There comes a day in the life of many 9-5 workers, when you realise that staying static, doing the same job, traveling the same stretch of tarmac to work every day only to be delegated meaningless tasks and earn money for someone else, is not enough. We are conditioned from an early age, throughout our education and into the working and tax life, to strive for success and to follow a culturally acceptable path.
This is not how life has to be. The greatest thing about living in the free world is the opportunity it affords us, and if we don’t stop dreaming and grab on to the life it is possible to have, we are destined to look back in five, ten or twenty years time and wish that we had made the most of the opportunities we have today.
The Questions Start
So you’ve decided that the 9-5 is not for you, and then the questions creep into your conscious thought. Some of these will be from friends and family in whom you have confided your plans, others will be pondered sub-consciously.
For most individuals, the primary concern is likely to be financial security. Can I afford to quit the comfortable lifestyle I have now and risk not being able to earn in order to do this? The question should be, can your life afford to not to do this? Start saving now. If you are planning to run your own business to finance your lifestyle, you need a certain level of intelligence, and I’m sure that as a by-product of this requirement you will be able to set yourself a budget and start to understand what it is going to take to be free. Of course you may have to quit your job, if you are not in a profession where you can negotiate a remote working agreement, but you’ve held a job before and reached where you are today so there is no reason why you couldn’t do it again.
Family & Friends
No doubt you will have concerns about missing family and friends, and absolutely you should take into consideration your feelings for these people. A head-strong, independent person will be the kind of person who can fend for him- or herself. Technology is advancing all the time and staying in touch is easier than ever before. If you think about it, a lot of the communication you have with friends and family will not change from the phone calls, email, twits, IMs etc. that you do now – it’s just that you have more exciting stories to tell of your new lifestyle.
Life out of the office
So you’re accustomed to your big screen TV, your dishwasher and all the mod cons you currently have. You like your comfy bed and the fact that your local take-away knows your usual order when you call. Although there is comfort in routine and familiarity, this is exactly the lifestyle rut you have already identified that you don’t want to be stuck in (not that there is anything wrong with that if it is what suits you) and you are ready to make a change. Ask yourself if you can pack your life up into a single suitcase and say goodbye to your home comforts. I feel that you should look on this as an opportunity to simplify and refine your life – a lot of people find that this provides them with mental clarity and self-exploration like they have never found before.
Can I Make Money?
Can you work for yourself and run your own business? I’m tempted to go with a cliché and say that you don’t know unless you try. The fact is that you know your own strengths and weaknesses; you just have to admit them to yourself. Although, for cost reasons, often you will need to do a lot of tasks outside your skill set, there are support options out there. You can hire remote workers to take care of specific aspects of your business. Make sure that you network with people who already run their own businesses, or are in a similar market and who could therefore offer advice and support. Like many things, you really need to believe in yourself and trust your instincts. Make sure that you can work independently and put in the effort required to make it work.
Taking the Leap & The Bigger Picture
If and when you take the leap it will be scary, yet it is likely to be like ripping off a plaster. The anticipation is worse than the action and once it’s over you will wonder what you were worrying about (even if it hurt like hell for a few seconds). Try not to get bogged down in the details, but focus on the bigger picture of what you want for your life now and in the future. Don’t live in regret; grasp the life you want now.
What concerns have you had on the road to independence?
- Yep, I know my posting and Twittering has dwindled slightly recently. I’m still here, I’m just slowing things down, really. Interesting stuff coming!