Learn about six life plans: set up, build and sell off a company, create a lifestyle business, retire early, find an easy job to pay the bills and then have fun outside of work, do a job you enjoy regardless of possibly poor pay, and retire with big pension/shares. All have pros and cons.
- Now I want to talk about something massive, your plan for your whole life. I've been thinking about this for years as I observe my various friends and the strategies that they've been following throughout their lives. I think there are only six life plans that make sense. I wish I'd known about these when I first started out. I hope this list of six is helpful for you when you're making decisions about what to do in your career. Two of them require being self-employed.
But the other four apply equally to people in organizations so I hope you find it relevant to your current situation. The first option is to build up a company and sell it off either for lots of money or at least for enough to cover your retirement. This requires a lot of hard work and quite an element of risk because what if you don't manage to build it up or sell it? It also needs skill and talent. Not everyone can invent or build a company. But still, it's an option.
The second option is the other self-employed path, to have a lifestyle business. This is probably going to be just you or maybe you and a partner. The idea is that you earn a decent living from doing whatever it is you do. For example, it might be consultancy or training or making furniture or fitting burglar alarms or making jewelry and selling it on eBay or Etsy. Anything that you can happily sell and do and make a living from. The snag with the lifestyle business is that you can't sell it because it depends on you.
But you don't want to sell it so that's fine. Option three is to have a plan for retiring early. Some people would rather have a job that's easy or fun or rewarding but others would rather do something that involves paying more of a price in order to finish sooner. I'm not convinced by this plan because the question is what will you do when you retire? And how much retirement will you get? Nobody knows. Generally, you have to pay a pretty big price during your working years to be able to finish early.
The question is, is it worth paying that price? But still, it's an option and something to consider. Option four is to find a really easy job just to pay the bills and have maximum fun in your life outside of work. The job doesn't necessarily have to be well-paid because fun outside of work doesn't have to be expensive. You might have a nice, low-stress office job that always finishes at 5:00 p.m. or always work an early shift finishing at 2:00 p.m.
and play golf every afternoon. Or go sailing or gardening or whatever you love doing. The essence of this strategy is that work just pays the bills. Option five out of six is to do a job that you love, that you enjoy and believe in, even though it's badly paid. This might be a vacation like teaching or charity, maybe helping developing countries, or just something that you love like music or art. If you love your work, even if it's not well-paid, but you have enough money to live a reasonable life, then I would call that a successful life for sure.
The final option is the opposite of that last one. It's to work really hard and to do whatever's needed to be successful on the corporate ladder, to work long hours, make sacrifices, whatever's necessary to become senior so that you're well-paid and get to retire with a big pension. A bit like selling off a business, it's risky though. What if you don't get there? Even if you do, what price will you have paid? This was the path I was accidentally going on before I realized that it wasn't the right one for me and I started doing management training courses.
I'm now on Option Two, the lifestyle business one, and I like it, it's the right choice for me personally. Those are the six options as far as I can see them. Please do email me if you've found a seventh one. I'd be interested to hear from you. Connect to me via LinkedIn and have a discussion, that would be great. But until I find a seventh one, my question for you is which of my sixth paths are you on and are you happy about that? What actions do you need to take to either accelerate your progress or to change paths.