The Startup
Published in

The Startup

I Built Two 6 Figures Online Empires, Then Burned Out

Sometimes We’re Building Our Own Prison Without Even Noticing

Photo by Matt Flores on Unsplash

Most people online talk about their successes.

They brag about how smart they are and how much money they make.

I truly don’t care about talking much about mine. After all, in today’s world, everyone likes to show off. I’ve never been that guy.

So let’s make things really dirty and talk about my failures. I’m not taking about tiny failures. But my biggest and epic ones’. Let me pull the curtains so that you can truly see what success and failure looks from the inside.

Unemployable

I’ve never been employed.

In fact, have a pathological aversion to authority. Not to say I’m an anarchist. I believe that anarchy is bad. But when it comes to work and life? Better not to mess with me. I can become very nasty if you force me to do things I don’t want to do. (I told you I’m not normal).

Given my stubbornness, I hadn’t any other choice rather than starting building my thing on my terms.

Losing all my savings

I started my first venture 12 years ago and failed miserably. I threw all my savings (US$10k) into buying a stupidly large amount of inventory (dropshipping wasn’t around the corner in “biz opp land” yet).

The product I invested in was selling.

Life was good.

Unless my website was hit by Google Panda. I saw the traffic shrinking day after day until it hit… zero.

I tried what I could to save the business. But the storage costs were adding up. So I decided to cut my losses.

In short, I lost everything.

At that point, my mom was paying my rent. I had no more money left. I had to start something new from scratch.

Trip to Boredom-land

The only thing I had was my computer, my brain, and the hosting that I’d purchase for my epic ecom failure. I knew I could monetize some of my skills. I started to see success in freelancing, and after doing this for a while, I started getting bored.

I was doing the same mechanical process for clients.

No challenge = Highway to boredom-land.

Since I was legit, I pivoted into teaching others how to make money online.

This took time to take off, and since I couldn’t stick to one thing (undiagnosed ADHD?) I started other ventures on the side, diluting my focus but providing me the relief of not thinking too much about my failures.

From climax to hell

E-commerce started becoming the next hot thing. Since I was into every new make online opportunity, I started doing that, too.

And guess what? Yep. I made it.

I was able to build 6 figures in revenue with my e-com brand.
(I even took on board an investor who injected $50k into the business.)

Now I started making real money.

In parallel, my selling online course business took off, too.

Here I was with 2 six-figure per year businesses.

Yet… I felt empty.

While I was enjoying teaching others, e-com sucked out all my energy. Managing suppliers, running Ads, all the other crap that came with it. Ditching it was not an option. I was caught in the Principle Of Commitment And Consistency. I was not able to let go.

Trapped in the Hustle-Mania

I was at a point in my life where I thought that working harder was the solution.
All hustle gurus made you feel like sh*t if you were sleeping more than 4 hours at night, taking cold showers, and going to the gym by 5 am.

And most importantly: you are a damn loser if you can’t stick to one thing. (Thanks, guys.)

I didn’t want to be that looser. I wanted to be consistent. And I was feeling miserable.

At that point in life, life was bad. I mean, really bad.

Could it go worse? You bet.

My so-called wife cheated on me.
My business partner and “best friend” ripped me off. (Yep, both of them.)

That’s damn a lot.

At that point in my life, my pride was at rock bottom. I had 2 choices: Continue burying my grave, and ignore my problems. Or start a new life.

With the help of God and awesome people around me (whom I can’t thank enough), I was able to get rid of this nightmare.

It wasn’t just a business burnout. It was a life burnout. And it took us several years to clean up all the feces accumulated over the past decade.

What can you learn from this disaster?

Money is a byproduct of doing things you enjoy doing.

Don’t take all the entrepreneurial advice you see on social media for gospel. No matter from whom they come from. If you’re a “quitter” with “shiny object syndrome”, that’s okay. Maybe it’s just part of your process to find what resonates with you.

If you’re not enjoying what you’re doing, or see that it’s not aligned with your values — don’t lie to yourself.

Your gut knows better than your prefrontal cortex.

Never let the chase for money or FOMO distract you from what you’re meant to do.

Sometimes you need to experience pain by yourself to understand simple advice you read in business and self-help books.

And no matter where you are in your journey, be prepared for the worse.

Enjoy the journey, even if the results may be painful slow. Else, you’ll finish up frustrated even if you make loads of cash.

If you’d like to learn more about how to build a meaningful online business, sign up for my private emails (safe link to my website)

--

--

--

Get smarter at building your thing. Follow to join The Startup’s +8 million monthly readers & +756K followers.

Recommended from Medium

Technology startups — survival and team formation early days !

How we improved our on-boarding process & increased conversions by 3x

Risks and Rewards: Our “Planet of the Apps” Experience

Innovation ≠ invention

Top 3 Criteria for Founders During Seed-Stage Fundraising

Should Equity compensation be an acceptable norm? And why?

Finding a TRUE Startup

Women Leaders Of Real Estate: Kirsten Jordan of Douglas Elliman On The 5 Things You Need To Succeed…

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Matt Giaro

Matt Giaro

6 Figure Creator. Helping Busy Creators Get Their Time (And Freedom) Back. Feel overwhelmed? Go here 👉 https://mattgiaro.com

More from Medium

How to Sell Your Small Website for an Expensive Price on a Flippa Auction

A Web Designer Working on a Website

3 Proven (And Easier) Alternatives To Online Courses That Still Make Money

Want to Find the Best Product to Launch on Your Instagram Account? Here’s How in 5 Steps

“Slow Productivity” Flips Hustle Porn on Its Head