16 Jun My Money Love Story – Part III
Previously, in Part TWO of A Money Love Story (aka. my financial mess turned dream life)…
Tom and I made the move from Denver to our hometown in Pennsylvania and everything that could go wrong did. I couldn’t get a job, my license to practice didn’t transfer, and the job that Tom had lined up at his dad’s company didn’t work out. With the clock ticking down to when our baby would be born, we were frantically trying to buy a house and secure consistent income for ourselves.
Tom got a job working in psychiatric medicine and I started my private practice doing psychotherapy right around the time our daughter came into the world. But I wanted my business to provide more for me and my growing family, so I got a wild idea about how I could make that happen.
Here is Part Three…
What if my counseling practice offered more than just counseling? What if it served as a one-stop shop for a variety of health and wellness services…like yoga, massage therapy, nutrition coaching, and medication management?
I pictured a beautiful wellness center…buzzing with people doing downward dog in the yoga studio and walking out of their massage sessions renewed and refreshed…and psychotherapy being as commonplace as meeting up with a friend for coffee.
Yes! Amazing! I want that…for myself and everyone in town!
That was my wild and crazy idea for my private practice – transform it into a full service wellness center.
I did what every responsible business owner would do. I drafted a business plan…crunched the numbers for operating expenses…ran profit projections…wrote service descriptions…planned every little detail of how it would all come together.
I found the PERFECT office space and instantly fell it love with it…only problem was that it cost $3000/month and the inside needed to be built out (it was nothing but concrete floor when I looked at it).
Could I make enough money to cover the rent and yield a profit?
If my profit projections were right, I could pay all the contractors I planned to hire, all the overhead expenses, and walk away with $8000/month. That sounded heavenly to me after bringing home a measly $1000/month doing counseling by myself the past two years.
Having never done something like this before, I was hopelessly optimistic and managed to convince my husband that this was a good idea…and it would all work out great…and we’d be set for life because of the incredibly successful business I was about to create.
We signed a 5-year lease (biggest mistake of my life)…spent a boatload of money on office furniture, decor, and #allthethings to make the business look fancy (taking out ridiculous loans to pay for it all)…and hired a team of ten contractors to provide all the various services.
The shopping addiction I’d had before continued…but now it came in the form of shopping for shiny objects for my business instead of designer handbags and shoes. But when I expanded my business, I wasn’t even remotely aware of my spending problem…or the problems I was creating for myself as a result of it.
I truly believed, “if you build it, they will come” and had all the confidence in the world that the wellness center would be a huge success…and like I had imagined when I opened my solo counseling practice…I thought clients would be lining up outside our doors overnight.
You’d think I would have learned my lesson the first time around and been realistic about how long it takes to establish a business. NOPE! Didn’t get it!
My positive attitude got crushed to pieces as unexpected problems popped up in my business left and right.
Two of the contractors I hired started plotting to open a completing yoga studio and stole my business and marketing plans to do it…which led to an expensive lawsuit against them. I won my case, but the stress was hardly worth the fight.
The furnace in the building didn’t work right, and I got stuck with $1500/month energy bills…which were NOT in the budget! The clients trickled in leaving most of our offices empty and my contractors unhappy that they weren’t making any money.
I wasn’t making any money either. Obscene overhead…very few clients…and regular monthly payments on the loans I’d taken out were killing me and the business was in the negative for six consecutive months.
I kept having to dip into our personal savings to keep the doors open to my business…which didn’t go over well with Tom. The more money I pulled, the less faith he had in me that I could make the business work…and he asked me more than once to get myself out of the lease and close up shop.
I felt like a complete failure.
I had no idea what I was doing…none of my projections panned out in reality. I didn’t know how to manage a team…or market well to attract new clients…and I obviously sucked at managing money.
We were $87,000 in debt with TWO children to support then and if my business didn’t start making money fast, we’d lose our house…the house we bought with money borrowed from my grandparents. It was an absolute financial mess…and it was all my fault because I’d had the crazy idea to grow my business BIG and FAST.
Those were dark days. I had more ugly cries over my empty bank account than I like to admit. I was angry and resentful at my money for not being there for me when I needed it…for ghosting me. Tom and I were fighting about money every-single-day.
My failing business was ripping us apart.
One day, I was caught in the cross-hairs of a couple’s therapy session gone bad…listening to a couple blame each other for all their problems…distracted by my own money drama running in the back of my mind.
BOOM! A discovery flashed before my eyes…
…a realization that would change everything in my business…in my marriage…and in my entire financial life.
Find out what happened next in Part IV of this 5-part mini-series.