I wasn't planning on writing anything any time soon. Not because I don't enjoy the process anymore, quite the opposite, it has always been liberating to share my thoughts regardless of the topic I wanted to discuss every time, but because I didn't have the time nor the strength to do so.
So why now?
Just to get it off my chest.
Some 19 months ago my girlfriend and I decided to join forces and start our very own little business. I have to say that it was a big risk not only because we had to put in motion even the last penny from our savings but also because our families financial background isn't exactly...great. And as you might know, starting a new business requires some spare funds especially the first few months till we could get some regular customers. Number one priority was to at least be able to cover all the expenses.
We both put in a lot of personal work and along with the professional help of an expert we managed to start our cafeteria back in April 2019. I loved the outcome. I mean I really really loved it. And on top of that...it was mine. Eh I mean ours.
We had found the perfect spot for our coffee shop, right across the exit of a massive park where families used take their kids to play. The park was full of life "flooded" with kids/adults or even older people who just wanted to get away from city's noise and either exercise / play a little or simply enjoy a walk.
And guess where did all these people buy their refreshments/coffees from? Ya, from our coffee shop.
I knew that the first couple of months we would struggle to maintain our balance. We were essentially broke after he had spent all our savings to redecorate and buy new stuff for our coffee shop hence I couldn't leave my day job with the hope that things will be magical from day 1 at the cafeteria. Customers need to know they can trust your services before they become regulars. That's how things are in Greece.
And things weren't magical at all...at the beginning at least.
The salary from my day job was the reason our small business survived the first two months. I was working the stupid 9 - 5 plus 2 hours overtime every day, 7 days a week and at 7:30 in the afternoon I was already at the coffee shop to help my gf out. We couldn't afford an employee so she was running the whole place all by herself until I was there at 7:30. The coffee shop should be open until midnight so we had 4+ hours till we get back home.
Nobody should work 15+ hours every single day. NOBODY.
As I said before the first couple of months were more or less a nightmare...but once June arrived and the weather was far warmer things started to look...promising. And day after day it was getting better and better. It was mid summer and we could now afford to hire an employee. Can you even imagine that? Me, hiring someone else to work for me. It was like a fairy tale...a couple of weeks after that we had to hire another one too.
Not only I didn't have to spend the entire salary from my day job to support the coffee shop but we started saving some money too...
I desperately needed some rest and so did she. Can you even imagine? Working almost 6 months 15+ hours 7/7? But what the hell...it was worth it. For the first time in our lives we were living the dream of working for ourselves rather for someone else. Technically I still had a boss at my day job but I was one too at nights.
For a moment things were going so well that quit my day job and completely focus on our business seemed the right thing to do. Yet I hesitated...something held me back, as if I knew that storm was coming...I made a deal with my employer tho...I stopped working overtimes and had a day off every Sunday.
Storm ya said? Covid-19 in other words...
When our government decided that a lock down is absolutely necessary so that the virus won't spread back in February 2020, deep down I knew that it will be a massive blow for our little business unless they could find a cure in the next 4-6 weeks, which was high unlikely to happen. It lasted for 14 weeks and this time, the salary from my day job wasn't enough to cover even 1/5 of the expenses we had. Keep in mind that I had to pay, all by myself all the expenses for the coffee shop from which we weren't earning anything for 14 weeks but also 2 employees and all the expenses for our home.
In other words everything 2x...2 rents, 2 electricity bills, IRS, internet connections, food supplies...you name it. In case you're wondering the average salary here in Greece is like 700 - 800 Euro per month and the amount I had to pay for rents only was 1250 every month...so do the math.
The only reason we survived that first wave was because of crypto. I swear to God if my crypto bags were empty we would probably be homeless now. But thanks to two exceptionally good trades I made were my initial investment went 10x and 22x respectively we managed to survive that first lock down. Things were far from normal when we reopened in the early days of May. People were scared and our earnings from the coffee shop were like 80% down compared to February.
I refused to believe that this is how the entire summer will roll. But I was so wrong...This is exactly how it did...tourism was 95% down...hotels were empty...stores were empty...every business owner I talked with was desperate and hopeless, we could barely cover our expenses...but at least we had no debts. Of course overtimes and 7/7 were back on the menu....
Fate: "No debts? Lemme see what I can do about that..."
Long story short according to epidemiologists, Covid-19 only got stronger after summer and we should be expecting a new lock down...
So at the end of October our prime minister announced a new lock down...effective immediately. Of course restaurants / coffee shops / taverns etc were top on the list...again...
I've tried...I really did...but I couldn't get help from anyone...my family couldn't help me...banks don't give loans no more...my friends can barely feed their families...only this time...my crypto bags are empty...
So 4 days ago and 5 weeks in the new lock down, we had to officially declare bankruptcy and shut down our little business for good.
Huge debts is my new normal...debts that will probably take years to pay back. You might also be wondering how did our government help us out. Well, they didn't do shit...they let us drawn...that's the only thing they are good at...oh and collecting taxes...that too.
Did I mention that 3 days ago we broke up too? No? Well ya, there's that too...When there are huge financial issues and debts even when a relationship is "healthy" it creates new problems...problems that should be there in the first place...
That's my Covid experience...I never got infected...but I got fucked for life...
What's your story?
Have a good one...
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