option and exhausted it to the point where it didn’t give me any more results.

This of course was the answer. I was attempting to put my efforts across too many channels. So it looked like I was failing. Because I wasn’t committed to one single action and driving every single opportunity possible out of it, I wasn’t getting the results I was looking for.

If you ever feel like part of your business is failing, but you’re trying lots of different activities, then you need to narrow your focus.

First, read the book Traction by Gabriel Weinberg. This book will teach you the various channels and methods that you have available to you and WHY you should stick to one channel and exhaust it before moving on to another.

Gabriel Weinberg, traction, quit when you're failing

Gabriel is the founder of DuckDuckGo

There are 19 channels to gaining traction within a marketplace, and this book covers all of them. It also covers the core philosophy, that until you have exhausted one particular channel, you shouldn’t be focusing on another.

2. You decide how long to play the game

This mantra and philosophy has become more and more important to me, the longer I’ve been running my business.All around me. I see people much younger than me and who have been running businesses for less time than me, seemingly gain massive growth within the marketplace.

On top of that I have bills, overheads, expenses, goals and debts that need to be taken care of. Sometimes it can seem overwhelming, as if I`m looking up at the scoreboard and can see that I`m down hundred points.

There seem to be people cheering on both sides. But I look over to the opposition (my market competition, my expenses, bills, overheads, debts and goals), and I’m exhausted. I don’t know if I have the energy to continue fighting against the opposition.

But here’s the deal. I can decide how long I play the game. I decide how long I play against the opposition. My persistence over time WILL win out against anything the world throws at me.

And this is the key to understanding quitting and failure.

Everything that seems to be stacked against you is just a “score”. It’s a number marked up telling everyone around you, that the opposition has won a point. You might be losing for a long time. You might have fewer points than your opposition for a long time and it might seem like every time you score a point, they score 10.

However, you get to decide how long to play the game. I can tell you from both experience and research that persistence wins out every time. The world and Universe will constantly try to throw everything it’s got at you. You decide how long you can take it.

The Universe is pretty fickle.Eventually when it figures out that you are going to persist and keep playing, it’ll start changing what it brings to your attention.

This might sound pretty woo-woo. I don’t consider myself a hippie, but I can see why people would think that.

The truth is that the Universe can’t just let everyone succeed easily. So it has to test you by putting you in a game where you’re going to be losing for a long time. But you decide how long you play the game.

If you decide to quit bow out the game and chalk it up to a loss, that’s absolutely fine. The Universe will stop throwing all of those difficult and awkward events your way. But it’ll also never start throwing the incredible opportunities your way.

I know what it’s like to look over your paperwork and see invoices, receipts, debts piling up. I also know what it’s like to see everyone around you, seemingly having amazing results, from doing the same things you are doing. Those are only scores on the scoreboard.

There is no timer except the time you give yourself. You decide how long to play the game, and I promise you that persistence pays off over anything else. The Universe, as infinite and powerful as it is. Eventually gives in to individual single persistence.

3. Don’t think there’s a faster option, just because someone else has done it

It’s often very difficult to tell whether something is truly failing. Advertising campaigns, blog writing, content marketing, social media growth. It’s very difficult to see if something is failing, because it’s impossible to tell whether it even gaining traction in the first place.

When we see the success stories of people running businesses, marketing activities, advertising campaigns and social media followings. It’s easy to imagine that they have stumbled across this and it just works out for them. But for you, it doesn’t seem to go as easily.

So we look to those options that other people seem to be doing, and think to ourselves “I’m Going to stick to this new technique. I had everything else wrong beforehand. This person has it figured out and I’m going to see that success that they see.”

We see people with 1100,000 Instagram followers. We see people with 50,000 people on their email list. We see people making $100,000 a month. And they seem to do nothing but take photographs of themselves, travel the world and have an amazing time.

Sometimes you think “well if they are already doing it then maybe I’m too late?”

But sometimes we look at those results and think “maybe there’s something I could do here?”

This can often be a case of the grass being greener on the other side. We look over someone’s fence and take a look at what they’re doing, only to compare it to what we are doing and their results look way more impressive.

Here’s the deal. At no point can you ever compare your business and where you are coming from, to someone else’s. It physically and literally doesn’t work.

I’ve written about this before, that what you focus on appreciates. What you appreciate, appreciate. Whatever you look over and show appreciation to, will grow.

So therefore, if you are constantly focusing on everybody else’s results, then of course those are the results that are going to grow.

Instead you should be thinking about YOUR results, and YOUR actions.

Earlier in point 2 I talked about how persistence pays off over anything else. Whatever action you have decided to commit to (bearing in mind, you’re going to focus only on one avenue of traction like we mentioned in point 1), you’ll find it will pay off and will pay you results if you are willing to stick at it long enough.

Yes this might sound like it’s taking a risk. Putting all your eggs in one basket. But ask any of the big players from Mark Cuban to Ginny Rometty, aand they’ll tell you that massive investment into a single category and committing everything you’ve got to that one action is the only true way to gain results.

It’s like trying to play hockey, rugby, football, American football, basketball and 100 m sprinting all at the same time. Batman might be able to do it, but you are not Batman.

You’ve got to pick one activity and stick to that one method of traction. Michael Phelps didn’t become the world’s greatest Olympian through getting gold medals in 15 different events. He stuck to swimming, committed everything he had (which even now might be more than you even realise is necessary), to winning at all costs.

There aren’t faster results to goals. Everything you see that advertises a fast and quick and easy win in business, is missing the huge proviso that you have to stick at it and commit to it for years at a time. Whatever you are doing now, will work if you are willing to commit to it and give it everything you have.

Go all in. Put all your eggs in one basket and commit absolutely everything to making that one action work. Hopefully now you can see why I’m committed to blog writing at least once a day.

4.Don’t focus on the sexy stuff

“Superficial goal lead to superficial results”

– Attila the Hun

Now there’s a man who had very specific goals. The results that Attila the Hun had on the entire globe are still being felt today. It’s estimated that he alone irrevocably altered the gene pool for the entire world and the effects are still being felt today.

Attila the Hun is often used as an allegory for brutality and ruthlessness. In fact actually he was not only an incredibly intelligent man but put in place a lot of, what would be considered now, progressive and fair policies to help the common people.

Attila the Hun also never focused on “sexy stuff” (well, sexy stuff everyone else wanted to do. He clearly banged his way around Europe).

If you focus on superficial goals then you will get superficial results. Often so many of our goals and actions are designed to lead us to failure and there’s nothing we can do about it.

I believe that website traffic is one of those superficial goals. I know right? TRAFFIC is a superficial goal?

Yep it absolutely is, and let me explain why.

We live in a world now where we are told that there are new tools and methods to marketing, sales, growth, exposure, communications and audience building. Everything from video marketing to Facebook marketing has been deemed the next big thing in Sales and marketing.

But can you say that you can honestly sell a product or service from your business, without any one of these new and current tools?

If we look at failure, we can often tie it back to sales and revenue. “If I had more sales, and made more money, all of these problems would go away.” How often have you thought back to yourself

How often have you thought, “I just need another influx of cash, to be able to help with all these problems. Another sale, some more income or increased revenue”?

This is usually evidence of focusing on the sexy stuff.No matter what anyone tells you, more traffic to your website does not equal more sales. UNLESS your sales process is already airtight.

If you’ve got 10 people on your email list, and you haven’t sold to a single one of them, what good would 100 or 1000 or 10,000 email addresses be? Your conversion rate is currently 0%. So therefore even if you had more people on your email list, you would still be closing at a conversion rate of 0%.

Sales conversions aren’t sexy. They are dull, boring and repetitive. It requires persistence, repetitive activities and a severe lack of excitement. I’ve always said that a sensible sales plan is like a sensible investment plan. It’s so dull and boring and predictable that you could write it out in six bullet points.

We like to focus on things like product design and development. Adding to the product and changing the service to get more sales. We like to try new social media posts, new Facebook paid advertising strategies, and new SEO Strategies to drive superficial results.

Anyone can drive 100,000 visitors to their website in 24 hours. But if your sales conversion rate is still sat 0% it’s not going to grow. YOU have 100% total control over your sales conversion rate. You yourself need to work on increasing that and adding to that conversion rate. If you don’t add to the boring dull sales conversion rate, then no amount of traffic or leads will ever make your results work harder.

None of your business


“A lot of this sounds like a really hard work Mike.” Yes, it is.

I don’t believe that people don’t like sales or business because they fear rejection. Everyone fears rejection, it’s part of our human DNA. The reason that people don’t like sales, committing, persistence and running a business like this isn’t because of rejection. It’s because of laziness.

I believe the majority of people don’t like to run a business as best as they can because they are lazy. It is simple as that. I understand that it’s difficult and it can be offputting when everyone else seems to be succeeding around you. But what they are experiencing and doing is none of your business.

You should be doing whatever it takes to get your business up and off the ground and flourishing. You should be ignoring the advice of so-called gurus and experts. Internet marketing millionaires do not have the lifestyle that they are leading you to believe. Running a true business that makes money and makes a difference in people’s lives requires persistence and hard work. There is absolutely no substitute or shortcut for that.

My favourite part of this entire process is the non-sexy sales and conversion stuff. Like I said, it’s exactly like my investment strategy. It’s so simple and straightforward that anyone could do it. It just requires persistence and repetitive work.

What have you been close to quitting and then committed to, only to see your results skyrocket? Let me know in the comments below.

Mike Killen

Mike is the world's #1 sales coach for marketing funnel builders. He helps funnel builders sell marketing funnels to their customers. He is the author of From Single To Scale; How single-person, small and micro-businesses can scale their business to profit. You can find him on Twitter @mike_killen.