From the December 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 Los Angeles to return to my life as a professional musician. Of course, everyone is telling me what a mistake this is, saying, "you're too old," or "now that you're a success, you want to quit!" I've tried to give up this dream, but it simply won't 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 aren't happy. Not wanting to get up in the morning is one of the main indications we list in Changing Directions without Losing Your Way (Tarcher) that 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 a way 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 L.A.? 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. By following your heart, you'll 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'll have learned a great deal about what is and isn't possible. You'll 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. Check out www.bbn-net.com/offices.html for links to 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.