This is it, I promise! The final chapter of my debt story. Re-living one’s mistakes can be a bit disheartening I must confess.
After a slew of mistake upon mistake upon mistake, how did I change my path? For me, it turned out to be a combination of luck and some guts. On a train ride to visit a friend of mine who had just given birth, I found out about a new electronic gadget from one of my fellow train passengers while we were engaged in conversation. It was something out of the box and new enough that most people had not heard about it at the time. It fascinated me to no end and I thought that it would resonate with people and be a great item to sell. Even though it was a bit pricey, I decided to purchase one once I got home to test it out.
Once I received the gadget, I tested it out for awhile. On the very first day, it blew me away but I wanted to see if it was a product that would have longevity. To me, it was amazing and I thought, this has tons of potential! (I’m not going to mention the specific product because I don’t want this to turn into an advertisement. :)) I did as much research as I could about the product itself and also about how to build and run websites and how to import items from abroad. With some help from the hubs, we got a website up. It wasn’t the prettiest thing since we weren’t tech savvy but it was functional.
I had always wanted to work for myself. There’s something about being an entrepreneur that always struck me as infinitely appealing. Immersing yourself into a business and being able to create not only your own hours but to bring forth your vision is intoxicating to me. For me, it’s almost a family trait to have your own business. Some of us do better than others but most of us on my mother’s side at one point or another has owned their own business. From fruit stands to hotels, we’ve run them all on our own. We’re a family of female hustlers. lol.
Anyhoo, I was so excited about the product that I decided to speak with my parents about it. Obviously, I had no start up money. I knew that my parents didn’t either but I thought that they might have some friends who might be willing to loan them some money to loan to me. My parents knew that I was unemployed and stuck at a crossroads in my life so they threw away their pride and started loan shopping through their friends for me. I didn’t want to invest too much in case I was wrong or if I screwed up, so I asked my parents to help me get a personal loan for $7,000.00. It was the bare minimum that I needed to get inventory and get everything started.
I’m not really what I would consider a risk taker. I know it’s a quality that most entrepreneurs need to have but gambling just pains me to no end. I tempered my fear by looking at what I was doing as a ‘calculated risk.’ I’ll get more into details about how I started my own company in the future but for now, I will say that that risk that I took was the best decision of my ‘working’ life so far. I was able to pay my parents back with 100% interest within 6 months. Their friends hadn’t charged me any interest, I just wanted to give my parents a bonus for believing in me.
The gadget that I was selling really took off with a bang at the time since the product was different and new. My website has been running now for over 6 years and while things have slowed down considerably since it started (for multiple reasons I’ll get into it later), I still make enough to cover most of my bills, especially through my real estate famine times. Yes, I’m still working as a realtor!
To be frugal and save money though, my husband and I live at home with my parents so my bills aren’t too crazy. In a nutshell, my website is never going to make me rich but it helps to keep me afloat. I can make the monthly payments on my student loans, help out my family with the groceries most of the time and take care of most of my expenses. Unfortunately, it’s not enough to pay off large chunks of my student loan or credit card debt or to have savings, but for now, it’s enough and I can’t complain.
I am aware though that things can change in an instant and that because trends change, there will come a day when there will be no customers and I will have to shut my website down completely. So that’s part of the reason why you’re all here. Not only do I not want to subsist hand to mouth for the rest of my life, I don’t want to be helpless. I want to be proactive. I don’t want my life to be dictated by others nor do I want to be vulnerable to the whims of people or the economy, and for me, working for someone else is just that. I want to be responsible for my own future. I’m not looking to make it rich, I just want to be able to take care of myself and to be happy and have the time to enjoy life. I believe that many people out there want that too and I have faith in myself that I can make it so. So that’s my debt story…so far.