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Monday, February 10, 2014

Exit Strategy

Some of us love what we do, and I do.

But some of us have other plans...something planned for when we're done doing what we love. And I do.

Others are satisfied with what they do, or tolerate what they do, but still are haunted by what-ifs.

And worse, there are some who dislike or feel trapped by finances, other obligation, or even self doubt that they could do better.

Maya Angelou is right...when you know better, you do better. Sometimes, knowing better is simply knowing that you have options. When you know what your options are, then you can create a strategy.

Here are some things to think about, if you're planning an exit strategy.

1. Define it. What do you really want?
  • What is your bottom line?  A new job? A side business? A new business? A hobby you want to explore full-time? A sabbatical to travel or other personal or professional development? 
  • If you're transitioning from hobby to career, will you start part time? On weekends? Or are you all in, resigning your current job in x days and going for it?
  • Create a vision for what you want and what that looks like. Be as specific as you can. The better defined it is, the more you can assess your needs and the timing of bringing the dream to fruition.

2. Plan, plan, and plan again.
  • Do your research and complete an inventory of your skill set.
  • What are your strengths and weaknesses?
  • Do an old-fashioned t-chart and go visual. Based on what is needed for your plan, be honest and realistic about how your assets match up against your debits.  
  • What skills used in your current career apply to your new one?
  • What other skills would transfer and enhance your new idea?
  • With what will you need help? Will you need additional training?
  • What could go wrong? Then what?
  • Plan like it is your job...because it is.

3. Friends and family.
  • Are the people in your life supportive of your new endeavor? Take their considerations under advisement and use your judgment. Consider their bottom line. What do they have to gain or lose in this adventure? Everyone has a bias. Consider how that bias works for or against your efforts.
  • Who are your mentors in the field? From whom can you learn the ropes? Find someone who is successful and find out how he or she got there. Are there best practices for you to emulate? Cull out what's most useful and let go of the rest.

4. Plan for re-entry.
We all know that things go wrong. Sometimes, your plan works and other times it fails. Great thinkers have had flops. And, long-term travel may end. Then what?
  • What's your plan for re-entering the workforce or re-establishing income?
  • Do you need to save first, for a just-in-case cushion?
  • Anticipate a worst-case scenario. Then what? Life doesn't stop. You rebuild. Be prepared.

5. If now is not the time, then what?
Even after you have done all of the work, if you have decided that now is just not the time, what do you do? How do you go backwards?

You don't.

Look at your vision? What is the passion behind the vision? Integrate it into your life where you can. Find joy in that piece of you that was worth risking it all. Just do it on a smaller scale. For now.
  • Want to leave it all to go to culinary school? For now, feed your friends and family and experiment with technique and different cuisines. There are some fabulous new cookbooks out there...and your family and friends will love it!
  • Want to travel the world? Start as a tourist in your own backyard.
  • Want to transition to a career as a designer? Volunteer your services on small projects and build a portfolio?
  • Want to write full time? Start blogging or submitting your stories to the local paper. Build a portfolio and readership.
In the meantime, get the training you need. Save your money where you can. And do what brings you joy. 


Inspire me...what's on your list? What is something that brings you joy, through which you could build a life?


  1. I have wanted to own my own business I am just not sure what I would sell. I am afraid that turning a hobby I love into work could make me hate it. It is fun to dream and discover what it possible.

    1. Hi Kerry, maybe you could try as a vendor at an artisan fair or outdoor market. You're right though...when it becomes work, you risk losing enjoyment...especially when there's financial pressure tied to it. Good luck and keep dreaming! :-)

  2. Hi Kelly! Wow, that was a chock full of info Post. Lots of great tips for reflection and one most everyone can relate to in some way or another, including me! Thanks for sharing.

    1. Thanks, Peggy. I am still trying to find the line between helpful and meaningful content, but worry that it can become too dense. The learning curve of a lifestyle blogger, I guess. Thank you so much for your feedback. I'm so happy you found it useful. :-)

  3. These are some awesome tips. I really want to start my own freelancing career and travel. I'm hoping I can figure it all out soon. :)

    1. Hi Lynsey! We have similar goals. I am also trying to figure it all out. We'll get there. :-) Thanks so much for your visit and comments!

  4. I love this, right when I need to implement these things.

    1. Hi Debbie! That's great! Wishing you the best of luck as you begin your journey. Please stay in touch and let me know how you're doing. Cheers!