Sunday, 29 November 2009

Knowing when to quit

"Crossing the Chasm" and "The Dip" are both great books which talk about a distinguishable lag between when early adopters and the bulk of your target market start paying attention to you, financially anyway.

There is a problem though: a failure and such a chasm look exactly the same for a fairly long time.

I think a second problem which I'm not sure any book really addresses is that some think they are in a dip when in fact they never entered a dip to begin with. That is why you hear things like "You can't give up now, you made $200!" because they assume that every market is infinitely sized and you've just got to keep going!

I read somewhere that the average annual sales for shareware is $400. Enough of those and the payment processor is doing alright but of course the authors are not. Classic case of middle-man makes the most money in a transaction.

So if you are one of those $400/year authors and you need to spend more than 2 hours a year on maintenance, I would really think that is a good reason to quit and do something else. You're not going to miss the $400. You never entered a dip.

There is a very popular and article titled Shareware Amateurs vs Shareware Professionals. I highly recommend a read. Almost as a case-in-point, the author of that article has quit software altogether and is a fairly successful blogger. That is knowing when to quit.

If you have to quit, which I do advocate in the right circumstances, it does not mean you are giving up. You are just going to keep trying until you hit your mark. And for heaven's sake, don't think of yourself as a failure. A failure is someone who never tries.

What do you think?