10 Things I Learned After Losing a Lot of Money: Dorothée Loorbach (Transcript)

Dorothée Loorbach at TEDxMünster

In this talk, Dorothée Loorbach unmasks our relation to money and reveals her personal life-changing learnings from her six months project of becoming financially carefree again.

Here is the full text of Dorothée’s talk titled “10 things I learned after losing a lot of money” at TEDxMünster conference.

Dorothée Loorbach – TEDx Talk TRANSCRIPT

I used to be successful according to society. I had left a well-paid job in marketing to become an entrepreneur. And very soon I could buy anything I wanted. Not anything in the world; anything I wanted which was a lot still.

My impulse purchases included a brand new car and a house. My entire life was just about fun and I can say I created some amazing memories. But it was just fun. I wanted more. I wanted joy. I wanted to do something that would last, something that mattered.

So I started working with students, and this was fantastic. For the first time in my life, people would come up to me and say “Thank you. You’ve changed my life.” And that was so valuable to me that I would do it for just a little bit of money. If they wouldn’t pay me enough, I would even do it for free a lot until I reached the point where even a small financial setback could ruin me as an entrepreneur.

And of course, it did.

In the middle of summer of 2016 when all schools are closed and I wouldn’t have any income for another two months or so, I received five envelopes at the same time from the tax services, demanding that I pay for my glory days immediately. This cost me everything I had — all my savings, all the money that I had and all I had left in an instant was just a few coins that I found between the cushions of the sofa and in my coat pockets and in my car and €3.97 in the bank.

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Two days later, my daughter would come back from staying with her father. She would come back on her birthday and I couldn’t afford to bake her a cake. What I wanted to do was just to crawl into bed and cry which I don’t like and just hide under the covers until it would all just go away, but I couldn’t. I didn’t have time because I only had 48 hours to prove to myself that I was better than this, that I was a good mother.

So what I did was the most terrifying and the most embarrassing thing I’ve ever done in my life. I decided to expose myself publicly as a failure. And I thought that the best place to start would be rock bottom. So I gave away my last bit of money and then I had absolutely nothing and then the only way was up.

I called it the Money Project. I published a video on Facebook stating that I had failed gloriously as an entrepreneur, that I was totally broke and that I was determined to change my situation, to learn anything I could about entrepreneurship and business money and enhance my financial intelligence. And that I was determined to become free of financial stress within six months, and to go from nothing to a fortune or at least discover what the secret to doing that was and to become a successful entrepreneur.

And I would write a book about it and this book I would sell right away for €10 a copy and that day I didn’t dare look at the responses on my timeline because this was quite scary. But that Thursday I sold 64 books and I had a fortune. Until this day I’ve never felt more rich in my entire life because this meant I could now bake a birthday cake and she could have a proper birthday which she did.

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