I’m trapped in a long earn-out deal. Help!

Dear Aunty B,

I am a young entrepreneur (28) and recently sold my web design business. As part of the deal I agreed to work for another three years. One year has passed and I feel flat and exhausted.

Although I am sitting in the back seat I can’t bear the thought of another two years, especially as I want to start a family and am being paid very little. Trouble is I don’t know what to do next. And if I pull out I will lose about $1 million!

I am also sick of the services industry where you have to look after staff and clients and just want to sell something!

Sam F,
Kent St, Sydney


Dear Sam,

Why on earth did you agree to work for three years once you had sold? They are taking advantage of you. The gig is; they say three years, you say a year. They say two, and you agree on 18 months. Then you do such a good job helping them transition, you are out in six months and they are happy to see the last of your interfering, harping behind.


True entrepreneur spirits cannot serve out three years watching their brain child, their passion, be systematically reduced to a basket case by the new owners.


And it’s no good trying to sit on the back seat because you are a moral, passionate person who is not capable of giving less than 100%.


So what you must do is tell them you want out. Offer to spend every waking hour training a team to take your place. Do whatever it takes; even drop a bit of your asking price in order to flee.

There is no way you will last another two years and you are better off leaving on a positive note than self destructing.


As for the services industry – are you nuts? It is the fantasy of the 21st century to sell a physical product instead of just our knowledge.


But it ain’t real. So forget it, and start planning your new business.


Your Aunty B.



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