March 17, 2017

Bankrupt on St. Patrick's Day!



On this day, 33 years ago, I hit bottom. There was no place to go but up.

In tears and great shame, I called my father to borrow $400 so I could file for bankruptcy. I turned in my leased car, moved to a tiny unfurnished studio apartment, and started over with nothing: no car, no credit cards, no savings, no job, no income... nada, zilch, zip, zero.

And thus began the great adventure of recreating myself. I had one spoon, one fork, one knife and one bowl. But nothing to eat except for the kindness of friends. The situation called for immediate action.

I talked a printer into doing 100 copies of a poster of the Ten Commandments for Managing a Young, Growing Business and begged a good friend (thank you Marianne Nagle) to hand them out to businesses in Sorrento Valley. The next day the first customer called (thank you Sean Curtis).

Soon I could afford cereal and soup. I scored a used mattress and bought a folding wooden chair from Sears for $15 to work at a makeshift table. In a few months I was earning enough to buy a very used car for $100/month.

I was selling my time as a computer consultant for $25/hour, at first, and gradually raised my fee as I got busier. After two years of subsistence living, Zen-like focus on helping others, practicing humility and gratitude... it was then that I determined to build a proprietary product and startup a business to sell it.

Thus was born the product TeleMagic, in 1985, and 7 years later I sold the company. So in total it was a 9 year adventure of recovery from flat broke to financial independence. It was hard work of course but it also took luck, timing, and the help of good people along the way.

Nowadays I help other entrepreneurs achieve their goals.

Happy St. Patrick's Day! 🍀