April 22, 2011

Universal Truths

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.

Related Posts


  1. She has a very interesting blog. Thanks for sharing it. I am newly retired and also trying to grow my online jewelry business and blog.

  2. Roberta,

    I like Barb's eyes-wide-open look at life, too. This post of hers held a lot of useful material for us all.

  3. Thanks so much Bob-life is an adventure and I keep experimenting and learning the more I move forward.

  4. Barb,

    You are very welcome. Your post gave me a great idea for this post. Let us know how your quilting business is doing!

  5. You're right Bob, these principles do apply to most things we do and in retirement I think it's even more essential to have goals and commitments. If you don't you'll look back in 5 years and wonder where the time went, feeling bad because you didn't really accomplish anything. Even in retirement, goals are very important to keep us going.

    Congratulations to Barb for turning a hobby and passion into a business. These steps can be applied to any sort of retirement business. Many people need some income in retirement and it should definitely be something they enjoy doing.

  6. This makes a lot of sense. I am in the process of preparing for my retirement AND starting a small jewelry business. Barb's advice provides a great road map. Thank you.

  7. Joan,

    I had a lady e-mail me that she had stopped reading this blog because I was too energetic for her. She prefers to spend her days quietly and with no pressure and I was obviously more goal-driven.

    I thought about her comment and wondered if maybe I have been a little too "intense" for some. But, on further contemplation I decided that is me. I can't write and produce if I try to be more laid back about my retirement.

    There is absolutely nothing wrong with her approach if it makes her happy. But, you and I are more closely aligned. I don't want to look back and wonder what I could have done.

  8. Good morning Joanne,

    I think this is the first time I've seen your name in the comment section. If so, welcome. I just clicked over to Studio 710, your new blog. I love sites that show off artistic creativity because what I see inspires me. You blogroll also will introduce me to all sorts of new sites. So, thank you!

    Best of luck with your new jewelry business. Barb's story is an inspirational one for all of us. Her steps are important for anyone to follow.

    If you don't have a copy of my free "Building a Satisfying Retirement" e-book, drop me a note and I'll be glad to e-mail you a copy. It could be helpful as you move toward retirement.

  9. ‘Universal Truths’ are so … “truthy” (credit: Colbert). For me, a truth that measures universally true in life sometimes has been logically presented to me or other times has come as a quietly personal ah,ha. (Probably something close to a UT even there.)

    Your adaptation of one blogger’s online “Etsy Shop” business into information that is applicable to “Satisfying Retirement”, blogging, and success in general, is a great list of things that many people may recognize as universal truths.

    Happy Easter holiday to you, as those who will do acknowledge a GOD blessed event


  10. Hi QwkDrw,

    If a truth is truly universal then wherever it comes from and whatever the inspiration, it should be true...right?

    Happy Easter to you too. It is a celebration of a weekend that changed human history forever.

  11. Bob, I saw your comment to Joan about being too "energetic" and if I'm correct, you retired at 52 or so, which is very young. So no wonder you have all that energy, even though it's been ten years or so.
    Anyway, I have to say, there are times when I dream of the beauty of nature in Belize, and actually enjoying TIME to be bored. I was so calm at times, that I felt something I cannot possibly feel in Orange County, California or anywhere with US media and a fast paced life. What do you think? It's strange because life cannot be both marketing, and serenity. I wish it could, but I don't believe it can. I'm not saying you can't be happy with both, but social media is very time-consuming and is not compatible with relaxing for days at a time. That's my experience after living a year in the Caribbean.

  12. Hi Sonia,

    My comment to Joan was a response to someone who decided to cancel her subscription to the blog because my subjects and style was too energetic for her. That's fine. We can't be everything to everybody. Strangely, I do have more energy now than I did 10 years ago!

    The way I approach this blog is as a creative outlet for my writing and to share some of the things I've learned over the past decade. It doesn't dominate my life and I attempt to not get too wrapped up in the social media process. I don't run advertising because that might change how "seriously" I take the blog.

    I research and write a post and then move on to something else. Sitting on the porch or Ramada in our backyard, reading a good book, doing some type of volunteer work, or going out for a meal allows me to mentally shift gears and relax.

    All that being said, I am so looking forward to almost 3 weeks on a beach in Hawaii next fall. That is real relaxation for me.


Inappropriate comments will be deleted