Ep. #763 - When it’s Time to Quit
In this episode of Startup Hustle, join Matt and Matt for Part 45 of “How to Start a Tech Company” as they discuss how you know when it’s time to quit.
Covered In This Episode
For founders, it is important to be well-informed and prepared. This includes knowing when to pivot and even when to call it quits. But entrepreneurs and founders are stubborn and sometimes keep on going with rising risks and personal liabilities.
Matt DeCoursey and Matt Watson are here to talk about the signs when it’s time to quit your tech business. The Matts discuss how difficult it is for entrepreneurs to give up and stop their businesses. But, they also emphasize that quitting is not always a bad thing.
Know the signs when it’s time to quit by joining Matt and Matt in this Startup Hustle episode.
Missed the previous episode? Click here to listen to the entire series.
- Introduction to Part 45 of the series (0:49)
- The coin toss moment (2:59)
- Signs that it’s time to quit (5:00)
- Being unscalable and stuck in the middle (6:17)
- Out of control personal liabilities and risks (8:58)
- Making tough decisions (13:03)
- Founder’s depression (15:19)
- Losing sight of your goal (21:15)
- When the thrill is gone (23:39)
- Key takeaways (27:23)
- Losing the farm vs. losing the farm (28:35)
The problem is, we’re not growing fast enough. Like, if we’re losing $100,000 a month, we expect to grow at a certain pace. So that means we’ve got to scale back. Which may mean letting a lot of people go or cutting your marketing budget and all those things. Or you just figure out, like, you know what, this isn’t going to work. Maybe it’s time to quit. We tried and gave it our best effort, but it’s just not going to work. The model doesn’t work.Matt Watson
If personal liability and risk are getting out of control, that’s when you got to start looking at stuff too, like, there’s life after a business, man. And that’s just the way it goes. You need to be thinking about what’s next. If the ship is taking on water or heading to the rocks, why is what you’re doing that’s increasing your risk or personal liability going to change that?Matt DeCoursey
Eventually, it becomes like, a battle. And it’s a war of how do we survive. How do we get new customers? How do I deal with all these problems every day? And it’s just not exciting. And it might be time for me to step away and let somebody else operate it or sell it and go do something else.Matt Watson
I really want to encourage everyone to keep in mind, as you know, I’ve spent the last 25 years talking to business owners, but you got to watch personal liability and risk when they’re getting out of control. I’ve known many people who don’t know when to stop, and it’s almost like a gambling problem.Matt DeCoursey
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Following is an auto-generated text transcript of this episode. Apologies for any errors!
Matt DeCoursey 0:01
And we’re back. Back for another episode of Startup Hustle, Matt DeCoursey, here, with Matt Watson.
Matt Watson 0:05
I’m out. And it’s time to quit this podcast.
Matt DeCoursey 0:09
May I apply how to for about the last month I got sick. We had a typhoon Christmas came. It’s been a whole lot going on. But yeah, I got back up on the horse.
Matt Watson 0:20
Well, Happy New Year, I guess.
Matt DeCoursey 0:21
Yeah, no doubt. Yeah. So I guess everyone listening what wouldn’t have known, but, yeah, it’s been a struggle this last month. And, you know, that’s pretty common. As an entrepreneur. I think the one thing I’ve learned at my old age is that struggle. Adversity, problems, and bullshit are usually right around the corner.
Matt Watson 0:45
Well, you still kind of sound like crap, by the way. But glad to have you back.
Matt DeCoursey 0:49
I get it. I’m well, thanks. I’m glad to be back. And this is for those of you listened. And you know, we had a had a pretty interesting December, we have a super typhoon that hit our the Full Scale office in the Philippines, which happened the week prior to Christmas, and then obviously had to deal with the aftermath after that, and then I got sick, and I lost my voice, and it’s coming back. So I know you guys are used to the smooth, silky bass tones of Matt DeCoursey. But they’re going to be a little raspy today. So Matt, maybe I’ll let you do the talking. Do you want to? Do you want to let everyone know about today’s episode?
Matt Watson 1:26
Yeah, today’s episode of Startup Hustle is sponsored by Wix, helping you create a website you’re proud of discover the platform that gives you the freedom to create, design, manage, and develop your web presence exactly the way you want it. Go to wix.com, and check it out. By the way, I need to create a website. So I might actually look at this today.
Matt DeCoursey 1:45
Yeah, which is cool, man, I liked it. Because you just it’s, it’s, it’s no, no to low code, and you can plug a lot of cool stuff in it. You know, as the founder of GigaBook, we’ve had a lot of users that have embedded the booking codes from GigaBook. Right into Wix, and it’s super cool. And you know, I, I think that if you’re, the thing I like about it is you don’t need a lot of help. And you can get something online, like maybe point and click Yeah, pointing click, I have a new appreciation for that every time. You’re like, I gotta build a website, you’re like, oh, man, how am I gonna do that? I’m gonna go to wix.com and give it a shot. So you know, we’re talking about, here we are. And in episode 45 of 52. And, you know, we’ve been joking the whole time, because our goal was to get this done by the end of 2020, or 2021. And we had a 52-part series, one per week. Here we are. It’s, this is January 14, and we’re in Part 45. And, you know, I think that’s pretty. Yeah, it’s par for the course. Right? Right. So, you know, for those of you listening, things usually take longer and cost more than you expect.
Matt Watson 2:55
Well, usually twice as long. So we’re way ahead on the schedule.
Matt DeCoursey 2:59
I think so to think so to now, you know, in some of the past episodes. Now, you know, we’ve talked about scaling your team, when it’s time to pivot, how to not grow out of business, creating a winning culture, these are all things that are aimed out and directed at quickly growing businesses or businesses that are doing well. But a lot of entrepreneurs, a lot of people, a lot of companies run in to what I like to call a coin toss moment. Yeah, I even wrote about this in million dollar bedroom, I think every business has a coin toss moment where you’re like, Okay, I’m gonna flip this coin, if it’s heads, I’m quitting. If it’s tails, I’ll keep doing it.
Matt Watson 3:42
Well, that can happen on your early days. And it can happen later down the road. Right? It can happen. Yeah, in different phases of the business.
Matt DeCoursey 3:50
So you know, when you think about, you know, and by the way, when when we say when is it time to quit? Sometimes that’s also things, it might not be, you’re ready to quit the business. But things in the business, like projects are new, I don’t know you have all these different things that are going on? And sometimes you just got to shut it down.
Matt Watson 4:11
Yeah, and sometimes it’s a it’s a focus issue, right? Like, you’re, you’re trying to do too many things. And sometimes that’s why you would call it a pivot, right? You’re like, Well, I’m not going to do this pivot and focus on this thing, which is kind of related.
Matt DeCoursey 4:23
And that’s kind of, that’s kind of a quibble. We’re gonna talk about like, a hard stop here. Like, yeah, like, hey, it’s time to, we’re gonna shut it down. So, you know, there’s some there’s some warning signs and some things and, you know, I think the the main thing is, there’s when it comes to like, if you’re gonna quit, first off, I mean, it’s okay. It’s not all businesses survive.
Matt Watson 4:47
And yeah, I mean, I don’t remember what the statistic is right? But it’s like 80-90% of all startups fail, right? So, right, you have to be a point in time your statistic.
Matt DeCoursey 5:00
Well, and yeah, and that’s normal. I mean, it really is. So let’s talk a little bit about, you know what some of the signs are? I mean, first off, if you have a business that’s been losing money over an extended period of time. I mean, that’s, that’s a first warning sign. But we’re talking about how to start a tech company. And tech companies are pretty much all lose money. Yeah, in the beginning, in fact, some get acquired for huge amounts of money while they’re still losing money.
Matt Watson 5:29
Well, and so honestly, the, the symptom, there could be really, that you’re not growing fast enough, right? It’s like, hey, we plan to lose money, we hired extra salespeople, we hired extra developers, we’re investing in the product, we’re investing in marketing, we know we’re losing money. But really, the problem is, we’re not growing fast enough. Like, if we’re losing $100,000 a month, we expect to grow at a certain pace. So that means we’ve got to scale back. You know, how much money we’re spending, which may mean like letting a lot of people go or cutting your marketing budget and all those things. Or you just figure out, like, you know what, this isn’t going to work. Like, if I gotta fire the whole sales team, and let go of a couple developers like, what are we doing at that point? Right, like, maybe it’s time to quit? We tried, we gave it our best effort, but it’s just not gonna work. The model doesn’t work.
Matt DeCoursey 6:17
Yeah, and you also look at things too, like, is it scalable? You know, so you talk about is the revenue growing in proportion to what it needs to? And, you know, sometimes, you know, I’ll look at a business and I’ll say, okay, so you need to double your revenue to make a profit. But will you actually make a profit? If you double your revenue? Because this is, you might double your revenue, but you’re going to end up doubling your expenses? Yeah. Because you haven’t, you haven’t set it on a path of scalability. So, you know, I think another thing, too, is, you know, in episode number 39 of the series, we mentioned, don’t get stuck in the middle. And I think this is what leads to a ton of quitting is you’re just breaking even forever. People do about that a lot.
Matt Watson 7:04
Yeah, I mentioned this before, a few times, there’s a book called Crossing the Chasm that talks about product market fit, right. And a lot of times we you launch a new business, and everybody’s really excited, your friends sign up for it, you know, some different people that you know, you get them on board, but then you struggle to get past like customer number 100, or something, you get to this, this plateau, and you’re like, you cannot get to mass market adoption, and you get lost in the middle in the chasm. And that’s where a lot of things just die, because they never quite find product market fit paths, you know, their immediate kind of friends and family and connections, they struggle to get to the mass market adoption and figure out how to get a go to market strategy that really gets that flywheel turning right, and then they just kind of die, because they just can’t get there. And honestly, that’s how we felt at Stackify for a while. Even though, you know, the last couple of years, we’re going growing, say 40, 50, 60% a year. But as a startup, that doesn’t even seem like you’re growing very fast. That kind of feels like you’re dying, especially if you’re losing money, right? If you’re like talked about earlier, you’re if you’re losing 100, $200,000 a month because you’re burning cash, it’s not a good feeling. It’s not a good place to be like you got to grow fast. Or it you know, it sucks on a monthly basis, just watching the money disappear.
Matt DeCoursey 8:20
Yeah, if you’re interested in reading, Crossing the Chasm, that is a book written by Geoffrey, that’s with a GE, more. So if you’re interested in that now, you know, Matt, you’re right. And, you know, we talked about I use the term meddling. And you know, that’s often when you’re losing. So if you have if you’re ever considering maybe investing in a company that I own, just turn off the recording right now, because I don’t want you to hear what I’m about to say. But it feels a lot different when you’re losing the investment capital than when it’s coming straight out of your own account.
Matt Watson 8:56
For sure, yes, yeah.
Matt DeCoursey 8:58
Yeah, I know, it’s dollar for dollar. It’s still worth the dollar. But and that’s one of the things too, when you talk about when it when is it time to maybe hanging up? And you know, I have some notes on today’s episode and talking about if personal liability and risk are getting out of control. That’s that’s the time where you got to start looking at stuff to like, you know, like, there’s life after a business, man. And that’s just the way it goes. Like, I mean, now, how many businesses have you sold now to two? And you still have a life afterward? Right, your actual adeleye Halfway retired. Right. Right. And so, yeah, so with that, you know, you need to be thinking about what’s next. And you know, I really want to encourage all of you like, Look, if you’re if you’re if the ship is taking on water or heading to the rocks, why is what you’re doing that’s increasing your risk or personal liability going to change that.
Matt Watson 9:50
Well into I want to pull on this thread for a minute to because as we talked about calling it quits, right, there’s a lot of different scenarios. Is the playout. And one of the most common ones is the early-stage scenario, right? You’re like, I’ve tried to do this, I put my own savings into it, I quit my corporate job that was paying me a bunch of money. Now I’m hustling trying to make this thing work, right? I meet macaroni and cheese and ramen noodles every day. And my spouse is not happy with me. And my family all thinks I’m crazy. But I still got the dream. We’re going to the moon, right, like this is gonna work. And yeah, at some point in time, you have to just call it quits, you’re like, I’ve tried, I have no raise capital, I have been able to get the product the right way. The customers don’t like the product, whatever it is, at some point in time, you have to stop living the dream. And just come to reality that like, you know what, I gave it my best college try. It’s time to go back to the corporate job, I guess. And admit that I failed, right? Like, that’s the most common scenario probably?
Matt DeCoursey 10:54
Well, a couple of those things. You said one thing that just came to mind when we launched this podcast, we had a promo and it said that I remember doing the voiceover and it said, you know, our Your goal should be to build something bigger than you. Right? If you’re the only person with a dream, like do your customers still have the dream? Are they still excited about what you’re doing? And do your core employees and your company still have it? Cuz? Look, people that are around a sinking ship? They know it’s taking on water? You can tell? Oh, yeah. And when people start leaving and bailing, if you’re the only one if you are the only key holder of the dream. That’s not a good sign.
Matt Watson 11:33
Well, and that’s some of the things we’ve talked about a lot before in previous podcasts, right? Is your employees want to know if you’re winning or losing? And I’ve always joked as a CEO, I felt like I was a cheerleader. And it always comes back to what you just described, right? Like, everybody wants to know, am I on a sinking ship? Should I be worried about my job? Right cares about their own job security, right? And our own families, understandably, and that’s one of the struggles, right is trying to create a positive atmosphere and positive momentum. And even if things are going bad, at least telling everybody like, no, it’s going to be okay, this is why it’s gonna be okay, this is our plan is that we get through this. Or if you just have no plan, like maybe it’s colic. Or you have to fake it till you make it. Right. That’s, that’s where that thing comes from, is that this exact scenario, but you fake it till you make it.
Matt DeCoursey 12:22
Yeah, that can be risky as well. So you know, there’s there’s a lot of different stuff now. You know, when it comes to employees, like, so many news, like, especially startups, you know, they you have maybe three, four or five people total. And if you lose two key people along the way that can be crippling?
Matt Watson 12:44
Matt DeCoursey 12:46
Especially like with a tech company, if that’s someone that’s a main driver of like, your tech or your platform, or you know, you got to bring someone else in and first off, you’re gonna have to find them, they’re gonna have to figure out what’s up, they got to gain mastery on everything. And like, I mean, that that can take a while.
Matt Watson 13:03
Well, and on the flip side of this related is, you might have to call your company quits, because you’re too damn scared to fire somebody that needs to be fired to replace them, right? Like, I hired my brother-in-law as salesperson, and he’s freaking terrible. The whole company has gone out of business, because I don’t have what it takes to go fire my brother-in-law and hire somebody that can actually get us to where we need to be. Right. Like, that’s a real reality scenario that plays out too. But you’re right here, you’ve got a couple key decisions.
Matt DeCoursey 13:32
Yeah, yeah. As a business owner, if you’re not able to, if you’re not capable, or you don’t think you’re going to be able to figure out how to have tough decision, make tough decisions and have tough conversations with people, then don’t start a business because you’re because the inability to do that is going to cause a world of problems for you down the road. At some point or another. It always does. Yeah, that’s and that’s a common thing. I mean, a lot of people like no one likes to sit down no one. If you are someone that like wakes up and wants to fire people, then you’re a little sadistic. And that’s not very normal. But overall, you got to be able to have this tough conversation. So all right now so we’re gonna we’re gonna continue this conversation. But first off, where do you go when you want to create, manage and grow your business online? Try Wix. They’re the leading website creation platform, create a site with designer made templates that can be customized for your business and looks great on all devices, reach new audiences with intelligent SEO tools, and they’re designed to get you found in search engines so you can manage it all from one place. You can do it at home. You can do it at your office, you can do it on the go. You never miss a thing when it comes to your business. Join over 200 million people are already doing it at wix.com That’s a lot of users.
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Matt Watson 15:08
Yeah, let’s have a lot of international customers.
Matt DeCoursey 15:11
I have a lot of my kids are not 200 million people in the US.
Matt Watson 15:15
Well, I mean, there’s more than 200 million. But I mean, yeah, that’s crazy.
Matt DeCoursey 15:19
Right? Well, I don’t know, a lot of websites, I think was your point. But maybe they should go to wix.com. Everyone, let’s try to get a 100% adoption rate. All right. So, you know, he mentioned earlier, I was feeling ill recently. And you know, why? I don’t know. But a lot of people their business gets in sick. Because the stress, depression it? Yeah, yeah, it’s a real thing. We’ve had episodes about founders depression, it’s easy, it’s easy to just get up and ignore the stuff that you don’t want to do. And a lot of that pressure, pressure. And stress affects people differently. And I mean, literally high blood pressure, like serious health problems come from or just like, maybe you’re not going to the doctor, you’re not taking care of yourself, you’re not doing a lot of things. I’ve been in that boat. I mean, have you.
Matt Watson 16:16
There’s definitely been moments, where I mean, I’m not I’m good at dealing with stress. And I mean, I’ve been in and out of depression, probably my whole life. But there definitely been some moments where it was dramatically worse, right? Like, when the pandemic started, right, there’s definitely a lot more fear that sets and you’re like, Oh, my God, I don’t know how that how is this going to impact us? What are we going to do? Am I gonna have to let people go, you know, am I? How am I going to raise some money to deal with this? Whatever, right? There are definitely moments that things get way worse. And then there’s just the kind of normal everyday stress and depression that becomes very common. But yeah, another one for me was in the VinSolutions days, we, I mean, all it was, like 15 years ago. Now, there were some legal moments and things happen, fights with business partners, things like that, that created some serious drama, that you felt like a zombie for a few days, just like not knowing what’s going to happen. And that can be very crippling for sure.
Matt DeCoursey 17:15
Yeah. And you mentioned, you know, like, the pandemic, I remember in the, in the first days, when, you know, here in the US, we were just starting to shut things down and stuff like that. I remember waking up, and those first few moments of realizing, oh, yeah, I’m in this version of my life again, just like, you know, just like, oh, shit, you know, you wake up and you’re, like, ready to go? And then you’re like, oh, yeah, man. And, you know, that’s, that’s tough. And especially if you I think, you know, like, in our situation where we had hundreds of employees, for me is someone that they’re turning to for answers. I mean, that puts a lot of pressure on on leadership, right? Especially when you don’t know, it’s one thing to be able to, like, a straightforward path. And you’re like, here’s the math, and I understand this. And this is where we’re at. And this is what we got to do. And this is what could happen if we don’t and then the pandemic comes around is all of a sudden, it’s like, Hey, here’s a here’s five cards and a full hand of I don’t know, well, and even more, you’re playing poker, and you don’t even know what cards are in your hand.
Matt Watson 18:23
Well, on an even more recent scenario, that was two or three weeks ago was like the typhoon, right? Like, how do you plan for that? Right? And then all of a sudden, just, oh, shit, there’s gonna be a typhoon today. We don’t know what’s gonna happen. And then literally the next day, it’s like, Okay, how many of our employees have a roof over their house? Over there?
Matt DeCoursey 18:42
Right? Well, they don’t have water like sick part. Yeah, that will stress you out?
Matt Watson 18:47
Oh, yeah. I mean, for, for you. A lot of the Full Scale team, there was a lot of stress, from the management side, trying to figure out what are we going to do? How did this impact our employees or employees or okay, like, a lot of sleepless nights going on there?
Matt DeCoursey 19:01
Yeah, and that’s, and that’s just that was for me on that one. And once again, there was a super typhoon called Odette that basically balls out our office, and we ended up with 210 people that had no power, no Internet, and really no reasonable form of communication for a couple of days. So I went from one day. So we went from having our Startup Hustle host holiday lunch, and having a great time and doing everything. And then basically 36 hours later, it was like, Whoa, yeah. Oh, my God. Now, in regards to that, we learned a lot from the pandemic. And that really, that really helped get through a lot of that, you know, just all of it because we had already been prepared. But, but yeah, I mean, I once again now, I mean, I’m 46 years old. As an entrepreneur, I think you and I, we could sit down and have a beer and we could say, What’s one thing we can count on? And we were going to say that something will go wrong.
Matt Watson 20:03
Well, there’s certain types of businesses that maybe weren’t doing very well, like, maybe they were on the ropes is whether or not the business was going to continue or not, right? And all of a sudden, the pandemic happens, and you’re like, you know what, I’m just going to close my little restaurant or whatever it is, right? You’re like, just drill this shit. I’m just done. This was the final straw. Right? Like, it happens, these things happen.
Matt DeCoursey 20:28
There’s a Darwinistic way about some of that. I mean, I know a lot of people that doesn’t sound that’s not a super empathetic comp, comment. I’m aware of that. But there is a Darwinistic nature to business that when little blips and blurs and comes along it had you know.
Matt Watson 20:50
That shakes out the weak.
Matt DeCoursey 20:51
Evolutionary. Yeah, it does. It does. And, you know, I was reading so many articles in the pandemic hit about, they were scary for me. They’re like, the average American business only has seven days of cash on hand. I’m like, Whoa, that’s not great. You know, so how are you gonna deal with that?
Matt Watson 21:09
The bad news is, I mean, that’s only the big corporate survive, and all the little guys die out. That’s when it’s bad.
Matt DeCoursey 21:15
Yeah. And that’s tough. All right, man, I got another one. If you lose sight of your goal, like what do you do in here? You know, like, what’s our why? Why are we here? What are we trying to do? Why are we doing all this? What’s our purpose? I mean, if you if you have your if you and your organization have lost track of that might be time to quit.
Matt Watson 21:37
You know, this kind of reminds me of what’s her name that was creating those blood, instant blood tests, and she just got found.
Matt DeCoursey 21:45
It’s Elizabeth Holmes.
Matt Watson 21:48
Elizabeth Holmes, like you have somebody like that, that like, Okay, our goal is to revolutionize this thing, right. And then like, they’re probably very quickly figured out, they really couldn’t. And the rest of it become like, a big show. It’s like, at some point in time, you’re like, you know what we figured out we can’t actually do this thing. Maybe we should just stop instead of just like meandering around, getting lost, pivoting, pivoting, pivoting, or whatever, like
Matt DeCoursey 22:17
Lying and committing fraud.
Matt Watson 22:19
Yeah, I mean, it’s some, it’s a little different from losing sight of your goal. I know. But at some point in time, that’s what happens though, right? Like, you really, you have this goal, this thing that you’re going to do, and then you realize you can’t do it. And instead of just stopping, you’re just like, continue to meander around and do other random things. That’ll never gonna work.
Matt DeCoursey 22:39
You can’t believe the lie until it becomes true. And that’s, I mean, that’s what’s going on. I mean, that was a company at one point that was valued at $10 billion. Oh, yeah. And, you know, that’s, and so it was the same thing you remember, like Enron, back in the day, it’s like, you, you it’s these things are a slippery slope. And a lot of people make bad decisions to try to support a prior bad decision. And then it just becomes a daisy chain of bullshit, and sometimes fraud. And yeah, you gotta be careful with that. Because, especially, you know, with from, I mean, well, just in general, I’m gonna I’m gonna say there’s any type of fraud that you need to. This is okay. But that didn’t none of it’s good. You know, I mean, then you can go to jail for some of this stuff, like in her case. I mean, she got convicted of wire fraud and conspiracy. Yeah, those are two things that don’t look good on a future job application, by the way.
Matt Watson 23:35
Nope. Doesn’t look good at all.
Matt DeCoursey 23:39
All right, I got another one. Now, what about when the thrill is gone? And there’s just no more excitement? to it? That’s an easy decision for me. I’m going to quit that business fast.
Matt Watson 23:49
Yeah. Honestly, this has got to be one of the biggest ones, you know, a lot, a lot. The best part of startups, for me is the excitement, right? It’s the initial excitement of like, we’re going to build this thing. And we’re going to solve this problem that nobody else has solved before. Or differently, right? And then eventually, that excitement goes away. And sometimes it’s okay, like, you know, maybe something like Full Scale, it’s okay, three or four years into this, the business is great, it’s operational. It’s not as exciting anymore, but it’s successful. And it’s just an OP, you know, the business is just operating, right? Like, the excitement is not as shiny as it was in the beginning. Right. And that’s okay. Right? But but when you’re really struggling, and you’re like, I don’t, I don’t know how to even make this business be successful. And the excitement is gone. That excitement is the only thing that keeps you going and fighting and hustling, right? So when that excitement is gone, like, it’s like you just have no will to fight anymore, and you just kind of fall over and die.
Matt DeCoursey 24:46
I think you have two versions of that. Now use Full Scale as an example. This is an alternate version because Full Scale is doing great. But yeah, and growing but what you’re referring to we oftentimes have called operational Rain damage, when all of a sudden it just might not be as exciting for you as a founder. Now, that’s different from quitting an actual business that you just are not passionate about absolutely so many episodes in the past we’ve talked about. So I’ve now I’ll tell you what, over these last few years, especially with us having invested in different businesses and talk to so many different founders and people that wanted to be founders, if you weren’t passionate in the beginning, you won’t even make it to this point later. Yeah, and you know, so it’s the passion for the solution for the business for the clients, for your employees. And for all of it, that gets you through the days that are rough. And if that doesn’t exist, you are where you are operating with a very short stack of chips at a very rich poker table.
Matt Watson 25:51
Well, and it’s really difficult in those phases of a startup, right? Like, take Stackify as an example. It’s like, it’s really exciting for the first year or two. And then eventually, it becomes like, a battle, like you wake up every day. And it’s a war of just like, how do we survive? How do we get new customers? How do I keep all my bitchy employees happy? Like, how do I deal with all these problems every day? And it’s just not excited. It’s just not as exciting anymore, right? And for some of us, some people probably like me, my, my expertise is in that first part, like, how do I build this thing and get it going. And it might be time for me to step away and let somebody else operate it or sell it and go do something else. Right, like, and in that sense, quitting isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It could be like, You know what, I’m gonna hand this over to somebody else who’s better at taking it from here. And I’m gonna go do something else. That’s more fun now. And so that perspective, quitting may not may not be a bad thing at all. It’s just the company gets to a different phase. And it’s just my excitement is not there anymore.
Matt DeCoursey 26:48
Yeah, I agree. I agree. So Matt, once again, today’s episode, Startup Hustle was sponsored by Wix. Thanks, Wix. That’s where you can go, if you want to create a website that you’re proud of, you can discover their platform that gives you the freedom to create, design, manage and develop your web presence exactly the way you want it, go to wix.com. And check it out. So now here we are, uh, you know, and I don’t think we need to get it. You know, normally our episodes are 40-45 minutes long, I think we’ve covered most of the stuff, we don’t think we need to try to stretch it out when it comes to quitting. But what are I mean, what are a couple of your key takeaways here?
Matt Watson 27:22
Well, I think this is definitely very different from different for different people in different stages of the company, right? I think the most common is we talked about starting a technology company, or the people that are in early phases are like, You know what, I have this idea, but I can’t find a co-founder or I can’t raise capital, or all that part of a right is really stressful, really frustrating in the early days, especially if you’re not a technical person, and you need technical people to help build the product, but you don’t have the capital also to hire them and all that. I mean, I think that’s where a lot of people end up getting stuck, they get lost, where they just never move forward. And a lot of them end up quitting, right. And that’s the hardest part. And then right after that is even when you get some success, you don’t grow fast enough, you don’t create enough revenue fast enough that you your own income, can’t sustain this, right. Like I left my cushy job at corporate America making 200 grand a year. And now I don’t make anything. And I only have, you know, a certain runway. And that’s the most difficult part I think to overcome for people is that first year or two, like you have to go into this planning, like a year to really not making any money.
Matt DeCoursey 28:34
Yeah, that’s I think you’re right. I think for me when I look at this episode, and I think about Oh, so you know, at the end of 2016 exited slash closed down a business that I had done, my wife and I had done incredibly well at, we were happy to close it down because we wanted to do other things, we could have kept doing that business, I could still own that business and operate that business today. We’ve done really well with it, but the thrill was gone. You know, it was like we weren’t really passionate about it, we were just kind of like, okay, so this, this operation has served its purpose and done what we needed it to do. And the same people that worked at that company, actually now later work at Full Scale. They worked at GigaBook. There weren’t a Full Scale and so sometimes you can repurpose what you’re doing and funnel it in different directions. But the throat was gone for us there we didn’t really feel passionate about it. We were kind of over it it just became like the only thing that really kind of elevated the the pulse the excitement was making a ton of money now yeah, that’s gonna get get us excited. But overall, like you look at things like the feeling of self actualization like we felt I felt that I and the business we’re ready able and should be doing something that we’ve all thought was a little more meaningful. What was that? We didn’t know. We just know that we wanted to do something different. it and, you know, and when about going to do that. So when that excitement is gone, it’s time to because, you know, it’s, you wake up every day and you now just have a job at your own company. I mean, it’s not, it doesn’t really feel like you’re moving the needle forward a whole lot. I think another thing that I really want to encourage everyone to keep in mind, as you know, I’ve spent the last 25 years talking to business owners about a gazillion different things, whether I was, you know, a sales rep calling on their business or just a peer, but you got to watch, I think the personal liability and risk then getting out of control. I’ve known a lot of people that haven’t known when to say when, yep, and it’s almost like a gambling problem, or just something like that. It’s like the same thing. And they just get to the point where, you know, they’re, they’re now losing their house, they’re in bankruptcy. You know, they’re, they’re, you know, they’ve asked for money from friends and family that they shouldn’t have asked for, and just really dig themselves in a really terrible hole. And, you know, I think if you’re going to there’s, there’s, it’s one thing if you are actually trending up and moving forward, and now you’re leveraging things because at the same time, I’m a leverage guy. I mean, I’ve leveraged myself into everything I’ve ever done well as a business, but if that lever breaks, can you support what’s about to flow downhill on top of you? And you know, it’s one thing it’s one thing to go broke? It’s another thing to go bankrupt. They are different is that I do agree.
Matt Watson 31:39
Thing about entrepreneurs, though, we’re all willing to bet the farm usually. And
Matt DeCoursey 31:43
I’m okay with the with that. But there’s a difference between losing the farm and losing the farm and having to pay for losing the farm for the next 20 years. Yeah. Because it can happen. I mean, it really can. And it’s like, especially for people that don’t have your business set up properly. Because it shouldn’t it depending on what it is. I mean, it showed all of the liability and recipe tied to you. I don’t know, just be smart about it. And that’s all I gotta say. All right, Matt. I’ll see you next week for another show.
Matt Watson 32:15
Alright, see ya.