2 years ago I had it all. A loving partner, a multi million dollar business mega success story that I started from scratch, a multi million dollar house in my dream suburb, even my dream car a, 50 year old Volvo P1800.
I lost it all, except for the partner thank god. But the house, the car, the business, all gone. I wrote about some of it in this post ‘There is no bouncing back‘, but really I am yet to write about the worst of it. It was a monumental hit, which I will probably never fully recover from.
Things are very different now.
I no longer own my own house. We are renting in an old house with lots of cracks in it. And it’s fucking hot. If I was hot before I’d open the My Home app on my phone and turn on the ducted air con, or I’d walk 50 to the beautiful sandy beach, or I’d jump in the pool.
Right now I’m sitting here typing this, sweating, no shirt on, with a $15 Bunnings pedestal van twisting back and forth bringing intermittent moments of relief.
I no longer have the vintage car, I just swapped my old Black Hops van for a new white one so I no longer had to look at the faded marks left from the old Black Hops stickers that I legally had to get removed after leaving my own business.
I have a new business, a coffee business which is about 5 times smaller than Black Hops. And I have a small hosting business and website fix it service, the exact types of businesses I wanted to avoid all of those years ago when I finally broke out of the agency model and launched WP Curve and The 7 Day Startup.
In a way I’ve gone backwards by about 15 years, it’s almost surreal.
But somehow much to my surprise, I think I’m actually happier. And not in a ‘taking a step back’, ‘chilling on the beach’ type way. The opposite actually. I think I’m more excited about the progress I can potentially make, given I am now so far back compared to before when I had it all.
I imagine a lot of people look at successful people and want to be them and assume they are the happiest people in the world. But actually it’s a curious thing, but it’s quite hard to be happy if you don’t have anything to look forward to. And when you have it all, there is very little to look forward to.
As of right now, I have plenty to look forward to. I have a business which is 20 years old and needs a massive refresh. That gave me the opportunity to create a brand entirely from scratch, much like I did with Black Hops. Except this time I think it will be better, because I will be able to retain control of and it keep it aligned with its values. It’s a huge amount of fun rebranding our coffee, our activations and working on new blends and approaches with my new Roaster. It’s somewhat akin to what it was like when we first started experimenting with the beers a decade ago, by far the most enjoyable part of the whole journey.
We are back renting now too which I don’t really like. It’s been almost 20 years since I bought my first house. It was the most exciting thing imaginable at the time. Nothing will ever compare to that from a property point of view. But in some way I get to re-live that again. We are renting now, we want to buy something, the market is crazy and we can only really buy something super entry level in a cheaper suburb. We’re looking in suburbs that I would have never considered living in, let alone buying in. But from where I am now, it would be a big step up, and that feels exciting.
Also with a bit of age, you start to learn more about what actually makes you happy and what doesn’t. I used to think living in a better area, or buying a bigger house, or buying a cooler car would significantly increase my happiness. Actually I’m pretty happy right now after losing all of that. Once the excitement wears off after buying something new, or moving somewhere new, you just revert back to being who you are, and it doesn’t really matter where you are or what you’ve got. That is pretty well understood I think, but what often isn’t discussed is sometimes when you have less, you are actually put in a position where you might be a bit happier because you are back having something to look forward to and something to work towards.
I just thought I’d share that as someone who’s been through a challenging loss business wise. If you are going through the same, perhaps this might give you some support in getting through, knowing there may be some benefits you can’t see right now.
If you like my writing, join my weekly email list is here.
- East Coast Roast Marketing Plan - February 10, 2024
- Inside the P&L of my coffee / cafe supplies business East Coast Roast - February 9, 2024
- Why it’s almost always a good thing when staff quit - January 12, 2024