From the November 2002 issue of Startups

Q: I am a successful business owner, but I can hardly stand to get up in the morning. I want to quit my business and move to L.A. to return to my life as a professional musician. Of course, everyone tells me what a mistake this would be--they say "You're too old" or "Now that you are a success, you want to quit!" I've tried to give up this dream, but it simply will not rest or fade. How do we know when our brain is lying to us? If I were happy, wouldn't I know it?

A: Yes, you're right. You would know if you were happy. If, day after day, you can hardly stand to get up to face your business, you are not happy. Not wanting to get up in the morning is one of the main signs we list in Changing Directions without Losing Your Way as an indication it's time to make a change. You can trust your feelings on this. They're screaming at you--throwing a tantrum, in fact! How much more miserable do you need to become before you're convinced? This is how many people become ill.

Of course, if you decide to put your business behind you, you can't be sure where following your dream will take you. Will you be successful in Los Angeles? You can't know. But it doesn't sound like you can live with yourself until you find out where this dream will lead you. Who knows what you will find once you're in L.A. By following your heart, you will learn what you're yearning to discover at this time in your life.

Your friends may be right. You may decide leaving was a mistake. But mistakes are our teachers. They show us the right path. A year from now, you will have learned a great deal about what is and isn't possible. You will know more about yourself and about what possibilities await you.

To help finance your future career, perhaps you can find someone to sell your business to or turn your accounts over to for a lump sum or a percentage of the revenue over a period of time. Since you have a business to sell, you may want to use a business broker. (See our article from last month for more on business brokers.)

And, yes, you will know when you're happy! You'll look forward to getting up in the morning.


Paul and Sarah Edwards are the authors of several homebased business books, including Working From Home. Their latest book is The Entrepreneurial Parent.