How I Re-invented myself after losing everything.
I truly hope the information below really helps you. It’s very personal for me to put myself out there and share with you one of the few worst times in my life. So, let me know what you think about How I Re-invented myself after losing everything.
There are moments in life where everything is running, well I am not going to say smooth or perfect. Because life is well …. life. But, things are running pretty well. Parents have jobs, a house, two cars, money to eat out, kids have ballet lessons and pop warner football and whole lot of “Debt”. Yep, I said it debt. Then a job loss or a business failure happens.
Does this sound like you now? or maybe you in the past?
Good after noon Moneyistas,
When I started writing this I was trying to figure out, what exactly do I wanted to include in this post. You see the purpose of this post is to educate you on how to move forward or fail forward from a financial or business failure. Or as in my case a complete financial disaster.
And How I re-invented myself after losing everything.
At one time in my life I was debt free. I started saving money at a very early age. I had this mentally that if I had to borrow money to buy something then I didn’t need it. But, then at age 15 which was many years ago by the way. I couldn’t get to work without a car.
So, I used some of my savings and took out a small loan from a family friend to buy a used car. The tiny car only had am/fm radio, hot vinyl seats, no AC and a four-speed standard shift. I worked two part-time jobs and went to high-school during the day.
But, I had that small loan and very small car paid for in less than a year. (I know, I know you think you can’t drive a car by yourself at 15, no worries I didn’t.) But, that’s not the point. Remember when I was 15 there was no internet.
I worked sometimes three jobs to pay for college.
Because I hated debt. (I know I am skipping a few years here. But, I was working and going to school either high school or college and I married at 19).
Basically, the only time I had debt was for Real Estate. (Which I purchased at age 21) And then my ex and I decided to move across the country for an entrepreneurial opportunity. Which was successful. We sold it several years later and I opened an accounting business and went through a divorce.
Then I decided after the divorce to become a franchisee once again. For a restaurant chain. Which the food industry is very expensive to invest in. Instantly I went from being debt free to owing thousands of dollars. And it progressively got worse. Because during this time the economy decided to completely tank.
Was it my fault that the economy took a nose dive? Actually, no it wasn’t. Nor was it yours. But, I should have seen the signs. Looking back now trust me there were signs.
I actually set myself up to fail. I know I just said it was not my fault. The financial disaster with the economy wasn’t my fault. But, failing was.
Trusting this particular franchisor was. (Not all franchises are made the same, and yes you can fail even if you are a franchisee, so don’t believe all the articles and posts that becoming a franchisee is almost a fool proof plan against failure. Or that you are not in business by yourself. Because it’s all crap.)
Read below How I Re-invented myself after losing everything.
Read honest feedback from many current and past franchisees. Here
By seeing everything that was great that was going on in 2005 and 2006 I wanted to be a part of it. I invested in real estate development companies that had been around for 72 years. (who knew they would go bankrupt?) I purchased some residential rental property. And I opened a restaurant that costs more than $1.5 million dollars by the time it was finished. And the sad part was the building was rented.
Once I got the restaurant opened and serving customers, man we were rocking. My gross sales were 11% higher than I had projected and my ROI would be paid back in 2 1/2 years. The restaurant was winning all sorts of awards. The community loved us. I was able to give my managers bonuses and employees raises.
The actual business did not have debt, I took the debt personally. I used my house and my retirement because the interest rates were in the single digits for a personal loan whereas for business debt the interest rates were in the double digits. So, was it really smart to use my house and retirement as collateral? Emphatically “NO” it was not. It’s bad enough to use one of them. But, both? “DO NOT DO IT.”
As I said above I sat myself up for failure.
Because, I really did. This franchisor hid too much needed information. Which most do. Franchises cannot make earnings claims. The franchise disclosure document that I was provided and the one I signed significant information had been left out. (Which of course I didn’t know that) like they had other corporate failures, like the person they were using to sale the franchises had been sued for fraudulent activity. And many other issues.
You ask, How I Re-invented myself after losing everything?.
During the recession they filed bankruptcy and 74% of the locations closed. So I had no recourse because their business had no assets.
And during this time, my store manager started stealing from me and someone stole my identity. My world had literally fell apart. And I had a kid that just started college.
If I had of listened to my attorney things would have been different. He told me not to sign it until he did more research but he was going to be out of the country for 3 months. So, because I didn’t want to lose the area I was signing for. I signed it any way.
So, you ask. Now why did you hire an attorney and pay this attorney? when you didn’t listen to him anyway. Yea! exactly. As I said I sat myself up for failure. And to top it all off the first location was 150 miles away from where I lived. (In my defense the plan was to sale my house and move.) Which didn’t happen because the world fell apart.
I am not making any of this up. It’s all true.
And you would think with all the stress I would have been skin and bones. Nope that didn’t happen either. I put on more than 50 pounds in weight which I am still carrying. It’s hard to lose.
So, what did I learn from losing everything? why did it happen in the first place? And How have I re-invented myself after losing everything?
A. So, what did I learn from losing everything?
- Fail fast. You ask what does that mean?
Well since then. I have written several books, been on national TV, blog tours, and syndicated radio shows. And even hosted my own syndicated radio show for a while. Created online stores, blogs and even a brick and mortar retail store. Which all costs more money than I was making.
But, through it all what I learned most was I could see a shift I could recognize trends and patterns. Meaning that book or the topic I was talking about at the time the wants of the customers had changed. And that’s the most important piece of the puzzle.
What does your customers want? You don’t know?
It’s simple: ask them.
Test out your new information. If it does not work after a specific of time. Then
Pivot, if this does not work.
And if you can’t give them what they want then sale your failing business and move on.
Failing fast is the lean manufacturing idea. I get it, this is not manufacturing, but it is the general idea that should be used for every business. Big or small.
And for me the biggest thing I can see is signs of the economy for the most part. If it’s good or it is declining. (side note don’t open a brick and mortar store of any kind.) Just start your business on line.
If you’ve been through a financial failure of any type. Job loss or closing down a business. You know exactly what I am saying. So, don’t ignore it. Even if someone is saying just hang in there another 6 months. Or just invest more money. No, instead… you need to listen to that nagging feeling in the pit of your stomach. The pressure on top of your chest that is telling you. You need to sale and move on.
“WE go through failure to learn. If we don’t learn we continue to fail.” Toni House
The signs are always there.
B. Why did it happen in the first place?
Well for me as with most people. You buy into the high-pressure sales person. Who basically only wants to make you part with your hard-earned money. (And I knew better, and so do you). If it doesn’t feel right, it normally isn’t. You see God gives us that sixth sense, we know when we are being lied to, taken advantage of, scammed and used. We just know it.
You have to pay attention and listen. As in my case. I paid for legal advice and I did NOT listen. (Shame on me). If I had of waited and the area I wanted was sold. Then it wasn’t for me to begin with. If I had of waited for my attorney to do his research all of the information above he would have found out.
Another thing, did you write a business plan?
It does not matter if you are just a solopreneur writing a business plan is a very important step in helping you lay out the foundation for your new business. And it does not matter how small your new business is.
Is the business costing you more than your budget?
If it is, with your business plan it would show you which areas were over budgeted, then you need to pivot or completely stop what you are doing. The answer is always there you just need to pay attention.
Or are you an absentee owner?
Meaning you are never in your business. You are paying someone else to either bring in your customers and take care of them or you are paying someone else to run your customers off. No one is going to take care of your business and your money like you will.
Or in my case you live in the next city or town or your new business is 150 miles away and you are living in a motel so you can be there for your new business on a daily and hourly basis.
Was or is the rent to high?
As in my case. You have to be careful here. You can use your hard-earned money to pay a big commission to the realtor that in my case the Franchisor was using to find locations. And you can also make the landlord rich. You need to have an expert on your side.
Was it a bad location?
Again, as in my case it was. This is where I didn’t have an expert that was knowledgeable about the area I opened my business in.
Please read: 4 Steps to reinventing yourself.
This link is the Sba.gov it really has a great reactive tool you can use to create your new business plan.
C. What I have done to re-invent myself after losing everything?
The biggest thing I had to do was to forgive myself, stop hating myself and to stop the what ifs. It’s over, it’s done. It happened. Just don’t let it happen again. Accept it, learn from it and move on. Trust me, it’s harder said then done. But, do it anyway. Trust me if you don’t the only person you are hurting is you.
So, the next step I needed to work on myself. I needed to take care of myself.
Mentally, spiritually and physically. I work on those things daily. You have to have that balance, that harmony within your personal self.
Mental focus, mental toughness and clarity is important. If you are muddled down with hate, anger and the poor me.
Why did it happen to me? Which causes exhaustion and brain fog. You will just continue to dig yourself deeper into exhaustion and depression. And that’s not good for anyone.
2.Spiritually, whether you believe in God as I do, or not.
If I didn’t have God in my life I wouldn’t be here talking to you. You see for me God is my teaher, my motivator and the one that kicks in the a## when I need it most.
I just read his word. Most people are spiritual, most people believe in something greater than themselves. Spiritually brings you inter peace. And you need this. Go to church, teach Sunday school and/or volunteer. Helping others will be more beneficial in helping yourself then you realize.
3.Physically. You need to exercise, you need to drink lots of water and get needed rest. Even though I still am 50 pounds overweight. I exercise and get the rest I need and take care of myself.
So, now that you have taken the steps above to take care of yourself first. And don’t take years to do this. Take a few months, to get yourself back together and get back on the horse as they say. If you are an entrepreneur or really want to be an entrepreneur you get this. I am an entrepreneur, it’s in my blood. I refuse to get down and stay down.
That’s the reason I am sharing my journey with you. Because, I am taking you with me along for the ride.
So, Moneyistas get your blog ready.
Have you decided what your blog is going to be about?
If not take this free quick blogging exercise.
- A new business plan:
For your new adventure. This one is going costs you very little money. And stick to your budget. Period.
- You must do things differently from before:
I hope you learned from your failure. What to do and what not to do. And yes, you know that answer. The meaning of crazy is “doing the same things over and over again and expecting a different outcome”. I know it’s cliché but it’s true.
- Schedule your time:
You know all the other responsibilities you have every day. You may even be working a full-time job for someone else. It does not matter. This is your business and you have to put in the time. If you don’t and are not willing to put in the hard work and the time needed. You are setting yourself up to fail again. So, make the decision if you are going to be an entrepreneur or an employee. As I have said before it’s your choice.
I can not say this enough. You must make this business a priority. It’s going to take time and patience and lots of mental toughness. And the dedication to see it through. Use your business plan to prioritize what needs to be done daily, weekly and monthly.
- Set attainable short-term goals:
Use your daily, weekly and monthly prioritized lists to help you set short-term goals. What is the outcome you want to see from each of them? This helps you to break it down into bit size pieces. Setting short term goals is easier than you think.
As I said I am an author and a few of my books I have written from the end of the book forward. I wrote the ending first. So where do you want to be at the end of the month? write that down first, then write the goal forward. It’s that simple.
Write down the end first. Then ask yourself what’s the step before that? You already know what it is. Write it down. That’s considered the middle. So, then think what do I need to do to get to the middle? You know that answer too. When you are writing a book there are three parts as in writing pretty much anything. A begining, a middle and an end. And your short-term goals they don’t have to be a book they could be just 3 paragraphs or 3 sentences.
- I can’t say this enough. Attach yourself to like minded people.
Stay away from naysayers. And sometimes they may even be your own family. So, why would you listen to a person that has never owned a business? never had to worry about how they were going to pay their employees? And has never taken a risk in their lives? and they live pay check to pay check.
You need to find like minded people. They are everywhere. LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest and I am sure there are others. These people have a totally different mind set. True entrepreneurs they just do. They don’t look at what they can’t do. Because the word ‘CAN’T” is not in their vocabulary. What CAN I? How CAN I?
- Never stop researching and learning:
Read, read and read some more. Attend workshops and webinars. It’s a great way to network. To be the best you have to continue to learn and evolve. Because there is always going to be someone better and smarter.
- Find a mentor:
That would be me. Or someone that understands what you’re are going through, someone that has been through it before and they know that eventually all the struggles and heartache will pass. And you will be the better for it.
- Don’t justify your decision:
And once you have decided to start a new business. Then do it. You know what you are doing. Remember the naysayers? it does not matter what they think or what anyone thinks for that matter. Just do it.
- The most important thing is to Be Honest with yourself.
If you don’t like what you chose, if you cannot see yourself doing it for 20 years and working on your new business with the same mental toughness for years. Because there will come a time that the excitement and the passion is not as it once was.
Are you willing to make the sacrafics that you need to make? Because, trust me there is no one that is going to be there with you through the blood, sweat, tears and long exhausitng hours. Then you may need to rethink it. Just be honest with yourself.
So, I really hope this post helps you. You see living life is not for the weak. It’s for the strong. And if you weren’t strong and wanting to change your life for the better. You wouldn’t be here.
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