For the next few years I barely made a living doing people’s books for them. It was dull, boring and mind numbing work but it kept me from drowning. I hated every minute of it. Every now and then, I would think about starting my own business again but I would crush the thought. I was so afraid of failing again that I figured it was just better to survive than to face all that stress again.
I am not sure if it was all the books that I read during that phase of my life, or whether I was a stupid eternal optimist, but the idea of doing business on the internet never quite left the back of my mind. I remember reading a short report by Robert G. Allen called “Multiple Streams of Income” and it stoked the fire that was smoldering away quietly in my head. But again, my previous failures and the lack of confidence in my own abilities squashed the momentary spark.
It was also during this time that I got into a relationship with someone, fell pregnant, got dumped within a month of falling pregnant and was left holding the baby, literally. In hindsight though, I got the better end of the deal. I was blessed with an amazing son. So now I had the two girls and my son to take care of on my own. During the next ten years I got deeper and deeper into debt. I was not making enough to cover all my monthly expenses.
Everything fell apart. Literally! My washing machine broke, so now all the washing had to be done by hand. The car broke down and I had to borrow money to get it repaired. And so it went on.
Finally in April 2009, my landlady told me that she had sold the house we were renting. I did not have the money for a deposit for a new place. We had to be out by the end of April and by the 20th of April I still did not have a home for my children. I called a friend and asked if she would allow us to sleep in her garage until I found something.
Then a miracle happened. I got a phone call from someone who owned a large plot of land and she had a cottage on it that she would give to me in exchange for doing her monthly accounts. I was so relieved that I lay down on the floor and cried for a solid hour.
We moved in the next week and I was blissfully happy. I thought to myself that finally I could rebuild my life here and start again. But it turns out I was wrong. Within two weeks it had turned into a living nightmare. The owner of the property had lost her husband the previous year and had absolutely no clue on how to manage the property or her business on her own.
Because the property was not properly fenced off we had vagrants running rampant through the farm. Everything I had on my patio was stolen during the next few months. The electricity and water supply was erratic because of the equipment not being maintained. There were times when we went without water and electricity for weeks on end. Fortunately it was the wet season at that time so I would put buckets out to collect water to wash and cook with. My camping gas bottle turned out to be a life saver during that time.
I would have to pack up my pc and lug it to a friend’s house each day just so that I could get some work done. Every day the situation just got worse and worse. I had two large dogs that I believe kept me safe from a lot of the trouble that was going on at the farm so I never really felt that my children were in any real danger. That was until both dogs died from tick bite fever.
The day after the last dog died, I woke up at 5:00am as usual and walked through to my lounge. My computer was gone, along with my printer. I remember standing there staring at my desk, wondering I had packed the pc up already to go and do some work. Then I noticed that the front gate had been bent open. When I looked around I saw that every working electrical appliance in the house was missing.
I ran into my daughter’s room and saw that her pc was gone too. I remember pulling her blankets off her thinking all the time that she had been hurt. She was fine thankfully, but they had taken her school bags and taken the duvet off her bed while she was sleeping.
The terror and horror that washed over me at the moment was indescribable. They had been in our bedrooms while we were sleeping. We were defenseless. At that precise moment I realized that we had to get out of there.
I took the kids to school and then called a friend to explain what happened. Between the two of us we managed to find a place where the children and I could stay for the next two weeks. I packed up that entire house that day and we moved out that evening.
When my friends arrived in the evening to pick up the last of my stuff, I put some food in the microwave to heat up before packing it in the car. The microwave exploded!
I know now that it was obviously due to the faulty electrical setup on the farm but at that moment in time I was terrified beyond reason. My distraught mind put it down to supernatural evil after everything that had happened. It just shows you how much of an emotional disaster I was by then.
For the next two weeks I searched high and low for a safe place to stay. I eventually found a small two bedroomed apartment in a secure complex. I borrowed money – again – to pay the deposit and we moved in. My eldest daughter got the one bedroom, my other daughter and son got the second room and I had my bed in the lounge.
When I lay down to sleep that night, I could not fall asleep. Every noise, every car that drove past and every voice that I heard in that busy complex had me jerking up with my hearting crushing my chest in fear.
It took two months before I stopped having the recurring nightmare of my children’s throats being slit open.
It was during this time I decided to become a Digital Scrapbook Designer as a way of making some extra money because I loved scrapbooking. For a year I taught myself everything I could on Photoshop and started designing digital scrapbook kits. I applied at every digital scrapbook store and got rejected time and time again. Eventually after the third time of applying at a particular store, one of the designers took pity on me and explained that my quality of work needed some attention.
She then spent the next two months coaching and mentoring me free of charge. When I asked her why she did it, her reply was “You were never going to give up until we accepted you”. Within two months of her outstanding coaching and teaching, the quality of my work passed muster and I was accepted into the store as a designer.
I loved every single minute of the designing but it was hours and hours of work for a very small return. My internet expenses got higher and higher and I was just not making the return on the investment. Eventually the phone got cut off because I could not pay it. I realized that I was wasting my time. Just another confirmation that I was a failure.
A year later, a three bedroom unit became available in the same complex and we moved in June 2011. I sat in the lounge later that day with all boxes unpacked looking around. The sun was streaming in through the windows and for the first time in twelve years I felt peace. As I sat there I realized that most of the challenges I had been through were a direct result of me not having enough money.
The shame and embarrassment of having to always borrow money and having people bring me food to feed my children because of my financial situation finally hit me hard. It was at that point that I decided that I was going to change all of that. I would NEVER, EVER be in that position again.