Episode 28- The Lessons Learned From Killing Our Business



All right, so yesterday I talked about why Elizabeth and I shut down our wedding photography business. Why we just ended it instead of just rolling on and keep doing it, just to do it. Keeping things safe and looking back year and a half, nearly two years later, it seems like it was kind of a bold move to do that seem pretty extreme, but in the time it felt right, it felt like this is the time to make a change. And I always worry about if I don’t take action on something, if I don’t go and do it, I’m going to get complacent and I’m going to get comfortable again and I’m going to stick with what I’m doing and I’m really going to regret not taking chances on what I really want to take chances on. But deciding to really just shut down a very lucrative business, a business that had already given us a life of freedom. 

I mean, if you read Freelance To freedom, this is kind of what went on as soon as the book was done being written. So have you read the book and you wonder what happened after that story ended? This is kind of what happened. We decided to end this part of our career with the grand vision of building what we’ve built now and continue to build. But the thing is, there were some upsides from doing it that way and there were some downsides to doing it that way. And this is what this podcast is about, to kind of let you know what the struggles were. We decided to do this, so maybe it could be a warning or it could be a help for when you’re in this position yourself. If you’re in a position where you’re doing something that is profitable but it’s not really your passion anymore, it’s not really something that you want to be doing. 

It’s a crossroads because you struggle because you feel like, I want to be grateful for what I’ve got. I want to be grateful for the income that this is bringing me with the same time. I know there’s something much more for me to do at this point. So I’ve become an advocate more and more of burning the boats because life is just too short to do anything that you don’t want to do. That’s one thing. When you’re 26 years old, you don’t have kids or family. It’s another thing when you have three kids, you’re married and you have a family that depends on your income. And fortunately for me, I have a wife that gets this and stuff has never been a big deal for Elizabeth. So we’ve been in the position where we’ve had money, we’ve been in the position where we haven’t had money, and I can tell you life is much better when you have the money, but there also comes a point where it doesn’t matter as much anymore. 

You know, there’s this, there’s a study that says, after you make more than $75,000 a year, the increase in income does not bring you more happiness, and there really is a lot to that study. So we decided to kill this business without the income to replace it. Yet now we weren’t going into this blind. We had the roadmap set. We had the book that was publishing. We had coaching that we were doing. We had masterminds that we were starting. It just wasn’t anywhere near what we were making with the weddings yet, but the big picture, Ford had so much more potential. I just needed the time and I needed to execute, so I’m going to go into what the negatives were about shutting it down. I’m going to go into what some of the positives were by shutting it down. I’ll start with the negatives and the first thing is I didn’t give us enough time. 

I didn’t give us enough financial in a short period of time to do this the way that we really probably should have done it. When you have the curse of being an all or nothing type of person like I am. When you’re done, a lot of times you’re done and it really could have been a little bit know a lot smoother if I would have laid out a plan that was a little bit more concise in terms of how the money was going to come in to tide us over. Now at the same time, I want to say we had an emergency fund set, we did have income coming in, we had no debt, so we were in a better place to do this. Then maybe some other people might’ve been or that we’ve been in the past. So the risk was a lot less, but still, you know this, when you get to a certain point in a certain income, you kind of get comfortable with that and any drop in that can scare you a little bit because is it going to come back? 

There was no guarantee that that was going to come back. So I put us in a difficult position because the month of my book released, it was the lowest income month that we had had in over five years that month that it released, which is pretty ironic when you’re writing a book about financial freedom. I mean there was a little bit of guilt like who am I to write this? Because at this very moment, as this book is being distributed and we’re traveling across the country, income coming in for this month is not what it used to be. So I certainly didn’t give ourselves a large enough window, a large enough runway to make it feel comfortable. But at the same time, you need to knock buildings down. You need to knock old buildings down that aren’t the future, so you can pave it over and build up the new one that you want to build. 

And that’s what we believed in. It’s the same as, I didn’t really have these feelings back when this happened. I look back and I feel this, I look back and I wrote, Ooh, that was kinda crazy that we did this. But when we’re doing it, it didn’t feel that bad. So if I were smarter and I was to do it again, I definitely would have created some type of a bridge income, something to make it a little bit more comfortable during those down months of the transition. So that was the downside. But here’s the upside of doing it and taking bold action. It forced us into action. It forced us to make this work because it’s happening to me in the past that when the money comes in and you know it’s there steady, you can really lose the drive for putting the work in, putting the grind, working for making the next thing work. 

You can kind of get complacent, you can take it easy and you’d be like, yeah, we’ll get there, but everything’s going good over here. So I’ll get there when I get there and it lets fear creep into what the next thing is because you’re losing something comfortable. And we didn’t have anything comfortable to lose because we had already lost it. And once we had lost it and we knew we weren’t going back because we very easily could have said, all right, let’s take some of these wedding inquiries that are coming in. We were still getting them. We were just turning them down while not producing the income. It was kinda crazy to think about, but we knew that every inquiry that we took at that point was going to take us off focus to where we really wanted us to go and it wasn’t about the money, it was about the freedom. 

It was about the future and that was the second good thing that came from it. I got to spend all my work time. I got to spend all of my work thoughts, all of my energy in that realm towards what we’re building. I wasn’t looking over my shoulder. I looking back, I wasn’t having regrets. I was completely and utterly focused on growing this next wave of the business. Now when you burn the boats, you are forced to do that. That’s why I am advocate for so many people that are not happy with their jobs to leave. And I get pushed back on that because it seems really bold. But when you use your income to pay off your debt, when you force your mindset into an abundance and not a scarcity mindset, if you accept no less than just doing what it is that you want to do that can help the right people, you have no choice but to make that work. 

There is no fallback plan because often when there’s a fallback plan, you fall back and I wasn’t going to allow that to happen. And the third thing that killing our business in such a dramatic fashion did for me is it forced me to realize what I really wanted to do. And when the money wasn’t flowing in and it was no longer about the money, I was forced to look there and say, where do I want to go with my life? I get to choose right now. I’m no longer handcuffed to a certain thing because we had to make this money. I can now look and say, what is it exactly that I want to do and let’s go build that thing and let’s not worry about the past as a sunk cost. The past. It doesn’t matter anymore. It’s not what we want to do. 

It’s not what we want to go. So why would we spend any more time doing that just for money. And for those of you that are saying, oh, but you got to pay the bills, you don’t understand there’s bills, there’s expenses, kids are expensive. I want you to get to the point where that’s not a problem. I want you to get to a point where financially you’ve put yourself in a position or you can make decisions that aren’t based on money anymore. Because when you can do that, you’ll realize so many of the decisions that you’re making are based only on money. And if money didn’t matter, you wouldn’t do that work. You wouldn’t go to that job. You wouldn’t get up and get in the car at six 30 or get on that train or deal with that boss if it wasn’t for money. 

So get your money together, pay attention to it, pay off your debt, build an emergency fund, start the side business while you don’t need it. Because when you finally had enough and you could be like, I’m ready to go. And there’s no more excuses. So there were some downsides to doing this. There were some slight hairy ties that we have to deal with, but for the most part, three to one ratio, doing it abruptly and doing it the way we did it actually was a big benefit and not a negative, but to do it and to do it right, it required vision. It required focus, and it required tenacity. And if you want to hear the story behind all this, you could download the audio book for freelance to freedom for free from our website, total life freedom. That comm slash f two F book. It’s there for free for you to pick up and download. And I’ll be back with you tomorrow with a story about how losing one assignment, one job gained us a month of freedom. I’ll talk to you tomorrow.

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