Why You’re Already Retired as an Entrepreneur
By Donny Gamble
If you are not an entrepreneur, this title probably sounds like an outrageous claim. But if you are an entrepreneur, you probably have some idea already that this is a valid concept.
Generally speaking, entrepreneurs have a very different attitude and approach toward work than people who work for others. That includes retirement.
There are several reasons why you’re retired already if you’re an entrepreneur.
If You Love What You Do, It Doesn’t Feel Like Work
Success in business starts by doing something that you love, something you’re naturally good at. Doing that kind of work usually doesn’t feel like work.
Sure, there are always chores and processes that need to be taken care of, and there is always the need to generate a positive cash flow. But if you really like the work you’re doing, none of that effort will seem like such an obstacle.
It will seem more like your mission in life – your higher purpose – than a workaday job. You may not spend much time agonizing about the tasks at hand, or even consider them difficult, because all of it fits within that higher mission.
You Can Work on Your Own Terms and In Your Own Hours
One thing all businesses have in common is the need to generate cash flow. But within that general directive, an entrepreneur has a lot of flexibility. You can work on your own terms, and even set your own hours.
That could mean refusing to work with clients who you find to be perpetually disagreeable. It can also mean gravitating toward doing work that you prefer, and minimizing the kinds of jobs that you find difficult or irritating.
And though it is very common for entrepreneurs to work more hours than salaried employees, you have greater control over the hours you work. For example, though you may work 12 hours a day, you might arrange that work schedule in a way that’s more convenient for you, so that you can take care of all of your personal and family needs as well.
You Can Slow Your Business Down at Any Point
Though it’s usually not possible to take anything like a “sabbatical” when you’re an entrepreneur, you can slow your business down, to buy yourself valuable time to either work on the non-business side of your life, and later to “recharge your batteries” in preparation for the next business push.
For example, though you may normally work 60 hours a week and earns $100,000 per year, the time may come when you need to slow down to 30 hours, and only earn $50,000 per year. As an entrepreneur, that type of adjustment is hardly out of the question.
That kind of arrangement will enable you to take on period of semi-retirement, or even a series of semi-retirements throughout your life. There will be no need to wait until you are 65 or 70 to formally retire.
You can slow down as you need to, take care of your non business matters, then accelerate your business when you’re ready to go back to basics.
Those times of semi-retirement may even be the much-needed breaks that enable you to avoid burnout, and to sustain your entrepreneurial career throughout the course of your life.
Your Business is Part of Who You Are
Having your own business is a lot like having a child. You create, grow, and nurture your business, much as you would your own child.
The bond between you and your business is much stronger than it is between an employee and his employer. You are emotionally attached to your business, and in the normal course of events, you probably never think about retiring.
That’s hardly unusual for entrepreneurs. Many entrepreneurs continue to maintain their businesses well into their 70s and even 80s. When your business is part of who you are, that’s not even a stretch.
You can’t even imagine your life without your business. Retirement would be like quitting on yourself, which is something you never want to do.
Employees are often so focused on cashing out to a life of leisure, that it may be hard to imagine that an entrepreneur actually gets a large dose of self-fulfillment from being a business owner, and could never live without his business.
While an employee is very much leaving The System for retirement, the entrepreneur has created her own system, and has customized it to the point that she never wants to leave it.
Retirement Planning is More For Slowing Down than Retiring
When the retirement years finally do arrive, the entrepreneur is far more likely to slow down – to semi-retire on a permanent basis – then to outright retire to a life of complete leisure.
The actual age of semi-retirement will vary from one entrepreneur to another. Some may semi-retire at 50, while others will do it at 55, 60, 62, 65, 67, 70 – or even 75.
The entrepreneur prefers to never completely leave the business. You may slow down to semi-retirement, either for health reasons or to pursue non business ventures, but you have no intention of making a clean break.
This affects retirement planning as well. The entrepreneur may be less concerned with building an all-encompassing retirement plan, than with creating a plan that is designed primarily to supplement a reduced income.
As well, the entrepreneur often has the ability to sell her business when she finally decides that she’s ready to make completely retire.
Those are options that employees don’t have, and that’s why they have a material effect on retirement planning by entrepreneurs.
Preparing Your Business for Your Children
An entrepreneur who has children will often want to pass the business on to at least one of them. This is another reason why entrepreneurs don’t want to fully retire.
He may want to gradually phase one of his children into the business, until such time as they are ready to take it over completely.
The entrepreneur might decide to stay with the business for many years to ease the transition. And even if ownership changes hands fairly quickly, the entrepreneur may stay on board in a part-time capacity, working largely as a consultant.
Being an entrepreneur creates enough options that the entrepreneur truly is already retired, just by virtue of the fact that of being a business owner.