Not too long ago, after thirty years of blood, sweat equity, tears and prayers, raising a family, building multiple businesses and giving back to my community ten fold, the non-recovering small business economy finally won. Asset after asset in real estate, construction and retail, spiraled downward, slowly at first, occasionally offering teasing glimpses of hope, in this otherwise dismal recovery. False hope I soon learned, followed by empty promises and broken dreams, beginning, not with me, but my customers, then their customers and then my friends.
Astute enough to read the tell tale signs, splashed across the walls. I changed directions, throwing everything I'd worked for over the past three decades, into a Senior Living Idea that was years ahead of its time. A life changing project so revolutionary, IT COULD NOT FAIL. It even had a non-recourse, 80% HUD guarantee behind it. But, it did, in spectacular fashion. This outdoor living, memory care project never fully got off the ground, mired in bureaucracy, miles of red tape and impossible requirements that changed by the month. Add to that, the sudden passing of the person I had entrusted the management side to, I was royally screwed.
What was once a slow spin, soon became a death spiral, as note after note came due, stamped DO NOT RENEW. The last two years, I've died a thousand deaths, watching my balance sheets, fade from healthy black to unsettling red. My blood, my sweat, my equity, my all, for the first time in my life, was no longer enough to stop the bleeding, let alone begin the healing.
Looking on helplessly, each time an asset disappeared, a thousand times faster than it took me to create it, this question has repeatedly crossed my mind, "Where do small business owners go to die?"
I failed, I got it. That's the risk you take to own your own business. I got that too. The words, nothing ventured, nothing gained are empty and hollow, that to me, no longer ring true. For the first fourteen years, I worked twelve to fifteen hours a day, insuring every employee, every vendor got paid, before I ever thought of taking a check. Nothing ventured, you jest? I gave it 'my' best, I gave it my all.
And it paid off, not just monetarily. I nurtured and developed raw talent, turning book wise kids, into street wise entrepreneurs. I taught them to do it right the first time, give the customer exceedingly more than they ever hoped or imagined, and lastly, quality always surfaces in the end.
We also gave back, leading by example, delving into one community service project after another. After all, we're all in this together. At least I thought we were, until my 'friends' treated my demise the same way they would treat an encounter with the plague, they fled.
The question remains, "Where do small business owners go to die?" Possibly here, but I regress. A few months ago, I applied for a managerial position that I was more that aptly qualified for. My interviewer was a twenty-three year old assistant whose first question was, "Have you ever applied with us before?" Knowing immediately where this was going, I politely informed him, that he was in luck, his company was the recipient of my first ever job application and he was conducting my very first job interview. He passed. I did too, of sorts. He was kind enough to call back the following week and make me a rather generous offer, ten to fifteen hours a week, tutoring those he hoped would fill 'the job.' Yep, maybe this is one of the places where small business owners go to die, quickly, in misery.
I'm a survivor. I'm not ready to toss in the towel quite yet. During the last two years of living this painful death spiral, I've found solace in writing. In March, my first novel went to print and just last week I finished my second. And no, they are not about my current trials and tribulations.Those are ongoing, painful enough to live through each day, let alone rehash them by transposing them into a book.
For the moment, since I can't get a satisfactory answer to my own question, nor do I want to for that matter, I am writing fictional, sizzling, action adventure, romance stories, sprinkled with truth, catering to women. Have I found my niche, who knows? Readers read to escape, therefore, why can't writers write to escape? Especially, has been, washed up, small business owners, such as myself, who can no longer afford to live, let alone, afford a place to die in peace.
Taking an excerpt from my book, Everyone deserves a second chance; some even need a third, fourth, and fifth. So, when fate knocks, answer the door. Throw caution to the wind, and play with gusto the hand you're dealt. And never, ever let 'them' see you sweat.
Life is not waiting for the Storms to Pass, It's Learning to Dance in the Rain. author unknown
I invite you to read an excerpt of Ride to Redemption here. Though shy away, if mature content offends you. Women are our audience here buying most of the books today.
Watch for the sequel, Ride To Restoration, publishing later this month.
Early reviews say it's pretty good too.