As I explain on the page introducing this blog, 18 years of owning and running my own business took a toll on me. By the end of it, I was totally burnt out. The inner spark that had given me the energy and motivation to build a thriving company was well and truly extinguished and at the time it felt like there was no way of getting it back.
I used to go to work in the morning hoping to feel at least a semblance of the excitement and passion that I used to feel a few years before. I spent hours reading online newspapers or browsing Facebook, instead of getting anything useful done. I found it difficult to concentrate. Everything, anything, was more interesting than what was happening at work. Continue reading “Entrepreneurial Burnout”
A lot has been said and written about the amount of money people need to squirrel away in order to be financially independent. At the end of the day what it boils down to is this: do you have enough to pay your bills if you were to suddenly be unable, or unwilling, to continue working to make a living? Would you be able to support a satisfactory (a highly subjective measure) standard of living? Continue reading “Financial Independence: Is your income futureproof?”
A good friend of mine is married to a man who hates his job. He has been working in the same place for almost 20 years and has not been promoted or received a raise for years on end. Every time we meet he sounds like a broken record – “I hate my job” or “I was passed over again for a promotion” or “My boss does not like me”. It is an endless litany of complaints and misery.
One day I could not take it any more. I stopped him in his tracks and asked him why on earth he did not resign and get another job. His reaction was priceless. He genuinely looked like the thought had never occurred to him. After a few minutes all he could come up with was “Better the devil you know”. Continue reading “The Importance of a Can-Do Attitude”
When I started my business I was 23. I built a team of like-minded individuals who I came to consider as my friends; until one of them jumped ship and joined the competition. I remember feeling shocked and betrayed. Call me naïve but I did not see it coming.
As the years went by and I faced different HR situations it became clear that my employees were people I trusted professionally and respected, but they could not be my friends. A certain distance was required to enable me to manage the team in a professional manner. Continue reading “The Lonely Life of an Entrepreneur”
A quick tour of the blogosphere indicates that the most vocal proponents of financial independence and early retirement are American. So it was quite a find when I finally stumbled on The Mustachian Post, whose author has taken the trouble to put together a list of European FIRE bloggers. I am looking forward to slowly working my way through it and getting to know fellow financial independence and early retirement enthusiasts on the continent.
When we read the news we are constantly told that there is a pensions emergency. Governments all over Europe want us to work longer and longer, in order to alleviate the “pensions crisis”, as an increasing proportion of Europeans age and put the public coffers under stress. Our countries are going through a demographic tectonic shift, which will result in decreasing numbers of young people working and paying taxes (apparently we are not making enough babies) which fund an increasing number of old people who are retiring and withdrawing a pension. The numbers simply do not add up.
Two days after finalising the sale of my company, we hopped onto a plane en route to Sri Lanka for a dream family vacation.
Sri Lanka is amazing! It is an absolutely lovely country and I cannot recommend it highly enough . There are excellent hotels and good food, the roads are great and the people are really friendly. To top it all they have a wonderful culture, beautiful temples and lush parks where you can see a wide variety of birds and animals.
Over the past year I became an avid follower of a number of financial independence and early retirement blogs where a commonly recurring topic is frugal living, keeping spending to a minimum and saving and investing as much as possible. I have been advocating this approach to spending and saving for years with friends and family, often without getting very far, so it was really encouraging to find out that I was unknowingly part of a growing tribe of frugal spenders and maxi savers!
I have been an avid saver since I was 10 years old. My favourite “toy” was an elephant piggy bank and every Sunday my grandfather used to give me some coins which I eagerly inserted through the slot on the elephant’s back. I also had a little scam going. I would count 90 cents and ask my mum to change it into a pound. She never checked the small change I gave her, just putting the 90c in her purse and giving me a nice shiny pound coin. I used to open the piggy bank every couple of weeks and count the coins over and over, hoping to discover that they had magically multiplied while I was not looking. It was something of a precursor to how I feel today when I go check my investment portfolio when the going is good.
After selling my company I took off for a two-week vacation in Sri Lanka with my family. This was a wonderful opportunity for me to unwind after one year of discussions and negotiations. Frankly I needed it badly.
Tomorrow will be my first day at work. I am obviously a little apprehensive. For the last few years I have been the Queen Bee at work (as a rather brutally honest friend pointed out to me recently). I was in a position to decide who to recruit and I made sure that it was people I could respect and get along with. I did not have to worry about office politics or making sure that the boss was aware of my performance. I was the boss. Continue reading “Starting a new career”