“What about your business?” This is among the top three questions I get when I mention our pending Ecuadorian move and quite frankly, it is a question that I spend a significant amount of time mulling over. The fact is, I run a contractual service business, so once our contract is finished later this year, I could go into hibernation/quasi-retirement for a year, and then resurface the following year with a new contract. However, the concerns I have, have nothing to do with getting hired again, and everything to do with the people I employ and the families we serve.
I am reminded daily about the positive impact we have on children, their self-esteem, and academic success and I see the relationships we build with parents and guardians who are trying their best to raise these young people in urban environments that most of us would never want to live in. So, is there gratification and pride in the work I do? Yes! I also know that our employees rely on this income to help them achieve personal goals, such as car payments, family vacations and gifts.
But an ex-boyfriend once told me that travel was like my lover…and I have to agree. The thrill of pulling out my passport and whisking off to some location where the first language is not American English…is for me exhilarating. Like encountering love afresh. My cheeks even get rosy…or maybe that’s just my blush.
I have also been reminded that there are multiple companies that do my same work (though in my opinion, not as well) and my students and families will just migrate to them. Reality check! While I like to think I am indispensable, I can be easily replaced…shucks! So with that in mind, I am reminded that my staff can find positions with these other companies and I no longer feel bad about shutting down my operations.
I am fortunate, given my business model and the fact that I can essentially walk right back into it, that letting go of the business for a year, or more, is really not that big of a deal. I also enjoy rather spartan living, so moving to a less expensive locale will help with the drop in income. However, this solution does not work for many cases, so I leave it to you to decide how you want to retire. But I do think the decision should be your own and not someone else’s.
For those of you who have been following this blog, you know that I like to keep my decision making relatively simple and stream-lined. I am no different when it comes to running a business and thinking next steps.