Two years ago I was coaching a client who was significantly in debt, had a service-based business that took him 80 hours a week to run, and was so stressed out trying to grow his business that he had stomach ulcers and slept about 4 hours a night.

Of course I started running the numbers – how much does he make and what would have to happen to shift it. My jaw hit the floor when I figured he was making about $7.00 an hour. To grow the business he would have to dramatically shift his products, hire some help and change his money habits.

Before I plunged in to redesigning his business I asked the magic question…

“If you could start from scratch, what would your business look like?”

Well that question opened a flood gate of excitement, inspiration and energy that took me by surprise. What I discovered was this…

My client had a business that he felt reluctant to change because it paid the basic bills and he’d invested ten years of his life building.

It was a business of obligation…not a business built on passion, skills or even financial viability. Trying to save it was like trying to pull a ship from the bottom of the ocean that is covered with barnacles and rust. It just makes more sense to build (or buy) a new ship that works better.

I’ve had those moments myself, a moment when I realized that I had a business that was serving my misplaced duty to support others, versus a business that was serving MY heart’s desire. That moment when you realize that everything you’ve always dreamed about is just on the other side of a HUGE decision.

A decision that can feel a bit like a divorce from a bad marriage…where you choose liberation over obligation.

But how do you know when it’s time to pull the plug or peresevere?

Here are five questions to help you decide:

1. Is the business making a profit? If not, you either have to make it profitable, dissolve it or realize that it’s just an expensive hobby.

2. Do you feel happy at the end of your day? Your business should light you up and give you energy. If it doesn’t, then you might be able to shift some things around (like delegate what doesn’t make you happy or close some programs that burn you out.) If you are drained at the end of every day you have to ask yourself if it’s really worth it.

3. If you could start over and do anything, would you create what you have now? If the answer is no, I think you know it’s time to let it go.

4. What is the worst case scenario if you quit and create what you do want? Seriously, what’s the worst that could happen? You know you won’t be living in a box under a bridge so what’s holding you hostage?

5. Assuming you decide to pull the plug, what would be an exit strategy you’d feel inspired by? Create a scenario for ways you could monetize the current business or slowly extract yourself while you create the new one. Could you sell it? License it? Or just close the doors and start over?

I’m hoping if you are feeling drained or uninspired by your current business you’ll find the courage to tackle this head on. Nothing good comes from forcing yourself to do what doesn’t light you up. Burn out and overwhelm are a sure-fire recipe for the Universal Wake Up Call (and you know those are painful, right?)

I’d love to hear how you’ve tackled this in your life or which of these questions have helped you access the courage to pull the plug in the comments below.

Author's Bio: 

Melanie Benson Strick, The Big Idea Catalyst and America's Leading Authority on Optimum Performance, challenges entrepreneurs all over the world get liberated from the daily grind so they can succeed in the role they were born to play. Grab a free seat in Answering The Call Virtual Summit and find out how you can thrive in your purpose-based business.