This post isn’t an easy one to write, simply because it’s still raw – but it’s an important one.

Have you ever had an annus horribilis? Take the worst day of your life and stretch it into a week, then a month, then a year.

That was my 2018. One long, horrible slide into chaos. No matter what I did, whichever way I turned, I ended up in the same dark alleyway with one of life’s thugs waiting to give me another beating.

I made a lot of mistakes

Somewhere out there, there’s an entrepreneurial mistake tree. I climbed to the top of it in haste – then fell hard, hitting every single branch on the way down to hit the hard ground of failure at the bottom.

There are too many mistakes to fully list here: I worked 100-hour weeks, I didn’t screen clients, I focused on false strategies, and for the longest while refused to open my eyes to reality. Each mistake compounded the last and magnified my own failings, creating a spiral that seemed inescapable.

I burned out fast

I had 18 clients as early as April 2018 – and my workload turned into a black hole that sucked all my time away. Don’t get me wrong: I loved the work, but I had no balance in my life and even less control.

I was drowning – but I didn’t realize until it was too late.

I had no time to celebrate successes. I was a zombie focused on free content, helping people, and being somebody to everybody except my friends, family, and yes… I screwed up royally here.

I came within a hair’s breadth of losing my marriage

This was almost inevitable; while I might not have taken annual reports on our honeymoon, I was married to work, not my wife. Marina was sacrificing her life and passions to support mine – and getting little back in return.

This is really my biggest regret – and I’m happy to say that things are much better now. We realized that the entrepreneurial lifestyle was not for Marina, who now pursues her own passion in a job that she loves (I helped her!).

Where it all stands today….

Looking back, it’s crazy how much I went through last year. One of these things is hard. Two of them is unbearable. Three is the absolute limit of human endurance. All of this happened for one reason only:

I was building a business I HATED!

This time last year, I was just launching my business, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed about my new future. Now, I’m standing on the same spot after one long, long dark night of the soul.

Am I back at square one?

That’s one way to look at it – but I refuse to do self-pity. I’m a little older, somewhat wiser, and I have a lot more clarity in my vision of the future.

I know what I don’t want to do, which means I can actively plan a future avoiding that.

Such a little thing – yet it makes a world of difference. 2018 happened because I had a terrible plan. I was unrealistic, unprepared, and overwhelmed by everything that happened, and my life fell apart as a result.

It took a lot of time and effort to put the pieces back together again – but here we are.

Failure is hard – and it absolutely can crush you. But in many ways, it’s also a gift. I’ve been able to work on a new, sustainable business plan that I know will work for me – and will also help you.

I’m super-excited to share this with you in my next post; I’m just fine-tuning the last details right now – check back soon to see what’s next for Distilled Dollar and you!

TMI? My wife now nicknames this blog “Patricia Fang,” my secret mistress. We laugh about it now, but this is just one small example of how my business invaded my balance. Has someone close to you ever said something that made you reconsider what you were doing? 

-Matt

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