When Being an Entrepreneur is Your Only Option

As I listened to my wife on this installment of the podcast, the beautiful Kimberly Ann Jimenez, what struck me was how little we both thought about the alternatives to our immense 2016 struggles.

As in, NOT being entrepreneurs was never an option…

And truly, I mean NEVER.

There was never this moment we sat down at the kitchen table and started ironing out resumes.

It was figure this thing out by any means necessary or….(end of thought process)

And so what I learned in that moment was how serious are we about this thing?

Are we just pretend entrepreneurs that think it looks cool as a bio title on Instagram or are we FOR REAL!?

In this defining moment, is this just going to be some thing we did or is it going to be the beginning of something better and new?

And what transpired in the months thereafter I think not only answered that question to everyone else but, more importantly, proved it to ourselves.

 

 

Watching Your “Baby” Die a Slow Death…

Look, people lose family members all the time.

In fact, one of Kim’s members just lost her 14 year old son and it was absolutely devastating.

So losing a business is nothing in comparison and I would never think to view it in the same light.

But the grieving process happened in much the same way…

So much so that my business coach and mentor, Bill Douglas, had to chime in and tell me it’s very normal for entrepreneurs to feel the way I felt.

I had poured my heart and soul into my business.

And I don’t say that as a cliche.

I literally drove my health into oblivion pursuing my ambitions.

Lab results showed I was dangerously flirting with cancer and would likely not be around to see my 50th birthday…possibly not even 40th.

Years and years of a chronic illness had built to a crescendo and the stress of a startup plus the ridiculous work pace and demands pushed me over the edge.

What’s more is I was literally on the verge of achieving everything we sought out to accomplish.

We had grown to a multi-seven figure firm, completely bootstrapped.

We were doing business with five of the seven major players in our industry and had 300 part-time employees spread out across 32 states.

The minute I got sick the cracks started to show and not a 9 months later the company was dead.

Inside, I felt just as, if not more, dead.

The prognosis…

Two years, minimum, to full recovery.

And that’s all assuming the treatment plan worked.

Given how young I was for this type of ailment, the chances of reversal weren’t impossible but certainly a tall order, nonetheless.

In comes Kim…

My little warrior wife and entrepreneurial sidekick.

You see, one of the MAIN aspects of my treatment protocol was NO WORK.

Truth be told, that was harder than saying goodbye to my company.

Because we now had real pressures and a dwindling savings account.

 

The Pivot that Changed the Game

Just before my illness took a full grip on my life, Kim decided to shift her entire business model from service provider to course creator.

It just made sense for her business and what she envisioned for her life.

But that doesn’t mean you just flip a switch…

We knew there would be a transitional period.

But I had a $1.55MM investment round about to close within 60 days and we were more than okay to support her business for a period of time.

She essentially “fired” off most of her clients and began the implementation process of her first course.

Struggling mightily to make the transition, my investment deal fell through and the aforementioned health situation emerged.

Two months later and we’re back to where I was talking about…a dead business with a husband that can’t work.

Oh, and we had signed a massive lease on a beautiful apartment right in the heart of Atlanta.

You want to see money disappear?

We had a Houdini Act to demonstrate just how fast that can happen.

And so the weight of the world fell on Kim’s shoulders…

And not by choice.

The level of guilt I felt was only matched by the severity of how poorly I felt as a result of my illness.

Weeks would go by and I began to wonder what a “bowel movement” was like.

Not to be gross, just lending light on the situation…

Long nights and early mornings ensued.

And from that point forward for the next year or so I watched my wife transform into a startup BEAST.

 

Six Figures in Six Months

I feel like six figures is always the mark of a successful startup.

Right?

It’s like the metric we use to tell someone we’re making it.

So few of us (2% to be exact) ever reach the seven figure mark so we tend to really celebrate the six figure milestone.

Well, by about February of 2017, Kim had not only swooped in and saved the day but hit that magic, six figure number.

And I think it caught us both way by surprise.

We had literally just launched her flagship membership program, The Business Lounge, in the beginning of October, 2016.

And I remember the day we launched like it was yesterday.

The dust had yet to even settle in my now deceased company.

We had literally brainstormed her launch together in the midst of chaos that surrounds a company closing.

And we launched knowing it was this or we had major problems.

I’ll share more on my end of the story at a later date but let’s just say the mess I was in from a business standpoint wasn’t just a close and go-away situation.

That’s rarely ever the case when a multi-seven figure company closes it’s doors and it was no different for me.

But what we learned and what I commend Kim for more than anything else in the world was her laser focus.

There were no excuses, no time for doubts, no room for slacking off or procrastination.

And it’s in those moments you realize what you’re truly made of.

Truth be told, you sometimes have to look in the mirror and wonder where this has been your whole life!

Like one of those “mother lifts a car because her child is trapped underneath,” type of situations.

And as I laid there, fighting my own health battle, I realized we were going to be okay.

Not because I did anything to will it into existence…

And not because we cleverly maneuvered ourselves into position with some fancy business hacks.

But because we both looked failure square in the face and said NOT TODAY!

Being the “sick guy” wasn’t going to be my story and not being a successful course creator and entrepreneur wasn’t going to be hers.

We bonded together like no other time in our life and definitely in our marriage.

We didn’t just take things day by day, we took them minute by minute…

Celebrating every little win along the way like we had just won the bloody Super Bowl.

Something miraculous happened.

Something I now think you only understand when you go through the fire.

But you stop living scared of what COULD happen and you just start living…

Right?

So many of us fear the unknown…

Fear losing our safety nets…

Fear parting with our money for the local charity…

And so we have built-in excuses to not act or to act in a way that doesn’t align with what we truly want out of life.

But man, when you walk with God through the fire and come out the other side…

You realize fear can be controlled and stretched like a muscle.

Fear is all that stands between you and everything you’ve ever wanted.

Fear is what keeps us playing small when we have BIG dreams.

But walk through the fire and you’ll look back and laugh at fear.

You’ll also approach life in a completely new manner from that point forward.

It becomes less about “what-if” and more about WHY NOT!

Why can we NOT take this new six figure business to seven figures and beyond?

Why can we NOT make another radical transition in our businesses if that’s what is necessary?

You don’t realize just how much God is with you until you’re truly out there, alone and fully dependent on His help and intervention.

 

 

Protecting the People You Serve

Let’s play the hypothetical game for a minute.

Because this is not about praising my wife and I for overcoming our struggles.

It’s about letting you know a time may and probably will come along in your own journey where you too will be faced with some tough decisions.

Decisions that probably will change the entire course of your life.

And what strikes me the most in our situation is not about what we’d be doing but more so about the people we serve.

In the midst of my health struggles, I’ve somehow managed to launch a successful online business.

My podcast has trended in the Top 5 Worldwide on iTunes under Business, Health and Education.

We have had three of the Sharks from Shark Tank on the Show as well as 40+ New York Times Best Selling Authors and Prime Time TV hosts.

Kim now serves over 6,000 customers monthly with her course creation business.

Not to mention the tens of thousands she serves daily on YouTube and all of her social platforms.

Both of us receive messages literally DAILY with people thanking us for the work we do and how it has impacted their lives.

Our story of overcoming trials and tribulation is a source of hope for many.

And so I ask myself…what if we HAD given up?

What if we HAD that kitchen table discussion and decided to go get jobs?

Now, I’m probably grossly overstating our value in the world but when I think about the people we serve, I can’t imagine NOT doing what we do.

And so I would IMPLORE you…nay, scratch that…I would BEG you to consider that before you call it quits.

If this entrepreneurial lifestyle (not career) is FOR YOU and you see no other way or no other path for you, I’m hereby holding you accountable.

You can’t quit…you just can’t.

And that doesn’t mean you can’t close your business.

If you’re like me, that decision may be completely out of your hands.

But it doesn’t mean you can’t keep being an entrepreneur.

The sun will rise tomorrow…

A new opportunity will present itself…

Your health WILL recover and you’ll find just how much dead weight you had been carrying around for years.

And you, too, will find just how many people don’t just come to you for advice…

They depend on you for a source of inspiration.

They watch your every move…

Take everything you say and apply it.

Transform their entire lives because of the experiences you have to share.

And through the darkness, through all the moments you doubted yourself or put in the ridiculous hours just to scrape by.

Every last second, every minute, every hour and every sacrifice you made to make that happen wasn’t just worth it…

It was EVERYTHING.

It made you who you are and there’s no turning back.

You’ll look in the mirror and fail to recognize who you see…

A grizzled, wise, certifiably kick ass and take names, successful entrepreneur.

And all your nightmares were just the beginning of an amazing dream.

I know it’s hard…

I know you’re struggling…

And I know no one “gets” what you’re going through.

But there isn’t a single great story in history that didn’t require an even greater challenge.

Keep writing your chapters, my friend.

 

Don’t forget to listen to the pod!

 

Click Here to Subscribe to the Show: iTunes | CastBox | SpotifyGoogle Play | YouTube

Kimberly Ann Jimenez, Digital Marketing Strategist and Founder of The Business Lounge, drops by the pod to talk about how failure is not an option if you’re an entrepreneur, even when your life seems to crumble around you.

Today’s Sponsor: The Business Lounge

Resources:

The Business Lounge

 

 

 

 

To learn more about Kim, visit KimberlyAnnJimenez.com

 

What to Do When Failure is Not an Option as an Entrepreneur | When the Life You’ve Worked So Hard For Crumbles Around You

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