On December 8th, 2016, I found myself in $36,867.56 in credit card debt.
I knew the amount was high, but I thought it was somewhere midway between $20,000 and $30,000.
I was shocked to find it well above $30,000.
I felt embarrassed and ashamed. I had a Master’s degree in finance, yet my personal finances were out of control. I’m not talking about student loans here — I’m talking about credit cards.
How Did I Get Myself Into This Mess?
I got into this mess going after my dreams. I had ten credit cards each with thousands of dollars of debt accrued on them, and it was nearly all because of the pursuit of my dreams.
I went into debt to fund my dream of becoming a professional keynote speaker and author. The debt came especially from the speaking side of things.
I paid my own way to speak at events around the world. The exposure was great and I often got positive feedback through testimonials.
Expenses add up all too quickly, though. For example, in the summer of 2016, I went to Phoenix, Arizona to speak to an audience of youth leaders. It was a prestigious event to speak at, but I had to completely pay my own way. Here are some of the expenses from a single trip:
- Leaving my car in long-term parking at the airport
- The flight
- Renting a car
- The hotel
- Eating out
I also invested thousands of dollars in the three books I published. I went through a traditional publisher for one of my books, but I lost money and never made a return on investment due to the challenges of book marketing (Facebook ads, paid promotions, etc.).
One of my books won an award in inspirational non-fiction, and another one went on to become an Amazon bestseller in the competitive category of Business Mentoring & Coaching. But I’m honestly not sure if it was worth it.
My credibility was soaring, but my finances were crashing.
I kept thinking there would be a return on investment from all my efforts, but…