It was a great learning experience though! (shine that penny) :D
Here is what I learned:
- if someone offers you something that sounds great for everyone involved ask yourself 'why are they doing that?' What's their motivation - unfortunately it most likely isn't that they want to see you succeed.
- Compare what you're bringing to the party to what they have to offer - make sure it's an even contribution.
- keep your finances completely separate from those involved in this new venture and share fixed costs equally - NEVER let anyone have access to money that you worked your ass off for.
- always have a back-up plan and awesome supportive friends that will help get you through the tough times - I hope my friends know how grateful I am for them ;)
- be prepared financially - apply for a line of credit and/or an increase in your business loan before you actually need it. Once you use up all your savings and incur more credit card debt you won't be able to get any financial help from the banks - there's just nothing they can do if you look bad on paper even though the circumstances that got you there were out of your hands.
- don't let fear and self doubt motivate your decisions. Sit back, talk to a lot of people and then make a decision based on facts and numbers. Even if you're not quite where you expected to be in a certain amount of time, if you have a product that people enjoy and you're authentic you will eventually build your business to what you want it to be.
I honestly feel that everything happens for a reason. I had a few people caution me about the decision that I inevitably made and I didn't listen to them because I felt this was something I really wanted/needed to do. I now know that I was just giving in to fear and self doubt. I came out of it a bit banged up, but also a bit wiser....at least I hope so ;)