Persistence, Throwing in the Towel, and a Bit of Macchiavelli

When I tell people I used to be a fancy-pantsy bespoke tailor, they usually swoon.
“Really? Wow! You can make a suit by hand? That’s so impressive.
But why did you quit? Do you prefer copywriting?”

In many ways, I do. One thing that I love about this work is the research: Reading and learning is part of my work, and I just love learning.
I also really enjoy the interaction with clients.
And being able to really help people is just a fantastic way to make a living.

At the same time, I do miss making things by hand. It’s beautiful to see something take shape.
The different threads, my favorite thimble, horn buttons – I love materials.

But at some point a number of years ago, I had to choose.
Either I’d move to Madrid or Barcelona and restart my tailoring company there, or I’d stay on the coast, starting a different line of work.
Because here in Andalusia, there’s no custom for a fancy tailor.
I chose the coast over tailoring.
A big sacrifice, especially considering that I had invested some $150.000 in the tailoring business.
But moving into a city just wasn’t worth it for me.

Some would say I threw in the towel.

I say: I lost a battle, but I’m still fighting. I’m just fighting different battles now

We’re all faced with choices, from time to time.
All of us need to decide whether or not this business, this strategy, or this offer should continue or not.
It’s scary.
It’s threatening.
Choosing to drop something is often a step into a huge, vast unknown.

But sometimes, the best we can do is lose a battle so we can keep fighting the war.
Quite unlike a friend of mine, whose business has been tanking for over 6 months, but who refuses to change his model because of the $25.000 he has invested.
That’s called chasing sunk costs (which is how I spent my own capital) and it’s not likely to ever pay off.

Sometimes, you need to excise things. Sometimes even an entire business model.
Not easy.
But worth it. When you stop fighting a battle you can’t win, before you’re burned up, you’ll be free to focus on things that do stand a winning chance.
Fighting on in something that can’t succeed will only exhaust you.

How to know what to keep, what to change, and what to drop?
Outside advice.
Not your partner, not your colleague, not your boss: ask someone who is far enough away from the forest to actually see the trees.
That could be me – so if you want advise or consulting, check out how it works over there: http://martinstellar.com/consulting/

Cheers,

Martin

Menu Title