In 1993, parents around the country were convinced that MTV's Beevis and Butt-head was a sign that the youth of America were going downhill fast.
A few years before that, people were outraged by the music of 2 Live Crew. It was such as concern that a Florida record store clerk was charged with a felony for selling one of the groups albums to a 14-year-old.
Today, parents laugh at Beevis and Butt-head, probably more than their kids do. And the lyrics of 2 Live Crew seem like a joke.
Nothing is as bad as it seems...
As a business owners, you've no doubt been through some pretty crazy situations, where it seemed like the world was going to end. You're still here though, because like television and music, nothing is as bad as it seems in business either.
A few "crazy moments" I've been through and lived to tell about...
2002 - Had a federal lawsuit filed against me for "criminal copyright infringement." Kind of a bitch, especially when the material in question was cleared by an attorney beforehand, you've never heard of the guy suing you (or the material he says was infringed upon), and that guy is really, really pissed at something and taking it all out on you!
2004 - Produced a huge conference in Nashville. Host hotel was "sold out" with conference attendees booking every room. A good followup to year 2003, where attendance was 2000+ people.
On the day the 2004 event was to start, a huge storm came through the southern United States, closing airports and making driving very difficult. Needless to say, a lot of people didn't show...and the rooms were never used.
To make matters worse, I'd lost a key employee that year and made terrible hiring decisions trying to replace her. The result was not only an event that had limited attendance, but one that was also highly disorganized.
Think you've had pissed off customers before? Imagine how pissed people are after they've flown across the country to receive something different than they were promised!
2005 - The host hotel of the 2004 event sent me a $20,000+ bill to cover the costs of the unused rooms, which had been guaranteed in exchange for the event space.
Later that year, I had a guy show up and leave this at my door...
Nothing like being woken up early in the morning by a sheriff, thinking it's the FedEx guy, ignoring him, and finally rolling out of bed to find that there is a warrant out for you...
2006 - Started a side business selling advertising based on various websites I had developed. Thought I had "cracked the code" of search engines when I started to get a ton of traffic and income was several thousand dollars per month.
Google changed its algorithm, traffic dropped, and I was barely breaking even...within about three days.
2009 - Had a nice little income stream (over $20,000/month) drop to $5000/month. One minute what you're doing works, the next minute it doesn't.
So what happened?
Federal lawsuit was settled, the conference was retooled to a new (and smaller) format and became even more profitable than before, the hotel bill was worked out, the warrant turned out to be a simple tax bill that I was previously unaware of due to a change in my mailing address, I simplified my business (and life) by getting out of the advertising space, and the income stream that suddenly dropped was rebuilt, improved, and is more solid than ever.
Was it scary?
Yes. And probably the most scary thing about situations like this is "fear of the unknown."
There is no time line on when situations like these will be over. If you're going through something like these things in your life though, it can be difficult to remember that things will eventually get "back to normal" and you will move on.
Am I still scared?
Hell yes. I don't let that fear paralyze me though. And each time I go through something like the things listed above, and am able to survive, I walk away with more evidence that, regardless of what things look like, everything going to be ok.
And sometimes things are even better...
Every entrepreneur has stories like those listed above, but rarely do you hear anybody talk about them in public. That's because people with a "success" mindset don't worry about what went wrong in the past; they're focusing on what's happening now and creating good things that will happen in the future.
Still, the people going through "bad things" right now, need reassurance that they'll be ok, so if you've been through something similar to the things listed above, something that at the time seemed really devastating, please share your story below to let others know that things will be ok.