Mediatorr is 5 years old. I am proud of that. But the business is not healthy. Things were pumping along, but then our big Australian client pulled out a few weeks ago. For more than two years they were outsourcing to us. Things were going well. But when we least expected it – as it so often happens – they decided to pull out…and take the work onshore.
We have had this sort of thing happen at least three times since our inception. Cash flow becomes strained. You start taking on shit jobs. Everything is desperate. It fucks with your head. It fucks you up.
In the first year, we ran the business off fumes. With little to no capital, all we had was some severance, UIF & savings + a healthy wad of optimism. This kept us in business long enough to secure a few small clients. And then with confidence we found some better ones, took on staff and went about our days. Consistently, we paid for our expenses out of the previous months earnings. We never really made enough to maintain a cash reserve or market ourselves, but somehow we always managed to keep afloat.
Before we began, stress was fairy tale. I had breakdown earlier this year. I turned off my cellphone, Skype, email and lay in bed disillusioned: Why was I doing this to myself? Is it really worth it? I convinced myself that it was, stopped feeling sorry for myself and jumped back into the fire.
Now, going back to why we started. I had read Robert Kiyosaki when I was 19. We were essentially part of the rat race, imprisoned in our cubicles, sending our souls up the production line. In 2008, the company we were working for took some blows and had to let people go. This included Phil & myself. So, inspired by the their failures, we decided to set up shop. We wanted out of the rat race. We wanted to make money and do it on our own terms.
Things haven’t exactly worked out that way. The challenges we have faced and lessons we have learned have fundamentally evolved us, forcing us to adopt critical depth and extreme levels of resilience. That is profit in a sense. But we haven’t – as of yet – profited in the sense that counts when you are running a business, making mulla. I think we were naive and we focused our energy in the wrong places…and continued to repeat the same mistakes. Winston Churchill said: ‘Those that fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.’ Perhaps this a lesson learned to late, but a lesson learnt the same.
Practically speaking, we are in a position where unless we pick up lots of work quickly (by end of January) , our operation will need to drastically downsize. Its inevitable that I will leave from operational duty (I have already been entertaining job offers). But its very important to me that the business soldiers on…I will support it strategically and financially from the outside world.
I think either way we look at it, its the end of an era and a time for new beginnings.