About 15 Years ago I was evicted from where I was living for not paying rent.
I had to sell everything I owned just to pay a tiny portion of my bills of almost $200K.
My 3rd business had just gone bust and I was stressed out feeling helpless, frustrated and I was experiencing anxiety like I had never felt before.
There were times I thought I was having panic attacks as I would find myself bordering on hyperventilation when the phone rang as people chased me for money constantly.
I would not, upon reflection, say I was suicidal but I certainly thought about “making it all go away” on more than one occasion.
The day of the eviction was a Wednesday afternoon and I was watching Oprah, sitting on a milk crate (I had sold all my furniture by this point) with a piece of cardboard across the top so as not to get the crisscross pattern embedded into my butt cheeks.
As I sat there feeling rejected by the world I kept saying to myself “there has to be a better way” and kept asking “is this all there is?”. Have you ever asked yourself that?
Then there was a knock at the door.
It was a young girl who couldn’t have been more than 10, she was selling lollies from one of those red shopping baskets that you find in Coles.
My heart sank as I thought about the excuse I was going to have to make up to let her down gently as I couldn’t afford to be buying what she was selling as I had ONLY $5.50 to my name.
My total net worth was sitting on the floor beside my milk crate in the form of a $5 note and a 50c piece. This fortune was earmarked for my next acquisition – dinner (home brand pasta and sauce).
She introduced herself but I don’t remember her name. My mind was too busy racing ahead trying to think of a good reason why a grown man didn’t have enough money to buy lollies.
She told me she was raising money, I remember that clearly as it made me feel worse. Then she went through and listed the five or six different types of lollies she was carrying in her basket.
She then hit me with something I didn’t see coming.
After finishing her product demo she asked me, “Out of all the lollies here what are your two favorites?”
I said, “That’s easy, nothing beats raspberries and licorice bullets” momentarily forgetting my situation and the fact I was being evicted that day and had to be out within hours.
She says, “Great, so which one will it be, raspberries or bullets?”
By reflex, without a second thought, I said, “Raspberries please”
Then I froze as she reached in pulled out the raspberries and went to hand them to me, and said, “That’ll be $3.50 please”.
As I turned around to walk inside and get the money I was dying inside.
I just got sold to by a 10-year-old Peter Drucker (old school biz guru). I got closed and there was no way I could escape her tractor beam without looking like even more of a loser than I felt.
I handed her my net worth of $5.50 and she handed me $2 coin in change and was on her way to the next unsuspecting neighbour while I walked back inside, numb.
When I walked inside I sat down on my crate and I cried. It was more like a sob and howl thing.
Not because I was now closer to broke than I was 4 minutes and 38 seconds ago before Miss Muffet showed up and closed me like a doll house door.
It took me seeing a 10-year-old with a fire in her belly for me to look at myself and realise I’d given up and the worst part was she had not.
She was hungry and fearless and wasn’t letting anything stand in her way.
You see the business I had that had just imploded was a Door to Door sales business. And what this 10-year-old kid had just shown me was if she could do it I had no excuse.
Not only did I get closed effortlessly and effectively by this munchkin, I also got schooled.
She taught me that if a 10-year-old girl could do it, I had NO EXCUSE!
Fast forward 3 years later I had made over $5M in sales. My life has changed and it has continued to be a roller coaster ride full of ups and downs, wins and losses, good days and bad.
But since that day I have been different.
Since that day I went on a mission to uncover what it was I had to do to build successful businesses.
Success is not something most are born with in business, it isn’t some natural talent. It really does come through sweat and tears, frustrations and foolish decisions and it takes time.
Give yourself time (10 to 15 years) to achieve your success and you will find the journey far more rewarding and your mistakes far less disheartening.
Business is painful, suffering is optional.