This is going to be a 1 of 3 or 4 type post, maybe for the month of June. Yea, June is financial month.
Just as a sneak peak, I think I will go ahead and give the run down of events.
Week 1: Running a Business with a Sociopath
Week 2: The Downfall of a Business with a Sociopath
Week 3: Preparing for Divorce
Week 4: Divorce and Aftermath
Running a Business with a Sociopath
My parents taught me really good money handling skills. Ya know, the basics that we don’t learn in school: Make money, like work, and then tithe 10%, save 10% and then don’t spend more than what your bills are. Seems PRETTY easy. I got a job when I was 16 and have had one ever since, well until now, but we’ll save that part for later. I always worked hard for my money and I never had to ask for financial help from my parents apart from the money they wanted to contribute for my college education. I worked 30 hours a week and went to school full time. I always had what I needed and could buy what I wanted within my budget. I had a great credit score, no debt; I was doing pretty well for myself.
I met the sociopath in college. His credit score was horrible. He was in debt and had no limit on spending money as in he spent a lot, like $400 pair of shoes a lot for someone making at the time 16 bucks an hour. Don’t get me wrong, if someone is making a comparable ratio to $400, then by all means I support buying shoes for $400 bucks if that’s their thing.
But anyway, in retrospect, I now look at my situation and let’s be real, he saw me as a money maker. I really do believe that he picked me out not to only make him money, but to be the face of the “family man” facade he wanted to create. I will tell you in the future posts the evidences I have now seen that support this belief.
In the Beginning
When we were dating he always spoke of wanting to start a construction business…again. He told me that he had previously owned a construction company with his brother in another state, but that it went under because people screwed him over. Ahem, cough, cough. Oh…excuse me, was that out loud? Anyway, I liked this idea of him wanting to be an entrepreneur since I was interested in the same. I wanted to start my own dance studio and do something on my own. I spent a lot of time with him at the contractor center helping him study for his tests since he needed help and because I wanted to help. He sure did like that! A helper person fits a narcissist person like a glove! I mean WHY would a narcissistic person like himself EVER want to compromise someone that wanted to help him succeed in life??
Mind you, I went to school for Fine Arts, but believe it or not as I was studying for those tests…wait for it…wait for it…I learned something! We ended up getting married which is a story for ANOTHER time, and then life went on. He continued working for a large construction company while I worked for a bank and the newspaper. He seemed like starting this construction business was what he was going to do for sure, so instead of pursuing my dance studio, I devoted my time to helping him get on his feet. Being a dance studio owner would have left me gone most nights, and him running a construction company, he would be gone most days, therefore we would hardly see each other. Well we didn’t really see much of each other anyway regardless if I had my own business or was his partner in the company, because he is a sociopath.
The first year we were married I helped him pass his construction testing. Like…I went in as his translator and pretty much passed his test for him. Like tapped his foot when he would put his cursor over the correct multiple choice answer. (And yes I’m divulging this information because it will matter as the story goes on.) He ended up getting his license and starting the business. I didn’t put together any of the other paperwork for him because I was working full time and it was good for him to ummm do something himself. In the Spring of that year we were open for business. He ran the business out of our home. I would come home from work and there would be stacks of mail and invoices and all this stuff. He got a check book going and was writing employee checks all over the place at all different times of the week and not keeping track of well, anything.
Quitting My Day Job for the Business
Since I was working full time at the newspaper, after I got home in the evening, I would go straight to the home office and help him with invoicing, accounts payable, payroll, etc. In the Fall of that year I had to quit working for the newspaper because we had too much work. From that time on I was constantly trying to balance him since he had no concept of the business side of things. He would just keep accepting work and bidding work without considering any kind of budget. It was EXTREMELY stressful to try and keep a cash flow. Sociopaths don’t have a conscience so they only see what they want and they don’t think about any consequences that would follow their decisions. If they did think about consequences, they wouldn’t care. He would always take these insane risks that were not calculated but flagrant, and I was constantly trying to keep him on track. Obviously when someone owns their own business risk taking is involved, but calculated risk if the business wants to be successful.
From that Fall until almost 2 years after having my little girl, these were the tasks I performed, oversaw and duties that only I could do:
Payroll taxes, unemployment taxes, job training taxes, state payroll taxes, IRS/State Tax quarterly and yearly filings, filing monthly city taxes and client 5005 forms, filings and payments through eftps.gov, issuing of w-2’s and w-9’s, job costing and job costing reports, worker’s compensation reports, general liability reports, unemployment claims, worker’s compensation claims, person in charge of legal cases in contact with construction attorneys, spread sheets, client contact forms, contract review, contract signatures and fulfillment of contract requests, negotiating verbiage in contracts, contract close-out documents, invoicing, accounts payable and receivable, budgeting and cash flow procedures, accounting, advertising, attending advertising events, client in-office advertising, meeting with clients to go over project schedule and contracts, meeting with mall managers to discuss projects taking place and diplomacy with the malls, job completion walks. Ie making job appearances to confirm quality and completion, creation of logo and slogan and colors of company, creating all letterheads/envelopes, issuing thank you cards and Christmas cards to clients, preparing and sending specialty shirts to clients post project, production of all company attire worn by employees, creation of inventory list for tools and equipment, creation of all company documents and spreadsheets, ie. Change Order form, Invoice form, waivers, time cards, creation of advertising materials, ie. Letterheads, company information sheet, introduction letters, production of company references, training employees on time cards, creation of company time cards, holding employee meetings, creating policy and procedures for the company, handling all IRS related issues, general liability and worker’s compensation certificates, working directly with General Liability Insurance and Worker’s Comp Insurance, creating hiring ads, interviewing employees, managing and hiring Project Managers and office manager, managing and hiring receptionists/assistants. Compiling change order documentation, handling all partial conditional/unconditional and full conditional/unconditional waivers and check pick up. Depositing all checks to bank, managing bank accounts, working directly with material suppliers in finance departments, running payroll systems and producing paychecks for all employees, notarizing via bank all notary requested forms, providing office supplies, negotiating terms for office lease, purchasing and designing office space with furniture and computers, setting up phone line for office, answering phones and fielding calls, creating intent to lien notice, creating emails for office staff, filing preliminary notices, filing liens, working with the registrar of contractors for failure to pay, creating company change order policy, creating the Google drive and Google drive procedures, training office staff on Google drive, assisting with drafting bids to clients, downloading plans/blueprints, printing blueprints, purchasing blueprint printer, creating payroll list, creating tool check out and material quote forms, cleaning office, handling all tech related issues for self and employees and my ex husband, hard copy filing of all company documentation, contact with tax accountant, ordering checks and signing all checks, purchasing of company vehicles, handling all registration for company vehicles, providing gas cards to employees and home depot cards including management of cards with employees, training office staff, creating and managing the company website.
Does anyone want to hire me? Just saying.
These were my titles:
Vice President of Operations
Chief Executive Officer
Chief Operations Officer
Chief Financial Officer
Chief Marketing Officer
Chief Creative Officer
Chief Risk Officer
Chief Accounting Officer
Chief Business Officer
Chief Business Development Officer
Chief Commercial Officer
Chief Technology Officer
Internal Management of the company as well as external relations
I ended up teaching myself all of these things by finding out what other successful contractors were doing or finding information on Google. I created all the systems and policies and procedures so the business would function smoothly, however he never thought I put enough time into work or worked hard enough. Problems would occur when he would have issues in the field with back charges or employees, and I usually had to make amends. Of course at the time, I believed the sociopath. I assumed all the problems we incurred were because of someone else’s coordination failure or someone else’s fault. NOW I think to myself and wonder how much of those problems were really him, being the sociopath he was. He was hungry for money and lots of it.
Just a Pawn
I took care of all the finances. I had since the beginning access to all the banking accounts and information and opened all the banking accounts myself. I actually had to drag him into the bank to get the bank accounts opened and to set them up properly. I had to re-do what he originally set up because it wasn’t functional. We both had mutual access to all accounts and everything was out in the open, like a good, accountable business partnership. Although he had access to all the accounts, he never actually tended to the accounts or even looked at them. He was always worried I was going to steal from the accounts early on, but he wouldn’t keep track of things. When he did look at them, he didn’t really know what he was looking at and I had to explain it all to him. (He loved being treated like a king, but he didn’t know how to be one.) He was on the license since he took the test and I didn’t really think it a huge deal to put myself on as 50% Owner, or make it a corporation since I was married to the guy. That actually didn’t work out too bad in the end, but I wouldn’t recommend it. Anytime I go into business, if I do, with anyone else in the future, I will be part owner, legally. Telling this story makes me want to eat chocolate.
Anyway I worked my tail off for 8 years. Anyone that has owned their own business knows the devotion it takes to keep a business going, let alone making it successful. In the first year we did $800,000 in sales. By the end of the marriage we were doing $2.5 million in sales. I was running payroll from my home for like $30k a week if that alludes to the volume of work that was going on. Profits were anywhere on average from 20-50%. It was ridiculous.
As time went on, I became more of his business partner than a spouse. At least that’s what it looked like from the outside. I was never a spouse, I was just a pawn that he was using to get to where he wanted to go and be who he wanted to be. I put my heart and soul into the marriage as well as the business and gave it all of my resources, efforts, and time. I really cared about the business and the employees, and I was happy that I had been a part of creating something that was able to give employees a stable job to feed their families.
Now I will say that the sociopath did indeed do things in regards to the business. He bid jobs, ran the jobs and dealt with the employees and clients in the field. But he loved to delegate. The more that he could delegate, the more he could feed his addictions. So employees would take advantage of him and things would fall through the cracks, which equal a waste of money.
Things were going really well, the business was debt free, taxes were up to date, there was a significant amount of cash flow in the bank, the work vehicles were paid off and we were both getting nice paychecks, like nice. I could go and buy well a lot of things and it not effect the bottom line. We drove nice cars. We had a 4,000 square foot dream home on a quarter acre up against a mountain and a pool, he could take vacations, the whole nine yards. But that wasn’t enough for him. He kept wanting more. I tried to warn him that we couldn’t keep taking more work while we already had so much work still pending. Our employees would get burned out and our cash flow would suffer. I was getting burned out. I would have to continue to do all the paperwork that was involved in running all these jobs, making sure every “I was dotted and T was crossed,” and the pile of work never ceased. There was never a night I could sleep in peace, never a night or a day or a time I wasn’t thinking about the business. I could never take a breath, I could never take a break because no one could do my job. That was the root of a lot of the business feuds. He would tell me that I was trying to control him and pin him down. When in essence I was trying to give him good business advice which is “don’t bite off more than you can chew”. And to know how much to bite, you have to know how much you are chewing. He never cared, he just wanted more and would take the liberty to do what he pleased regardless of the costs.
I saw the writing on the wall in 2009 and that eventually when the time would come when I would decide to let go of the reigns, the whole operation would fail. So day in and day out, year after year, I had that burden on myself because I knew that when he would fail, I would go right down with him. It would be a bloody, costly mess. And there was no stopping him, just keeping him at bay for as long as I could.