Working women with 30+ years under your belt, are you thinking about your ‘what’s next?’
We need to be talking about our options and what we want to do after we have put 25, 35 or even 45 years into our ‘work.’
>>Warning!<< This is a long post with a well-deserved reward at the end. Well-practiced tips to grow your business now.
Especially if you are struggling to make ends meet in your business, even after years of being this close to success.
Or, a woman on a career track for 20-30 years and want to leave but still want to have an income.
Or, a woman with a successful business and you know it’s time to scale back to a more narrow niche. And maybe have a life?
What About Retirement?
Even if we swear we are never going to retire and maybe deny our true age, things are going to change in our lives. In the US, we will become eligible for AARP at 50 and Medicare at 65. Social security can kick in between 62 and 66+.
My story is not your story. You may say you will never retire. I used to say that. Honestly, I still think that way. However, when I was 30, I thought I would retire at 55. I wanted to be young enough to enjoy myself as my perception of anyone over 60 was they were OLD as in elderly, crippled, unable to function. That was my view of people over 50.
Visions of Early Retirement in the 70’s
1970’s that is.
My first thoughts about planning for retirement were prompted by my early job in a YWCA in Westchester County, New York.
I recall a conversation with the Executive Director. She had been with the YW for years and was planning to retire at 55. She purchased a house on Cape Cod and looked forward to a relaxed pace of life dabbling in her other passions.
I took that conversation to heart and embraced early retirement as a primary goal.
Shifting to a Semi-Retirement Mindset
Fast forward 25 years and the launch of my first business. My position on retiring changed after I fell in love – with my first business that is.
This IS my passion. Starting and growing a business. Growing and empowering a staff. Adding to people’s lives with my products and services.
Early retirement was still on my mind but on the back burner. Why would I stop doing what I loved? My love for business was instilled by my father. My brother often told the story that I wanted to start a hardware/lumber business at five years old!
In 2015, I slammed the brakes on my coaching practice when we suddenly were given an opportunity to move to our new forever home on Kauai. And consider a semi-retired lifestyle. All in four months’ time.
I was scared s🤬’less about an income. Was I ready to make it in a new locale?
I had just published my book, Getting Potted in the Desert from my previous desert container gardening business and was on the local book tour route. I was also building my business coaching practice while consulting with the company that bought my container gardening business.
With this quick decision, we escalated our plans to downsize our home, planned for all insurances, medical, sell cars, close the law practice… the list went on and on.
With six duffle bags and 15 shipped boxes, we winged off on a one-way flight to Hawaii. We cut the tether line to our home of 20 years. Whoa!
Semi-retirement 4 years ahead of schedule
What does this mean? Finding part-time jobs or running a part-time business? I felt pressured to start earning an income in some form immediately.
I am lucky to have a partner of 25 years who has instilled in me a love for life, friends, and travel. For years when we traveled, I still had to run my business from the road.
We have worked hard to position ourselves, so we don’t have to work full time. Claiming semi-retirement, I get to have my cake and eat it too. We enjoy life, and I work on my business, coach clients from anywhere in the world (both me and them!) On a part-time basis.
Working Toward a Semi-Retired Lifestyle
Women, 50+ in the US are hanging onto jobs, careers, and businesses into their 70’s and 80’s with great success. They choose to continue working for the paycheck, satisfaction and/or social engagement they have while remaining highly productive.
An increasing number of Baby Boomers are starting new businesses or continuing to stay in business much longer. Those of us over the age of 50 are not choosing full retirement the way our parents did.
Some like myself, cannot imagine retiring. What would I do all day long? Sure, we have plenty of hobbies and travel often and long. But if I don’t have a project along with me, I get bored!
Many professionals not only enjoy what they do but know the service they provide is vital to their clients and community’s wellbeing. That is a key value in their life.
My concern is that too many are stuck in a rut feeling that they must work forever and can never cut back. We are on a treadmill of chasing business and running the operations. How can you even think of leaving?
You know how they say that you should make sure you spend time working on your business and not just in your business? I.E., Not working solely on product or service delivery. Working predominately in your business is being on that treadmill.
We don’t always have a quick answer to this question. We have been working on that one thing for so long, chasing dreams, money or happiness.
One of my dearest friends often said, “Marylee, no one gets out of this life alive.” Somewhat morbid, I agree. But we only have one chance. As we reach those so-called ‘golden’ years, this is OUR time!
I do not have the magic answer. But on the advice of a colleague, I started journaling once I knew we were moving, and I was going to use this opportunity to plan for semi-retirement. Not retirement mind you. But business on my terms.
If you would like to learn about my approach to journaling, read this blog-post.
How to Retire Your Work into an UNretiring Business
You have built something solid, a business or a career. But you’ve started questioning how much longer you want to continue at the pace you’ve set for yourself.
You don’t want to stop working. And you love the work you do.
Focus on Your One Thing
You’ve heard about this before. Narrow your niche, do just one thing or maintain your focus. This becomes more critical as you think about adopting a semi-retired lifestyle.
As a relocated business coach, my goal is to grow the awareness of my services. I do not want to resort to a JOB after 20 years of running my own business.
Here’s the thing. I wasn’t ready.
I was not prepared with a robust mobile business plan nor client base to pick up my business in another, very different business culture. Had I worked harder on raising my global authority back then, I would have had an easier time.
Thrust into this rapid decision of semiretirement, I was lost. Happy with our move but lost nevertheless. I spent the first year trying to figure out my niche, my client base (local or global) and even who am I?
I started talking to people, both locally and globally working my friends, colleagues, contacts and network. Interest in my services began to increase. I saw the light at the end of the long, dark tunnel.
- A local business owner said he needed some help in his long-range plan. A plan that would move him towards retirement.
- Another needed help in setting up business systems and processes so that the business could become more efficient and potentially sellable as the owner knew she was not going to keep it forever.
- A former client who was building an online program wanted a business coach to coach the participants so that she did not have to do all the one to one work, because? At this point in her life she wants to work smarter, not harder.
These three new coaching contracts made me see the light. To my one thing that is. Helping business owners strategize to realize a semi-retired lifestyle.
Yes, it took almost two years to get to this point where I could define my niche. However, along the way my earnings increased, and I was meeting my goals. And not to forget, my clients were achieving their dreams too!
I soon passed my Tipping Point.
A Tipping Point?
Your Tipping Point is when you hit the level of income in your business that exceeds your expenses and your personal income needs. Whereas a breakeven point is your income equal to expenses and over that is your profit, the tipping point is where you start to breathe a sigh of relief. You feel you might make it after all.
And when we hit this point, we Baby Boomer business owners can finally start thinking about transforming our business into a semi-retired lifestyle.
I know. I’ve just taken you from toppling your tipping point to a planning for part time business.
Let’s back up.
You must work it. The one thing that you do well and brings in the dollars. Don’t be tempted to search for the gold ring. Too many of us switch gears immediately when we are not experiencing an overnight success.
Set One Goal
Set just one goal that will make the difference to your bottom line. Enough so you can plan for the future.
Your Tipping Point in this discussion IS about the bottom line. Forget for the moment about retirement. No wonder it’s scary when after we pay the bills, there’s little left over.
What’s your goal? What will make your life more complete? How much will it take?
How does this translate into sales? How many widgets do you have to make? How many columns need do you need to write, books sold, clients seen?
Set those figures into your goal.
This year I want to build my email list. That’s it. Oh – while I’m maintaining my income goal that is. Since I didn’t have a program to sell yet, my income was dependent on the right mix of clients. And mind you – remember I said before that I had claimed a semiretired lifestyle? Therefore, I need to balance my client time with my building the list time.
Same for you – Right?
You need to find a way to sell your services to pass your Tipping Point while you are delivering your product.
So – you think 🤔 “I’ll put ads on Facebook or Twitter or Google.”
A Better Idea to Overpass Your Tipping Point
Take Action, Step 1 >>
Contact People Who Know and Trust You
Ask them to help you build your list, your business, and your success.
Contact your most intimate friends and family and tell them what you are trying to do. For me – I told them about my goal of reaching women who are “coming of age” with my new direction, “Women Reinventing Retirement”
Ie. Women over 50 who cannot imagine working less than full time because they have not “made it” financially. They are at the tipping point, and if they could get the push they need, their world would open up to them.
Your Request to them – a sample script
“Please read and comment on this email draft about my [your program] that I will be emailing to my close friends and colleagues who I already know. Please give me your suggestions on:
Edits to the email
Other groups I can contact about my work”
>>Of course, you will add all the pleasantries that belong in your personal email.
That’s it! 5-10 emails that say the same thing, to people who know, like and trust you.
Take Action, Step 2 >>
Develop a Habit
Based on their feedback, finalize the email and send out five emails a day to your medium hot list, Your Circle of Valuable Connections.
These include people you have done business with either as customers or vendors. I only want you to set a goal of five each day because you will customize each email based on what you know about the person. And of course, you can include an invitation to receive your current lead magnet and join your list.
This method is scalable because you can utilize it for any market or product and any group of people. As you exhaust your intimate circle, expand it to others in your contacts who you know well. From your hair stylist to networking organizations, your list of connections continues to grow. Contacting the circles can be accomplished by email, phone, private messages on social media or any other way you typically communicate with them.
Take Action, Step 3 >>
The Magic Touch
The next step to add to your systematized outreach program is what I call, Unfaltering Follow Through. This method will continually build your sales and your reputation. I have personally experienced its success even to the point that it will help you achieve the Magic 10.
10% more sales, that is.
…In 10 days
…spending only 10 minutes a day!
What do you have to lose? Download my Free guide now!