What We Gained From Our Business Failure

In the aftermath of our golf shop closure and subsequent bankruptcy (see Our Business Failure.) Art and I were both shaken up.  I felt humiliated by the failure and terrified of our uncertain future.  Art became depressed because he could not find a job and felt that he should be able to provide for his family.

Thanks to my four years of on-the-job training doing books for the shop,  I was able to garner two very part-time bookkeeping jobs.  That, combined with our income from Ebay sales and money we had saved from Art’s Golf Etc. paycheck got us through the first 7 months.  Much of that time is a blur to me of work, Ebay, Facebook, food and bed.  I slept 8-10 hours a night and took 1-2 hour naps every day.  Looking back, Art was probably not the only one who was depressed.

It’s two and a half years later now, and believe it or not, out of the ashes of depression and despair, some pretty wonderful things have happened.  We have grown closer together as a couple and as a family.  Art and I are available if our kids need us, even just to talk to – time we very rarely had during the golf shop years.  Art tapped into his VA benefits and is going back to school in January to get a business degree.  That combined with his real-world experience should make him a formidable competitor in the job market once he graduates.  I discovered a new found confidence in my own abilities.  I proved myself enough at one of my small jobs to turn it into an permanent part-time position where I feel like a valuable member of the team.  And about two months ago I decided to pursue my love of writing and start actively cultivating my blog.  I have the joy of expressing myself, as well as the knowledge that I have 6 loyal subscribers and over 36 views per day!!

In addition, thanks in great part to Facebook, we have rekindled some old friendships and sparked some new ones.  The support of our friends and family is the main reason we are still surviving and have the courage to take our lives in different directions than we had planned.  If you are one of those people, please know that there is no way I can ever express my gratitude enough.  You are truly and deeply loved.

We’re still pretty precarious financially, but I think we can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel.  It’s a good start.

Update 4/2/13: I now have over 300 loyal subscribers and over 100 views per day!!  Art started school and we are contemplating a move to Oregon so he can continue pursuing his education goals.

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Our Business Failure

In June 2005, Art and I were riding high.  We had just opened our business, Golf Etc. Fairfield, and were celebrating with family and friends.  We had taken out a second on our home in order to finance the venture (Art’s parents had also taken out a second on their home), but we were convinced we were doing the right thing.

And for the first year and a half things went very well.  We hired a manager and bought a new truck.  At the end of 2006, our first full year in business, we were named Rookie Franchise of the Year by the Golf Etc. corporation.   We were on track for 2007 to have gross revenue of over a million dollars.

our business failure

Our Golf Shop – the Beginning

Then, in early 2007 we fired our manager after discovering he had been stealing from the till since the beginning (for a total of about $6000).   When he left, he took many customers with him.  Business started a slow drop off and then the TARP bailout happened and people started defaulting on their mortgages.  Our biggest customers had been real estate agents and mortgage brokers, who suddenly had much less expendable income than before.  We struggled to cover our payroll, let alone our loan payments.  Art’s parents sold their house and moved to a less expensive housing market.  Art & I refinanced to combine our first and second mortgages.  Finally, in May 2009, we hit the final straw.  A break-in had taken a good deal of our merchandise and we had missed a payment on our insurance, so we could not afford to replace the stolen items.  We decided to hold a going-out-of business sale and closed the doors permanently on May 30, 2009.

our business failure

Our Golf Shop – The Aftermath

Next came the bankruptcy.  In retail, most people are required to sign a personal guaranty in order to get credit terms on merchandise.  A personal guaranty meant that even though the business was defunct (no assets), Art & I were still personally responsible for all the debt the shop had incurred.  In addition, due to the second and subsequent refinance, our house payment was now double what it had been before we opened the golf shop and we had almost no income.  I had a part-time job as a bookkeeper bringing in about $1000 a month and we had saved some money from the golf shop closing, but that was it.  The bankruptcy eliminated everything except our sales tax debt which we are still paying off at $100 a month.

But out of the ashes of a failed business, some good things did happen.  Check the story of how a business failure brought renewed relationships.

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