You tried to tell me I was mad, I wish I had listened to you.
I decided to head back to Melbourne and the anonymity of a small office because I needed to hide and recharge my batteries.
I was tired, not really the best state to be when you are starting a new business, but ego and confidence had got the better of me.
The mistakes I made in the first six months of this adventure could well be a litany of things you should not do when starting a business.
I should have had spent some time in the business before jumping in; a little knowledge of the market would not have gone astray.
I continued to do some work for Brian, when I should have been fully concentrating on the business.
I knew the business was in awful shape and an audit was done before I moved in, but; it is hard to find money when there is no trail. Leo had been quietly pocketing any Bond money paid in cash. These figures did not appear on any receipt or ledger trail, only coming to light when tenants were moving out.
To find yourself in a new business in a totally new area, relying on someone who was not only incompetent but also dishonest, is not a pleasant place to be.
A deeper search, once the first defalcation had been exposed, revealed almost $15,000 had disappeared, how could I have been so stupid? Money designated to promote the new ownership was needed to cover this deficit.
To make it worse, I had already paid Leo for the rent roll so this was a double dip into the funds I had available for the business
A heated discussion, achieved nothing other than to see Leo heading out the door, taking his knowledge of the area with him.
I don’t think I ever felt so alone, and it was all my own doing.
Cash shrunk over the next year or so, but bills still had to be paid. On the plus side, we were slowly making inroads, even though, the girls in the office thought it hilarious when they saw me driving off with a map book perched precariously on my knees.
I went to Brian and you, begging for funds, some of which were grudgingly handed over. In fairness, I would not have put money on me at this stage, I was in a dark space.
Depression was something I had lived with all my life, but I had always managed to climb out of the trough. I would ride it to the bottom, wallow in my despondency for a while and then slowly climb up the other side.
This time, there was no “climbing” just a dark plateau, leading nowhere.
The fall was rapid and, it was unforgiving. I shut myself off from people and dreamt of ways to end it all.
I was drinking too much; the brief periods of freedom were attractive but the hangovers were atrocious.
Family was all I had left.
Thanks Andrew, I know you did try to help me, but I was rapidly learning that hubris combined with a loss of self-worth was a dangerous combination.