Can’t make rent. In tears. What am I doing here?

Walking down the road, I look through the windows and see people from my race and people from my country cleaning offices, bars etc. They look happier than me, who’s aim was, and still is, to avoid that route to happiness.

A friend managed to negotiate a student apartment and gave me a room, he paid the deposits on my behalf, I couldn’t afford to. Rent is over due, I’ve panicked but it doesn’t help. I looked into the contracts we’ve signed with clients and at most, money comes in 3 weeks or a month from now.

I can’t muster up the courage to pick up the phone and continue to prospect. No energy left.

Over the past four years since I graduated, I’ve attempted more than five business ideas. None have seemed to catch on like this, which was started three months ago before the summer holidays. We’ve gone by the books in a few areas, done what should be right and ended up signing these success-fee based contracts. There is the need. So we think, the market is huge, there are competitors, but we still offer a better and faster service in spite of bootstrapping it to this point.

Phone bills are mounting, there is no where to raise funds, they treat us like lepers in spite of the fact that this is successful elsewhere. I pray in my heart to leave this place. I look for the next alternative or option to leave. We are treated like lepers like we have nothing to offer, hence people who look like me have only one option, which is what I see them doing (and smiling doing it).

I’ve gone this far hoping the rain would stop and sun would come out, but Thunder has started.

Why can’t I be like others and just be happy? Why do I prefer buying an ad or paying the developer rather than eating, drinking and be happy like others?

What do I do next? Can I wait without food for three weeks? Can the street be better than the floor where I’ve been sleeping? Can I afford to miss this one, which needs a little patience and some extra work?

Lucky dube’s music seem to help hold back the tears. I avoid being alone so I don’t cry. I put on a happy face when my cofounder arrives. He has no idea I’m in a mess. He can’t help out either.

It does help to tell myself that, I went for it with the whole of my heart, body, mind and soul. I’ve sacrificed relationships and my back hurts from long hours of constant sitting, teaching myself how to program. It helps us, I created the MVP which we now have users and have used it as a tool to sign contracts with companies.

Wait a minute, why is it that only in this country do I seem to be treated like a leper? I screwed up a presentation because of years of seeing the same faces who say no always said no to me. Standing facing the crowd, looking at the jury, I saw faces I remembered, I remembered when I was told I had no place there.

I’ve ran out of options, do I abort this baby that is past abortion date? Or is it? I have no idea, I see things blurred sometimes because I’m an entrepreneur. Or am I unofficially unemployed?

This shall pass. I just had to tell the truth. Will it backfire? I have no idea but I told the truth.

After the Thunder, what’s next?


  • Get a freelance gig! There’s living your dream and there’s dreaming. You might not scale as fast but you can’t allow yourself to self-destruct, it’s just not worth it. You need to find balance emotionally, financially and physically. Again, it’s not worth it. Take a step back and take a breath. You should be able to talk to your co-founder otherwise you’re missing out on one of the best part’s of having one, a support system.

    Starting a business and living this dream is hard and you’re not alone.

    I’m not encouraging you to jump ship only you know if you need to do that but one way or another you need to find a way to recharge either as being an employee somewhere, meditating or just taking a day off.

      • Even then, coders are treated as a commodity; the lowest price point, and they can get ridiculously low, wins. Having a good network can help, but even then, people will try to take advantage/maximise their investments.

  • You need revenue asap. If you cannot get enough revenue from existing users/customers, you need to find a part time job and continue to work on your project. Keep expenses low as humanly possible. Exercise every day. You are not alone. Good luck.

  • your courage!

    Keep going, yeah you’ll rationalise the small stuff that you can get done while you’re aiming for the big opportunity that takes you to the next level, there’ll be broken promises and downsized living choices and your concept of rock bottom may change, at least three times!

    You’re already making choices driven by your desire to succeed but do look after yourself as best as your means allows, stay healthy physically and take care of yourself mentally. And keep going, sounds like you’re doing great.

  • I’ve been in this situation a couple of years ago. Nothing hurts your business more than being hungry. When hungry (or under financial pressure), your decision making process will be corrupted. You’ll be making the wrong choices simple because you’re in survival mode. REMEMBER: your customers aren’t.

    From my personal experience: “you can’t start and grow a business when hungry”.

    Solution:

    Get a part time job! For me, I started to tutor French to kids (I’m a French native speaker). Very quickly, I started to make 50 bucks a pop. 10 hours a week, and money wasn’t a problem anymore. I’m sure you must have a special skill to teach (photoshop, maths, programming… ). The key is to avoid the “regular” underpaid jobs such as waiter, store clerk… They will exhaust you, and not give you time to work full speed on your thing. Aim at the ones that pay over $30/hr (special skill, freelance contracts…) And 10 hours a week, it’s a pretty cheap investment to keep working on your dream.

    Solution 2:

    Get on Foodstamps! Get in touch with your local social services and see what they can offer you. I those hard days, I had close to $200 a month dedicated for food ONLY (thank you, State of California). As it’s money you can’t spend elsewhere, I’m sure it will make you happy.

    Solution 3:

    Work on something for free. I know, it seems counter-intuitive as you’re supposed to be 100% focused on your project. But that’s the thing. You can’t be 100% focused at all time. It will hurt you. Go help your local community 1 or 2 hours a week. I personally got involved with a French Engineer Alumni Network. I helped to organize events and things like that. I met amazing people every week.

    Solution 4:

    Go out for a BEER right now (remplace BEER by any of your favorite liquor).

    TO SUM THINGS UP:

    $$$, FOOD, NOVELTY, FUN (and good SLEEP) = optimal conditions. You’ll still face the same challenges with your business, but life won’t seem that harsh anymore.

  • You need more people (even part timers) on your team. You can’t do it all yourself, you don’t have enough energy or perspective. Go to local tech meetups and recruit more folks to join your cause.

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