The whole idea of retirement never really appealed to me. I can’t imagine spending my days out on the golf course. I like traveling but not all the time. I like going to dinner parties but not every night. I don’t dream of having more time so I can write that book I always wanted to write. Maybe it’s because I’ve been doing exactly what I wanted to do with my time for most of my adult life.
A magical question someone once asked me was: “If money were no object then what would you spend your waking hours doing? I was lucky enough to get asked this early on in my entrepreneurial career when I first branched out on my own. This was just after I finished Universtiy. I decided to leave my country (The USA) and travel to Australia to seek fun and hopefully a way to extend that fun. I hoped I might be lucky enough to find an opportunity while I was there. You can read more about my early journey in my book The Making.
Early in my career money was obviously a badly needed object and it quickly became my obsession. I wanted to make my fortune and retire before I was 30. That was the goal so I could then follow the insight into the magical question. Work hard, play hard, get rich and then not “have to” go to work unless I wanted to. I didn’t want to answer to anyone. I yearned to be my own man and play by my own rules. This just sounded great to me and after following (and many times breaking) the rules that were preset by my parent’s, teachers, coaches and society I dreamed of making my fortune and retiring without anyone telling me or even suggesting to me what I should do or must do with my time.
In retrospect, my attitude was just a tad bit immature, not realizing the impact that building a large organization of people and businesses running in different countries, a wife, a young family and aging parents would have on my free time. I didn’t quite anticipate the level of responsibilities that I had added to my life including who and what I had to answer to. I had created my own structure of “have to’s” and “must do’s” and didn’t have much time left to even daydream about my retirement goals.
I was adding money to my life for sure but I was also adding to my expenditures because, as we all know, it takes quite a bit of money to keep businesses running and growing.
“Life has a peculiar way of self-correcting towards one’s true calling”
And my life took a big turn when my wife and I decided to create yet another new adventure and move our family to Canada. After living and working in The Netherlands for 12 years, this was a big move for us because our kids were ages 8, 12 and 14. We had also lived in London for the previous 6 years so our entire career network and social connections were mostly in Europe.
So when we moved to Canada I had no choice but to look at this as a new opportunity to start working on various projects. I set up a customer acquisition call center working for IT companies, this led me to get excited about helping companies get a better web presence and learn how to design websites and SEO services. Later I set up a direct sales team for VIP loyalty programs. My other projects involved continuing my coaching practice helping local entrepreneurs build their businesses and make transitions. I also deliver workshops for large teams and still keep up with my training and growth projects to companies internationally through my organization Global Direct International.
I partnered up with a local entrepreneur in my hometown to help raise money for our local school system, including clubs and sports teams through selling hyperlocal Premium Coupon Card, As well, I partnered with another local entrepreneur to do corporate training and we even set up our own Bro Club to keep men in our local community connected to one another and helping our community where and when they can.
This, to me, is what retirement actually looks like. I have time to do all of these great projects, travel for business, travel for pleasure, maintain my friendships, see all my sons sporting events, and live music performances, support my wife’s personal and business goals, Time to look after my health and do my daily runs, time to write my blog, time to tinker on little projects, time to have a nice lunch, time to relax and read a book, time to learn and study about things I’m interested in.
This type of semi-retirement has been duly named living the life of a Lifestyle Entrepreneur. My creative and, of course, absolutely lovely, wife just came up with what I consider an even better and more fitting new name for this type of semi-retired occupation. She calls it being a “Project Entrepreneur” which makes perfect sense to me. This is how you can… “live the dream”… once you’ve accomplished some of your financial goals.
I truly believe it’s gravely important (pun intended) to take a test retirement drive at least once or twice during your career in order to decompress yourself and get a feel what it’s like to have a little personal freedom. A few of the things you will discover are the following:
- What it feels like to have more money leave your bank account then enter on some months.
- What it feels like to have more free time than you know what to do with.
- How to re-connect with your old friends.
- How much your spouse really loves you – vs – how much you can annoy her/him.
- How to follow through with ideas that spring to mind.
- How to enjoy your solitude.
- What type of contribution you really want to make.
Have fun and remember you can always change your mind but the old adage still rings true that we normally only regret the things we don’t do and not the things we do and you will rarely meet someone on their death bed that proclaims they wished they had spent more time at the office.
Dominic Kotarski is the author of international best-seller “The Making”. He writes, speaks, inspires, motivates and teaches the most important aspects of your business including Sales, Coaching, Team-Building, People Management and Business Development. Get weekly access to his blog & training videos FREE by subscribing HERE! and when you sign up you will get Instant Access to his Sales Skills Training Video.