Why Quitting May be the Most Profitable Thing You Do This Year

Why Quitting May be the Most Profitable Thing You Do This Year

Reader Comments (78)

  1. Hi Greg,

    Concentrating gives you power. I adopted a similar strategy 2 weeks ago. I write 1-2 guest posts daily. I write 4-6 of my posts daily. I spend a little extra time networking, making friends.

    Do 1 thing. Really well. All else falls into place. Otherwise you simply run out of time trying to master multiple skill sets.

    Thanks for sharing Greg!


      • Wow! This article came at just the right time. I have gone through a complete revamp of my method of building my business online. I took a break from blogging for a long time, abandoned my fb page, twitter, etc, and focused on just truly learning the business inside and out. This allowed me to figure out what I was really good at and dive into my niche the right way, as opposed to dipping my toes into a bunch of unknown lakes and not being able to swim the right way because of it.
        Learning how to focus on one thing and become a master of it is key towards success, at least in my case. Great Post Greg. Thanks for sharing.

        @Ryan. Love the followup chief. Cheers!

  2. Yep, LOVE this idea Greg! And it’s so true. Spreading yourself thin doesn’t always work. Focusing on 1 or 2 things can lead to bigger and better things.

    Thanks for the reminder.

  3. What a timely post, as I am considering this myself. I have a web consulting biz and quite a few other projects. It’s like spinning plates… I have way too many things to focus on! The results? I’m working all of the time and not seeing the results.

    Thank you for posting.

  4. Great post. We tend to get caught up in the bright shiny object syndrome. This is a good reminder to pare down and pick one thing… And do it well!

  5. Greg – I couldn’t agree more. I always tell people to just concentrate on 1 or 2 platforms and do them well. We can’t be everything to everyone all the time. There aren’t enough hours in the day for that type of strategy. I think small biz owners who are struggling feel like they might be missing out on opportunities, but that’s just not the case.

  6. Great plain speaking Greg and so true.

    This technique fit in with niche marketing theory. Whilst concentrating your time on your niche (or the one thing you do well) it’s also worth keeping an eye on your key competitors using SEO tools to see where they guest post for links to drive online traffic.

    Happy to supply names of tools for those interested.


  7. “After looking at which strategies would give me the biggest bang for my buck,…” Now, how did you do that?

    • Hey Miguel,

      Good Question!

      Since I had a direct relationship with my clients, I simply asked them how they found me. All of them said they read an article that I wrote as a guest post.


  8. Thanks for the idea Greg…I am going to try it out for the next few weeks. I get the most out of guest posting as well…don’t know why I don’t try and do it more. Sometimes you have to read it from someone else I guess!

  9. I think he made it quite clear why he failed, and he never mentioned it. He was (is) totally focused on his own personal desire of having his own online business and he didn’t focus on providing value to other people. He never said anything about giving people something they need. He also didn’t deliver on his headline. I feel like I was robbed by reading this article.

    • Well said. The question is “are you doing this to get more clients (money)?” If the answer is “yes”, you are doomed.

  10. Thank you for the post. It is hard to let go and start over again. I do not come from a family or network of entrepreneurs and it is so discouraging when you feel like you are spinning your wheels and making no progress. Your post, in a way, has been a right of passage for me to stop, breathe, reflect and start anew. It’s hard going at it alone but I am not giving up. Thank you for sharing your story.

  11. This was an AWESOME post! I felt as if you were telling my story. Thank you.

    “You see, the reason we marketers get stuck in quicksand is because there are too many strategies, tactics, and options to spend a finite amount time and energy.” You are correct. I too bought into the strategies, tactics, and options and have been spinning my wheels. I am doing two things to overcome this. Number one: starting on April 24, I am working with a business/marketing coach who built a successful business and now is presenting with Jack Canfield from Chicken Soup for the Soul. Second, I will choose ONE or TWO strategies that work for me and my business.

    I’ve been trying to do EVERYTHING from social media to guest posting and it’s wearing me out. I would like to have a system in place that works for me. Sometimes I think that the ONE SIZE FITS ALL approach to marketing doesn’t work for those of us who are solopreneurs without assistants or a team of people to help us. We only have 24-hours in one day and can only do so much.

    I’m excited about starting over and look forward to moving onward and upward in my business.

    Have a great weekend!

    • Hi Amandah,

      Getting a mentor is a great idea. Figure out the one or two things that you do that bring the most success, and build from there.

      If you’re going to do it half heartedly, then might as well not do it at all!


  12. I’m trying something new as well. I’ve contacted a very successful entpreneur and he is going to promote me and my services to his following and recommend me to various influencers. I have multiple sites that are suffering and posting quality content on a daily basis on various social networks is just too much and isn’t working for me, when I need to be focusing on my craft.

  13. Another great article to bring pause and thought to us out here who are struggling to be found and find success in our entrepreneurial efforts! As a VA, I’ve been trying to be everything to everybody, not wanting to niche down in fear of not succeeding in just one niche (not succeeding now). When you drop into the world of entrepreneurs you’re immediately overwhelmed with the things you need to set up and learn, and many don’t have the techie skills they need to operate in an online world. So we do need to put the blinders on, and find what we love and do best and be happy with that. There’s that old saying, that you can do a lot of things poorly, or a few things well. Thanks for getting my brain working on this problem.

  14. Fantastic direction…..
    Especially the comment:
    “You see, the reason we marketers get stuck in quicksand is because there are too many strategies, tactics, and options to spend a finite amount time and energy.”
    Focusing on what works and what you are proficient at is the key. Of course nothing wrong with outsourcing some mundane tasks occasionally.
    Several of our clients have exploded sales and profits form FOCUSING one one or two venues.
    One of them focused on Blog Content for a year and went from low 5 figure monthly sales to near 6 figures within 14 months

  15. Hi Greg,

    I am excited to work with a business/marketing coach. If I could do it all over again, I would have hired a business coach in 2008 before I started my business. Oh well… better late than never.

  16. You have been reading my mind! It is nearly impossible to keep up with all social platforms, maintain a website/blog and be engaging, while trying to run a business. At some point you run out of time to rest.

  17. hey greg,

    i was caught in the ‘shiny object’ syndrome for a while because everything i tried seemed to blow up in my face – then i started a wrestling site to post news about my son’s team and like magic it started to generate traffic – not massive traffic but at least it was something – i wrote my weekly blog and didn’t concentrate on anything except good writing – it made me realize that the basis for being successful is consistency and quality – then when you add the tricks of the trade all of a sudden you have something that resembles a viable business and not a hobby – i still haven’t reached that stage yet but i’m getting there – your post is something we all need to remind ourselves of – no silver bullets – just keep at it – thanks

    steve c

    • Hey Steve

      Yeah, shiny object syndrome seems to get to all of us every now and then. I struggle with it every day. But the more I focus, the better off I am.

      Best of luck with your wrestling blog!


  18. hmm, I tried to check out the video on his site – http://cloudmarketinglabs.com/ — but it justt takes me into a loop to sign up again. Greg, maybe you should check on this?

    As for the article, I have found that people will come to you if you provide a good product or service and believe in it.

  19. Hi Greg,
    Good post with good advice. Thank you. I tried to also access your Sign up 5 client a month video and I can’t seem to get it to work properly. Is there an alternative way to access it?

  20. The perfect post at the perfect time. I’m starting over by abandoning fruitless marketing efforts and focusing my energy on a narrower niche (white papers for small and start-up tech companies).

  21. Hi Greg,

    Wow, you are speaking my language, and I really needed to read this post. I have been in the exact same situation while trying to build my business, and “quicksand” is certainly the word. My passion, my spunk, my enthusiasm have been waning. I recently started putting more focus into guest blogging, and I see my energy picking up. I am a career/lifestyle strategist and when I was featured on a national career site last week, my blog saw its highest traffic ever. Still not huge, but better than the results I was getting by tweeting, commenting, liking, sharing etc…. Thank you for this helpful read!

  22. Perfect timing! I spent the morning (and the last 6 months) thrashing around in the quicksand pit I’ve built for myself, and decided – about one hour before reading your post – that all this unfocused, random activity MUST STOP. Your article hit home and serves to confirm my decision to concentrate my efforts. Thank you!

  23. So, I guess the way we are heading now is to have a lean social media strategy and more efforts in empowering knowledge and sharing knowledge through blogging, article contribution for a niche.

    The readers will surely respond better to this, as they will have a specific place to visit should they want to read your latest post.

  24. I love this article because it details the kind of thinking you need to have as an online marketer/blogger/writer/etc. In a way, it’s almost like working out… There are thousands of different workouts out there and ways get in shape, but you have to find the ways you enjoy and what works best for you. There are tons of ways to find success online, but people’s visions of success are different. You obviously figured out what success was to you and found the most efficient way to get there. I recently went through a similar paradigm shift and appreciate this article on a personal level. Cheers! – James

  25. Great article and oh-so-true! I recently accepted a new position as a Digital Marketing Manager and I’m currently in stage 1 of what you described here, so this article was perfect timing to remind me to stay focused. I know that we can’t be great at everything, so we need to focus our efforts to be great at ONE thing. Thanks for the reminder.

    Keep up the great work!

  26. Great post Greg! I started over myself about a year ago…for 3 years I was doing okay, but knew I could be doing better if I offered less hype and more value…something that many of us at first online are not taught out of the gate. Finding Copyblogger a little over a year ago and the likes of Sonja, Brian C. and Brian G. was quiet the eye opener to “value” and “authority”. SO thanks again for the piece, and for those who are thinking that quiting now and starting over is a bad thing, think again, Greg and I did it and so can you!

  27. Hi Greg, this is a great post and also very timely. I always advise my clients to only use as many social networks as they can reasonably manage and not to fall into the trap of trying to do everything where they end up doing nothing well. Recently, as an application for myself, I’ve been flirting with the idea of deleting my LinkedIn account. Why? Because I haven’t received a lick of benefit from it up to this point, but I numerous updates and it’s another thing in the back of my mind that I need to “manage.” However, in my experience, I’ve found that Twitter + guest posting has led to 100% of my clients (with the emphasis on guest posting). This is also something that guys like Seth Godin do where he only uses a few networks, i.e. the ones that make sense for him. So again, great post, and something lots of people should pay attention to, especially if they are solo entrepreneurs or small businesses that don’t have the resources to do everything. Marketing advice is only as good as the results it delivers.

    • Funny you should mention your Linkedin account Joseph. I’ve been thinking of doing the same. I used to find clients on Linkedin, but I haven’t been on there other than to accept connection requests in a long time.
      At some point, I’m either going to move all in, or get out.

  28. Great post Greg. To become successful in the internet marketing world you have to be persistent, focus, and have the faith and courage to make things happen.

  29. I loved this post! It perfectly described my situation. Spending hours each day on social media, reading emails and blog posts is not getting me the kind of clients I need/want. I am busy, but not productive. As you said I should focus on what is really important. Building authority and guest posting.

  30. Thanks for that story, Greg. I would love for you to substantiate it with some hard facts and figures, however.

  31. I remember a moment in college where I was discussing what part of Absalom, Absalom to focus my research paper on. I kept throwing out ideas and my professor kept saying, “too broad.” It took a while to land on something specific and focused enough. I ended up writing over 15 pages on the significance of one moment in the book that takes up probably less than 1 page of it.

    I’ve found myself thinking of that moment from time to time in my experiences freelancing. Maybe it’s part of my character that I have a tendency to start out too broad, and have to little by little learn to narrow my focus.

    When I started working as a freelancer, I had this idea that I needed to be good at a range of things to find work. I couldn’t just be a writer. I had to be become skilled at social media, SEO, PPC, and email marketing. No one person can be fantastic at everything on that list, you can either choose to be mediocre at a list of skills, or become really good at 1 or 2.

    Finding my place in the freelance world has been a regular act of narrowing, and I’m still trying to determine a more specific focus to call my “niche.” It’s good to know a little bit about a lot, but better to be an actual expert at something.

  32. Greg, very nice to see you cavorting on these pages. My first question would be, since Copyblogger isn’t accepting unsolicited guest posts now, who did you give a bottle of Caymus Cab to in order to get in? (Though I know you’ve been here before—is that the key?)

    My other questions are:
    What criteria did you use to decide where to send guest posts?
    Of the sites you solicited, how many were accepted (or accepted after an edit)?
    Over how long of a period were you posting, and what were the tangible results?
    Do you think the Giants have another shot at a World Series?

    You can ignore that last one if you aren’t in the mood …

  33. Okay, I need to rephrase. I am amazed by this article. As a copywriter I sort of grew up with Copyblogger. I love its intelligent and creative writing. I love that you guys know how to put the same content in so many different words 😉 And I love that it was never only about making money.
    So far.
    And so I am astounded to read an article that says:

    ‘Words like “engage” and “social currency” have become so embedded into our lexicon, that we don’t stop to analyze whether or not they’re valid to our business goals.

    I too, was seduced.

    But if you’re like me, the only reason for doing content marketing is to make sales and build your business.

    And in order to do that, you only need to do three things:

    Drive traffic.
    Build authority and trust.
    Convert that authority and trust into sales.’

    So – it is no longer about engagement, is it?
    It’s all about driving traffic so you can sell?
    And only that?

    I am not naive. I am not against earning a living. But I find the tone of this article well… let’s say it is not converting the authority and trust you had so well for me.

    • Hey Kitty,

      I think the key is to find one thing that you can do that your customers will respond to. Whether it’s earning their trust/building authority on Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, etc… It doesn’t matter which you choose.

      For me, the way that I build trust and authority is through guest blogging, and I build relationships when people comment on the posts and email me.

      I know it’s not the only way to do it, and I’m fairly certain that it’s not the best way. But for me, it works. 🙂


  34. Great post. I particularly like the fact that you did not push one specific method down your readers throats, rather you simply said focus on what works and do it. I live in a small resort town so most local businesses’ lifeblood is marketing to tourists before they get here, so social media, SEO, PPC, content marketing, email marketing, etc are all great ways for the various businesses to connect with their potential customers.

    But paradoxically, as a online marketing consultant and web developer, I get virtually none of my work via the internet. After you strip out all the tourists, this is a very small community and in small communities almost all business is done word of mouth. So about 2 years ago I started focusing more on local networking coupled with some email marketing. I went from an alright amount of work to extremely busy in a very short amount of time.

    Now I don’t even have time to market and the work just keeps coming in 🙂 But I gotta run now. I need to go delete some social network accounts! Thanks again!

  35. If you have a really important message to get out, then you have to do whatever it takes to move ahead full steam. It’s hard to stand out from the crowd, especially when you’re lost in social media. By sharing your best work in an efficient way, you are helping people, whether you’re making money or not. After all, you’re not forcing people to pay you.

    I can’t thank you enough for writing this post. I feel like you were speaking directly to me. Having recently launched a site and started a business (after blogging on a different topic for three years), it seems like a daunting task to learn all of the different platforms. I thought I had no choice, because everyone else seemed to be able to figure it all out. I thought there must be something wrong with me – or my organizational skills – if I couldn’t manage it all.

    I’ve always believed in doing one thing really well, but marketing always seemed like this other piece that seemed so difficult for me. Now that I think about it, guest posting is the best of both worlds, because the content IS the marketing. So, I really appreciate your fresh perspective on this whole thing. I feel like a weight has been lifted from my shoulders.

    Congratulations on figuring out how to put the pieces of your successful business together. Best of luck to you!

    • Hey Dawn,

      Thank you for the comment. I felt the exact same way, that I had no choice but to learn everything. I learned the hard way that this isn’t the case.

      Best of luck on your new business venture.


  36. Very True. If you’re the one man show, do first thing first.

    Focusing your energy on one place can give you immense power as marketer. But which strategy first is also prominent.

    Jack of all & master of none, must me changed as – Jack of all & master of One.

  37. Gregg, this points directly at a post I wrote a few days ago. I didn’t give up meatballs but I did take out the garbage. When you sharpen your focus you do become better at what you do.

  38. Thank you! You have not only encouraged me to continue the struggle but to purse and re-evaluate my strategies!

  39. Greg,

    Were you eavesdropping on my conversations yesterday??? Seriously – I met with a marketing expert in my region yesterday and our WHOLE conversation was about where to concentrate our marketing efforts in this Brave New World – and this was our tentative conclusion – your timing (like your grandmother’s meatballs) is perfect. Thank you.

  40. Great post. I feel your pain as I have also questioned the effort and time that I put into building the platform for my books. However, I’ve taken a slightly different route. I agree that guest posting is important. I did a round of guest posts late last year, and I’m gearing up to do another round in May/June. It’s part of my strategy of working in “intentional rhythms,” which is the name of my blog. Beyond blogging and online marketing, I write books, poetry, and music. I also work full-time as a college instructor. I have to have a balance of my different endeavors. So although I blog and use social media regularly, I limit the amount and rotate what I focus upon.

  41. If I could only chose one methods of marketing, I would choose guest posting because it’s what I need to get readers to see me as a professional author. I guess others might choose differently depending on the need.

  42. Wonderful advice and quite timely as I have decided to push the pause button and review all I was doing. It’s so easy to enter the spinning wheel and feel like a hamster – even if you’re getting a lot of business. The best on the post is to feel validated and “supported” in my decision, to see that it happened with someone experienced and talented gives me the energy to keep on track! Thank you for sharing.

  43. Great advice here. You really opened me up to another way to market and promote myself. I will be looking into the guest posting for sure.

  44. This is by far the best advice every new website owner and blogger could hear. Too often people focus on trying to do it all and “be everywhere.” Yes, you can leverage yourself with social media using tools like HootSuite, for example or look for better and better ways of doing different strategies but when it all comes down to it, why are you even trying to do everything?

    Is it because everyone else says it works and can actually show proof? Or is it because you want to build a real business from your website and provide value to other’s lives?

    If it’s the latter, as you said in this article, pick one thing and do it with amazing strength and you’ll go far in time.

    After all, content is king.

    Read blogs and get social in your spare time. When it comes to building your business and building your site with more authority, keep content as a number one focus.

    While I enjoy commenting on blogs and using social media myself, it’s not my number one focus and I know why.

  45. I have recently started researching and understanding the importance of guest posting. It’s a powerful aspects that strengthens relations with other bloggers and helps auidence as a whole. Thank you for reinforcing this.

  46. It seems like everywhere I turn, this is the new “bandwagon for success”. Guest blogging. While I certainly understand the merit of the practice, my fear is that this trend will soon be replaced by something else. The biggest challenge that I have had in this is finding relevant blogs to guest post on. There are a million small real estate sites, but most of them are like me – small and don’t have a significant following and if they do have a following, I don’t know that it will help me as we are so locally based. So I am not sure how to find authority sites that will actually make a difference in my hopes of growing my business. I do appreciate the reminder that Focus & Clarity will net more results than trying to do too many strategies at one time.

  47. Greg:

    I love the post. What you described is something that the majority of online entrepreneurs go through at one time or another. The problem with online marketing is that there is an infinite number of activities that we can be doing to grow and promote our businesses. We tend to spread ourselves too thin by trying to do too much. We are busy, but we are busy doing the wrong things. And the result is that nothing meaningful gets accomplished.

    Most businesses have two or three tasks that must be performed every day for the business to be successful. Our job as entrepreneurs is to identify those two or three critical tasks and make them our “FOCUS” of our daily activity.

    Your example of guest blogging is a great example. With guest blogging, every day you are creating content, adding value to the market and building your authority. And the key is that you are doing it “Every Day.” That’s powerful.

  48. I liked 3 points. Drive Traffic. Build Authority. Convert that authority and trust into sales. To become successful in IM you need to be consistent and determined to achieve your goals no matter what comes in the way.

  49. Thanks Greg. This reminds me of a recent post I wrote. We can’t deceive ourselves into believing that we are doing many things well. We either do one or two things well, or many things very poorly.

  50. Well hello Greg, I was told that reading alltop.com was the way to go if I wanted to get an overview of what was going on online and having found this post on there, I am now a convert to checking that site daily.

    You are so right about the pressure to be doing and be present on all the social channels plus doing all of the other marketing. Yet as you have pointed out, it serves our prospects and our business poorly to be undertaking tasks and projects in a half hearted manner whilst always being focussed on just getting it done rather than on the benefit to the potential recipient.

    Time to take a step back, look at the numbers compare that against what I enjoy and have at least some competence in doing and build a business based around that alone.

  51. I admire you for knowing when to quit, and what new direction to take. That takes courage! Thanks for this inspiring post. We have to pursue what we’re good at and realize (with humility) that we can’t do it all.

  52. Great points! We all get into the “do everything you can” mentality. The problem is, you never know what’s going to work, so you want to do it all. I like the idea of, pick the one you’re most comfortable with and master that one. You can always add on later if you find yourself with extra time. Thanks for the tips!

  53. I have been trying to boil the ocean now for the last two years without success, so reading this has helped me re-focus my energy on the three key items you mentioned. Once you have the trust you get the sales! Easy as that and well put!

  54. I have been thinking of doing so. I believe there’s nothing wrong in starting over and the best part of it is that you get to do things over again the best way you can (if you happen to learn from your experience).

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