I’m going to start a website hosting business (hostwithjohn.com), and this blog is intended to be a journal of my learning experience. This post in particular is the short version of how I lost my business, nearly lost my mind, and ended up with the time I need to begin starting over after failure.
I’ve been self employed since 2007. Most of that was in IT, and most of that was small business support. Visions of building a large service company were dancing in my head the entire time, while knowing I was on the wrong track to get it done. I knew the aspects of my business with the highest return by time spent, but never made myself focus on them.
It isn’t a fear of success problem. The problem is an unwillingness to sacrifice. When it comes to my relationships with people, I’m greedy. I mean I am a flat out people pleaser. Letting others down is the hardest thing in the world for me. To focus on one specific aspect of business would require taking time from others, which would require I change the relationships I have with all of my clients. I was unwilling to take two steps down that road.
If you don’t take command of life and embrace progress, it will eventually run you over. That is exactly what happened to me. The price of oil began to fall in June of 2015. My three largest clients were service companies in the natural gas industry. They kept the lights on in my business, and they died within a year. Two made sure I was paid in full at the end, while the third owed me $20k.
This didn’t brake me though. I started seven years prior, with nothing but a 1993 Ford Escort, and the cutest little 3 year old mouth to feed. Being broke is temporary if your willing to out work everyone around you, and this time I wasn’t alone.
The love of my life lassoed me a few years prior, and brought the son I never had along with her. He’s in the final year of his apprenticeship as an Electrician now. I couldn’t be more proud of the path he chose.
Back on topic. A few months after moving my business back into the apartment, it became clear that my disabled father in law would need full time care. Being that I run on high octane (over)confidence, I naively decided that we would get a house so that I could help take care of him while rebuilding my IT service business.
It turns out you won’t make a full time living while caring for someone who can’t stand on their own, can’t stay standing on their own, and whose hands don’t work. Inclusion Body Myositis is one of the many degenerative disorders that take everything from you, and Tom has it.
I was now another mans hands and legs. I’ll remind you that I take my commitments to other people very seriously. My commitment to my FIL took over everything. Occasional last minute reschedules to take care of emergencies became guilt driven anxiety about leaving him alone during the day.
For three years I watched what was left of my client base dwindle to a dozen or so shops, who only needed me from time to time. The other aspects of elder care finished me off. Tom is one to “suggest” how you could do everything. Even if your are doing it the way he suggested last time.
So I let droves of people down in my business, couldn’t do anything rite for my FIL, and wasn’t making any money. I don’t wish elder care on anyone. It’s soul crushing.
I got a prescription for Lexapro from the family doctor, and started to see a therapist. In the first half of 2019 the FIL went to live in a nursing home. I stopped taking Lexapro the week he moved out and have sense stopped seeing the therapist. I know that I was lost and miserable, but can’t recall the feelings of hopelessness anymore.
At the end of 2019 I started working again.
I’m still married to the sexiest teacher on the planet (@awesomelytraci on twitter and insta), have a brilliant and beautiful teenage daughter, and am having fun watching my son start his career.