It isn’t easy being an entrepreneur, no matter how snazzy it may sound. It comes with many potential risks and downfalls, but the risks may be worth it depending on what is important to you and what your goals are.
I’ve increased business so quickly my head would spin trying to keep up. I’ve also lost business so fast my bills would suffer.
Owning your own business means a RISK, and sometimes a GREAT RISK if you have kids to feed.
When my ex saw that things were not going back to “normal” for us (because normal was too much of a living hell for me) in 2006, he cut me off of all of the bank accounts including the business account that my name was primary on. Not sure how he accomplished that, but the bank wouldn’t even discuss it with me.
Suddenly business revenue I had equally built and earned, was gone. I couldn’t buy groceries for my kids, the safe was hidden and he refused to give me any money; even though I was the one running the business eight hours a day.
So, I quit. I handed it all over to him, knowing it would fail. 300-500 regular customers per year, down the drain!
When I left him in 2007 I literally had nothing but some furniture and was starting all over from scratch, business and all.
Every time I got ahead with my business, he would purposely do something to hurt us, like when he stopped paying our mortgage. He called me up months later to tell me we were on the verge of foreclosure, and that I could have the house back.
In order to save my credit from foreclosure, I had to pay money out of my own pocket to sell my house.
A year later, my apartment lease had finally expired and I was ahead financially, despite his greatest attempts to hold me down.
Business was booming despite being in the middle of a recession, so I was finally making enough to get my kids back in a house.
When you have small children, apartment living SUCKS! With a capital S! It just drains the life out of you like a sponge.
I found a cute little place packed full of character. From the tongue and groove walls to the rock fireplace and old wood burning stove, I fell in love. When I found out about the lease purchase option, I took it.
I was planning on remodeling it myself and was just relieved to have a yard for my kids to play in, after spending the last year of evenings at the local park.
We moved into this fixer upper with excitement and joy to be out of that cramped apartment. I didn’t mind a little work and had so many big plans for that place that I started remodeling it even before I moved in.
Immediately after I moved, clients were getting hard up for money because of the recession, so the luxury of having someone work for them was the first thing to go. I also had someone who’d previously worked for me underbidding me and taking my jobs.
Once I found out why people were not hiring me, I finally realized the gravity of the situation. And, by then, I had already moved and paid most of my bills, which meant I had very little money left.
I usually paid bills a month in advance when I could, just in case a thing like this happened; but all of that extra money had just went toward moving and remodeling.
As a single mom this was starting to spell disaster!
I lost literally all of my business that next week. ALL of it. I was quickly running out of options. Things happened so fast, it felt like a tornado had hit.
Staring down the barrel of one can of green beans, and two hungry kids to feed at lunch time, for the first time in my adult life I had no idea what to do next.
It was their dad’s weekend and once again, he didn’t show up. I was depending on him to feed the kids over the weekend so that I could figure things out before they returned.
My kids had been waiting with their bags packed for three hours that Saturday morning. Still, no show, no call, nothing.
I finally called and when I found out he wasn’t coming, I explained my situation to him. I immediately regretted that decision.
As hurtful words poured from his mouth, I noticed those precious little faces in the background who were sensing another disappointment headed their way.
I wasn’t going to let this hurt them.
I had been almost two weeks now with no income and I still had a light bill and credit card bills that would be due the following week. I also needed to buy groceries and fill the gas tank in my car.
We were in the middle of a gas price crisis at the time, so a gallon of gas cost about $3.74!
Sitting in the floor of that half remodeled kitchen, with a finger in my other ear to cover the sound of disappointment, I could hardly believe what was happening.
Crushed but knowing what I am made of, I decided right then and there I wasn’t going to be defeated by my ex’s words or my own stupid mistakes.
Not now, not ever.
I wasn’t going to borrow money. That wasn’t my style, and it wasn’t going to become my style. I sat there just pondering all the years of my life that had gone by and all the things I had been through.
Not one time EVER had God forsake me, not once.
I had been brought through childhood hunger, poverty, the shame of abuse, neglect, and now a divorce and facing single motherhood.
I was TOUGHER THAN NAILS. I had it in me to MAKE THIS WORK.
I was confused and downtrodden, but there was one thing I knew FOR SURE… I wasn’t alone no matter how bad it looked.
I didn’t cry about it, or get angry, or even retaliate toward my ex or the one who was taking my business. I just simply hung up on my ex while he was in mid sentence, dusted myself off and got up out of that floor.
The Sowing Method
GET BUSY. Resilience is a choice.
When I got up out of that floor, I decided to take every piece of jewelry I had collected and go make my babies some grocery money.
I felt a righteous indignation swelling up on the inside and I was FURIOUS!!! I went to the pawn shop with about $5000 worth of jewelry and came back with $500, but I didn’t care. My heart wasn’t attached to it anyway.
My babies ate well that night.
And you’re darn right I took them to Chuck E Cheese afterward.
I wasn’t going to allow them to be defeated anymore than I was going to allow myself to give in to what was trying to happen.
GIVE. When you don’t have what you need, give.
It sounds backward, but it actually works! In the past, when I wanted something, I would give something away first. Without going into a lot of explanation on this, I call it the “sowing method.” When I want something, I give things away to make room for what I want.
Clear off the dirt so to speak. Dig a hole. Bury the seed.
Does it work?
Not always right away. Sometimes I have to be patient and wait for it, but it does happen. Patience is a virtue, so it also builds character.
Material possessions are not what makes me happy. I don’t ever want my heart to get attached to things. I choose to be content with whatever I have at the present moment. Whether I have it or I don’t, I don’t allow it to affect my happiness.
Contentment and happiness are two different things.
Contentment comes from realizing that your current situation isn’t permanent, and that your situation can change at any moment just simply by changing what you do.
If you are going to be an entrepreneur this is the first thing you need to learn.
NO situation is permanent. Everything changes to some degree over time, so you need to have a back-up plan and a back-up plan to the back-up plan!
I quickly learned that self-employment means depending on yourself to make good choices in your business and planning ahead.
Without a plan, and without a back-up plan, you could easily fail by making one wrong move.
After getting back from the pawn shop, dinner, and Chuck E Cheese, I then gathered up cash. I took some of my cash from my piggy bank, dug around in the furniture, and under the car seats for loose change to give away.
I also gave away the rest of the jewelry I didn’t feel the need to keep like my rings, necklaces, and other things the pawn shop didn’t think they could sell quickly enough.
You may be thinking, “That’s crazy! You needed money!”
Realizing things were about to get rough, I also bagged up all of the clothes and shoes my kids and I could no longer fit into or that I no longer wanted and got them ready to give away.
I sold some furniture I had refurbished.
I also went through the house and gathered up items and planned a yard sale for the following weekend and made ads to put out.
I decorated an area in a friend’s apartment for free and did as many free services for others as I could.
I gave everything I could think of, my time, my labor, my imagination, my money, clothes, and anything and everything I could afford to let go of.
Seed in the ground.
Things may get rough but when you have seed in the ground, they won’t be rough forever.
That Monday I got on the phone that I couldn’t afford to pay for and called every past client I’d had for about the past ten years and asked for work.
One person agreed to let me work on a promise to pay me that Friday. Remember, we were in a recession. “I’ll take it!!!”
Even though I had experience and many other skills out in the field, getting a real job wasn’t an option at this point. By the way, that’s what everyone will tell you to do when you are in business for yourself, “Get a real job.”
I couldn’t afford to wait for my first paycheck to come in from a “real” job, I WASN’T going to put my boys in daycare, and I had no babysitter and couldn’t pay them if I’d had one. I HAD to make THIS work.
Facing another move, I made a desperate attempt at getting rid of all clutter and anything we didn’t absolutely need.
I made enough money at the yard sale to cover the cost of moving.
The only affordable place I could find at the time was in another apartment- ARGH!!!
So, reluctantly we moved, again.
For almost a year after that my business struggled, but I just kept giving things away, providing free services and even taking care of a neighbors child for free while she worked twelve-hour shifts as a nurse.
She never once even offered to provide him with dinner or pay me. I did it knowing it was seed in the ground for my own boys to be taken care of in the future, when I got back to work.
Things got so tight that I heated my apartment with electric heaters because I couldn’t afford the gas bill.
I spent that entire year learning to live thriftily. I utilized the thrift stores, dollar stores, and second-hand stores. I lived cheaper that year than I had ever had to live as an adult, but I kept a roof over my boy’s heads and food on the table. Boom.
Once the economy started to pick back up and I was finally able to get decent work, someone hit my car.
With a high deductible, and feeling like I couldn’t catch a break, an angel of a client stepped in when they found out why I wasn’t able to come to work.
The next morning there was an envelope with $3000 in it under the windshield wiper of my car!
My car was fixed and my bills were paid, from then on.
If you keep chopping at a piece of wood long enough, eventually you’ll have firewood. Burn, baby BURN!!!
2009 proved to be a successful year in more ways than one and I immediately got my boys back in a decent house.
People gave to me ABUNDANTLY after that. That Christmas was my most successful with tips and extra work. I was able to fully recover from the recession. We even started taking yearly vacations, which I had not been able to do the two previous years.
Life and business both have had its ups and downs for sure, but like I said, the sowing method works. If you are going to be in business for yourself you need to learn what the sowing method is, and how to apply it to your own life. I will cover this topic and more if you will stick around.
Times may get tough, tougher than you could have ever imagined when you’re in business for yourself. You have to use patience, determination, and have a fighter’s stance that will NOT back down.