The Decision to Close Down my Business

ff done

This is fairly painful to write, but also not at all…

If that even makes sense.

I want to write down these feelings right now while they’re happening. Writing is therapeutic to me, but I hope this helps you too.

Today I made the final decision to shut down FitFly, after about 15 months of working on it.

There are a lot of different reasons that eventually brought me to the decision, but it wasn’t an easy one to make.

The weird thing is, more than just giving up on an idea, sometimes it feels like I’m giving up on MYSELF, even though I know that’s not true.

There are also a lot of emotions swirling around my head about what other people will think about me—my abilities, my character, my “status”. I think that’s where 75% of my anxiety is coming from. You might even be thinking less of me right now as you read this.

People think it’s so cool to start a business, so in turn, they think I’m cool.

That feels nice. But it’s also meaningless at the same time.

How do I define myself? By what other people think of me? Or by my own definitions and how God sees me?

If I let other’s opinions define me, their opinions will dictate my decisions and control my life. I don’t want that. Do I?

The other 25% is from what my friends and family will think. I’m also a little bit scared about what I think of MYSELF.

Sometimes my identity gets wrapped up in how successful or unsuccessful I am feeling at the moment.

My voice of reason is saying, “don’t romanticize this, it’s just one project, one year of your life. You learned a ton, and now you can start on something new.”

It’s not my first failure. I’m in double digits (seriously).

I’ve had successes too, but those are shoved way back in my mind because of the expectations I set for myself on a day-to-day basis.

Right or wrong, it’s kind of true.

I’ve done a good job of surrounding myself with some pretty wildly successful people, and the downside of that is when I see myself not living up to those successes, it stings like a ____.

My thoughts turn to detrimental questions like:
“Are they just smarter or better than me?”

“What do they know that I’m missing?”

“If I could just find a way to USE them, it could save me from feeling like this!” (Even though I know that’s an immature viewpoint.)

I know everyone has flaws and letdowns in life, I’m not ignorant to that, but just as harshly as I focus on my failures, I focus on other people’s successes.

Sometimes even when we know what’s good for us, we do the opposite.

Humans are weird.

People don’t talk about the NEGATIVES of surrounding yourself with great people.

Maybe some other people are just smarter than me—I mean, I know that’s a fact.

But so what? That shouldn’t define me either. I can still positively impact the world.

And it’s not all about money either. Frankly I don’t really care about that. I just require enough to be comfortable and not bound by lack of it, and FitFly wasn’t helping to pay the bills.

I want to make an impact with my work, and the reality is, a really good indicator of how much of an impact you’re making when you’re running a business is how much money the company is making. Not how much I PERSONALLY am making, but how much the company is making is important. Money is a tool that can be used for really good things.

Away from the point.

We truly are our most harsh critics.

This path is not linear.

Wish it was though.

I think we all have a tendency to put more weight on our failures than our successes. I know I do.

But that’s kind of natural I think—it keeps us from becoming content and lazy.

But it also requires perspective and a healthy view of the world to not become detrimental.

There’s definitely a pattern to new business ideas that I’m noticing:

  1. Things are exciting, I just started! So much potential.
  2. Things are moving a little bit, this is fun.
  3. Things slowed down, it’s getting difficult.
  4. Things are picking up again, woohoo!
  5. Things are stagnant—am I missing something, or is the idea not as needed as I thought?
  6. It’s been a year now, and it’s really not profitable. Should it be?
  7. Where else could I spend my time instead?
  8. Wait no, I’m not a quitter, and all those memes say that things get better right after most people give up.
  9. I’ll just read more motivational quotes, they help right?
  10. Ok, it’s time to move on. I hate this.
  11. ???

The good thing that comes with quitting something is the liberating opportunity to try something new. The possibility and hope that the new thing is THE thing that will work.

Maybe the thing I’m quitting has been a barrier this whole time. Wouldn’t that be nice to discover?

New things bring new life, new challenges, new lessons to learn. New is a positive thing, even when it’s difficult.

I don’t know what new project I’ll start, but I know I can’t let the failure of my last one define me. It had purpose and DID help a lot of people in the process. I made great connections, great friends, and learned lifelong lessons from it, and that was a great gift.

This is a bittersweet moment, and I regret nothing.

Every experience, good or bad, is a learning experience.

So, what’s next?

Well, for me, I’m focusing on expanding my consulting business, Jump Influence, and taking a short mental break to learn a new skill and toss around ideas for a new project to start.

If you’re interested in starting a side business, check this out.

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About The Author

Dustin Lien

@dustinlien has a passion for helping people start businesses that are profitable by implementing content strategies, smart marketing, and good business.

6 Comments

  • Todd Medema

    Reply Reply July 25, 2017

    Having been through my share of both successes and failures, and seen what a business looks like at the 1 year mark when it’s on the path to being successful vs not, I’ve started adopting the internal belief that a business that will be successful should start seeing pretty good success and adoption after 1 year. Maybe it could still be successful after that with enough hard work, but the long term difference that I’ve seen between a business that’s growing on its own merits after 1 year vs is a constant struggle is pretty astounding… and we only have so many years to spend :)

    Good on you for finally pulling the plug and freeing yourself to work on something even bigger and better! Looking forward to seeing and supporting your next project.

    • Dustin Lien

      Reply Reply July 25, 2017

      Yeah there’s a point where you have to evaluate if the input is worth the outcome, and if you still believe in the vision seriously enough to persist. Hope all is well for you Todd!

  • Rob

    Reply Reply July 25, 2017

    Good for you Dustin! Onward and upward!! Do you really consider it a failure? Maybe it was a learning experience for you, or a stepping stone to something bigger and better. Best of luck.

    • Dustin Lien

      Reply Reply July 26, 2017

      Thanks Rob! I do consider it a business failure, but every failure and every bad thing has light to it, and I’m always an optimist :)

  • Katrina Oldham

    Reply Reply July 28, 2017

    Loved the FitFly idea! Who knows when it might pop back up in the future! Keep the great ideas flowing and keep on inspiring!

    XOXO,
    Katrina

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