Thank you Daphne Reznik for sharing your entrepreneurial wisdom with us.
Why do I think this and who am I?
I was laid off in May of 2020 due to Covid. At the age of 49. And that was a blessing; in my case, that was the first step to professional freedom and a total and complete escape of the 9-5- for good! At least that is the plan.
To be honest, I’m authentically believing in that plan and that steering clear of corporate life, or any type of job “working for others” is possible. Whether you believe in manifestation or not, there is work to be done, and I’m doing it. At the same time, I am living a much lower-stress life than I was a year ago, before my layoff.
But how? How can I be so sure that without an income, I’ll be ok?
Why I think this way: because I was in a solid place at age 49 to take the time I need to build a business as a blogger.
That is who I am: prepared (sort of!), excited, living with so much LESS stress and motivated to own my time. Sound familiar? I am unique of course, but at the same time, not uncommon.
Making finance a priority may sound overwhelming, but it isn’t.
Throughout my past life in politics (Eek I admitted it!), small business and ultimately corporate, I learned the following:
- Delegate and ensure you focus on priorities.
- Do not reinvent the wheel.
- Maximize the tools and resources available.
- Have a plan but be flexible.
All of this is serving me in my new life as a blogger and an entrepreneur working to build an income stream through my blog.
Let’s look at each of these points individually in terms of planning to escape the 9-5.
1 Delegate and ensure you focus on priorities
The hardest thing for me is avoiding shiny objects. And sometimes it’s tempting to do things because “it’s easier if I just do it” or “I want to make sure it’s done right” – well I am here to tell you let the experts handle things. To a certain extent.
If you find that you aren’t yet in a position to pay someone to do things you have two viable options:
- Do it yourself and consider it a learning experience. But use 2, 3, and 4 below.
- Barter. As an example, a fellow entrepreneur I met in a Facebook group is leaving her 9-5 and needed to build her portfolio. She created a brand board for me in exchange for a testimonial if I liked it. And I do. And I am absolutely supporting her as she grows her business!
2 Do not reinvent the wheel
If I’m honest, I love this one! I saw (way too often) people in politics trying to reinvent wheels so they can take credit. Same in corporate life right? I was NEVER of that mindset.
As an entrepreneur, it’s vital to see what others have done, and while not every program or process will work for you, utilize other people’s learnings. Modify to fit your needs, thus improving the wheel, but use the wheel! For me, this came in the form of a book recommendation from a friend.
In the 4-Hour Workweek, author Tim Ferriss gives gold: figure out how much money you need. ACTUALLY NEED. He is crystal clear that we all have different priorities, but you need to break it down this way:
- What are your necessary expenses and what are flexible expenses?
- For me my health care, rent, phone, car payment, insurance are all necessary. I added it up to see what my monthly total was.
- Flexible include food, clothes, pedicures. Some of those are necessary BUT we can easily modify and control the costs. Salads made at home vs. steak dinners out 5 nights a week, right?
- In the end all expenses are somewhat flexible – with some focus you can lower your costs. I traded in my Murano for a Rogue, a “lesser” vehicle but was it lesser? It’s brand new and therefore has better features and guess what… lowered my monthly payment $100.
- How much money do you have access to?
- For me, I got a severance and at age 49, had a savings account in addition to my 401Ks.
- Start saving if you don’t already. Do you have an emergency fund?
- How long can you go before earning income?
- This is critical to know. Some recommend 6 months, but I say at least 12 if you are going to build a business, not just get another J.O.B. I am almost at 12 months and am still not in the “income-earning” stage of monetizing my blog, which I decided to make my business 3 months after my layoff.
- Be honest with yourself and plan your “escape” of the 9-5 accordingly.
3 Maximize the tools and resources available
Whether you have a financial advisor, tax preparer, attorney etc. All of these people should be on your list to call!
In addition to having those people help you figure out your path based on your finances and organizing your side hustle or business into an LLC and so forth, there are many credible and simply fantastic resources online. I am sharing a lot on my blog and actually published a post with some quick Q&A about finance and starting a business.
Google and Quora will find great things for you to tap into!
People are resources, but so is technology. Invest in it. Do research but don’t get caught up in analysis paralysis. Once you know your expenses, your budget, and your flexible spending, set aside how much you will invest in your business. For me, it was a combination of technology and people.
- I invested in a business coach I pay just over $100 per session to for approximately 4-5 sessions annually (I’ve done 2 since December 2020 and at the time of writing in May have a 3rd scheduled).
- I invested in a platform that hosts my blog and allows me to have an email automation system as well as create landing pages, along with providing me other benefits.
You must invest. How many thousands are invested in college degrees to graduate and work for other people? So determining your available resources, free and not free, is vital.
As I go along this journey, I realize things may change: for example, my health insurance went up for 2021. It doesn’t impact my overall budget but know that you need to adapt.
4 Have a plan but be flexible
I recommend not just keeping an eye on things, but actually sitting down 3-4 times a year and assessing quickly what you are spending money on, renewals of products and programs, and of course where you can adjust spending.
My blog was built (and if I’m honest is still being built!) on the premise that I wanted to be free at age 50. Mission accomplished. While the income is still to come, I no longer am tied to having to request time off, meet at the whim of another and importantly, the bad decisions of others do not ruin my weekend! (A post is coming on that topic!)
At 49, my layoff truly was a blessing.
Whether you are 25 wondering how you can plan for the future, 35 and ready to begin your exit strategy or 55 and it is the ideal time, put finances at the top of your priority list and cheers to you! It’s my hope this article helps you on the journey!
Daphne Reznik is the creator of the Free At 50 blog, which focuses on life after corporate, how to transition into professional freedom and resources to create income streams. She has a diverse background having worked in state government, small business, and most recently, a large corporate entity. Her experience supporting businesses and leading a national staff training program, provided her with a skill set she is using to design a lifestyle as a blogger and to inspire others.
Contact links: https://linktr.ee/DaphneFreeAt50