Have you ever felt that it was time to quit something you think you love?
I have and although there is this ubiquitous mantra of persistence, there are times when you know it is best to stop. This is my story of one of those times.
I started a company called The Sweet Box in late 2014 with my younger sister and it was an immediate success. Customers would choose a dessert from our site and we would send the highest quality ingredients to their kitchen where they would bake it on their own. People who knew nothing about baking were blowing themselves away by making amazing desserts without using a preservative filled mix from the store. Ingredients were packaged individually and bakers didn’t have to measure anything.
We had slow yet strong growth and we were doing everything right: social media, marketing, blogging, professional images, SEO and all that stuff you’re supposed to do when launching a company.
Entrepreneur vs Wantrepreneur
As we grew, my sister decided that she was seeking a hobby more than the struggles of entrepreneurship. Fair enough and too much of the business was being put on her shoulders. She was the creative person and the logistics person. Instead of reconfiguring, we split amicably in 2016 and I continued on.
The challenge was that she was the expert baker and I was not much of a dessert fan. I would take a plate of onion rings over a cookie any day. That aside, I felt strongly about the mission of getting people who don’t bake into the kitchen making memories with their loved ones. But I was not interested in baking myself. I did not interact authentically with other dessert lovers. But for many business owners, that lack of passion might still allow for success.
Imitation is the Sincerest Form of Flattery
Shortly after launch we had already attracted many copycats, the most notable of which was a celebrity-owned company that had deep pockets. This company used The Sweet Box as a model, even taking our mission statement, almost word-for-word. We competed two years, when suddenly… they went retail.
If desserts are something I am not passionate about, then retail is something that I am really, really not passionate about. This competitor focused on retail, which made clear that retail is where they were finding the mula. And it made sense: organic dessert baking kits available alongside inferior dessert mixes with all of the spontaneity that grocery shopping provides.
This model meant I was going to have to invest in retail packaging and hit the pavement spending 99% of my time shopping around to different retailers. No way was I going to do this. #nightmare
I continued the Internet sales strategy for another year and finally decided that this was no longer a valuable use of my time. I am not a quitter, but this was not a battle I was interested in winning. This is no longer what I want to be doing.
Time For Action
After some soul searching, in 2017, I turned off the shopping cart and haven’t looked back. I wound down the social media channels. And it felt good. Like breaking up with an ex you clung to for too long when you knew that getting back together didn’t sound that exciting either. What felt like weakness started feeling empowering.
Countless entrepreneurs have slugged through a few fails before they found their winner. And for me, the energy I now had for other areas of my life was kicking in.
What I Wanted to be Doing
I am working on several projects and expanding my relationships. I have time to be more present with my son. And this is all possible because I realized that it is not always a failure to pivot. In fact it can lead to a huge win!
Don’t Let the Door Hit You in the A$$
It is with a genuine smile that I say “goodbye” to The Sweet Box and thank all of our customers for being a part of its life. It was an experience I wouldn’t trade for anything. I am grateful I knew when it was time to quit. I am super excited for the now and, like always, the future.
If you’ve read this far and can relate, share this post with your friends and tell them why. If you find yourself piling energy into something that continues to consume more than it gives in return, it might be time to make a change. It might be time to quit. And there’s no time like yesterday to do it.
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