Like the sun and the moon, life was about to change dramatically. It was decided to start growing the business into a bigger office. I took on the task of starting to open an office in as many countries as we could. If this was successful in Canada, perhaps other countries could learn and help people in their own country. We would all be linked together so people wanting to travel or work in any country could do it through us. It was a great idea and the job would actually be gratifying for me. To see my idea spread like this would be so amazing to see. People helping people in an entirely different way. Our business would eventually piss off many lawyers and immigration consultants because they would lose a lot of clientele. Why would people go and pay them when we were free? For two years? We started making enemies we didn’t intend to make but helping people was my only focus. I was booked with clients all day and one of those clients had a big problem. She originally met with my staff and after her assessment she was sent to me. She was from Japan and here on a study visa. She was alone and only had a ten year old daughter on a student visa. I was told she had a lot of money but was scared to go back home. She wanted to stay and live here in Canada. Naturally, all clients that had a lot of money were out through an immigration process called “Humanitarian & Compassionate”. This would be an application for clients that either suffered devastation in the Country they were from or for some reason could not return. It also enabled clients whom had a lot of money to invest in Canada, be able to. It was one of many applications but in her case, it would be the perfect one. I did not know much of her story and only had a chance to meet her for a few minutes. It was arranged that I would have more of a chance to talk to her but at a later time. She was not in a rush but eager to start something. I had spoken to our landlord about an available office space coming up above us on the top floor. Instead of seventeen hundred square feet, it was thirty five hundred. Nine offices, a huge lobby and entrance with a boardroom, a supply room and a kitchen/sitting/eating area for staff. Perfect! Perfect for our growing staff and business. I signed papers and we were able to move the same month! Of course as president, I got the corner office with a view. Leann was not too happy about that. She was not happy about much those days. She wanted to start being paid. She demanded it. Her shares, she explained to me, were not enough. She was also, back before this, a realtor. She was always able to make money on the side. It was rumored that she made an illegal deal with her own property, trying to sell it, and was caught. I am not sure what the whole story was but it was not good. I still was unable to pay myself and if she was remotely a partner, she would have to suffer all the consequences with me. Upon losing a two hundred member deal with her dad, go figure, it was time to let him go and she agreed. He was completely useless. Is everyway. Off topic for a second, I have to explain this one situation that I will never forget with him. Leann told me one night that her dad wanted to see us. He had some ideas he wanted to bounce off us and she wanted to bounce some off him. I agreed. We drove over to his house. Just after eight in the evening. We were both starving and thirsty as we had worked hard all day without a moment to have a bite. We got to him house and we walked in to the smell of bacon frying. Well, when your starving, that was a great smell! We walked into his kitchen and he had a huge loaf of bread that he had sliced fresh. Next to it was a large pile of lettuce and a bowl of sliced tomatoes with some mayo next to that. Then, he had a huge oval dish of bacon he had fried and was frying more. Maybe three packs at least? He was making BLTs and it looked great! I was always raised to offer my guests a drink or something to eat and even if they said no thank you, it would be in front of them anyways. It was just nice! We stood there in the kitchen chatting. Both his daughter and myself . I thought, ok anytime now, he is going to ask us if we wanted something to drink. Nope! All that good and eating it in front of us, he had never offered anything at all. I was so surprised. Especially after all I had done for him. Helping him with money at least twice a week. Water was free. He couldn’t even offer that? He had been over to my house with his daughter over twice a week every week and he was served like a king. No really, appies, fruit platters and all and every kind of drink you could want. I would spend his whole visit in the kitchen. He couldn’t even offer us water? Are you absolutely kidding me? I don’t know if it’s cultural or not but it’s always nice to offer a guest that comes to your home, something to drink. We do not live in the dark ages. Mostly everyone has a cup or glass of some kind and a tap with running water. It’s free. I was losing respect for this man almost everyday. He would do at least one thing that was so dumb, it made me scratch my head and wonder how he makes it in life with anything.
The non for profit was making money but we were paying out more than we made. If people would have just done their jobs, actually work, we could have done so much better. Maybe moving into a hire rent office was not the best idea but we surly were squished and needed more space. One evening, as many times before, Leann came over with her father as he wanted to discuss something with me. He began getting angry yelling at me saying, “I know this company has money and you better start paying me what I’m worth”! What a loser. I should have, at that very moment said, “of course I can! I can pay you a while dollar and hour”! That would be mire than his worth. He costed me so much money but because he was Leann’s dad, I had to hold my tongue. I couldn’t afford to lose her yet. She knew deep down that her dad was useless. We had a heart to heart a few times and she cried telling me she didn’t know what to do with him. That family was so dysfunctional. I couldn’t understand why at first. They had a son and a daughter Leann. The son had not spoken to his family in a long time. Writing them off. He had vowed never to talk to them again. He got married and had kids refusing to let his own family be a part of his parents or his sister’s lives. I was beginning to now understand why. It was always about them and money. If it didn’t benefit them, they had no part of it. Well, when your working in a charitable business, that was not good. They didn’t care about the people. They only cares for themselves. Staff and clients would continue to complain about them, their work ethics. They had no real heart. At least her dad was done with the business and out of our lives. He would continue to come to the office and visit his daughter. His presence made the staff angry all the time. He had managed to take advantage of everyone there one way or another. Serena and my nephew took on the task of painting the office and preparing it was business. Everyone then pitched in to move into our new place. It looked awesome! Amazing and so professional. I was so proud of it. We had sure moved up from my home in the bonus room. It was exciting. We had hired another Filipina to help us with clients. Like a liason that assisted in the signing up process and giving our clients all the knowledge of what we do. She was high in the Filipino community. It seemed as though she knew almost everyone and if she didn’t, she would make an effort to get to know them. With our new location and our growing staff to help our members, we had to up the price on the memberships. They would now be one thousand per member for a two year an inclusive membership. This would help in the cost of our growing society. As directors, it was signed that myself and my husband, Leann and her husband and my student friend would be the five directors. Myself being president and Leann, the vice president. I will never understand how she swindled her way into that title but she managed to. I had done all the work. As if I had no directors. I did not expect our husband’s to do much. Their names were just there to balance out the fairness in a vote. All the deciding factors were always on my back. The staff, bills, finances, complaints and any problem you could think of. I began to notice the business was making money but never enough to cover the expenses to I had to put my personal money into the business always. By that point, I had put in over eight thousand dollars of my money to keep things afloat. Leann had the odasity to keep asking for more money when we simply weren’t making enough. Partners meant if things were short, we would both have to pitch in. Serena was still handling finances and book keeping. It seemed weird that we made a lot of money yet still couldn’t afford our bills. When ever I asked Serena for a financial run down, she would supply me with a single paper summary and it was always short. It was such a mystery to me why we were making so much money yet struggling to pay our bills. For a third time, I was sent out to get a loan just to cover payday. I finally hired a professional chartered accountant that gave me a great idea. He said to have Serena go to his place and he will educate her on what she has to do with the books to bring his fees down. The way he wanted things organized. She would then tell me what I had to do. Like a chain reaction of perfection. Books being done right! Serena had all the receipts, checkbooks, bank cards and cash. I didn’t want to deal with any of it. She asked for a three thousand dollar a month salary with no taxes taken off it. Serena then told me she was going to pay a few more staff members subcontracting wages taking no taxes off them as well. I never really questioned anything she told me because I knew she was under my accountant wing. He was telling her what she needed to do so I always agreed and went with it. I wished I could have gotten rid of half that staff. The useless ones that just fooled around but I wasn’t able to teach new staff and pay higher wages. I told many staff members that complained regularly, to just leave if they weren’t happy but they never did. They were getting paid for much more than they were doing and they knew it. It was easy money and no other job they had would allow them to do nothing but fool around and surf the internet working maybe two hours of full eight. Maybe three or four of us out of twelve, actually did their job. There one hour lunch was always two hours with plenty of other kinds of breaks. When they didn’t show up for work, they still demanded to get paid. Charging me by the hour! I was not a strong person with this. They new they could walk all over me. I did not have a mean bone in my body. That was why Leann and I made such a perfect team. Lately, she had changed and really didn’t care for anything but money. I was all alone in this venture now and for a long time past. Leann seemed to have the knack to make my job harder by yelling at staff and throwing her title around which aggravated them even more. My office would be full of complaints daily. I really couldn’t blame them on that part. She would argue with everyone. Everyday, about something.
Can you imagine someone telling you “I am the boss”!! Everyday? Most did deserve to be yelled at but the funny thing was she yelled at them while they WERE working. Mostly reasons that were miniscule. She should be the one to talk. Coming into her office in the morning an closing her blinds so she could spend the next two hours doing stretches, yoga and aerobics. Charging me by the hour, naturally. I had such a successful business but a mess of a staff. I began meeting with many employers who closed the immigration sector of their business down, to work with us. It would be cheaper for them not having to pay salaried staff to do the work but a simple membership with us to have the job done and take care of their worker for two years thereafter. Employers would come see me and opt to take care of 10 to 20, sometimes more, workers memberships at one time.
I knew from my seeing clients from my point of view, that we should have beem making good money to at least cover rent and payroll. We still weren’t. Something was so wrong but I couldn’t put my finger on it. I had been working eighteen hour days and would get home exhausted. Time was of the essence.