Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Business Breakups: How They Help You Develop The Ultimate Hustle Muscle

Business relationships. 

Boss to employee. 
Colleague to colleague. 
Entrepreneur to client.

Business relationships can often be as complicated as romantic relationships especially when it's time to breakup. On the plus side, unlike romantic relationships, business breakups are the kind of breakup where you can often really, truly see that things are no longer meant to be. Each party has grown and gained the most that they can from the relationship and staying together won't serve either parties goals.

My first business breakup was with my old boss at an HR consulting company. This boss was a mentor to me and man oh man, was he tough at times. His famous line was: “You’re only as good as your last sale.” 

Back then, at the tender raw age of 23-24, those words were really hard to manage. 

I would often think to myself, "I just busted my rump and jumped through hoops to close this deal. Can't I revel in it for a few moments and celebrate the experience?"

In retrospect now, what he really meant was “Keep hustling. Keep chasing. Don’t ever get too comfortable or settle for less. There is always another opportunity out there so get off your ass and go grab it.” 

I was so torn at the notion of leaving that company. I had it made in terms of telecommuting, traveling, earning commission but I hit a creativity ceiling. The inner artist in me had died and it was time to bring her back to life. To this day, I remember the lesson and have even reframed it to: "Since your last sale was so good, your next sale can be even better!"

The next business break up that followed nearly crushed me! I was consulting for a close friend. At the time, I was a pretty stubborn personality when it came to business since I was so used to doing business a certain way. What I didn’t realize back then (and my friend totally did) was the power of the upsell, the power of selling both a product and a service. I also didn't realize that there are a variety of different ways to achieve success in business and rather than maintaining a position that "I knew it all", that I could lose the ego and truly approach each and every business transaction with an air of "how can I learn to do things differently? To do things better? How can I learn to evolve in business?"

That business break up was by far one of the most difficult. We had mixed business with friendship and there were a lot of boundaries that were blended, out of care! You start sharing opinions, you get into money stories, other friends get involved in the mix and then things just turn into a pressure cooker! The one thing I truly treasure about the experience is that she always (and probably still does to this day) went to work with a smile! She was so good at what she did, she had such a positive energy about her always. Lesson learned: be open to learning new ways of doing things. YOU DON'T AND WON'T EVER KNOW EVERYTHING! Also, if you aren't waking up with a huge smile on your face everyday when it comes to your job, you need a business breakup pronto! 

Professionally, things were great for a few years. The business breakups were minimized. Then last fall came another one. 

As an entrepreneur working with entrepreneurs, you can’t help but get involved and feel like you are a part of your clients company’s and a part of your clients journey. You can feel their joy and their pain which makes moving on even more difficult. 

That said, I had never made it a secret to this client, or to anyone for that matter, that I wanted to launch Startups and Stilettos, especially as I was completing Marie Forleo's B-school program. My energy shifted, my model was shifting and I no longer wanted to be so consumed with certain day to day social media tasks. My client needed more from me than I had the bandwith to give. That, and her vision had grown. She was pouring herself into her business and needed people who could do the same. 

I looked at her commitment to her brand and company and realized I needed to put that same kind of hustle muscle into my business. The time finally came when my client and I parted ways amicably at one of the tipping points in their business. I was ready to move on, to wish her well and to look ahead but I was so shocked by the tears that came up when we finally said goodbye. 

I had genuinely worked as hard as I could and got things to a point where I had to let go to meet my goals. But it wasn't easy especially when she did thank me for my hard work on taking them to the next level of her brands social media. The journey between us was over and it was very VERY, VERY bittersweet. I am so thankful for that experience particularly for the fact that we both understood we wanted and needed two different things. Lesson learned from this business breakup: it's never going to be easy to walk away. But if you want to move onto bigger and better opportunities, if you want to truly find your destiny, you have to listen to that inner guidance telling you to go! Don't ignore it or you may find yourself unhappy, angry, stagnant and just missing out on all that life has in store for you. 

Now what does all of this advice have to do with YOU?

Is there a job you need to move on from? 
Do you have a client that isn't complimenting your business model anymore? 
Are you ready to break up with corporate america and venture out on your own?

Stop putting it off and do it now. 

Your business breakups aren’t going to be any better than real life break ups. But perhaps they can teach us a lesson or two about love and loss. 

There are plenty of fish in the sea. 
There are plenty of oysters to open and find your pearl. 
Take the beauty in each and every single situation, personal or professional. 

As my close friend (and mediator) Suzanne Schwartz says, "Don’t get bitter, get better!" 

Better as a business person, better as an individual, better as an entrepreneur. Clean slate. 

Maybe my old boss was right in saying "You’re only as good as your last sale!" 

It's a new day and there are plenty of opportunities worth cultivating. Get that hustle muscle going! And trust that the best has yet to come. Let the past go with a grace and ease knowing that you can't even fathom all the success awaiting you on the horizon. And remember, "Since your last sale was so good, your next sale can be even better!"

Do you need some support to help you through your business breakup? Jump on over to, say hello and we will gladly offer you any tips or advice as you transition during this time. 


  1. Brilliant post Jaclyn! I love how open you were to learn these lessons...and then share them with us.

    A business breakup for me was with one of my 3 month coaching clients who needed to leave the program early for financial reasons. Even though I had her sign a contract, my intuition told me to simply be compassionate and let her go.

    Since then she has gone on to promote me and my work every chance she gets - and we have another reconnection session scheduled next month now that her finances are getting back in order :).

    If I hadn't listened to my intuition, I truly believe things would not have turned out so beautifully - for both of us!

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