Worst fears were coming true . . .

Posted: January 12, 2011 in General Blogging
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If you have been following my blog, I am telling a story about myself and my marriage to my husband, the father of  my son J.O.  If you want to start from the beginning please read my post called Another story begins . . . 

We finally got to the time where portions of our product should be sold and the sales proceeds transmitted to us.  “Should”  is a key word here. Our business partner had been receiving the goods, got them out of customs and delivered to his warehouse ready to sell. I can’t tell you how many excuses he gave us that implied the product was not good enough and he couldn’t sell it.

This went on for a couple of months. We were getting to a point where we couldn’t afford to keep operating. To help us, a friend of my husband provided thousands of dollars to keep the business going.  Finally we realized we couldn’t keep going like this for much longer. We decided that my husband needed to go over seas to find out what was really going on and to help with the sales.

Keep in mind I was pregnant. I told my husband I fully supported him in making this trip. I knew it was the right decision for the business. But there was one restriction placed on the endeavor.  My husband needed to promise to return before our baby was born.

Meanwhile to keep the business going I was getting funds from any place I could get it from. I maxed out my credit cards. My family also took advances on their credit cards to ingest into the company. I even took out several new loans,cashed in my 401k, and sold some stock I had set aside for retirement.

Meanwhile my husband discovered that all of the product that had been sent over seas had been sold. Even more critically, the business partner was gone, nowhere to be found.  The terrible truth hit us hard. He had sold the product and then stole the proceeds from the sales. Keep in mind, I wasn’t talking little money. We had been shipping numerous container loads per month, each of which was worth a lot of money. I am not talking about thousands of dollars. In total it was over one million dollars.

So our only choice was to ship more goods directly to my husband and he would sell the goods himself. This was risky but there was no alternative. It was also the safest way to guarantee some income to support the business.  Without it we would be shutting down the operations.

Meanwhile I had to reduce the expenses from the processing plant and slow production down until my husband resolved the issues over seas. I laid off some of the sorters, the forklift operator, and the packaging prep person. I dismissed one other employee because he didn’t come to work for a week and did not notify me why he was absent.  It turns out he was in jail the whole time.  Me and my family decided we would make up for these responsibilities.

My husband was successful at selling the containers of product that I sent him.  We needed to continue selling the product ourselves until we could turn this business around and identify another individual to run the sales operations.  My husband kept to his promise and two weeks before our son was born, he returned to the U.S.  Ten days later, after my son was born, my husband returned over seas.  It was a big sacrifice, and it was hard being alone with a new-born baby and a business that was crumbling all around me.

The situation was getting extremely serious.  The funds my husband sent was too little too late.  Our business limped along for about another nine months, with me falling apart in my home and my husband over seas trying everything he could to turn this business around.  I had creditors calling me and knocking on my door.  I got to the point I didn’t answer my phone.  I didn’t answer my door.  And I didn’t go out in public.  I became a recluse.  My anxiety began to build.  I also think I was experiencing a little postpartum depression.  I would cry for hours at a time.

On top of all this, the owner of the company for my consulting job contacted me, and they wanted me to go to South Carolina for a contract.  There was no way I could go to South Carolina because I had a new-born baby and the business to deal with.  I was in a total panic.  I didn’t want to disappoint them, but I think it was just their way of pushing me out of the door.  They had only given me two days to move myself and the baby to South Carolina, get a home and day care set up there, and then show up to work on Monday.  Absolutely impossible.  As a result of this, I was laid off from that job.  I now had no revenue coming in from no where.  I went on unemployment, which wasn’t enough money to cover food and my rent.  I eventually went on a program that offers fruits, vegetables and milk for children of low-income families.  I can’t believe we were in these circumstances.  We went from being an upper middle class family to an unemployed, welfare family.  My life had fell apart.  My depression and anxiety were at a peak.  Luckily, I saw a psychologist who helped me straighten out my priorities.  She also legitimized my feelings and said I had a reason to feel the way I was feeling.  Everything that I was facing was producing extreme pressure.  You could only be in survival mode so long.  Eventually the situation had to go one way or another.  Survive.  Problems solved.  Or not survive, without the problems resolved. 

I have always been a hard worker in my life and was very proud of my accomplishments.  It was really humiliating to have to ask others for help.  Things became really desperate.  In fact it was so bad, at one point I had no food in the house.  Coincidently, at that time my old boss called me to check on me, and during the conversation I explained what was going on.  To my surprise a lady delivered groceries to me that would last several weeks; my old boss had arranged for the groceries to be delivered.  It was a life saver for both myself and my baby.  I was truly blessed to have a friend such as this. 

Related topics:

A new business can be rough . . .
It’s a different world . . .
Change in career, another move, and starting something new . . .
Good-bye Chicago, Hello Columbus . . .
Chicago and a time of crisis . . .
A place of prosperity . . .
There are good people in the world . . .
Hard times: a need to relocate . . .
And another story begins .


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