Warrnambool's Jake Gerasimchuk has experienced both highs and lows in the four years since he opened his own business.
The 27-year-old launched his sportswear line Viking in early 2016 and didn't earn a wage for nearly three years.
He said he was forced to sell personal belongings to avoid his house being repossessed.
But in mid-2018 the business started turning a profit, with orders being sent all over the world.
"We started selling a lot to the US, Germany, Italy and Russia," he said.
"Over the (Australia Arnold Sports Festival) we made about $50,000 selling $40 shirts."
Mr Gerasimchuk said he was "cracking record sales every month and just going up and up".
But behind Mr Gerasimchuk's smiling face and successful life, he was hiding a fierce mental battle.
He had previously spent six years in the Navy before being medically discharged and diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
"I just wasn't in a good place," he said.
"I was being told to be more serious and more corporate but I was thrown in too deep, the pressure was too much and so I shut the business down in October (last year)."
In the eight months that followed, Mr Gerasimchuk said he worked on getting himself to a good place.
"I started seeing a psychiatrist and occupational therapist and I found the right medication for me," he said.
"I started to get better and so I reopened the business in June."
Mr Gerasimchuk said getting back on his feet was a great feeling but the business had "taken a real hit".
"We were no longer making any money and I had staff to pay, warehouses I was leasing and direct debits coming out. My momentum went and so did all my money," he said.
"I went from six-figure months to literally starting from zero.
"When I say I'm starting from scratch, this is starting from scratch again. Take away the last five years of building this business up, I'm starting from $0 in the bank."
Mr Gerasimchuk said being "back at the bottom" was hard to come to terms with but he was looking forward to the future.
"I'm going to run the business my way, with honesty and transparency," he said.
"It was hard to see all of my hard work gone but I'm happy I got myself better and if I had my time again, I would do it again."
Mr Gerasimchuk sold about 140 items in one day last week.
You can check out the business at facebook.com/vikingliftwear.
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