How do you know when to just give up on an idea?

Sometimes in business we get stuck.  And being stuck for a while can make you feel like a failure. It may seem as though you’ve had countless ideas, but no progress beyond that.

When this happens, we say things to ourselves like, “I’m trying to build my tribe. I’m blogging. I’m reaching out on social media. I’m trying all kinds of things and it’s going nowhere!”

It’s not a fun place to be. It makes you feel as though everything you’ve tried is coming up short.

Trust me when I say this, we have all been there.  The early stages of growing our business is hard!

It can be really hard. And those of us who have been in business for a while often forget just how difficult it is in the beginning to build momentum.

But, regardless of  whatever stage we are in of growing our business, the most powerful force we can have on our side is… momentum.

When you’ve got momentum on your side, everything becomes easier.  In fact, you can do things completely “wrong” in some cases, and still come out on the winning side – all because you’ve got momentum propelling your forward.

So the question becomes…

What’s the easiest way to build your momentum?

I’m going to tell you 🙂

You ready?

Write this down…

Help people with a specific problem.


The fastest way to build momentum

is to solve a specific problem.


One of the things that I always advise, is for you to first identify the specific problem that you are solving for your market.

Try to get really specific about the problem. How will somebody in your market describe that problem they are experiencing?

People are always looking for a solution to their most pressing problem. And when you become “the” person who solves that problem, guess what happens?  

You start gaining momentum… quickly.  Business starts coming to you vs. you trying to chase it down.

So what solution do you have for someone else’s pain?

And here’s a VERY important distinction…


Be sure your solution aligns with the client’s problem


More often than not, when it comes to identifying whether an idea is good or whether it’s bad, make sure that you’ve got alignment around the solution you’re providing with the problem that people are experiencing.

I have worked with clients many times where they’ve had a product that just wasn’t resonating with their audience for whatever reason. It just was not getting the traction that they were looking for.

That didn’t mean the product was bad. It meant that they were not marketing it in a way that resonated with the audience which they were intending to serve.

So, their messaging was out of alignment.


Use the language that people use to describe their problem


There are a couple of ways I look to get my message in alignment. I like to use surveys.  Then I look at the results and look at the words my market is using to describe their problems.  So surveys are my first choice.

If I can’t do a survey for some reason (like when you’re in the very early stages and you don’t yet have an audience to survey), I dive into the comments on related blogs or forums.  And when I’m combing through these comments, I’m looking to find the language that people are using to describe their problem.

For example, if I was in the “parenting niche”, one of the problems that I know young parents might be experiencing could be related to getting their toddler to sleep at night (ask me how I know this could be a problem for young parents!  LOL).

So I would do a simple Google search like this:

And from there I’d pick a result and starting digging.

In the example above, I could see a forum thread right away where someone was describing the issue she was having with her toddler.

So I clicked on it and look what I found:

There is SO much gold in that response.

This woman not only describes the problem she is having (took the dummy away… now child is not sleeping and is crying out “I need you Mummy”).

But she then describes the ripple effect of that problem (her day time sleep is messed up)… and she is taking over an hour to fall asleep.

Of which…

This woman said “I feel like I have failed her”.


But that pain is real right?

I mean I can totally relate to that tension.

And more over, as a parent with young kids I can TOTALLY relate to when she said “I am desperate to give it back to her but I know that is not right either”.


This forum post is ABSOLUTE gold.


From a copywriting standpoint, we have everything we need.

We have a description of the external problem (the thing they want solved).  In this case, “get my toddler to sleep”.

We have the “costs” associated with that problem.  In this example it’s her child not getting rest, constant crying, routines been thrown off and the time it’s now taking to sort it all out.

And we also have the “internal problem”… meaning, the mental and emotional costs associated with this issue (ex. “I feel like I failed her”).

Plus there are SO many other nuggets or marketing angles we could run with – all based on this one response.   

And this is where the magic begins…

When you start using this language to reflect back the problem to your market, they instantly feel understood.  And furthermore, when you describe the solution you’re offering using the same language, you begin creating MASSIVE momentum.

It almost sounds too simple right?

(and it is).

But most business owners NEVER do this kind of research.  They “assume” they know.  

Big mistake.

But if you take a little time on the front end to get intimately familiar with how your market describes their problems, you’re going to begin gaining momentum.  Because when they see your materials, they’ll be instantly attracted to it.  They’ll feel like “you know them” – which you do.

And they’ll feel compelled to what you’re offering because it solves their specific problems.


The right problem, with the right solution, described in the right way, equals a home-run, winning combination.


Now, if, after doing that, you find that things still aren’t happening, then you may want to look elsewhere.  That’s when you move on.  

Make sense?

Listen, it’s hard to move on.  Especially if you’ve invested a lot of time and energy into your idea.

But if it’s not a problem that your market is looking to solve, you’ll ALWAYS be fighting an uphill battle.

And at the end of the day, that’s not fun.  That makes doing business hard. And there are already all kinds of challenging things about running your own business.  So if you’ve got your messaging dialed in and your market is still not responding, then it’s time to move on.  You’re going to save yourself a lot of heartache and headache.

It doesn’t mean that you can’t actually help people in the way that you want.  But maybe you can do it by focusing on another angle.

I’m not saying that what you’re doing is wrong and I’m not saying it’s a bad idea. I said first you want to make sure that you are not out of alignment in the way that you’re describing your solution with the problems that people have.

But, if there is alignment there, and you’re still not getting traction, then maybe you want to move on to something else.

First and foremost, check to see if your message is out of alignment, because this happens a lot.

Adjusting the alignment of your message can make all the difference in terms of the traction you get when you’re marketing your products and services.



Before giving up on an idea, here are the things I suggest you do:


  1. Identify a specific problem to solve.
  2. Ensure there is alignment between the problem you’re solving and the solution you provide.
  3. Make sure your messaging is in alignment with the way your clients describe their problem – AKA, do your research and use THEIR language.

If you’ve taken these three steps and you are still not getting the attention of your market, it’s time to move on to something else.

Be sure to follow these steps first though, because so often all that is needed is to bring your solution and your messaging into alignment with what the market is seeking.

What steps do you take when you’re not getting the support from your spouse or significant other when it comes to your entrepreneurial path?

First and foremost, I’m not a relationship expert. But I can share with you my experience of being a happily married entrepreneur for 10 years.
In the beginning, my wife, Amy, didn’t have any interest in business. In fact, she couldn’t stand it when I would come home full of excitement regarding my business. She had zero interest in “talking shop”.
Now, it’s much different. She absolutely loves business and has swung in the complete opposite direction. For example, I’m talking shop all day long at the office. When I get home, I don’t always want to talk about business, but now she does. So, we are still trying to find the balance LOL. But I think we’re pretty darn close.
Here’s the good news…
We didn’t just “arrive” at this point. We intentionally took a few action steps that made a big difference.
Starting with action step #1…

1) Create space to pursue your individual interests.

In the early days of our marriage, one of the things that Amy and I did really well, was to give each other the space to pursue the things that we were passionate about – without judgment. This is SO important.
For example, Amy absolutely loves to travel. If she is in any one place for more than two months at a time, she starts to get itchy feet. That girl LOVES to travel (and rarely ever does she like going back to the same place!). And some of the places she wants to travel, quite frankly, I don’t want to go (no offense honey 🙂 ).
But, I know it’s important for her. So, we create that container of space so she can still pursue those interests. Every year, she has a “girl’s trip”. Plus, we plan out our family and couple travel well in advance so that she always has something to look forward to.
(and I will admit, she even let’s me pick one trip a year! I told you she was a keeper 😉 ).
Similarly, there are things that I’m passionate about that she has no interest in. For example, I’m a very competitive guy and have played sports all my life (even won 2 National Soccer Championships while at university… ahhh the glory days).
The thing is, I still love to play. And I’ll go to great lengths to play at a high level (I used to drive 140+ minutes round trip twice a week to play a 40 minute game of indoor soccer).
Deep down, she thinks that’s crazy.
Me? That’s absolutely normal! LOL
But here’s the important lesson…
She gives me that container of space to pursue my individual interests without judgement.
We give each other that freedom. And we know it’s important for each other’s sanity so we are intentional about making sure the other person is pursuing those things.
Which brings me to action step #2…

2) Create space to be together.

See how this works?
The first action step is for you to do your thing and your spouse or partner to do theirs.
Now I’m suggesting you also do the opposite by intentionally crafting time to do things you both enjoy.
Sounds obvious right?
But it’s not.
You’ve got to make time to just be a loving husband or wife doing things that you both enjoy together. That may mean turning your entrepreneurial brain off for a while so you can actually be with each other.
If your spouse isn’t supportive in your business adventures, they may be overwhelmed by you talking about it non-stop.
I get it.
When you are starting out, in the midst of growing, or even if you have a thriving company it’s all you want to talk about, right? It’s exciting. Things are happening!
There’s opportunities and there’s people you’re meeting and all that good stuff.
And I understand, when you’re excited, you want to share it with your loved ones as much as possible. But the reality of it is, if they’re not excited about it . . . it can just be too much.
This even extends beyond your spouse. It extends into friend groups as well.
It took a while for me to get comfortable with the fact that I can talk about certain things with certain friends and I talk about other things with other friends. That’s because I know that some friends will not connect or relate to some of the things that interest me but they may connect with other interests I have.
Same goes with your partner. If they aren’t into business, talking non-stop about business is going to drive them crazy.
So identify those environments and those groups where you feel comfortable and safe to have those kinds of discussions and don’t push it with the people who it may not be ideal with.
And most importantly, make the time to actually do things you both enjoy.
For example, remember when I said I love sports?
Well there is one sport that Amy does enjoy… downhill skiing. In fact, she’s VERY good at it and would kick my butt every time if we ever had an “official” race. So every year, we make a point to go skiing together. Even though I’m an average skier, she puts up with me on the slopes because doing it together and being active outside is where the connection is made.
Another thing we do together is help others in our community. It fills both our hearts when we can help others in need. So we regularly pursue activities within our community where we get to do this together (and with the kids). And doing this creates GREAT conversation and a joint sense of gratitude for what we have in our lives.
Now I have one final example for you… and this one is a duesy (we’ll see if you get the lesson behind the lesson). You ready?
Ok here goes…

Amy and I also love real estate. So another thing we’ll commonly do together is take a drive and look at houses. And when we do, guess what happens?
We start dreaming together. We discover what each other likes and doesn’t like. And through this conversation, the dreams start to come to life (HINT HINT).
And guess what happens when your spouse who doesn’t like business starts dreaming about possibilities?
The inevitable question…
“What would need to happen for us to make this a reality?”
That’s the ticket my friend.
That was the question that sparked the entrepreneurial bug within Amy.
Because once she began dreaming, she realized that the most effective way to bridge the gap between our current reality and the one we were dreaming about was through our business.
Now I’m not saying this will magically happen for you. But what I am saying is that doing things together gives you the opportunity to have conversation. And if you sprinkle in some conversation about what you’d like your future to look like… well… you just never know what could happen 😉
Here’s the takeaway…
You want to make sure that you A, allocate time together, and B, make sure it’s time sharing the things that you both love to do and talk about.
(and be sure to slip in a conversation about your “perfect future”… you can thank me later 🙂 ).
So here’s the third action step…

3) Surround yourself with people who are on the same path.

You should have an outlet where you can talk shop, trade strategies back and forth and build each other up.
I’ve been in a Mastermind in some form or fashion for almost 15 years.
Some were paid groups. Some were peer groups. Some were big. Some were small.
Some met more regularly than others, but it didn’t matter. The value of the Mastermind comes from being surrounded with people who you feel safe sharing your entrepreneurial experiences with. This is a group where you are able to ask questions and get feedback. They become your sounding board because they “get it”. They’re in the trenches too. And that support is necessary for you to be able to move things to the next level.
I can tell you that my business would not have grown anywhere near the pace that it has grown had it not been for a Mastermind in which I participated.
If you’re not in a Mastermind yet or you haven’t found a group of other entrepreneurs where you can exchange ideas, I highly recommend that you do so.
And it doesn’t have to be difficult.
There are plenty of paid masterminds (I run one called the IMPACT Mastermind). But if you don’t join a paid group, just get together with a peer group. The key is, you want to be organized so that you meet on a regular basis.
Trust me when I say, you need that supportive environment… regardless of whether your spouse is on board or not. That group of people will become your cheerleaders. They are going to support you and help get you to the next level.
And when that happens, guess what else will happen? There’s a good chance you can win your spouse over then too – especially if you’ve had that allocated spouse time 😉

Remember these steps for creating a supportive relationship with your spouse:

  1. Create space to pursue your individual interests. It’s important to take time to do the things you love to do.
  2. Create space to be together. You need time to just be together, doing things that are important to both of you.
  3. Surround yourself with people who are on the same path. This gives you an outlet to get support and talk shop without overwhelming your loved ones.

Your turn: How are you creating a supportive environment?