Think about your first five years in business. Weren’t they filled with long nights and very hard work? If you think about it, during the first years in business, you are grossly under-compensated. Sure, at some point, you start making a good income, but the fair market value of your time, talent, and energy was much, much more than whatever you extracted from the business during the first few years.
What if there was a way to extract more of that hard-earned equity? The Gentle Glide Plan does just that. Think of your business as an ultra-light plane. All the energy to get the plane in the air is equivalent to your first years in business. Now that the plan is in the air, significantly less energy can be used to maintain altitude. The same is true for your business. Energy and effort required by you can be dramatically reduced, and the plane may only lose a small amount of “altitude.” In fact, the plane may be able to gently glide with no energy added. It can take hours for a glider to finally come down to earth. You can pull off the same maneuver with your business with the Gentle Glide Plan for Half-Retirement.
Sometimes, we hear business owners question whether they have the significant equity in the business to allow a gentle glide. You have spent many years building pockets of equity in your business. This equity is hiding in places you may not have even considered:
- Customer loyalty
- Brand equity
- Employee skills and training
- Employee loyalty
- Personal brand equity
- Business infrastructure and systems
- Financial leverage
- Best practices and trade secrets
During the Gentle Glide, you extract economic value by slowly decreasing your work effort. Your absence may create a small deficit, but the deficit is absorbed naturally by the ongoing momentum of the business. Customers “step up.” Employees step up. Vendors step up. The small void your absence creates is naturally absorbed as long as it is small.
Under the Gentle Glide Half-Retirement Plan, no major changes are made to the business. There is no need to hire someone to do the work you no longer do. There is no need to officially shift responsibilities. You simply back off and work less.
There is probably a scientific explanation why this process works, but to us it seems to be a combination of the Pareto Principle (80/20 Rule), human nature to pick up the slack, plus the inverse of “the work expands to meet the time allotted principle.”
The biggest difficulty business owners have with the program is consciously working less hard. They are so used to working hard that anything but hard work feels like laziness. A significant percentage of business owners feel this way. If you are struggling with feeling lazy, please remember all those late nights, the stress making payroll, and various other struggles you endured during the early years!
If you don’t believe this plan will work, try what we call “1/10th Retirement.” Take off one- half day off each week and see how it affects the business. Remember to be patient, as there will be some issues immediately. Address the issues and fix the systems that broke in your absence. Give this process a couple of months. Make a list of every negative impact caused by your absence. Your list should look like the one below. (i.e. blank)
By continuing to tap the existing pockets of equity and momentum in your business, you can gently decrease your efforts without major disruption to the business and “glide” to Half-Retirement.
At some point, you may feel like the Gentle Glide Plan isn’t working well. Don’t worry, just switch to one of the other Half-Retire methods.
Learn Method 2: Mini-Me