Why You Should Stop Planning Your Life Around Your Work

Do you feel trapped in your current work? Maybe it no longer is fulfilling to you.

Maybe it was never fulfilling to you; it was just a way to pay the bills. Maybe you have an idea of something you would like to do, something that you are passionate about, something that would be much more purposeful. Or maybe you are unsure of what your passions are, but you do know that you no longer want to stuck in the 9-5, driving the same commute, doing the same things each day, and only get a two-week vacation (aka too weak vacation), each year.

planning-life-around-work-01There has never been a better time for you to choose your life and priorities, and then craft your work around these priorities. Flexjobs posted that they have seen a 26% increase in the number of remote jobs posted over the past year. Companies like Apple, Dell, United Health Group, Intuit, and even the US Dept. of Agriculture have begun to allow for remote work positions for the added productivity benefits and cost savings.

Remote work is here to stay and is only going to increase over the next 10-15 years. Perhaps, you no longer want to work for a company as an employee and want to be a free agent. If this is the case, freelancing or a contract consultant position can be a great way to branch out and find more freedom. It has also never been easier to launch an online business which can encompass anything from starting a blog, affiliate marketing, launching an Amazon store or even selling digital products.

The point is that the internet has never given us so much flexibility to launch and scale a business on a very small budget. Technology is now available for free that would have cost over $100,000, 12-15 years ago. There has never been a better time than right now for you to plan your life, values and passions, and then fit work in the margins.

I left the 9-5 world about 5 years ago, and found freelancing to be a great way to generate the income that I needed. I negotiated a remote work agreement with my current employer, agreed to work as an independent contractor, and more than doubled my income within the first year of leaving. As I have grown my freelancing company, it led to me branching out and opening my own agency, where my team and I work remotely. From here, I have explored and studied numerous other online businesses and income generation ideas. This has then opened the door into new coaching possibilities where I get the chance to help “wantrepreneurs” take the leap to start a business that is crafted around the lifestyle that they desire, and I work with entrepreneurs to help them take their businesses to the next level, or find more freedom within their businesses.

All you need is a laptop or a PC and an Internet connection and you can pretty much do almost anything and create almost any type of company. — Mark Cuban

As Mark Cuban says, it has never been easier, and does not have to take 1-2 years from the point that you are profitable. No, once you start exploring what it is that you are passionate about, gain clarity and focus, then you can launch and begin generating cash flow in 30 days or less.

I show entrepreneurs that there are 4 parts to a successful business:

  1. Passion – What is it that you are passionate about? What is it that when you start talking about it gets you fired up about and you cannot stop talking? Don’t be willing to settle for something that you are not interested in just because the money is there. Rarely is money a long-term motivator. If you are feeling unfulfilled in your work, then it is very difficult to persist through the ups and downs of entrepreneurship. But when you purpose and fulfillment in what you are doing, you can persist through the tough times, because of the passion and purpose that you get from your work.
  2. Values – What are your values? If your values are to work remotely and travel, then obviously a brick and mortar retail location may not be the best fit for you. Decide now, what are your values. This will give you the ability to filter through the many possibilities to find the ones that are going to fit with your passions.
  3. Skills/Talents – What is it that you are an expert in? What skills, talents and strengths do you have? This might be something that you are formally trained in, or in something that you love to read and research. These days, by following very strategic steps, expert status can be obtained in a very short amount of time.
  4. Market – This is the final and most important step to a successful business. You must identify where your passions, values, skills, overlap with a healthy market. You can have all the other elements, but if you do not have a group of people ready to pay you, you have a hobby, not a business.

Each of the above elements are vital to finding a worthwhile, successful, fulfilling business. If you have all the others, but no passion you will give up when things get difficult. If your business and your values are not in alignment, then you can easily get burnt out. If you do not have the skills or talent, you will be seen as an amateur, or lack the knowledge needed to grow and be successful. Finally, if you lack the market, you cannot sustain the business.

So begin by exploring. You must explore your unique answers to the 4 points above. I have moved through each point and can help others move through these points and find their clarity and freedom in 30-60 days. So if you are ready to plan your work around your life and not your life around your work, it is definitely achievable, but the first step starts with exploration. Begin exploring, gain clarity, and receive counsel from those who have done it, and you can be on your way to finding your ideal work/life balance.