Business owners are a special breed. They are hard working, passionate, and able to handle 57 priorities simultaneously (probably because we are all a little ADD or are adrenaline junkies). It’s not easy to unwind decades of behaviors that have served our businesses.
There’s good news. You don’t need to flip a switch and radically change who you are or how you run your business in order to Half-Retire. It can be a gradual process. All you need is a desire to change and to follow the process.
For business owners who are struggling to conceive Half-Retirement, we suggest “1/10th Retirement,” that is, taking off one tenth of each week or four hours. There are several benefits of starting Half-Retirement by 1/10th Retiring first:
- Four hours a week away from your business will not kill it, regardless of how stressed it makes you feel to consider doing it.
- Creates a built-in “stress test” to find what people and systems are not working as well as you need them to.
- Shows you which employees will step up in your absence and which ones won’t.
- Opens your eyes to the possibilities that exist away from your business. This is the primary reason we suggest 1/10th business owners are so immersed in their businesses, they simply cannot imagine a new paradigm.
- Demonstrates your level of commitment to Half-Retirement to your staff.
- Gets you into action and movement toward Half-Retirement.
We suggest a few rules to follow if you start 1/10th Retirement:
- Think of your Half-Retirement journey like -a rubber band. Stretch the rubber band just a little, so it does not break. After a while, the rubber band relaxes and takes in the stretched position as the new normal, so it can be stretched further.
- Schedule your time off. Ideally, pick the same day and time each week. Monday mornings or Friday afternoons are popular with many Half-Retirees.
- Stop caring what your employees think. Did they sweat payroll? Did they put in the late nights? Did they bet everything they had on the business? Treat your people well, and it will be fine. More importantly, treat yourself well regardless of what your employees think.
- Avoid becoming frustrated over the things that go wrong. Things will go wrong. Be thankful. It’s a sign of what needs to be fixed, so you can progress to the next level of half-retirement.
- Fix problems permanently. You must find a way to systematically fix flare-ups caused by your absence,or you will become a prisoner of the business.
- Expand your “willingness to let them fail.” This is tough for business owners. Your people do not do it exactly like you. They don’t think exactly like you. That’s not the issue. No two people think exactly alike. The question is, do you trust their business judgment? If you don’t, do not let them make decisions. Of course, you will need another way to get decisions made in your absence. If you do trust their judgment, let them decide. It’s that simple.
- Most importantly, enjoy your time away. Plan something you normally cannot do during your time away. Here are a few activities we have heard from Half-Retirees:
- Long-weekend getaways
- Woodworking or other hobby projects, sleeping in
- Reading the newspaper at a cozy coffee shop
- Going to a Friday afternoon movie
- Catching up on reading
- Writing a book
If you are considering Half-Retirement, 1/10th Retirement can be a great starting point. Take the plunge now! We are here to help.
Learn about Methods of Half-Retirement – Method 1: Gentle Glide