Small Business Owner

A silent de-evolution into default.


That’s what I called it. In spite of dreams, education or goals, I took my Plan B and ran for the goal line. I became a contender at something for which I had never set course and the cause was simple: I was too focused on survival to check my compass.


It was by default that I became a small business owner.


Not that it didn’t come with rewards. Or serve a purpose. Don’t discount decisions you have made or failed to make as if they didn’t lead somewhere. There are different ways to reach a destination. My journey was just one of them. In retrospect, it seemed like the long way around. That was, until I heard that the man who’d bought me out, used my old customers as his own personal ATM machine to the tune of about $10 million.


The more we uncovered, the more it looked like that had been his intent all along.


Seven years prior, I had been running a boutique cash management business with an intimate clientele when he approached me with interest in my business model.


My first thought was, “What’s a business model?”


From what I could tell I did something well: I reported extensive expense information to rich people and their wealth teams for estate planning, taxes, insurance, and legal needs. But it was more than that. I was their watchdog. Nothing got by me.


Until this guy came along.


As I look back, I can see how his initial involvement in investments was what he considered his segue into embezzlement until he discovered that a business model existed where he could get his mitts on the cash at the source before it was monitored.


So seven years after I folded I was back in. The remnants of the business needed to be rebuilt from a place more primitive than scratch. Even worse, the bookkeeping that had been completed since I handed over my files was shoddy at best. But the fact remained, the new owner needed a way to reassure the few clients who stayed that they could put their confidence into his hands that, you know, would frequently pass over the till but wouldn’t dip in. To do this, he had taken one solitary employee hostage but needed another who knew what they were doing. And he needed them yesterday.


It was in my wheelhouse. There was no better person to step in and make sense of chaos than me. I’d spent my entire life starting from scratch amid some messy circumstances. I’m a project person and it was just another challenge. Only this time I had the chance to do it in a way that was new to me: I had the opportunity to do it with intent. To set course and follow my compass.


It was one of the first moments in time where the entirety of my life made sense.

For more essays by Cindy, click here.


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All content copyright © 2019 Cindy Falteich, All rights reserved.