Join my email list and get FREE ACCESS to the MSM Freebie Library, including my top printables & eBooks.

The #1 Reason Most People Fail

Feel like you always fail at your new goals? Read this for encouragement and practical advice!

In 2004, I started an online business. My long-term goal was to build something that would earn a part-time side income and allow me to stay home while my husband was in law school.

I never would have dreamed that ten years later, I would be running a large blog, writing books, speaking to audiences around the country, and have an amazing team working for me.

Many times, people look at me and only see the accomplishments and success. What people don’t see is the hours, days, weeks, months, and years I worked very, very hard and saw little return on all my investment. They don’t see the many, many times I’ve come this close to shutting it all down from frustration and discouragement.

There have been some gloriously rewarding moments in the process, but there have been many more mundane and difficult seasons along the way.

But I believe one of the greatest reasons this blog has been so successful is not because I’m really smart (I’m not — I struggled in many subjects in school), or because I’m naturally techie, (oh goodness, it’s scary how pathetically non-techie I am!), or because I had a background in marketing (In reality, I didn’t go to college and I was a waitress and a violin teacher in my teen years).

The reason this blog has been so successful is because I refuse to give up.

When my first few online business attempts didn’t work, I didn’t give up. When I only sold a few copies of my first ebooks in the first few months, I didn’t give up. When I about pulled my hair out over technical issues while trying to set up my first few blogs, I didn’t give up. When the articles I submitted for publication were rejected, I didn’t give up. When other people told me I was crazy to pursue many of my ideas, I didn’t give up.

For the first few years, it really felt like I was spinning my wheels and making very little progress. But I kept researching, kept experimenting, kept networking, kept reading books, kept watching what other people were doing, kept asking questions of anyone who had any experience at all with running a business, and kept getting back up when I failed yet again.

And little bit by little bit, the hard work, the long hours, and the effort began to pay off. It didn’t feel like much return at all at first, but those little trickles of traffic eventually turned into a small stream that morphed into a river.

Don't Give Up!

I don’t say all of this to hold myself up as someone who has arrived or has it altogether. Honestly, there are still many days when I feel like I’m so inadequate, I still fail regularly, and I still often have moments when I want to pull my hair out. Instead, I share this to encourage those of you who are struggling to start something right now.

Maybe you’re a few months (or a few years!) into a project or idea and it just feels like it’s not working or getting anywhere. Perhaps you set a goal or dreamed a big dream, went for it, and now it seems like it’s all crumbling right in front of you.

Whatever it is, wherever you’re at in life right now, I want to encourage you: don’t give up. You may need to change your plans, tweak your dreams, or alter your course. You might need to shelve the idea and start a new one. You may need to extend the deadline or revise your game plan. That’s all part of learning and growing.

But no matter what, don’t give up. Winners aren’t quitters. Keep going, keep pressing forward, keep learning, keep experimenting… and someday soon, you will start to see fruit from your effort.

Don't Give Up!

Note: This post was inspired by Jon Acuff’s post: We want greenhouses but don’t get them.

Subscribe for free email updates from Money Saving Mom® and get my Guide to Freezer Cooking for free!


  • Stephanie says:

    I am here right now! I love food photography. I have taught myself and worked for the past 3 years to pursue it, but people just don’t “get” taking pictures of food. As a photographer, specializing is a big thing, and to do it is a BIG step. I recently decided to stop all of the failed attempts at people photography and claim myself as a food photographer. Within a week of accepting that, my new website was made, and I was contacted to speak at a blogger conference in CA about food photography. I am seeing opportunity, and now just hope I can find ways to keep growing a prove I am worth paying for.

    • Maria H says:

      Queen Bee is looking for someone to share recipes and that is a great photographer if that is something that interests you.

  • Kirk Olsen says:

    No truer words spoken. Dave Ramsey said it best. “Twenty years of hard work to become an over night success”.

  • Great inspirational post! I agree that sometimes when someone is successful that is all people see instead of the hard work that goes into it. It helps remind me that all work pays off, just don’t give up.

  • Nora says:

    I love what you said. But I’m 51 only been a wife and mother kids are grown and gone now and I so want to do something I love. I know what it is but wondering if I’m to old now to do it..,.

    • Erin Kennedy says:

      I’m at the exact stage that MSM described, so this moved me to tears… but when you have a dream you just keep pressing in… I pray the Lord will give you an idea – age is never an issue… you just need a dream that cannot be shaken and then persistence.
      Some great people who encourage you also not to give up on your dreams, and to dream BIG, are Micheal Hyatt, Dan Miller, Dave Ramsey, Brian Holmes, Don Miller, Marc Benioff… you probably know them all if you’re American (I’m Australian) – plug into them and countless others to be fed all the right stuff on the road from creating a dream into a reality.
      You can do it!!!!

    • Nathalie says:

      Go for it! My grandmother started college at 51, after her 5 kids were grown, and had worked in the family business all the years living with an alcoholic husband. She completed her degree in social work, her dream. Sadly, she passed away at 62. You are never too old to work towards a dream, start today!

    • Guest says:

      “It is never too late to be what you might have been.” George Eliot

      My mom went back to college and got her degree in her early 50s and is now doing what she had wanted to do since her teens. She could either invest a few years doing and being what she really wanted or spend the years/decades she had left wishing she had.

  • Erin Kennedy says:

    this is very timely for me, thankyou.

  • Xamayta says:

    Thank you! I needed this. Being an entrepreneur is as rewarding as it is challenging, and starting has been difficult. Not quitting!!!! Again, thanks!

  • Jody Noland says:

    I love this! JUST what I needed to read. Reminds me of Winston Churchill’s “never,never…..never give up!”

  • Tiffany says:

    I sooo needed to hear this…

  • Taciana says:

    I desperately needed to read this today after a big rejection & some stalled plans. Thanks, Crystal!

  • I agree, we all need to keep working and dreaming. If anyone out there wants help, prayers, networking, or anything else, please contact me! There’s enough room at the top for everybody, but no one gets there alone.

  • Thank you! I just got the first article I submitted rejected and while I wasn’t ready to give up, it was a little deflating. Thank you for the encouragement!

  • Thanks for the encouragement, Crystal! I’m in that place you described, where I’m building a foundation even though the results have been small. I can’t imagine when MoneySavingMom was small, but it’s very inspiring to hear you talk about it. Thank you for being transparent and sharing your story like you do. 🙂

  • Jenn says:

    Just what I needed when all I could hear in my head was doubt.

  • Yes, totally agree with this! And you alluded to this in your post but so much of your success (from what I’ve been able to tell) has been because you’ve been willing to keep learning. You are always looking at ways to grow and improve and I think that is really important if someone wants to be successful. I know that has inspired me and has helped me immensely in my own blogging adventure.

    Thanks for sharing this- it was the boost I needed!

  • Kari coons says:

    Thank you for the encouraging words! It is feeling very overwhelming right now working a part time job, being a mom, wife, and trying to grow my dream business all at the same time.

  • Natasha says:

    Thank you! I needed this too! I love you blog.

  • Thank you for this encouragement. It’s easy for me to want to give up – whether on keeping the house clean, working on growing our blog, or just getting the laundry done. I needed this today. We’re on Easter break, and things are a bit crazier for me, but I want to persevere. Off to complete tasks and cross them off my list!

  • Jeremy says:

    Thank you. I needed to hear that.

  • Great post and so true!
    xo, Becky

  • I am so glad you didn’t give up!

  • Elise says:

    Thanks for the encouragement! What advice would you give a person who is unsure how long they should keep trying before they shelve a specific endeavor?

    There’s got to be a fine line between persevering, and knowing when to throw in the towel, right?

  • So timely for me right now! Thank you so much Crystal!

    I really appreciate your transparency and encouragement. It _is_ really easy to look at successes and think people have always been that successful or just lucky or whatever. It’s very easy to ignore the hard work that had to go in behind something and all the failure behind it as well.

    Thank you for this today.

  • I LOVE THIS POST! And it is so timely. I was just talking with my husband this morning about blogging and how sometimes I feel like I’m talking to myself (and sometimes I am). And his response was almost exactly what you said – “as long as you stick with it and keep working, you won’t fail.” I think many people give up because the results don’t come fast enough (in a lot of areas of life) but those that keep going are almost always successful! Thank you for sharing.

  • Shelly says:

    I so needed to read this today. This week has really got me beat down. Thanks so much for sharing this.

  • Kim says:

    Thank you for this post! It’s exactly what I needed to hear. My husband and I own a small business and it just doesn’t provide enough income for our family of six. So we recently decided to start another business which will take some time to bring in the income we need. We know we need to start small and keep plugging away at it! Thank you for your encouragement.

  • Suzanne says:

    Awesome post, Crystal! Thanks for the encouragement…I really needed to hear this today.

  • Charlene E says:

    I really enjoyed this post. It is so true that many people do give up on their dreams far too soon. And I loved the analogy about slashing the remaining tires when one tire was flat. I’ve been struggling with health issues in the past six months so I have put some goals on hold, but now I am ready to get up and running with several new ideas. Reading this post tonight was timely. Thank you, Crystal. I have been reading your blog/newsletter now for years and if I was voting your site would get my vote for #1.

  • may says:

    thank you so much for this. it pretty much applies to any aspect our lives. i really love the analogy. even those who are not willing to quit need encouragements from time to time. i needed this today. being a stay at home mom is tough enough (i literally drop on the bed at the end of the day) and adding blogging or any jobs for that matter makes it even more challenging.

  • I’m so glad that you didn’t give up! Your blog is one of my absolute favorites 🙂

    Blogging is so much harder than I ever thought it would be, and I’ve had a rough couple of months recently, but this post has inspired me to keep plugging away. Thank you Crystal!

  • Jessica says:

    Thank you. I needed this too. 🙂

  • This was so timely for me. I have been at the blog for two years, the eBook for 9 months, and writing for 4 years and I am very discouraged!

    And yet, I can’t seem to stop, even though it seems like I should…

    I started researching what it would take to go back to work, very seriously. I don’t know if you know what it is like to go from making $60,000 a year for a family of 2 to $24,000 a year for a family of 5 and have to get food stamps. I have tried to be brave, I have tried to be a “good Christian woman” and just be content, but it is not the truth of my heart.

    But I also can’t give up the commitment to homeschool my children and be there for them. To train them day in and day out so they can do a little better than we did (we are both from broken, abusive homes).

    So, I type, I write, I think, I have 100’s of ideas, but only a few hours a week to implement 1 or 2 of them. But I don’t stop… at not more than a week or two here or there:-)

  • Richard Buse says:

    Thanks for sharing this, Crystal. No matter how daunting our circumstances might seem, there are always things we can do to improve our odds.

    Learning new skills and making new contacts through volunteerism can be a very cost-effective alternative to paying college tuition or professional association membership dues. At worst, there’s a warm feeling that accompanies doing good for others.

    Engaging organizations we’d like to work for (as vendors or employees) via social media only requires regularly checking Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.

    Ultimately, it helps to focus more on living our eulogies, rather than our resumes. Once we’re at peace with our values and how we treat others, it’s easier to deal with various career challenges and disappointments.

  • Caroline says:

    Your thoughts could not have come at a better time. Having just had a heart attack, at just 37, I am facing a whole new world. I have kept mulling over the idea of sharing my experiences, either through a blog or a book. Thank you so much for giving me the push to not just see the problems but rather have the courage and nerve to keep going regardless. It’s always good to know that others have felt and faced similar things. There’s nothing better than some well timed inspiration. Thank you.

  • Linda says:

    Dear Crystal,

    I just read this post and it helped me so much. I don’t have a blog but have been struggling with making the right decisions.

    I have a lot of health issues (even thought I’m only 41), lots of debt, most of it due to medical expenses and others due to my own mistakes. It’s been frustrating because I feel like a hamster on a wheel going nowhere. I know I’m making progress, but three additional years of the same seems overwhelming (that’s how long it will take me to get off debt, God willing).

    My budget is extremely tight with any extra $$ going towards paying my debt, and I’ve been stressing about all my expenses. One of them is my gym membership. I was going to cancel it because it would save me some money but finally came to the realization that I can’t. I will have to cut somewhere else because I don’t have the discipline to workout at home and need that push. Working out is an absolute necessity for me (doctor’s orders), otherwise, I could die.

    I’m terrified of not being able to pay off my debt, or going back to where I was 2 years ago, visiting the ER on a regular basis and being so depressed I considered ending it all. I get so overwhelmed sometimes that I don’t see the progress I’ve made so far, both in my finances or my health. I know I need to give my worries to the Lord because only he knows what I need to do and he can help me.

    Thank you for always being such and inspiration. You are wise beyond your years and I know the Lord uses you as a blessing to many, myself included.

  • Thank you for sharing this. Been blogging or a couple years now and still struggling to make much headway. Balancing working full time, a long commute, and family time there are many days I wonder if it is worth it. So much I want to do and so little time. But then I come across articles like this from people that I think are doing fabulous stuff and it gives me the courage to keep at it. Thanks again.

  • Jen says:

    Thank you, I am at the beginning of the process you describe and appreciate the encouragement. I often feel like I’m failing and the obstacles are huge, but I feel that God wants me to keep going. I know that no one is perfect, but I greatly admire what you’ve done and I wish you continued blessings. You are impacting lives with your posts, including mine.

  • Tammy says:

    Thank you for posting this. I very much needed to hear this. I am just starting out in my own graphic design business. There are so many details to work out and it’s good to be reminded that hard work pays off if you don’t quit! Thanks again!!

  • Val says:

    This is such a timely post Crystal, thanks for sharing! I’ve started a blog on wordpress that brings in no income at this point, and I’ve tried to network which is a slower process than I had hoped, while working two jobs so my hubby can pursue his dream of opening his own business; and the list goes on. We just have to keep pressing on towards the goals and dreams God has given us!

  • Like everyone else, this is a perfect time for me to read this post! I was laid off from my market research job nearly three years ago. I’m in my late 40’s and I’m struggling to find a new job. Making matters worse, my husband quit his job in another country and moved here to be with me. He isn’t working either. I know there are people that are worse off, but sometimes it’s hard to keep your head up. While I look for work, I wanted to try to a website, so I started one with an ex-colleague 1.5 years ago. We’ve learned a lot and made a little bit of money, but certainly not enough to live on. We keep plugging away on it and hope that somehow it will start doing a little better. Today was a rough day as we are struggling to find ways to grow our traffic. Then I read your post Crystal. Thank you so much for sharing your story with us. It’s given me the encouragement I need to keep at it.

  • Esther says:

    Hi Crystal, great article. Very inspiring indeed. I really needed a dose of this and today, I am fully inspired and encouraged to keep on keeping on.

  • Lisa says:

    Great advice!

  • Erin says:

    The best thing that happened was when God removed my fear of failure. The thing that was holding me back was me. The moment I stopped worrying about failure was the moment I learned I could succeed.

  • Anne says:

    Its so amazing to me what proper motivation can do! whether ist a quote, reading a book like, hearing a speech or just looking outside at the beauty around us! If we can just embrace life and all it has to offer without being afraid then we can all succeed! We got this!

  • Ariel Paz says:

    Came across your pin in Pinterest and read your post. Thank you for the encouragement. I’ve been blogging for 6 yrs. now and many times I’ve felt like giving up. One of my favorite quotes is from Winston Churchill who said “Never, never give up.” I’m trusting the process and God to direct my steps.
    So happy for you and keep looking up!

  • Meg Keim says:

    It is so easy for me to feel overwhelmed into inaction or disappointed into procrastination. Thank you for the pep talk and reminder that dreams are worth it.

Money Saving Mom® Comment Policy

We love comments from readers, so chime in with your thoughts below! We do our best to keep this blog upbeat and encouraging, so please keep your comments cordial and kind. Read more information on our comment policy.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *