Ever Feel Like Giving Up?

By July 7, 2008 Mindset 24 Comments

Rewind to the year 2001. I was sitting at my office desk in my lunch break. It had been another tedious morning at my 9-to-5 job (or should I say 8.30 to 5.30 …and beyond).

I had been nurturing the idea of starting my own Virtual Assistant business for a while. I reached for the Yellow Pages (local business directory) and leafed through it. I wanted to see what the competition was like for similar businesses in my city. There was no category for Virtual Assistants so I looked under ‘Secretarial Services’. To my dismay, I saw pages and pages of them. I couldn’t believe it.

I felt like giving up.

What was the point of setting up my own business if there were already so many?

Fast forward to yet another mind-numbing day at yet another office job (contracting was my specialty). Different office, same rigmarole. In spite of seeing the lists of secretarial service businesses in that Yellow Pages, I continued with my plans of setting up my own business. I didn’t know why, but I felt that I would still be successful in spite of the perceived competition.

I had no other option anyway. The thought of trundling into the same (or similar) office jobs for the rest of my working life was not an option.

I had started mailing out flyers to local businesses, but to no avail. It was demoralising, sticking label after label onto envelopes on my evenings and weekends, getting no response back.

I felt like giving up.

That day, I was offered a permanent office job instead of a contract role. They liked me, thought I was great at the job, wanted me to stay. I was sorely tempted. It would have meant good pay and bonuses, stability, and the boss wasn’t really that bad, was he? I told them I’d think about it.

On the sardine-packed train on the way home, I weighed up the pros and cons. Freedom and stepping into the unknown on the one hand, security and office shackles on the other. A sensible voice whispered ‘Take it, it’s good money and the job’s not bad’. However, a louder voice murmured ‘But won’t you feel like a failure if you give up now?’

I knew that the answer to that was yes, I would feel like a failure if I took the job. And so I didn’t take the job, and in spite of feeling like giving up I went ahead with my plans to work from home. Today, I look back on that decision and smile.

Think about some times when you felt like giving up. Maybe even today, there’s something you feel like giving up on. You may be in the same situation as I was, wanting to work from home. Or you may already be working from home, but not getting enough work. Maybe you’re trying to make a living with internet marketing. Or perhaps, it’s something completely different you feel like giving up on, such as losing weight.

Whatever your situation, if you feel like giving up, as we all do from time to time, ask yourself honestly, will you feel like a failure if you give up? If the word ‘failure’ doesn’t sit well with you (it’s kind of negative, I know, but it was enough to propel me forward to what I really wanted) – ask yourself what the alternative is to giving up on your dreams. A lifetime of tediousness, when you know you’re capable of so much more? A lifetime of feeling heavy and lethargic, when you know you could feel lean and healthy?

Whatever your situation, I hope this has helped motivate you not to give up on what you really want. Please share any thoughts and experiences you have by commenting below!


  • Tiffany says:

    Hey Lisa,

    I totally understand what you mean. There are so many times that I wanted to give up going to school online. My job was demanding and I had no time management. But I always remembered that without my degree I would not be securing my future. It would be tougher for me to get where I wanted to go and besides I was half-way through. In order to get through this I changed my day to day things around. I found a job where I have so much down time that my school work can be done before I go home. And now when I go home I can cook, relax and spend time with my son and fiance. I just had to make some adjustments and it worked! Now I can continue my dream and keep my sanity. Hope this helps…

  • Tia Peterson says:

    Thanks for this, Lisa! I linked to it in a post to my readers as well. You’ve given me some motivation to keep on keeping on for this week.

    There are definitely times I feel overwhelmed – they teeter-totter back and forth between having too much work and having too little. It is amazing how feeling successful is always sandwiched between overwhelm and desire for more. I always have to dig deep to find the motivation and it’s usually found by looking at my son and realizing it’s all for him!

    Much appreciated!

    Tia Peterson
    All American Admin

  • Lisa Pearce says:

    I have felt just like this in the last few days. Especially since I have tried an e-mail campaign to fellow group members (networking) and have received an instant reply from another written in bold large letters telling me in no uncertain terms that I should delete their details from my database – yet what I find so ridiculous is that (a) this company provide their email address on the member directory (b) it’s ok for me to telephone the same companies and ask them the same questions (c) or write to them but it’s not ok to send a simple e-mail asking the same question because it is seen as SPAM. I appreciate that SPAM is annoying, I get it all the time, but for SMEs to get so firey about receiving requests from similar SMEs to buy into their services or at least read about them when times are hard and we all need to support one another seems beyond belief to me. So do I feel like giving up – yes, who wants to work in an environment where we don’t support one another. I don’t!

  • Shanta Noah says:

    Thanks lisa…… truly inspirational and motivating. I too many times feel exhausted and wish to give up……. but continue to work …… for myself and my family.
    Thanks again

  • Wow, how fitting to read your blog at this time, Lisa. I have felt like giving up on my dream VA business at one point. However, after reading this article, and identifying with others who have at one point or another felt the same, helped move me to action. Even if it is just one step for today.

    Thanks for sharing, Lisa!

    Delilah Smith

  • Hi Lisa
    Thanks for sharing…. I feel that alot of VAs are in the same situation, I admire your motivation and keep up the good work.

    Once again thanks for sharing

    Margaret Walling

  • Patty says:

    Hi Lisa,

    Been awhile, but this post stuck out at me today like a sore thumb. I have felt this way many times, today was one of them, yet something in me keeps driving me to stay up late at night while I have quiet time to keep pushing on.

    As you know, I am not a VA, but would someday love the opportunity/idea. I am just a SAHM striving to connect with other moms and women in business online…to support, and learn from one another.

    That is mainly why I started MamasTimeOut.com. Although I have other sites, my support show and social network have become a passion for me lately and I am really hoping to succeed in this area. How long do you think I should give it?

    Thanks again for speaking as a guest during our premiere month in January, hope to see you back again ?

  • Patty says:

    Hi Lisa,

    Been awhile, but this post stuck out at me today like a sore thumb. I have felt this way many times, today was one of them, yet something in me keeps driving me to stay up late at night while I have quiet time to keep pushing on.

    As you know, I am not a VA, but would someday love the opportunity/idea. I am just a SAHM striving to connect with other moms and women in business online…to support, and learn from one another.

    That is mainly why I started MamasTimeOut.com. Although I have other sites, my support show and social network have become a passion for me lately and I am really hoping to succeed in this area. How long do you think I should give it?

    Thanks again for speaking as a guest during our premiere month in January, hope to see you back again ?

  • Renee Barber says:

    Hello Everyone

    Hang in there! It WILL get better. On a personal note about SPAM, I actually responded to some SPAM I received a while back and it actually ended up leading to a lucrative web site development job as the person appreciated my advice on organising domains and avoiding the SPAM trap.

    While I do caution people about avoiding sending SPAM because legal action can occur if the person really wants to make a point of it, I also believe that people can simply press the X button if they receive information they don’t want to see. Some people just don’t think about the repercussions of their actions i.e. making someone feel bad for an honest mistake and/or desire to offer their services to people who can benefit from them.

    Renée Barber
    Rising Star Designs & Communication

  • Blessing says:

    Thank you so much for this words of inspiration Lisa, reading it has made me to feel that am not alone.I sometimes feel like giving up, but this has encouraged me alot. Now am ready to move on and keep the faith.
    Thank you so much.

  • JMGaston says:

    I definitely can relate to the giving up issue. I am at the cross-roads and I have a choice to make. I want a marketable way out of my daily grind of hostile issues. I am on a dead-end job that I know it is not going anywhere. I see certain people get the sought out promotions and recognition, the joke is that these people lacks so many office and personal skills but they have the primary ingredient. There is an old saying that goes the more things change the more they stay the same. I am a living testimony to that expression of the phrase. Although, I what I must do is save up enough of money to pay for a full subscription for one year with a name domain to get me up and virtually assisted.

    Ms. Lisa, thank you for your enduring persistent with all of your much needed virtual information.

  • Patricia Espinoza says:

    Yes, selling yourself (your business) can seem hopeless on some days. But in sales, you learn to put the humiliation aside and look at the numbers. How many fliers does it take to get one response? How many emails does it take to get one response? These are the numbers I’m talking about. If it takes 1000 fliers or 300 emails to get a reponse, then you either decide it’s not cost/time-effective or you multiply the numbers to get the number of responses you want. When you look at selling your business in those terms, the rejection is no longer personal. And, the numbers give you positive data to make intelligent decisions on your efforts.

    I’ve always had a motto, “Where there is a will, there is a way”. And the fact of the matter is, that no matter what area of life we hope to achieve success, we have to have the determination, drive, will, and belief that what we are striving for is worth the effort. And then, another motto I have “Tomorrow is another day that dawns with the hope of success”. If you can’t muster what you need to succeed today, don’t worry, because tomorrow is a new day! Little by little, persistence and determination will pay off.

  • Delita says:


    Thanks. I felt this way today for a moment, but for me giving up is not an option.

  • Richard says:

    I myself had many low times with this feeling of givng up. Thinking about it I realized ( in my case) it was always about an issue of poor management on my part. Poor financial management, poor time management, poor resource management. This is the key for me. So when ever I get this feeling I ask myself “What did I loose control of.”

  • Lourdes Hernandez says:

    Hi Lisa,

    Thank you for the motivation and inspiration you continue to give. Your e-books and articles have been a valuable source of reference to me and has given me the encouragement to move forward in starting my own VA business. My financial situation is in crisis at the present time but with perseverance, dedication, hard work and my (God), I know I will become a success. To All:
    Quitters never win and winners never quit.

  • Helen Bousquet says:

    Have felt like giving up even before I start. I cannot seem to really figure out if this VA business is for me yet and if I will have enough clients to make a living without exhausting myself. I do not want to become a slave to this business either so I have not even begun to do what is necessary to get started. I am extremely confused as to where to start. Most people will only hire you if you have experience in this type of industry BUT we have to start somewhere and so who will give us our first opportunity to prove ourselves? Still not sure……..


  • Lisa Taliga says:

    Wow, I just checked the comments to my post and think the response has been fantastic. I’m just going to add a few more thoughts here.

    Often, the will to keep going comes from finding a greater ‘reason why’.

    So, Tiffany, you knew that you needed to get your degree to secure your future. That gave you the will to keep going when it got tough. It also gave you the motivation to find a solution and change your job so you could study.

    And Tia, you look at your son, and realise that he is your ‘reason why’.

    Shanta, you realise that your ‘reason why’ is your family and …yourself…

    @ Lisa, it’s unfortunate that you were the brunt of someone’s bad mood that day. But don’t let that single email discourage you. I’ve heard that people who have to do cold calling for a living, see each ‘rejection’ as just another step on the road to the next ‘yes’.

    @ Delilah, often it really is just about getting up, taking each day as it comes, putting one foot in front of the other. If we look too far ahead, it can be overwhelming. Day by day, step by step – that’s the key.

    @ Margaret – well done on getting your website up there. It’s looking good and I like your domain name.

    @ Patty, I enjoyed being your interview guest in January and would love to join you again. How long should you give it? Well, that’s a very difficult question. Have you heard that saying that alot of people give up just before they’re really going to make it? I think this could be true. Have you tried looking at more joint ventures with complementary websites? I could put you in touch with a lady I know that has a bedtime and potty training website. That would be a good complement to yours.

    @ Renee, giving free advice can often lead to being paid for services rendered, and the example you gave is an excellent one!

    @ Blessing, it was my intention to let others know that they are not alone. Sooner or later, we all feel like this about certain things in life. Knowing that we’re not alone gives us the courage to move on.

    @ JMGaston, I know you’ll need more than a domain name to get set up, but did you know you can get a domain name for a year for under $10 at Namecheap? Just another piece in the jigsaw puzzle, but an important, and easy one to get.

    @ Patricia, it certainly is a numbers game when it comes to marketing.

    The other thing to consider is trying different approaches when marketing. In the blog post above, I didn’t have much success with mailouts. So I changed my approach and tried more face-to-face networking, with great results. Yes, it’s harder, yes, it’s more confronting. But if you have the greater reason ‘why’ – you’ll do what you need to do.

    @ Richard – that is very powerful – asking yourself what YOU need to change about yourself in order to get to where you want to be.

    @ Lourdes, thank you for posting that saying!

    @ Helen, there are alot of free articles and resources on this blog that will hopefully help you to get started. Sure, you might later decide that being a VA is not for you, but you’re not going to know that unless you give it a shot.

    Thanks again everyone, for posting your thoughts. Perhaps when I check back later, there will be more comments and experiences!

  • Renee Barber says:

    Hello Everyone

    It seems to me that a lot of people are stuck in the trap of just not getting started.

    It does take a leap of faith.

    In fact, taking the first step is the most difficult part of the process, but it’s the only way to tell the universe that you’re really serious.

    For me, the sign was having business cards printed by a commercial printer. Prior to that, I’d always designed and printed my own, as I’m a designer. However, there was something powerful about creating my own design, sending the high-res PDF to the printer and receiving the commercially printed version in the post.

    The energy I felt was palpable.

    A year later, I have a thriving business (I’ve even had to turn down a job here and there) and have met some great people along the way (including Lisa, although virtually!)

    By the way, although I’m not a VA in the traditional sense (I’m a web site developer, graphic designer, editor, manuscript assessor, writer and marketer-yep, I have many hats!), although that definition is expanding I believe, the same principles apply.

    Network, look for opportunities, and do some training if you need to get yourself ‘skilled up’, but most of all, just get started!

    Wishing everyone luck, but really, I believe we make our own luck!

    Kind Regards

    Renée Barber
    Rising Star Designs & Communication

  • Lisa Pearce says:

    To everyone here, thanks for all your comments and to Lisa for providing this blog. We all appreciate your help I’m sure Lisa because we all know how much time you must put aside to do this. And of course you are sharing with us one very important fact which is that blogging works and we should all do it. We should make time to do it and I intend to start. Thank you again, especially Patricia. You sound just like my husband – that God for him!

  • Hi Lisa.

    I could say “been there, done it, bought the T shirt”. There have been times when I’ve felt like giving up, times when I’ve had no clients on my books and I think to myself why am I doing this. I’ve had really disheartening times when I’ve been making follow-up phone calls to people I’ve e-mailed, especially from one small business who I phoned and was greeted with “what are you selling”. When I explained that I wasn’t actually selling anything but providing a service the response was that I was still selling something and she was a small business working from home so definitely didn’t want to use me. Maybe she needs to take a step back and remember what it was like to be a new start-up. It’s at times like that when I give myself a good kick up the backside and remind myself just why I’m a Virtual Assistant. I know that I’m good at what I do and what I do now I’m doing for me, not to line someone else’s pockets and, best of all, I love it. I’m just about to start making some more follow-up phone calls and I am putting on my “positive” head.

  • Tracey says:

    Hi Lisa,
    Thank you. I was feeling like this recently because I had a client leave me without any warning and she was my main source of income. I will keep going and never give up for me and my daughter’s sake. Thank you for the inspiration.

  • Patty says:

    Thanks again Lisa for sharing your story and for all the others who have shared theirs as well. It is frustrating at times when you put so much time and thought into something and you just aren’t sure where it is taking you but something keeps telling you to keep going. I guess that is the voice we have to listen to when we feel like giving up ?

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