I have failed

Fifteen years ago, I accepted a position as a technical support manager and IT manager for a small software company in Everett, Washington.  That company later branched out into a software company and an on-line plan room.  I worked for them for ten years.

After ten years, the CEO said he was shutting the company down because he had Parkinson’s and couldn’t deal with the stress.

I was giving the opportunity to take over the company.  I wrote up a plan, it was accepted, and five years ago, I took over both companies 1,828 days ago.

Everyone essentially quit, except for myself and another person.  She stayed with me to help me run things.  If she hadn’t, I’d have been more lost than I really was already.

For four years, we did pretty well.  But starting about a year ago, after we had rebuilt the website for the on-line plan room, and revamped many things, people started to stop returning our calls.

The economy really sucked at this point, but we endeavored to survive.  We cut expenses.  We took layoffs, both she and I. 

I did what I needed to do to financially survive, which allowed me to continue to support my commitments, including my ex-wife and children and my new wife.

I had a runway.  I had a runway of about a year, given my expense level. That runaway ends in September.  There is a brick wall at the end of the runway and I will end up hitting it very hard.

I failed.  I failed my wife, my children, my ex-wife, my investors, my customers, my employee, and most of all, I failed myself.  I really thought that like like Kevin Costner in the ‘Field Of Dreams,’ if we built it, they would come.

For  a while, customers did come.  But customers decided that free was better than paying for a (IMO) superior service with superior customer support.  They just couldn’t get over the hurdle of paying for a service when they could get a different service, albeit with less features, for free.

I haven’t figured out how I can provide my services for free and still be able to pay my bills.  It just doesn’t work that way in my world.  I don’t have the backing of Google or Microsoft or Warren Buffett. 

I hope I’m wrong.  I hope that I am somehow able to pull out a miracle in the next two months.  But the outlook is bleak, both for the business and for the economy. 

I feel drained.  I feel like I’ve failed so many people.  It keeps me up at night, honestly.

I certainly understand how people get into debt and become homeless now. It’s not all drugs and alcohol and bad choices.  Certainly a lot of it is, but sometimes, it’s just plain dumb luck and life.

Anybody have a winning Mega Millions or Powerball ticket they could loan me?