Entrepreneurs

“I’m not selling, I’m closing”: Sarah Wilson to shut I Quit Sugar business after seven years

Emma Koehn /

Blogger and entrepreneur Sarah Wilson says she’s decided to close her nutrition and wellbeing business I Quit Sugar because she is not a “money spinner” and was uncomfortable with the idea that monetisation had become a key driver of her website.

The former journalist started the brand after writing a column about quitting sugar in Fairfax’s Daily Life publication in 2011. Over the next few months she created a variety of ebooks and eight-week diet programs, and her business started to gain traction. The I Quit Sugar site now features recipes, nutrition and wellbeing content, and the business has an impressive social following.

In 2014, when her business was turning over $1.8 million annually, Wilson told SmartCompany: “I’ve always moved to areas where my passions lie”.

But in a letter on her blog today, Wilson revealed she has decided to close the business because it no longer lined up with her values and passions.

“Once we arrived at the point where “scale” — growing the existing structure exponentially — was required, I realised the motivator now was money. My motivator had not been money previously, a freedom that enabled me to make bold decisions that at times startled peers and the industry, but ultimately, and ironically, saw my message and product spread further,” she explained.

Believing she was no longer the right figurehead to see the business grow, Wilson explained how she had attempted to sell the operation to someone who would be a better fit.

However, her name and identity were embedded in the brand, and given her reluctance to stay on after a sale, it proved difficult to find the right buyer.

Wilson asserted the “financial vibrancy” of the business, but after being unable to find someone to pass the baton to, she believes the best choice is to close up altogether.

“I have had to make what I believe is the best entrepreneurial decision I can: I’m closing, not selling,” she explained.

Rather than suddenly winding up the service without explanation, Wilson has also chosen to announce the closure of the business ahead of time. The last chance to take part in the I Quit Sugar program will be in April.

“Transparency and upfrontness is what I reckon we’re all craving,” she wrote.

In 2014, Wilson told SmartCompany that 270,000 users had been through the program. In this week’s letter, she revealed more than 1.5 million people had tried to quit sugar through the site.

Despite the success of the program, Wilson said it would be “remiss” of her to stay on board just to collect money from the business for herself.

“Hypocrisy seeps in if I remain someone who sacrifices my own wellbeing and values for money and success,” she said.

SmartCompany has contacted Wilson for further comment but understands she is currently travelling.

NOW READ: How Sarah Wilson turned her I Quit Sugar blog into a global phenomenon

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Emma Koehn

Emma Koehn is a former senior journalist at SmartCompany.

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