December was a month of insanity at our house. Not only were we dealing with all the holiday hooplah, everything that I put into motion over 2 years ago has come to a crescendo all within three weeks time! Earlier in the month, I signed closing documents on the purchase of a commercial building, and we sold our share of a potential nightmare investment to get out of the house flipping business. While those were big deals, the biggest happens today when I sign documents to sell my optometry practice. After 11 years of being a small business owner, if all goes as planned, I’m out of the game.
How Does It Feel?
Surprisingly, it feels very neutral. I am a bit sad in some ways, and happy in others. There are good and bad things about being the boss. When I hatched this plan in late 2010, we were drowning in debt. I was burned out, but it really felt like I was trapped in the cycle of working crazy hours to pay the bills. The concept of multiple streams of income had never crossed my radar. My business had always made good money, so why on earth would I want out, especially with all that debt to pay off?
I wanted a life. Not the ordinary life of getting up early to drop off your kid somewhere while you put in ten hours a day to see all the money going to buy the things you thought you were supposed to have, but a real life where I actually looked forward to waking up everyday. I don’t want to repeat the habits of many of those I know who woke up one day in their sixties and wondered what had happened to their time.
I won’t say life is perfect now. There will always be things I wish I could do better, but for the most part, I am disgustingly happy. Why?
- We are not burdened by consumer debt and never plan to be again.
- We have discovered that having life experiences and appreciating what you have are much more important than things.
- We don’t feel like we have to answer to anyone but ourselves about how we choose to live our lives, and we ignore what society thinks we should be.
We have adequate savings and multiple streams of income that will continue to grow so we don’t have to feel bound to any one thing, especially if it makes us miserable.
What on earth will I do now after selling a business? Life will go on pretty much the same way it has over the last couple of years. I will still work as an optometrist. I still have a blog. We still have rental properties.
I hope to learn some specialty skills to provide low vision services in our area. This area of optometry works with partially sighted individuals to make the best use of their remaining vision. Their are currently no providers who do this on a regular basis. I think it is a huge opportunity.
We hope to add another rental property when the right one presents itself, and I plan to keep on blogging and doing freelance writing as opportunities arise. We have some great travel plans for 2014 and beyond.
How Do I Get There?
If you love your current situation, whatever it is, then by all means, keep doing it. If you don’t, it is possible to change. Maybe you don’t have a profitable business to sell, and maybe you don’t have a degree that gives you the ability to command a high salary. That doesn’t mean you are stuck. I don’t pretend to know what will ultimately make you happy, but if you aren’t moving toward that path, figure it out and start moving in that direction.
If you look at all the people online who have traded in their 40+ hour work week to make bank at home, you’ll realize it is possible. Here are a few stories to inspire you.
Holly at Club Thrifty
Crystal at Budgeting in the Fun Stuff
Michelle at Making Sense of Cents
Alexa at Single Mom’s Income
What Do You Really Want For Christmas?
Maybe change won’t happen overnight or even within a few years, but if you have a goal and work hard enough, it won’t go unrewarded. I didn’t ever want to quit being an optometrist. I just wanted more freedom with my time, and I found a way to do that.
I can’t count the number of setbacks I’ve had over the last few years trying to get to this point, but I never lost sight of the end game, and we never went back to our old ways that were so familiar and accepted in everyone else’s eyes.
I’m starting to sound like a motivational speaker, so I’ll wrap it up. I just remember how it feels when you look like a million dollars on the outside, but feel like the rat on the wheel inside. I hope you’ll make it your Christmas present to yourself or New Year’s Resolution to make a plan if you don’t have one already. Don’t wake up someday wondering what might have been.
Do you plan on making any big changes in 2014?