From 6 a.m. to 8:30 a.m., I was a mother. Then I became a business owner. Then I became a mom again at 5:30 p.m. Then it was back to being a business owner/entrepreneur after I took care of my daughter. Then from 9 p.m. to midnight I’d work on writing my business plan. Weekends too.
I was going on all cylinders. A couple of good friends helped me to understand the financial components of the business, and how to put the numbers together to make sense. We were nine months into my new venture. Things were going gangbusters.
But I was stressing out – just look at that schedule – and despite my making some headway with numbers, my debts kept rising like a mountain.
I’d managed to stay afloat. But not correctly.
I did what so many of us have done. I said yes to all of those letters that asked me if I needed money. Well, of course I did – so I sent in the responses. I was doing that pyramid thing with my own credit: I deposited one check after another in the bank, to finance my business expenditures and to pay my employees. But – what about the money coming in?
Well, it wasn’t coming in as quickly as it should have been. And at the same time, I had two lines of credit that I maxed out, about four credit cards that were maxed out, and another two or three special bank offers waiting to be taken advantage of.
All in all, my debt was in excess of over $100,000. And I was still desperately looking for more money to stay afloat.
I was in touch with my former mother-in-law, who was still part of my daughter’s life. My former mother-in-law kept urging me to write a letter to the president.
Uh-huh. Like that was going to happen.
But she kept insisting that he was my president, after all, and that who knew what would come of it if I wrote a letter. What harm could there be? So, finally, figuring I had nothing to lose (but really, I was on the verge of losing everything once again), and to shut up my mother-in-law, I sat down and wrote a letter to President George Bush.
It wasn’t just a “Dear Mr. President, blah, blah, blah” kind of letter. Once I sat own to write it, I let loose. I poured out my heart. The President had said small business was the backbone of the American economy, and I wanted to give him a chance to prove he meant it. I explained what had happened to me and my business, how I had lost my production company in the aftermath of September 11th, what I was trying to do to make things work. I said that I was at a point where I had nothing more to lose, and everything to gain. If nothing came of it, I would be in the same position as before. Looking up, maybe – but once again having hit bottom.
I sent it and forgot it. And dove back into my troubles.
But three months later, to my great surprise, I received a letter from the White House. The president thanked me for getting in touch with him. The White House forwarded my letter to the Small Business Administration to further assist me.
One week later, I met Lorenzo Flores the SBA’s handsome and very capable Deputy Chief Director. Armed with my business plan and a coffee-table book that showcased our images, I discussed with him what, if anything, could be done.
Mr. Flores said the magic words: “I will put in what you will put in.”
That is when I knew this could work out after all.
Have you ever taken that action you didn’t expect to take – as I did when I wrote that letter to President Bush – and then unexpectedly had something good come from it? Let me know – I’d love to hear your experiences.