On Writing MORE, Going Broke and Going for Broke

Because together is better.

I miss my blog (and blog readers!). I miss writing. And that is my resolution for 2011…. to write more. More often. More places. Covering more topics. In more styles. Just to write… MORE. And, further, I hereby promise that many of the yet-to-be-written sentences will be longer than three words and will contain punctuation other than ellipsis.

This past year has been one of the roughest I’ve ever been through. Losing my Dad to an awful fishing/boating accident 16 years ago tops the list, but 2010 comes in next on the list of years I could have done without. Part of the reason I’ve written less was because, as previously mentioned, I tend to be a private person and hesitated to overshare my personal struggles on this “professional” blog and website. I will spare you all the gory details (or I will protect myself by choosing not to share, however you want to look at it… ) and give you the short and dirty run down, below (note… if you’re just here for the marketing lesson in all this somewhere, you can skip this one. No hard feelings.):

In late 2008, pregnant with our fourth child, we bought a bigger (older, but bigger) home. We closed on Halloween… and the next month the housing market tanked. We hadn’t sold our previous home, either. ’08 was a banner year for my business, and the bank determined we could support both payments (!!) until we sold our first home. Since we only moved about 7 blocks and I was pregnant, we didn’t really “move” as much as we “transported” bits and pieces every day or so. It took awhile for the old house to be ready to sell… and by then we couldn’t sell it for even close to what we owed.

Fast forward to the last quarter of 2009. That year sucked as far as business went, and we’d been making 2 house payments for nearly a year. And then… we just couldn’t. There was no way to borrow, or take more from credit cards, or anything else, to take care of the bills for our now-family-of-six. It was either not pay the mortgage on the home we lived in or not pay the mortgage on the home we DIDN’T live in. Guess which one won?

So… 2010 brought a personal bankruptcy, a foreclosure on the old house, a repossession of a car (they don’t give you any grace period AT ALL after you go through a bankruptcy, just FYI, and getting it back is difficult and expensive), tax and IRS issues, and continued depressed business billings. Depressed, and depressing.

The bankruptcy, while a crushing blow to the pride and a burden of paperwork like you’ve never seen, was a good decision. It gave us a platform from which to plan, budget and begin to rebuild. I’m grateful that option exists for people who have done all they can, and then just can’t any longer. My car, which we recovered, is now paid off and altogether mine, and that’s comforting. The IRS thing is going to be a thing for a while, but we’ll get through it.

And the biggest thing that 2010 taught me? That the WE is important. The “WE” of our family, of my husband and I, of my extended family, and of my friends and colleagues who supported us emotionally through all the struggles. And the WE of you and me… everyone I’ve connected to digitally one way or another. Everyone who took the time to stop by, to read, to comment, to share, to tweet a reply… who kept me focused on moving forward, growing my clients’ businesses and thereby growing my own. Because while most of 2010 was dark and difficult, the last few months have taken a decided turn for the better. It’s time to move from the worry and stress of going broke to the excitement of going for broke. I intend to carry that outlook into 2011 as I shove 2010 forcefully out the back door of my life. Buh-Bye.

While this blog will remain mainly marketing and PR focused, there might be a few bits and pieces of me that creep in here, too. Because we’re a family, right? See you all next year… it’s time to rock some upward momentum.

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3 Responses to “On Writing MORE, Going Broke and Going for Broke”

  1. Bobby December 30, 2010 at 6:51 pm #

    Mandy…I am so glad you shared. This is a not a personal story of struggle, but a personal story of success. You should not only be proud of where you are today, but where you have come from. We as entrepreneur’s are more than just business people, we are humans. Our clients and colleagues are more than business relationships…they are human relationships. This is a story of hope for so many Americans and Entrepreneurs. Why you ask? Because it is your testimony that no matter what the struggle may be, that there is a tremendous blessing on the other-side. You know my story. I have made the conscious decision to tell more of my story in my business blog, and also tell stories of my clients. I am tired of trying to sound like some monotone expert…but what I want to write is something that is real and natural. It is my prayer that 2011 brings a success of both personal and business; and that you never loose that family focus! Write more…tell us your story, because it is one of inspiration! You have inspired me to keep writing! ~BR

  2. Mandy Vavrinak December 30, 2010 at 7:07 pm #

    If I ever meet you in person, Bobby, and I do intend to do that one day, I’m going to hug you before I even say hello.

  3. stargardener January 21, 2011 at 10:45 am #

    It is marvelously affirming to read from your story, Mandy!

    Authenticity is a rare trait — regardless of profession or personal background. When anyone hides behind the mask of “Everything is great!” it can be likened to someone handing out maps with directions to a specific location, but deleting some of the turns and landmarks. It is completely useless, and results in unnecessary dead-ends.

    Despite the harsh realities, my own “going broke/going for broke” experiences were pivotal times of discovery, decision and lasting change. And I raise a toast to you and your family (and business!): Here’s to the discoveries and possibilities of the coming months and years!

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