When you and your company run out of cash.
I remember the day I went broke as if it were yesterday. I an out of cash and my credit cards had reached their limits. I was officially broke and at first, I could not believe it.
Some months before, a startup founder I knew told me, that to be a successful entrepreneur, you had to go bankrupt at least one time in life. I was not sure if he meant bankruptcy at a company or a personal level. However, that did not matter now. My business had failed weeks before that day and was undergoing the formal bankruptcy process. It was clear; I was officially an entreprebroke.
Below I share you my takeaways from this experience.
Efficiency at its best
You will be forced to be efficient. I mean, dead or alive efficient. It is a year since I ran out of cash and I am still here, raising a five person family. It is possible. During my startup bankruptcy process, we were able to operate the same business with half the resources. It is possible. You will get efficient as never before.
You will become creative. You will find new ways to do things, to postpone bill payments, to split invoice installments. You will learn to cook. Moreover, you will do it well because you like to eat well. You will discover that your creativity capacity is almost limitless. You will feel that power.
You have been pushed out of your comfort zone. So this is a good thing. This is the real thing; then you cannot put yourself out of your comfort zone entirely. You think you can, but you always have some backup plan. Being bankrupt is having no more financial backup. It is wake up time. Time to become creative.
When you become entreprebroke you will, eventually, stop fearing life. Knowing you that you have reached the button makes you stronger because your surviving instincts arise and give you the power you did not think you had.
Aside from getting yourself sick or losing someone beloved, I cannot think of a worse thing that can happen to you than to be broke. So, now you know, and you can continue enjoying the pleasures of life. No more fears. Life goes on. You will rebuild. It is just money. You are healthy and completely focused for the first time.
You will identify your genuinely good friends. People you know will wish you the best after looking horrified at you. Your family and real friends will support you, with money or help you somehow to get a job. Other people, you thought you knew, will simply disappear.
Remember always to go out and ask for help. Forget about your pride; then there is nothing to be ashamed of. You did try your best and failed. That is all. You know now what doesn’t work. So, learn fast to deal with your situation, be transparent and master your way out by enforcing relationships with those that care about you. People will admire you as the brave hero you are.
You will understand how rich you are. Wealth is not only about money. All the learned and gained experience going through this process is invaluable. This is you, mastering your way out of this lifetime challenge.
You will also notice you do not need stuff at all. You will find out you can get stuff in a more affordable way. You will finally understand that being wealthy means to need less and not to have more.
If you find yourself to be an entreprebroke, use this as an excuse for a new beginning. You will see things different now and as a consequence, you will be closer to success. Then you have learned from one of the toughest experiences out there. You are no longer afraid. You are now loaded with tons of experience. It is time for a new beginning.
“Playing safe is without doubt, the riskiest thing to do”
It is over one year from that day. I am still in “recovery mode” and struggling financially due loans and all sorts of financial measures I needed to take to survive and to move on. However, I am not longer afraid. I am not handling with fear. I am still thinking and spending following my goals. Now I need much less stuff than I used to have, and any minor additional financial and material gain is a luxury which I celebrate and enjoy as never before.
I know now that the financial shortfall is just temporary. The high efforts levels are temporary. It is ok so. There should always be some pain to avoid complacency. The struggle is ok! Because only when we are in survival mode of some sort, we ensure to be focused and deliver our best output. This is how nature works.
If you think losing all your money or your company is the worst thing that can happen to you, think again. If afraid, conquer your fears. It is crucial to go out there and take risks. Live your life and always deliver your best. Playing safe is, without a doubt, the riskiest thing to do.