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How Quitting Can Get You Exactly What You Want Sometimes, giving up on the wrong things will allow you to gain the right ones.

By Ryan Stewman Edited by Dan Bova

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.


Quitting. You hear about people doing it all the time. Maybe you've quit before. Maybe you've quit a job, quit smoking or quit something that was not serving you well at the time. Most coaches, motivational speakers and the like will tell you to never give up -- but I'm going to challenge that line of thinking today.

Since we were young, we've been told not to quit. We've heard sayings like "quitters never win" that have stuck with us throughout time. While quitting is mostly a bad thing, knowing what and when to quit can be one of the best skills you can have in life. Giving up on the wrong things will allow you to gain the right ones.

Related: 7 Sure Signs Now Is the Time for a Career Change

This realtor I know, we will call him Jon, works selling real estate in a very diverse part of the country. For the first three years of his career, Jon struggled to sell five to 10, $50,000 to $125,000 homes each year. While it wasn't a major payday, Jon needed every dollar he got from selling these inexpensive starter homes.

One day, Jon reached out to me for a consultation and started to tell me his story. He's working night and day, dealing with prospects who have little to no credit and barely getting by. It's taking every bit of energy he has just to make the small amount of money he IS making.

Jon went on to tell me that he wants to break into the higher-end / luxury-home market. He knows how to sell homes, is good at dealing with high maintenance people and loves high end architecture. I could feel his frustration coming through the phone. He was stuck selling what he didn't want to sell, and it was keeping him from selling what he liked.

So I told him to give up!

That's right. I told him, straight up, that it was time to quit. Give up and move forward with his life. I told him to give up on dealing with subpar prospects. I told him to quit marketing and advertising the fact that he worked with inexpensive properties and prospects with questionable credit. I explained to Jon that you can't attract million-dollar home sellers with marketing that says, "We specialize in bad credit." People in million-dollar homes rarely have bad credit. The message he was sending to the marketplace was the exact opposite of what he wanted to do. So I told him to quit.

Quit selling those cheap houses to those unqualified, needy people who he didn't like working with. If he was going to attract million-dollar sellers, he was going to have to give up on working with $100,000 homes. That meant reaching way out of his comfort zone and giving up on what he had built so far. If Jon was going to gain traction, pick up luxury sellers and earn more money, he was going to have to project the image of expertise, confidence and exclusivity. Exclusivity meaning he had to be selective of who he worked with. The days of taking on any old client were gone. If they didn't fit the luxury mold, he had to refer them out.

Related: 9 Signs You Should (Maybe) Quit Your Job Now

Think of how this plays out in most people's businesses. Especially for most entrepreneurs. They end up settling for what pays their bills instead of seeking what they want. Just like Jon had to learn, you can't have both luxury and affordability. It's a myth. If there were such a thing, Gucci and Louis Vuitton would have cheap product lines. They don't.

The reason why Gucci and Louis Vuitton only sell to high-end clients, is because you can't sell to both. The rich don't have a desire to buy the same luxury items the average man can afford. Michael Kors tried this and is failing. Michael Kors has both a high-end line of handbags and a low end. Both carry the same name and logo. Now, with the market flooded, and Michael Kors purses affordable to everyone, and the high-end section of their business is virtually gone. It's almost impossible to cater to all classes of income-earners.

MIchael Kors set out to be a high-end purse retailer like Gucci and Louis Vuitton, but now, since it cater to all types, it has lost its high-end clientele. In order to hit the market massively like it did, it had to give up on its high-end sales. The opposite was true for Jon.

Knowing what to give up on is crucial to winning in business and in life. Knowing what relationships to give up on, what jobs, ventures and referral sources to give up on is a must. Many entrepreneurs fail because they don't quit. They let their stubbornness, or fear of leaving their comfort zone, keep them from seeing the level of success they really want.

One of the best lessons you'll ever learn is to not let good be the robber of great. We became entrepreneurs to write our own future and our own paychecks. Why settle for selling and doing something you don't want? Why settle for less? If you're going to get to the next level in life, you've got to do next-level stuff. You can't beat level nine playing with the same moves as you used on level eight.

Take a look at your business right now, and make a decision on what you need to give up on. Is it whiney clients? Is it products you hate? Is it accounts that drive you nuts? On the flip side, take note of what you do want. Look at what you'll have to give up in order to get what you want. And then give up!

Related: 9 Reasons to Switch Careers as Soon as Possible

Ryan Stewman, the "hardcore closer," is a best-selling author, podcaster and blogger. He's best known for consulting with alpha personality business owners on rapidly growing their sales via the use of strong marketing and advertising.

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