Debt Free Diva Blog



My Business Failed, but I didn’t

Financial stress is a subject I know only too well. I have spent the best part of the past 5 or 6 years living under that cloud. My Debt Free journey started in 2016 but the road to that began a long time before that while I ran my business. And it was during that time that I had all the same thoughts that so many small to medium business owners are having right now… the fear, anxiety, the what ifs.

Right now, it is breaking my heart to see so many people thrown into a marathon by Covid-19, without any training, practice, prior knowledge or even the correct shoes. While I agree that the lockdown is the best thing for our health and I support it 100%, it doesn’t make the pain and stress any easier.

In December 2016 my business failed financially. I closed the doors because I was too deep into in debt. I was financially, physically, mentally and emotionally ruined. Everything I worked for had come crashing down around me.

My business had failed, but I didn’t.

December 2019, I celebrated debt freedom. I also celebrated mental and emotional liberation along with good health. I had turned it all around.

And I say this because you are also a success too.

I am writing this today from a place of experience. I am not a trained psychologist and I am not going to pretend that I am. I am simply writing this to share my experiences and particularly some things that helped me during a time that was so financially insecure that it was unimaginable. I never thought it would happen to me and I never dreamed that’s where I would end up.

First, I want to say that everything you are feeling is normal and some days it is perfectly okay to NOT be okay. Sitting on the floor of your bedroom at 9pm crying because you don’t know how you are going to pay your staff is okay. Wondering how you are going to pay the rent is okay. Feeling angry every time someone says “She’ll be right” or “don’t worry about it” is also okay. I was always ashamed of having these feelings but learnt along the way that the lows will come and it’s unrealistic to expect to be happy or positive about the situation all the time. But I can also tell you the little thoughts of hope will also come in those early days. Hold onto those because they will turn into your highs. Embrace every single small positive piece of hope that pops into your head and focus on those because that is what is going to help you get through the lows.

I have reflected upon my journey and outlined a few things I wish I did, and a few things that I did do that worked. I wanted to share some of these key thoughts, because it’s all about the little things.

I wish I ate better.

I was no stranger to having a bag of potato chips for dinner or a bowl of noodles and my excuse was always that I was stressed. Fast forward a few years and I have truly learnt the miracle of healthy eating. With good nutrients you feel that little bit better and thinkthat little bit clearer. And cooking can be welcome distraction!

Embrace your why.

My whole journey was centered around my dog. Even when I owned the business, I was always focused on making sure Teddy was looked after. So, I embraced this and made sure I was really set in my reasoning. Anything can be your why, from your kids to your pets to your health to a materialistic object that is significant to you. It doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks, this is YOUR why and it’s time to flaunt it. This always helped me feel more positive, especially in my decision making.

I wish I exercised.

I wish I had got up and got moving more, even just a 15 minute walk every second day. Most people who know me now know that I  struggle to not do some form of exercise on any given day. It makes me feel so alive! I  wish I had done this from the start instead of finding excuses to stay glued to the couch stuck with my own thoughts.

Spend some time doing something else.

Seems counterproductive right? I originally thought so too, but how wrong I was. My favorite thing to do was read, because it let me escape my reality for a bit (and also my thoughts). This also gave me breathing space to step away from the business and the stress and simply do something else. It also helped with those little glimmers of hope I mentioned earlier. So try having a bath, drawing, painting, reading, listening to music or anything else that you feel will give you a mental break.

I wish I had told someone.

This is something I still struggle with today. I never told anyone about the financial stress of my business until it was too late. For a long time, I tried to deal with it myself because I thought I was alone. By the time I said anything it was too late and I was closing the doors. My business had failed. It was a year into my financial freedom journey that I told someone else other than  my mum. I’d carried 3 years of financial stress alone.  Please talk to someone, even if it is to get it off your chest.

Ask for help.

I asked the banks and a few clued people for help at the beginning but I didn’t think to cast the net wider. There are so many people that want to help… banks, friends, clients, friends of clients, your landlord, the list is endless. Please don’t be afraid to ask for help. There is no shame to put your hand up and say you need a hand. There are so many people who want to help you.

Please take it easy on yourself, I know you are doing the best you can. No one wrote a manual for this and I haven’t found many money books that talk about global pandemics. Acknowledge how you feel and please remember you are not alone. We are all walking the same path right now, we are just wearing different shoes.


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