When it’s smart to give up

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Last weekend, I gave up. And it was the best decision I made that day.

Here’s what happened…

After several weeks of being a virtual shut-in, working on way too many projects, I looked out my home office window and discovered it was summer. (Hey, when did that happen?)

So I decided to take a day off and go on a cycling trip.

There’s a trail in my area – the Waterfront Trail – that weaves its way half-way around Lake Ontario through parks, woods, beaches, and neighborhoods.

I decided to bike a section of that trail that’s about 100kms (60 miles) long.

I started early and was having a great time. The weather was perfect. But then I got to a heavily wooded area that required navigation through a confusing network of dirt paths.

And that’s where it all went wrong.

I got totally lost. No matter how carefully I read the Trail Guide I ended up basically going in circles. It was frustrating. I wasted an hour.

Then I asked myself: What am I trying to accomplish here? Do I really want to solve the puzzle of these paths? Or do I just want to have a good time on my bike?

Obviously, the latter.

So I decided to give up on that section of the trail, go north a few blocks, ride through the neighborhood streets, and rejoin the trail later on.

Basically, I changed my approach to getting what I wanted: a nice ride. And it worked. I ended up having a great day.

So what does all this have to do with marketing your services and getting clients?


You see, a lot of clients I work with get too attached to a particular marketing tactic or campaign they’re trying to make work.

Last year, for example, I had one client who wrote and placed more than a dozen articles – good articles – and got only one lead from them. Ouch!. Yet, he told me, “I refuse to give up on this. I’m determined to make this article marketing thing work!”

But is giving up such a bad idea? Especially when what you’re doing isn’t getting you the results you want?

Sure, often it makes sense to have the stick-to-it-ness required to give a particular marketing tactic or campaign an honest try. You follow the best practices. Get the good advice you need. And give it all you got.

But when something just isn’t working, no matter how hard you try, then you need to make some serious changes or try something new altogether.

I find that the most successful self-employed professionals are really, really good at this. If something isn’t working for them, they drop it and move on to something else.

The trick is to focus on what you want to accomplish, not how you’re trying to accomplish it. In the case of my client, he wanted a marketing approach that would position him as an expert and generate a steady flow of leads and new clients. Articles didn’t work for him. But, ultimately, offering free webinars did.

Giving up isn’t easy. As business owners we’re hard-wired to “stick to it.” But when that stick-to-it-ness isn’t getting the results you want, drop it and try a fresh new approach.

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