2022: A Year After Bankruptcy: How My Life Turned Out
5 minute read
It is midday in the middle of the week, and I could smell the freshly brewed coffee.
An online meeting with a client has just ended. I was about to take another sip of that still-warm cup of joe.
Then I heard the familiar ringtone.
A year ago, this would’ve been terrifying. Back then, every time my phone rang, it meant bad news. Back then, my stomach twisted, my heart was raising, and the anxiety caused shaky hands and cold sweat. I hated that ringtone so much because I knew that it meant I had to fight.
But this time my heart didn’t sink. I was excited. This was the call I’d been waiting for the whole day.
Hello? I said in Estonian. The person on the other side knew I didn’t speak Estonian well enough, so he started speaking English.
“Sir, your new car has now arrived, would you like to come and pick it up?”
The year 2021 was a crazy year
The year 2021 was rough for many. Most people were stressed because of COVID. For me, though, COVID wasn’t even close to the top of my list of worries.
In the first months of that year, I was spending all of my life savings to keep my company alive and fight several legal cases.
I sold my car.
I sold pretty much everything I could to keep my and my family’s head above the water.
We were on the brink of bankruptcy, but I’m not the one who gives up. I was fighting 24/7. At one point I had three legal cases coming from different directions, and at the same time, COVID made sure our clients were postponing deals and skipping payments.
It was a horrible time.
Then it happened. We had to declare bankruptcy. At that moment, I felt both relief, and shame.
I felt lost.
You see, in Finland, when you bankrupt, it’s basically a game over. Even though legally you are allowed to start a new business, in reality, that is not possible. After bankruptcy, you can’t get to the required tax registries and without those registries selling your services becomes practically impossible. Thankfully, we had moved to Estonia some months prior.
After the bankruptcy, I was at a cross-road.
I could just take my hands off the wheel, give up, and free-fall to depression. The other option was to suck it up and try again.
After a quick analysis, I noticed that I was way too broke to surrender, so the decision became instantly easier – I had no other choice but to get up and start all over again.
The New Beginning
I spent the next weeks waking up earlier than anybody else and making sure I get my first clients to my newly established growth hacking agency.
I sent emails, made phone calls, and promoted my services on Linkedin. I put my growth hacking skills to the test.
I had to win, there was no other option.
During those days, I met a lot of people. I knew that I needed three clients with monthly recurring revenue to prove my concept. So I made that my only goal.
The clock was ticking, though, because I didn’t have the money for the next month’s rent. I had to close them as soon as possible and start charging immediately.
Maybe it was luck or something else, but within a week I was able to close two. When I got them, I knew I was back on track and had some breathing room.
I was able to pay my rent.
Healing from the mental hit I took from the bankruptcy was longer than I thought. But I am a positive person in nature, so I focused on seeing the bright side.
I meditated daily and made sure I celebrated the fact that I didn’t give up. Finally, the sun started to shine in our lives and I was free to put the pedal to the metal.
Dreams Come True If You Believe
After hectic summer, just before winter, we moved to Mexico City. We hate coldness and darkness, so we decided to leave the Baltics and go somewhere where the sun shines and you can go outside without jackets.
One day at one of WeWork’s skyscrapers, I stopped working for a second and realized something that still gives me shivers.
At that very moment, I was living my dream true.
I remembered how two years ago I had wished that I would live in someplace warm, working as a successful growth hacker in my own company, from a skyscraper seeing the view of a metropolis.
I wished that I was making a ton of money every month and living life on my own terms.
And here I was, living in Mexico City which is the third-largest city in the world, working as a successful growth hacker making more money than I’ve ever made before, in a beautiful skyscraper seeing the view I’ve seen so many times in my dreams.
I was shocked.
Tears came to my eyes. I hadn’t felt so happy and blessed in years.
I realized that within a year, my life had turned upside down from complete misery to overwhelming happiness. If someone would’ve told this me two years prior, I wouldn’t have believed it.
I spent the next 15 minutes admiring the sunset from the skyscraper’s rooftop terrace, leaning to the railing and being thankful from the bottom of my heart.
We really made it.
Life after bankruptcy: Today, in the year 2022
The spring is showing its first signs and snow is melting fast.
We are back in Estonia.
We moved to a bigger and more beautiful home, and after a year of being without a car, I decided to buy a new one. It is Audi’s brand new SUV.
Life is good, really good.
I’ve become an even better growth hacker, we keep getting bigger clients almost every month and we start to be in a situation where we may need extra hands.
It terrifies me a bit, because of the past, but also excites me because it could take us to the next level.
For this year, I have a plan to grow our business and get more speaking engagements. I may even kick a new Youtube channel up. We’ll see how it turns out.
But what I know is that the past year was the best thing that happened to me.
Even though it didn’t feel like it when it happened, I now know that I was lucky to experience bankruptcy. It showed me how tough I can be if needed.
I’m now more peaceful than ever before and I don’t stress about things I would have in the past. I know that as long as I breathe, I can survive.
And so can you.
If you feel like you are trapped, know this – as long as you don’t give up, you will succeed.
You are meant to thrive.
Just keep pushing.
I love you, Mikael Hugg
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