Erin-Michael and I met when I was 17 and we split up when I was 34. We were together for literally half of my life.
When we first met, we were just kids with our whole lives ahead of us. We were great together. Best friends. We could talk for hours and hours about anything and everything. Seemingly, we had all the right ingredients of a good solid relationship.
Love. Respect. Trust. Friendship. We understood each other better than we understood ourselves. We wanted more. We wanted to grow. We wanted to be better. We wanted to age together as we experienced all of life’s journeys together.
These were all things we discussed at great length for hours into the night. We told each other everything as our relationship grew deeper by the day. I never imagined I’d ever spend a moment without Erin.
… As the story goes, one day I came home after a networking event and asked Erin if he could build me a website with a calendar on it so I could list networking events. Erin, being the brilliant software engineer that he is, instead of just building out a calendar, created the online platform that became NetworkingPhoenix.com.
If you take a look at the site now (as in when I’m posting this post), the technology is pretty outdated, so keep in mind that Erin built this site over 8 years ago when everything had to be created from scratch and hard-coded.
We were a great fucking team. Unstoppable. We took this town by storm and blew it out of the water. My skill-set coupled with his was the perfect storm … and our first “child” was born.
Anyone reading this that has ever launched a startup knows the nightmare that ensues before you 1) prove that the model works and 2) it becomes profitable.
So this won’t be the post where I talk about the nightmares … but just know, that Erin and I both poured EVERYTHING we had into this business. EVERYTHING. There was nothing left after the endless long days that melted into nights.
And with nothing left within us … we still moved forward. We were committed.
We proved the model and we created a revenue stream … but it wasn’t enough to replace Erin’s salary, so he kept working his day jobs while working on NetworkingPhoenix.com into the evenings. This became extremely taxing on him, and of course on us as a couple. Not only that, but the company got bigger than Erin and mine’s skill-sets and we didn’t have a team to support the growing needs.
We tried to get help along the way and were even able to expand into Chicago, but by 2015 … the magic of everything was gone.
We were husband and wife, mom and dad as well as business partners. Erin had a full-time job and I had a startup that was at a standstill … much like our personal relationship.
As we entered into 2016, we were going through a divorce, Erin decided he wanted out of the company, Mitra, my right-hand gal that was with me for 6 years had moved on, our Chicago partner, due to personal reasons, was unable to stay involved and I was just simply exhausted.
I always say that if you aren’t present in your life and make choices that matter, life will circle around and kick you in the ass to get moving. I believe I got a kick in the ass, a punch in the stomach and a push-off a ledge. I guess somewhere along the lines of trying to make the relationship work, the company work and having a baby … I got lost and wasn’t making the choices that mattered.
So here I am … unraveling and creating all at the same time. It’s a beautiful journey and I’m looking forward to what happens next.