Thursday, September 07, 2006

Some personal background

"What is happiness?" asks WillbeFine. I'm gonna have to think about that one for a while.

In the meantime WillbeFine asked me another question:

"You built a business up, with a lot of effort I am sure,  sold it and what did you see the future at that time? The 5 years of depression, as you have described it,  I am sure wasn't in your plans."

The answer, I thought, is worth sharing (especially since I haven't got a snappy answer to the first question) :

You're right, I did have a plan after selling by business, and when I look back now it was the most ridiculous plan ever (especially for someone who has supposedly had hard-nosed business experience). My dream has always been to be a professional author of books. In the last couple years of my business I achieved some writing success with a book on investments been published and numerous articles I authored been published in the national press. But the real book, the book that's been brewing for 15 years now, is about what I saw when I was psychotic. So, armed with my newfound writer's confidence, I figured I would spend the year after selling my business writing this book, which I did. I was absolutely convinced that I would establish myself as a successful author and live the rest of my life in my beachside cottage, penning best-sellers. So convinced was I, in fact, that I didn't even try get a publisher but invested my own capital into the venture.

Anyway, one year turned into 2 years and the book came out in late 2002. It got awesome reviews from the hundred or so people that did read it, but soon slipped into obscurity. Definitely no income source there. This, as you can imagine, left me pretty darn depressed. I got myself a half-day bookkeeping job and in 2003 decided to do my Masters in Philosophy at the University of Stellenbosch, whilst keeping my half-day job. I was hoping that once qualified I'd find some work in that field. Well, I loved the studies and came top of class in my first year, but realised there was no money in this avenue either so never went on to my second and final year. Depression once again.

In 2004, I decided I had no option but to get back into the line of business that I had previously sold. Bolstered with a double daily dose of Prozac, I threw myself into it. But it was way different this time - I was living in a new province and city and had to start building up a clientele from scratch. Which meant getting out, seeing people, and projecting this generally conservative, astute and reliable persona. This was the part I hated most (the main reason I'd initially sold my business) and so the business never really got off the ground. By the end of 2004 I was in a chronic, standstill depression again and was officially diagnosed with BiPolar.

I closed the business up, and started looking into getting a disability claim from the insurance policy I had been paying for 10 years. No such luck, the insurance company had snuck a little exclusion clause on there after I had initially declared that I had been hospitalised from a "nervous breakdown" once before.

So in the beginning of 2005 I invested heavily (all borrowed money by this stage) in a website that is still directly involved in my "industry" of profession, but that negated running around with this huge big fake mask on. And that is what I've been working up ever since. Yet again reality is not living up to my optimistic expectations and the business's expenses are much more than I budgeted and income much less. It is only recently (18 months later) that I've actually started making a small monthly profit. The business has got huge potential to be sure, which is why an international company approached me a few months back with the view to a purchase.

The deal never came through, so that's where I'm at right now - trying desperately to generate enough profit to cover our outgoing expenses. We've got about 3 months left. If it doesn't happen by then, we'll have to sell the house - something I really do not want to do.

So I suppose, in essence you are right. Anybody would be unhappy with the string of failures I've had the past few years. Maybe it's not just a BiPolar thing.

1 comment:

  1. sounds exactly like my post from the other day--same wavelength?


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