Have you ever felt tired? Like really, really tired? Like so tired you just want to shut the world out and chill out on your own? Yes? I’m pretty sure it happens to most people at some point in their life and that’s how I found myself feeling late in 2015.
Chester, my little boy, was not even one yet and I was trying to do so much – be a great mum and run a business. I kept myself so busy that I was working again pretty much two days after giving birth. I didn’t feel I deserved a total break so I worked whenever Chester was sleeping and I also got a nanny to come round for 10 hours a week from when he was about 8 weeks old.
Anyway, I won’t bore you with the ins and outs of my childcare routine all I’ll say is you can only do so much before your body says stop, NOW!
In addition to my Virtual Assistant (VA) who works 20 hours a week, I tried to hire a couple of people but it didn’t work out so at the end of January I thought, you know what, I’m going to retire. I’ll let my VA do what she normally does and I’ll do almost no work until I start to feel like it again and so that’s what I did.
My YouTube followers will attest to the fact that I’ve only uploaded one video in three months when I used to have 3 or 4 videos up every single week.
I’m only 32 so you might wonder why I’d want to retire and why I’m even calling it retirement instead of say, unemployment or perhaps housewife or my favourite term for it, homemaker – you’ve got to love the Americans…well…
I’m still employed as the business pays my salary every month and my Amazon sales are still rolling in day-in-day-out so I’m not unemployed. Chester still goes to nursery part-time so I’m not a full-time mum either. Finally, we have a weekly cleaner so I don’t spend much time making the home either.
What inspired me to retire?
Besides feeling constantly exhausted, I’ve always loved Tim Ferriss’s notion of interspersing retirement throughout life rather than working towards one huge break at the end.
There are after all no guarantees regarding when that end might come nor even whether you’ll be in good enough health to enjoy it.
Given my business runs using Amazon fulfilment which means my sales are immediately dispatched by Amazon without my input and my virtual assistant does a lot for me it is possible to reduce my work hours to almost nothing so I thought, let’s do it; now would be a great time for a mini-retirment.
So, what does a retired 32 year old do with their time?
I came to this dilemma the moment I decided to retire and the first answer was I’m going to watch TV in the evenings, lots and lots of it. So I swapped editing videos every evening for watching TV plus 30 minutes to an hour of reading. I’m currently working my way through a novel by Val McDermid.
I’ve missed reading fiction. I’ve always loved crime fiction and it’s taken a back seat since I started running the business back in 2012.
I then decided to sign up to a mortgage course because our property portfolio is growing and there’s nothing like knowledge to get you ahead in that game. I’m still building the property portfolio and the legal and tax framework surrounding mortgages is getting ever more complex so this will surely help. Mind you, even fully-fledged accountants sometimes feel as though they’re guessing.
I’ve additionally taken up an upholstery course because I’ve always been interested in upholstery.
Incidentally, at about the time I officially retired (end of January 2016), Harry and I put in an offer for a house and I worked on the purchase and refurbishment of the house.
It took all of April and £32,000 ($50,000) to get the house up to my standard, video coming up, and having loved that experience I’m definitely looking to do more of it. This purchase brings the portfolio up to 6 houses.
I've recently started jogging again too and within less than two weeks my BP was back down to all-time lows. It had been elevated for almost 2 years
How long do I plan to stay retired for?
All of 2016 and probably most of 2017. Ultimately, I’ve said I’ll literally only do things that a) I really, really want to share and b) that take no more than 10 to 15 hours of effort per week on my part. No work will happen in the evenings and nothing at weekends.
I’ve had a few people email me to ask for one-on-one coaching and I’m considering taking on a handful of people or so because I do enjoy getting into a person’s financial situation and sorting it out.
For me, work is a habit and I do find myself forcing my body not to work at times so I’m sure I’ll do some odd filing and edit the odd video at night. That said, taking a rest like this is AWE-SOME. It works because of the type of business I run but with technology this is the type of thing many people in the future will be able to do. To be honest, I don’t know why it isn’t the done thing.
Everyone should take a year or at least 6 months out every decade just to enjoy life a little more. You deserve it.
The only downside is that with so little input my business is unlikely to earn 6-figures as it has for the last two years but it's earning enough to keep the bills paid and I'm fine with that.
Ultimately, for me, retirement has been about doing more hobby-like activities and being less obsessed with productivity. Oh yeah, and doing more exercise.
Does your business (idea) have potential for 6-figure revenues and beyond? Take the test!
Ms. Katsonga on Wealth
Heather Katsonga-Woodward: On Business, Life & Everything In-Between