Crash and Burn in Business Part #2 Tips for Starting Over


As I mentioned before, I was $2.4M in debt after 9/11 and all that was left of my business was a larges crater and a high body count. This was a very stressful time. I hope none of you have the burden of debt like I did. but I can tell you with some time things heal. I had several things to survive.

  • Time is your best friend in repairing debt and credit. I had never had debt before and never new what it was like to deal with creditors and have no money. There are resources out there. In my case I did not qualify for unemployment and my most of my problems were too big to ask anyone for help.
  • How to deal with creditors. Unplug yourself and do not deal with creditor until you are stabilized. For me it was about 2 years. Little by little I negotiated with what I could handle and afford. If creditors get aggressive I’d threaten bankruptcy or tell them I owe $2.4M, “get in line or give me a discount I can afford.” Being self employed they could not garnish my wages. This turned out to be a huge advantage for me and gave me leverage.
  • Emotional support. Please have good people in your life. In my case it was my family and friends. They may not understand completely, but they can support you even if it’s a warm meal and a good conversation. I had a couch to sleep on and a warm meal until I could leave the nest again. My parents took care of me for about 3 months. I never planned on being a boomeranger but it happens.

The emotional support was the most important key to my rebound.  Having my basic needs met allowed me to maintain my sanity and not wallow in depression over my problems. I could standup at rock bottom and begin my climb.





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4 thoughts on “Crash and Burn in Business Part #2 Tips for Starting Over”

  1. Aloha Dick,
    Congrats on staying focused! You sensed taking care of yourself – FIRST – was the best path to recovery. Spot on! All too often folks opt for the victim path thus shadowing themselves into more emotional debt.

    The other important step you took was – ASKING – for help. Seems to be the hardest step. True? Thankfully, folks who know and love you realized they needed to respond in ways that helped you.

    When you asked for help, did you ask for specifics or did you keep requests more general?

    1. I don’t recall specifically asking for help. My parents gave me a place to sleep and fed me. I’m sure behind my back friends and family networked for me. I guess that is the “ripple effect of networking.” There’s a title to a future blog right there. Thanks. Anytime I hear a friend out of work I’m making phone calls. If I can fit them in with some part time work I do it. I did not ask for money or a free hand out. I think that’s a big turn off.

  2. Ah! Okay. Dick – you’re a lucky man. To have family at the ready willing to pitch in with no strings attached. From what you share, your passion to ‘pay it forward’ enriches lives near and far! Outstanding . . .

    As for asking for money, that’s a tough one. A tough call. In business, it’s a requirement however. True?

    1. Most businesses I have done did not need outside funds. We all have different financial needs or wants. Tomorrow, I will post Crash and Burn part #3. It’s already written up. I begin to discuss my climb out of the hole and how I financed a biz with no money. Part #4 explains another cheap biz purchase i did and it will become clear that opportunities are waiting.

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