I was working five jobs and living with the worst roommate imaginable.
I was quickly falling behind on mortgage payments, and my back was up against the wall. There were no options.
I didn’t begin 2011 thinking I’d be getting myself into this kind of trouble.
When I wasn’t working, I was generally driving between my various workplaces or sleeping. There wasn’t a whole lot of time for anything extracurricular or fun. I went to the singer-songwriter open mic nights on Tuesdays and had the occasional rehearsal or gig. Aside from that, I was busy working.
My home was the only thing on my mind. I tried desperately to find a way to afford it.
My best friend called me up and asked me if I wanted in on his graphic design business.
He would design. I would code. His friend would help with illustration.
Since I had experience building websites for many years already, I thought this arrangement could work. So, I was in and I was excited.
My friend told me people often asked him to design things for them. So, I figured we would be busy with client work right off the bat.
The three of us declared partnership and set up a business bank account. We promptly got to work on our website, personal portfolios, and business cards.
Shortly thereafter, our illustrator friend decided business wasn’t for him. But my best friend and I kept on, and we even moved into a house to set up an office, home studio, and rehearsal space for our band.
I soon found out my friend didn’t have as many leads as he thought he did. Our business, on average, served about four clients per year. The business always showed a modest profit at the end of the year, but it wasn’t a runaway success.
So, at best, we had a side hustle on our hands. It wasn’t enough to support either of us.
I had a gig as a guitar teacher. My best friend dragged his feet when it came to finding work and didn’t do much except play video games for a few months. Eventually, he started teaching the drums, and found some work as an A/V tech.
We continued to expand our home studio and our musical footprint with it. Like our graphic design business, the home studio was never a runaway success. But we had a lot of fun with it and ended up rehearsing, performing, and recording with a mix of artists and bands. We even got into podcasting in “the early days”.
If there’s anything we did well, anything that still stands out to me, it’s that we engaged in what many would consider content marketing today. I recall we used to put a lot of time and energy into publishing monthly, until my partner decided that we weren’t a publisher and that we were wasting our time by putting so much time and effort into publishing.
If only we knew what was to come…
I got an email letting me know about an upcoming conference call.
I wasn’t sure what would be discussed on the call, but I did know it was long overdue, because the annual shareholder meeting didn’t happen and wasn’t even brought up.
I got onto the call, expecting an update regarding what was happening with the company. Instead, I was told nobody had any interest in pumping any more money into the business.
It was unfortunate. Tragic even. But I was long passed the point of hoping against all hope. I was busy working on other projects and had fully embraced writing in a variety of capacities, whether it was articles, books, content marketing, ghostwriting, or otherwise.
It was difficult to accept. In the early stages of the business, I believed 100% in the model and the potential it had to benefit all involved. At some point, I lost interest. It had been in development for many years, and I felt we had missed a window of opportunity.
That sentiment was reflected in the conference call as well.
But that didn’t matter anymore, because we would be closing our doors.
$60,000 down the drain.
One day, I got a phone call from the bank and they informed me that I could refinance my home. I hadn’t ever heard of such a thing. But I went ahead with it. It solved my immediate financial problems and even put some fun money back in my pocket.
I was confident that things were moving in the right direction.
Early in the year, I was stretched to my limits. At one point, I even broke down.
But finally, I was emerging from the tunnel. I quit the jobs I hated and went on vacation. First, I spent a week away from Calgary. Then, I went on a mini tour with my band.
I wasn’t exactly sure what I was going to do moving forward. I just knew that I was in business now, and I figured I had done my time and had paid the price for all the success I was about to enjoy.
I ended up selling my house only a year later.
A business isn’t what I was looking for. But I was desperate. And I was open to answers that weren’t on my radar.
The answers came rapidly, and typically in the form of inspiring books and training audios.
And that’s when I came to embrace business. Because I could see possibilities I had never seen before. Possibilities to become financially independent, support causes I cared about, and impact people all over the world.
I joined two network marketing companies. And although I never created financial independence in those, I did fulfill on a couple of goals – I learned the ins and outs of business, and I got out of my comfort zone. At one point, I was prospecting and having conversations with five strangers per day. Much of the time, this was an exercise in problem solving, going into environments I had never gone into before.
I also started to see the connection between music and business. I sincerely believed that, if I had had business training going into music, that I would have been able to bypass a lot of struggle. This led to the creation of multiple businesses, including Music Entrepreneur HQ.
Most of all, I got into business because I got into personal development.
If you want to grow as you never have before, get into business.
Shh… Don’t tell anyone. Only the cool kids are talking about it.