Barb, at Frugally Retired in Texas , had a post a week or two ago about her new quilting business. As I read the steps she wants to take to make the idea begin to pay off I thought how closely those steps mirror the process of successful blogging. Taking it a bit further, I thought the steps also match up nicely with how one builds a satisfying retirement lifestyle. Finally, it seemed obvious they really are steps to a happy life, regardless of your work status. See if you agree that Barb is on to something universally important.
• One needs to focus on what people want, rather than what you like to make. Isn't that true of almost everything? If I blogged about something that didn't interest you or fill a need of yours, then you wouldn't stay and you wouldn't come back. If I always do only what I want rather than also doing what my wife wants and needs, how long do you think my marriage would have lasted? Staying focused on others is the quickest way I know to have lots of friends, keep a spouse happy, build a blog or any business, and be considered a success.
• In order to be a success, you have to have some kind of schedule and make some kind of time commitment. Isn't this true of all parts of your life? If you have no plan for how you want to spend your time then you will waste it. Managing the most important resource of your life takes discipline. To accomplish your goals you probably have to dedicate periods of time to each. Rarely does anyone succeed at anything if he simply lets events control his day and is unwilling to commit to the effort involved.
• You need to learn to value your time. Often this is a hard lesson for a retired person to learn. If you say "yes" to everyone who wants a piece of you it is likely there will be nothing left of yourself except scraps. If you don't properly value your energy and effort then others won't either. Just because you are not working, or just because you are a volunteer your time is.... priceless. The credit card company was right.
• While some income streams such as selling your stuff may bring in instant income, many income streams, even small ones take a while to get off the ground. Though talking about her quilting business, Barb is stating a basic fact of building a satisfying retirement lifestyle. It takes time for anything to develop. Developing patience is one of the most important skills to master. Rushing anything is unsatisfying and unproductive in the long term.
• I’ve had to find a way to combine my creativity with good business practices. Expand the definition a bit and her point can cover anything. Whether you are involved in a hobby, a project at church or around the house, blogging or writing a novel, there are efficient ways to do something, and ways that waste your time and resources. Being retired means we have more freedom than most to figure out what works. Unlike running a business, those steps don't have to be formalized or even written down somewhere. But, eventually you learn how to do whatever it is you are doing better than when you first started. Just like Barb has discovered, there is a learning curve that occurs.