In business as in life, there are comes a time when we need to let go. Whether it’s a service provider you’re working with, a team member, or a revenue stream that isn’t working out, there comes a time when you have to make the hard choice and move on.
But, how do you know when that time has come? Here are three signs it’s time to say goodbye.
The bad outweighs the good
Often when my clients realize it’s time to let a team member go, it’s because they see that they’re angry, sad, or disappointed far more than they’re happy with the work they’re receiving. This is a classic sign that you need to let someone go. It can be hard to recognize though when it’s a gradual change. Many team members start strong, but slowly taper off, and this lack of performance can be harder to notice than someone who is a hot mess right out of the gate.
But, as the shift occurs, you’ll find yourself more and more frustrated by the current state of affairs. The best thing to do here is to objectively look at what’s going on right now. This doesn’t mean you should write someone off after one slip up. But, if the general trends are leaving you unhappy far more often than happy, you definitely need to take action.
Doing a certain task makes you want to [insert: scream, cry, drink, quit, etc.]
If you’re filled with dread every time you need to deliver a service or deal with a contractor, this is a sure sign there’s a problem. Initially, this can take the form of procrastination. You’re likely to keep putting off tasks you don’t like — and keep putting them off as long as you can possibly manage. But eventually, you have to sit down and do it. When this happens, you’ll often find yourself feeling flat, burnt out, or even worse.
This doesn’t mean you should be doing cartwheels or swinging from chandeliers for every single thing you do. Even if we are running our business from a place of passion, there are still going to be things we have to do rather than want to do. But, there’s a big difference between not being thrilled to do something versus being filled with dread at the mere thought of it.
So, if you dread interacting with someone or delivering a service you offer, there is definitely a problem there that you should examine.
Look at your to-do list and think about anything that’s been lingering too long. Look at your services page and ask yourself if there’s anything you offer that makes you cringe when you see money come through for it. Then make a plan to resolve the situation in a way that feels authentic and positive.
The ROI sucks
Whether it’s time, money, or energy, a sure sign it’s time to let go is if you’re getting less back than what you’re putting in. I’ve helped clients look at a revenue stream many times that initially looked profitable, but when we look deeper, we realize they’re actually losing money overall by how they’re delivering that particular thing.
Sometimes it’s a hard and fast cost, while other times it’s an opportunity cost. For instance, while they’re busy slaving away on a particular item that does make some money, they’re walking away from something far more profitable.
For example, one client has two main revenue streams at very different price points. Her initial stream is more established and she has lots of clients to keep her busy. So busy, in fact, that the other revenue stream gets virtually no attention. At first glance, all seems fine because she’s making money and is at full capacity.
But when will dig deeper, we see that she’s working countless more hours at a much lower rate for the first service. If she instead focused on the second service, she could work 25% of the hours for 2x the much money!
Now you may be thinking, “sounds great, but I can’t just give up my steady work for something I don’t have booked yet.”
And I totally get it. We don’t always have the luxury of shutting down a service entirely as soon as we realize we hate it or it’s not as profitable as something else. Because — bills, right?
But, even baby steps will eventually pay off.
So if you’re in a scenario where the ROI is out of whack, pick one small step in the direction you want to go and start executing on it. Over time, you’ll get to your end goal and be much happier you took action, however imperfect your action was!
These three signs show us it’s time for a change, but only if we are paying attention. As tempting as it can be to hold on to the status quo, when you see these things popping up it’s probably time to let go and move on.