The Misadventures of Going Into Business with Family
One big life goal of mine is to own my own business. A legit brick and mortar shop shop.
Mission accomplished. I went into business with my mother and opened a local home decor shop. And it's been one big horrible mistake.
So a fews things others can learn from my mistakes:
Don't JUST DO IT. This is some sound advice for those, like me, that have Bipolar 2. I was so amped up, so excited, that I was going to have something of my very own, that I did not plan to fail, to succeed, to stay treading water. I had no plan on how to continue to keep my business afloat, how to live in the meantime until it was profitable. I was unprepared totally. And I'm talking just financially. There should have been way more steps involved. The financial barriers to open were crossed with a small family loan. I have never asked my family for that amount money ever. I did not even know they had access to enough to get me started. I say me, I mean my mother. My step-father footed the bill, 75%, the rest was from my own personal savings. This was mistake #2 and #3, being accepting the money and the legal responsibility, and doing this with my mother.
I recommend never ever ever going into business with your parent, unless you are taking over their business for them to retire. It may not be all parents. I'm sure there are reasonable and rational parents out there. For me, my mother will never see me as a capable adult.
She has continuously, since we began this misadventure treated me as an inexperienced child and employee. When you form a business partnership, like we did, there should be equal say or in some legal cases, say being relative to the initial capital investment. If we went by relativity, my stepfather would own 75% of the business. Anyway, off point. I should have known better. It is not helpful at all to my mental well being to be treated as a second rate employee. I am not he employee. I am an owner.
Well, it has gotten to the point where she is amounting more debt to stay afloat without my consent. We have a signed and filed legally binding partnership agreement, that clearly state that neither have the sole ability to accrue debt or make large purchases without the consent of the other. She has broken this rule repeatedly. She has no respect for my intelligence, my experience, my person, nor for the legal contract that we signed.
This pattern of disrespect and lack of common business decency has pushed my BP2 from manageable to downright suicidal (as probably noticed in my last post). She calls me over a dozen times a day. She is rarely actually at our store working. When she is, she acts likes she is the district manager and I'm her wayward employee. She starts drama with our neighboring businesses and community churches and with customers. She is constantly changing our pricing. She will take inventory from the shop, and sell it out of her home, and then keep the money. She does not want to file our taxes, pay the taxes, or report our bookkeeping accurately. I am a creature of honesty and transparency. Cooking our books will do nothing but land us with fees and possibly jail for tax fraud. I am not okay with that. And if the books are wrong, how they hell do we know the truth of the financial situation of our business? So, this causes me stress and anxiety daily, hourly even. I have suffered from one full blown panic attack, and two meltdowns, and one seriously scary suicidal evening. I have never had a panic attack before. That sucked. I have not contemplated offing myself in over a year and a half. I was doing well. I have been managing my ups and my downs. I've been level, normal even. My BP cycles have been long and not as intense. And in just 4 short months, my mother has managed to send me to one of the lowest quality mental states I have been in since I was 14 and did attempt suicide.
I have recognized the awfulness of all this, and now I seeking a way out. I can't just quit and walk away and call this one big bad adventure. I'm legally bound to pay the debt she accrued. And I do not want to ruin a relationship, as toxic as it is.