How to Gracefully Quit Your Business


Let’s talk about something many coaches and entrepreneurs don’t like to discuss: quitting.

I’m talking about hanging up the “closed” sign for good.  Shutting down the website.  Walking away from a dying – or thriving – business.  Saying “I am done with this path.”

Quitting can be just as scary as starting.  In some ways, it can be worse.

That’s because we have a culture that says: “only quitters quit”, which makes us view the termination of a business as a personal failure.

Although most businesses end because they are not generating enough money, sometimes there are other reasons to walk away:

  • the business is no longer aligned with the direction you wish to go.
  • there has been a change in your personal life that is making it hard for you to keep the doors open (new baby, move, divorce, etc.)
  • you’re no longer happy
  • you’re bored
  • you want something else

Whatever the case may be, there is nothing wrong with you if you decide it’s time to hang it up.  But how do you know when?  And what is the most gracefully to quit your business and to walk away?

There are many signs that might indicate it’s time to close up shop: a lack of stable income or an inability to attract clients are obvious clues.  But look for subtle omens too: the wrong clients showing up more than the right ones, a lack of passion, a gut feeling that this is not your “right path”.

Listen to your practical side and your heart. Don’t ignore either.

As you begin the process of terminating your business, your friends, clients, and loved ones may be resistant.  Honor their feelings but don’t let that keep you hanging on to a business that no longer resonates.

Once you’ve established your intention to close down, go easy on yourself. You may be depressed and feel like a loser. Rather than viewing your situation or yourself as a colossal failure, treat the closing of your business like closing night on Broadway. A graceful exit means that you leave the stage, knowing you did your very best and gave it your all – but are ready to accept the show is over.  Bow out and exit stage right. You can always do an encore if you change your mind.

Next, you need to prepare for closure.  Let your clients and employees know well in advance. DO NOT close up without telling them.  Give them plenty of notice so that they can start looking for another service provider (you may want to give them a list of trusted referrals) or job.

Wind down step by step. Finish up any client work. Don’t take on more work that will extend beyond your closing date unless you can manage it (or it feels right). Start taking care of the legalities such as closing out bank accounts and filing any paperwork.   Pay off any outstanding debts (or, in some cases, this may be time to file bankruptcy).  Clear out your office or work space.  Take down your website and social media platforms.

Have a proper send off: send thank you notes to clients or employees. Throw a little gathering with your staff and favorite clients. Say your goodbyes.

Once you’ve finished up the process, a little ritual to say goodbye may be needed.  Perhaps a meditation, toast, or blessing may be in order. Give gratitude for all you’ve learned and all the wonderful people you’ve been privileged to work with and serve.

Be sure to take some time off and grieve if need be. This is a big step and you need to practice good self-care in the weeks or months that follow.  Be extra-kind to yourself.

Now what?  After you’ve had some time to heal, move on.  If you started another business or job, great.  If not, take some time to ponder your journey. Give yourself permission to explore new options.  And then look ahead and don’t look back.

One door closes but another one always opens.  Open the next door and begin anew.

Theresa Reed (aka The Tarot Lady) is an intuitive Tarot reader, teacher, mentor and yogi on a mission to take Tarot from hippie to hip. When she’s not reading tarot, she’s busy helping broke-ass mystics learn how to create sustainable + profitable businesses. If you are ready for straight talkin’ tarot and a side of biz whizz, get to her online hood: The Tarot Lady or follow her on Twitter @thetarotlady.