Those of you who know me well, know that I am fortunate enough not to have a “job”, but have created a business that generates residual income. So I am to a large degree, in control of my own schedule, but I’m still required to work a few hours a day to keep things running smoothly.
This doesn’t mean I’m filthy rich, or have loads of money saved up for a vacation like this. I don’t. But we’re not going to pay for this vacation on credit either! I actually plan on continuing to do some work while there, although I’m making arrangements now to limit this requirement as much as possible during the trip.
I created a simple spreadsheet to help determine how much this trip will cost, and it is quite a bit of money. For transportation, accommodations, food, and activities, I’ve calculated it will cost between $12,000-$14,000 (I’ve tried to overestimate so give us some leeway). Obviously, we do have some money saved up for the trip, but not that much. The rest will just be coming in as normal income (or dividends, rather) from my businesses as if I was living and working at home.
I also have a few website projects in the works, that will help cover the costs once they’re completed. I’m hoping I won’t have to spend too much time on these projects while we’re gone, but I know I’ll at least have to check up on and verify the work my programmers are putting out. What I don’t want is to be constantly thinking about work and business. This is supposed to be a relaxing vacation with my family – a separation from work! I think it would be pretty pathetic if I can’t get away from e-mail and work mentally for at least a couple days in a row.
So I’m not to the point yet where I’m completely removed from my business. Yes, if I stopped working for a week, or even a month, things would still probably be okay, and the money would continue to come in. I also have a fantastic team that takes care of most of the details for me. But there are a few things that still only I can do. I hope to change this soon, so that no matter what happens to me, my customers will be taken of, as will my family. This will also give me ultimate freedom of time and energy. There are a few places we’re staying where we’ll be without Internet access for at least one week (unless I stop by an Internet cafe). So this will be a good test run for me, to see how things go without my interaction.
My purpose in having a business that runs without me is not so that I can be lazy and do nothing, but so that I can focus my time on pursuits that are more meaningful to me (for now that includes spending six weeks with my family in Panama). A life void of work or stretching would be a mundane life indeed. But I want to eliminate as much as possible that work that is drudgery or who’s sole purpose is to make money. Why spend your time working just for money when you could work for something of far greater value? I’ll go into this more in a future post.
In the mean time, if you want a great book about automating a business, read the The E-Myth by Michael Gerber. I highly recommend it.
If you want a great book about automating everything in your life, and living it more fully, I recommend The 4-Hour Work Week by Timothy Ferris – although some of his advice (and language) is a little to bold (even crude) for my taste. But looking past that, the book changed my life in a lot of good ways, and helped me see what’s really possible, and how simple it really is.