The tide has turned as the second week of my new life comes to a close. And you know what, I’m beginning to have a good time! The other day I found myself singing and dancing along to Sugarland’s rendition of Life in a Northern Town. Holy cow! And even though I am putting in 14-hour days finishing my upcoming 30-Day Sleep Challenge, I’m enjoying the “work.” For the most part, I’m in charge of my days, and it feels fantastic!
Feeling Strong and Proud
I used to imagine that being fired from my job would be the end of the world! But the fact is, I built a nationally respected program out of thin air. I made it flourish for as long as I possibly could. I’ve always been passionate and dedicated to making just a small corner of the world a little better. I feel like I accomplished that goal…and I’m not quite finished. I’m just moving into a new setting that allows me to exercise my creative juices and take care of my own needs for a change. I’ve discovered a sense of peace over the last few days that has allowed me to stop replaying unhealthy conversations and events from the old workplace. I’m living again!
Working from Sunrise to Sunset
I’ve been rolling out of bed at 5 a.m. knowing that I have a deadline to meet. On May 1, I launch the 30-Day Sleep Challenge (World Edition) and that’s the same day the Kindle guide will be published. Well, thanks to travel and the job upheaval, I am way behind schedule. But you know what? The work is FUN. And I know the long hours won’t last beyond the weekend.
I had the core content of the Sleep Challenge – techniques that address insomnia – written months ago. But the challenge comes with a twist! Each night I offer a bedtime story that transports readers to different parts of the world. Using visual imaging strategies, I invite readers to join me on a fabulous adventure and then tuck them into bed after an exhilarating day. So I’ve spent all week researching and writing “sleep stories.” But hey, it’s definitely not treachery. Just yesterday I researched and wrote stories that invite readers to:
- Raft down the Colorado River as it winds through the Grand Canyon in Arizona
- Snorkel in turquoise waters after visiting Komodo National Park in Indonesia
- Bike to Montmorency Falls while touring the historic center of Quebec
- Hike among the ring-tailed lemur in Amber Mountain National Park in Madagascar
- Watch the sunset from a Venetian castle in Santorini, Greece
- Join a cooking class and kayak around the islands of Cinque Terre, Italy
The research is intriguing and the writing is challenging – it’s a big departure from writing proposals and project reports. So while my days are full, I’m enjoying this new concept of “work.”
Dreaming & Scheming
I created The Five Journeys blog and 30-Day Challenges as a hobby last year. And like most hobbies, it has been an investment that has yet to see a monetary return. Marketing is not my specialty and there were only so many hours in the day, so I spent very little time promoting my work. Well, this is the perfect opportunity to turn my hobby into an income-producing business! Here’s what I’m up to on that front.
Developing a Mission
Its time to develop a strategic plan for The Five Journeys centered on my new mission: helping people transform their lives. My goal is help others make improvements in their lives, whether it be developing a meditation practice, attaining financial independence, or losing weight. Next month I have my work cut out for me as I develop a strategic plan, a business model, and a marketing plan.
Creating an LLC
I’ve dabbled with entrepreneurship on a couple of occasions, so I know the ropes. But things have changed – especially the new tax code – that affect the structure of the business I create. So this week I took advantage of a free resource, Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE). I kept my expectations low, as my mentor acknowledged that he and his counterparts built careers based on the old brick-and-mortar business model. So I’m on my own when it comes to online marketing and social media. And that’s okay. I left the meeting armed with information on how to start a Limited Liability Corporation (LLC) in Virginia and an open invitation to tap into my mentor’s expertise.
Engineering a New Effort
As I wrote down my thoughts in my “worry journal” last week, I reflected on the audience I want to reach with my message. And the first person to pop into my mind was my 32 year-old self. The one who had lost all self-confidence and hope. The new PhD working a minimum wage job to avoid sleeping on the streets. I was filled with despair. And here I am on the other end of life. Not only did I survive, but I’ve reached a point where I can set my own path for the future!
I’ve been scheming…how do I use my skills and experience to carry out my mission? I think I’ve got it! Here’s my brand new domain: earlyexitacademy.com. I’m going to create online courses, workshops, and coaching experiences aimed at helping people escape unsatisfying jobs and careers on their own terms. I have two target audiences:
- Young adults in their 20s and 30s who want to live financially independent and fulfilling lives – the FIRE (Financially Independent, Retired Early) crowd.
- Middle-aged people who are tired of their jobs or careers or who want to put themselves in a position…financially, psychologically, and socially…to withstand the loss of their jobs in their 40s or 50s.
And given my experience as a single mom, I’d like to develop a special program for singles who have to work twice as hard to make their dreams come true. Simple enough, right? There’s a lot to learn, but I’m so up for this challenge!
Easing my Money Anxieties
I’m always going to be anxious about money, but I’m beginning to come to terms with the fact that my paychecks are soon disappearing. I know I have to make an investment to get my business plans off the ground. But it won’t be a big investment. So my focus this last week has been on mindful spending and considering my worst case scenario.
Moving to a Mindful Spending Mentality
I’ve always been frugal, but that doesn’t mean I paid attention to where all my dollars went. Now I have to be extremely mindful of how I want to spend my limited supply of money. Healthy food from the grocery store, yes. Expensive dinners at the restaurant, no. And I don’t want to obsess about my finances by writing about it every single week. Instead, I’ll stick to a monthly post that shows changes in my net worth and spending decisions. It’s going to take some time to find a balance on the money side of life.
The Worst Case Scenario
I’m in good shape financially, so it helps me to think about the worst case scenario – I have to get a “regular” job. I had a good laugh the other night as a friend forwarded an ad seeking hired help on the local alpaca farm. I love those guys! And my early years on the family dairy farm make me well-qualified to join the crew. So a worst case scenario is getting a part-time job, like tending alpaca, to pay my health insurance premiums. Bring it on! Just call me Doctor Alpaca!
The Times…They are a Changin’
Change seems to come all at once! April 2018 will go down in memory as the month in which I lost my job and my child moved out of the house. It’s true! I’m about to become an empty-nester. More about that next week as I help my daughter get organized for her new job in the Grand Canyon. Life ain’t boring!
To read more of the Freedom in Your Fifties series, visit the Freedom Library.