What’s your retirement plan? PLUS my entrepreneurship library giveaway!

Entrepreneurship gets in your blood. It’s a thrill, building a business and being in charge of your own enterprise. It can be a hard habit to break.
— Carol Tice, Will Today’s Entrepreneurs Ever Retire?

You’ve heard it before: I love my work so much I would do it for free! Okay, maybe.

How about: I love my work so much I would do it forever! Ouch.

When you’re driven by passion and a big, bold mission, it’s hard to imagine yourself not working until your last breath. Or is it? It’s harder still to imagine a plan for working yourself out of a job when you’re struggling to stay in control of your current business plan.

But planning for retirement – or, at the least, that time when you might want to have more fun – is an important part of your long term goal setting.

How would you make business decisions differently if you knew what retirement looked like?

How do you envision retirement as of today?

  • Sipping cocktails on a far off island beach?
  • Hardcore philanthropy?
  • Ceaseless travel?
  • Going back to school?
  • Ease, rest, and relaxation at home?
  • Work as fun instead of working to fund fun?

Bottom line: you’re not building a business or income stream just for today or tomorrow. You’re building a strategy for long term gain and satisfaction.

Entrepreneurship Library GIVEAWAY

Want to win a library of 6 books to support your entrepreneurship and help you build that strategy for long term gain & satisfaction? Thought so. I’m giving away a copy of Drive by Daniel Pink, Start With Why by Simon Sinek, Linchpin by Seth Godin, Taking the Leap by Pema Chodron, Uncertainty by Jonathan Fields (forthcoming), and The Art of Non-Conformity by Chris Guillebeau.

These are books and people who have transformed my business.

Here’s how to enter:

  • Visit our giveaway sponsor’s site, Business on Main, and take a look-see at this article on entrepreneurship & retirement (link will open in new tab).
  • Then, come back here and leave a comment below with your thoughts on retirement. Want to work forever? Are you one of the 4 in 10 who are don’t plan to retire? Or do you have a clear vision of what “work” will look like (or not!) in your 70s or 80s?
  • Giveaway ends Monday, August 1 at noon Eastern. Winner will be selected at random and contacted by email.
  • One entry per person.

My blog is a part of an online influencer network for Business on Main. I receive incentives to share my views on a monthly basis.

race to the bottom vs reach for the top: you can’t avoid high-end when it comes to your passion-driven business

With an abundance of “stuff” all around us, it’s easy to think that the road to success is paved with bargains. People want more and they want it cheap, right?

Is it even possible to build a business that’s comfortable by stocking its shelves with products that cost more than average?

Sure, it is. Even in this economy (no excuse, people!), companies are making a killing on premium products that you’re buying.

Apple is doing it. So is Harley Davidson. The makeup brand I use, Jane Iredale, is doing it too. Heck, I would probably even put Starbucks in that category. My new go-to drink is over $5.

Passion-driven businesses are built around the fact that the customer is as passionate as the business owner. That the zeal for quality & distinctiveness is a shared trait between merchant & patron. Further, the passion they share is not only at face value – for a great computer, motorcycle, or mineral foundation – but for an underlying purpose – design, culture, or beauty.

Purpose is a nonnegotiable. Business owner & customer either share it – and do business happily – or they don’t.

Passion-driven businesses lose money on “…maybe”.

Passion doesn’t allow for compromise on the things that matter most to you. And not compromising rarely allows for a deal.

What is beyond compromise in your business?
  • Level of service?
  • Quality of materials?
  • Craftsmanship?
  • Vision of success?
  • Start to finish method?
  • Source of materials?
  • Consistency?
  • Ease of use?
  • Sustainability?

How could you expand your market of passionate customers by focusing on the highest quality regardless of price?

Inevitably, your passion for your service, product, or vision means that you can check off a whole list of nonnegotiables. Take, for instance, Henry Sidel, who has a passion for Japanese culture:

“I never thought I’d start a business,” says Sidel, now 43. It wasn’t entrepreneurship that excited him — it was his passion for all things Japanese.

Sidel first visited the country as a homestay college student in 1987, later returning after graduation to live there for a time and learn the language. Over the years, he made several more trips, but his interests didn’t converge until a 2001 sake tasting at a New York restaurant. The spirits, shall we say, moved him. (Joanna Krotz, Turning Passion Into Profits)

Think he’s hocking the cheap stuff? No way. Someone who is passionate about the culture, the product, and the people doesn’t care too much about the price. He’s interested in connecting the best, most interesting sake with the people who appreciate it as much as he does.

His nonnegotiables have to do with showcasing different regions of Japan, promoting artisans, and featuring unique flavors. And he does this all with another quirk of high-end business: a limited menu.

Sidel is also ranks education & events among his nonnegotiables. It’s not just about selling, it’s about creating an experience.

My guess is that your dream for your business is not much different. You dream of a business where you attract customers who love what you do as much as you do. Who are in it for the experience and not just another cheap thrill. Who value your expertise, your passion, and your vision. Who happily hand over the cash because – regardless of what the rest of the world thinks – it’s worth it to them.

The thing is, this type of business doesn’t evolve into a high-end business. It’s designed as a high-end business.

Think again of that dream-of-a-business we were just envisioning.

What changes could you make in the structure or operation of your business to make it more like the “if only” business you dream of?

What decisions have you been avoiding because of your fear of the “high-end?”

Leave your response below!

My blog is a part of an online influencer network for Business on Main. I receive incentives to share my views on a monthly basis.