Someone recently said to me (and this is not a dig just a fact), that they were happy for me wanting to work less but they couldn’t do it because they like to keep busy. I replied not to confuse “working” with being busy. The reality is you can feel fulfilled, without working for others or running a business employing people, and without ‘grinding’ in the traditional sense. But some people love that, and that is totally cool. It’s a matter of how you spend your time and my plan is to spend it doing things I love. There is no right or wrong, just excited about YOUR life.
The big question: can doing what you “love” sustain a lifestyle? I don’t know 100% how to get there yet but from what I’m seeing, YES. If you subscribe to Tegan Marshall’s www.couragetotravel.com blog, you’ll see 50 ways to earn income to lead a life of travel. Or whatever you want to do with your time. I’ve been exploring several of these just after reading The 4-Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferriss and Tegan confirmed it because she does it. You can sit down with a whiteboard, or scrap of paper or Evernote or something, list your skills and “things you love” then put it all together in a way to earn income. She also noted (and I’m paraphrasing here) her pitch deck of income streams being applicable to people 38 and older – I agree.
- GenXers (and late millennials as I learned sitting in a room of over 2000 people watching a keynote speaker) have a mindset about the right way to work, 9-5. Or as I always felt back in the day, at least 10 minutes before everyone else shows up til at least 10 minutes after the last person leaves. In addition, in the 21st century: being accessible by text or email– always.
- We have spent 20-30 years building up skills! It’s now time to use them for ourselves (selfish? yes and no, but that’s probably another full-on discussion) instead of using them to make money for others. You earned it.
I love writing. I may not be awesome at it yet, but I’ve already expanded my knowledge by utilizing Linked In learning and some free webinars/tutorials from those that have made money doing it. What I’ve found with these is 1) there are some extremely talented people willing to share their talent and their tips on monetizing skills and 2) you can be busy doing (or learning more about!) something you love and although it IS work, it won’t feel like work in the traditional sense.
I also love helping people and giving presentations. Believe me- I am working on how to accommodate that “love” as well.
So, I will paraphrase getting started on this approach in a few simple steps:
- Write down the skills you’ve developed, circle the ones you love using (examples: giving presentations, creating budgets, managing people- all of these are not mine, just examples).
- List the things you love and love to do (examples: reading, writing, traveling, boats, food, skiing).
- Figure out your budget needs- your ACTUAL needs. Ferriss outlines how to do this in his book and it will depend on your priorities- some people need more income than others, but you’ll be surprised how little you really need to live on. And if you have 401K funds, you have your back-up for later.
- Research ideas for income streams (this includes talking to people, reading blogs, podcasts, books and going down relevant rabbit holes).
But just start. Whether you are ready now or will be later, I will be sublimely content knowing I may have had a little role in getting you where you want to be. There are people that will want to continue working for others, that’s ok, just not where I want to be. Figure out where you want to be.
Funny story to bring this post full circle: I am “working” a lot of hours right now, for no income! But I will get there. And on my own “clock” – not the one we grew up following. The main point: I feel completely FREE as I approach 50, just a few weeks away.