For decades, Joseph ran successful businesses – first a shoe shop, then trucking and transportation companies. But his world and his finances collapsed when all in the same year, he and his first wife divorced and then he suffered a heart attack. Splitting the assets from his business with his ex-wife, coupled with an avalanche of medical bills after the heart attack, caused Joseph to become homeless for a brief period of time.
“I was living in this van and I could smell a hamburger that was grilling several blocks away,” Joseph said, describing this time in his life. “That’s how hungry I was.”
Joseph picked up the pieces of his life by getting a job with a trucking company, and then going back to school to get his certification in accounting. Last year, he started a new life: he remarried and became a stepfather. He also started a new business: The Accounting Firm of Meizer & Meizer.
Joseph does payroll and accounting services, specializing in transportation and warehousing companies. Joseph wanted to expand his services and to hire a part-time clerical worker so he could focus on sales. He applied for a small working capital loan with Accion Texas Inc. after a friend and client told him about the nonprofit organization. Joseph is using his loan to buy a computer and software, to secure a lease for a small office space, and to hire a clerical worker.
“Starting a small business is like having a child,” Joseph said. “I am at the toddler stage. A toddler is learning to walk, and gaining confidence, but he needs something to hold on to while he’s getting on his feet. Well, this loan is something to hold onto. And now my legs can get stronger and then I can move on from here.”
As business picks up, and Joseph builds his capital, he plans to expand his business, hire more workers, and then eventually go back into the trucking and transportation industry again. He knows he can do it because he ran successful companies in the past.
“I’ve been through the ringer, but I never lost faith,” Joseph said. “I really appreciate where I am in my life right now.”
LiftFund. (www.liftfund.com) is an award-winning nonprofit organization (previously known as Accion Texas) with a mission to provide credit and loans to small and start-up businesses that have limited or no access to credit from commercial sources. Established in 1994 in San Antonio, LiftFund has helped Texas and Louisiana entrepreneurs strengthen their businesses, stabilize and increase their incomes, create employment, and contribute to the economic revitalization of their communities. Learn more at www.liftfund.com.