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How can you harness your panic?


Last updated 2/6/2019 at Noon

Dear SharonAnn,

I am now single, 52 years old, and have operated my own business for 15 years. Ideally, I’d like to sell my business in about 10 years and be free to explore the world. I want to volunteer at an orphanage in Tanzania, observe turtles in the Galapagos, visit the villages I’ve donated for in the wild places, write a book, visit my kids and grandkids a bit, take a ceramic class in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. I want to experience living, not just making a living.

The problem is if I continue to grow at the same rate, my business sale price will not give me what I want. I do have some money in my 401k and a Roth IRA but I can see I’ll need more. A lot more. I run counseling and placement services for seniors on the move. Some have a bum deal, especially if there is no family nearby to help. I love helping my clients, but I am beginning to be scared that I’ll never make my goals. My advisors agree with me but have no ideas. How can I use my business and my business skills to build my nest egg for financial freedom?

Signed: Beginning TO PANIC


You are right to start thinking and preparing now for the outcome you want in a decade. Sometimes it takes several years to groom your business into something someone would want to buy for your price. How much do you need to sell your business for in order to fulfill your dreams?

Here are some questions to consider. What led you to your business in the beginning? Was it the financial rewards? Was it because you saw a need and knew you could fill the need? Did you buy a job? Has that reason changed over time, and now you want to be able to sell the business?

Do you know your future number? Are you traveling with a backpack, staying in hostels and using third class local transportation? Or do you want to be more comfortable? When you think this out, how much income per year do you want to be able to spend? Do you want to retire? Ever?

As you consider the outcome you want, you can reverse engineer to find out the math that will support you. [Fancy term that just means do the math.] For example, if you need a nest egg of $3M, and your current practice will bring you $700K, you see there is a big gap. Here is where you must, yes, you must get creative. The world is full of possibilities, and help is available.

One of my clients decided to franchise her service business, and with three successful ones launched, she can now sell them for $1.8M. She has at least seven years ahead of her, and is planning another three franchise locations.

Another client found a network marketing company she loves, and is at parties at least four times a week. Along with her regular work, her annual additional income is $134K and growing. She socks it away for the long term.

Still another created a subscription business on the internet, and is now selling craft kits to schools and churches. She is netting $335K per year that she puts aside for the future. Make no mistake, these successes were not easy. Each woman worked her butt off, dedicating time and energy to the longer-term goal.

If you really are serious about financial freedom, it is time to roll up your sleeves and learn, learn, learn. Learn yourself. What can you offer to the world that is uniquely yours? How do you monetize or make money with the idea?

Your local library has many books that are helpful as you make your business stronger and more profitable. The business departments in colleges and universities have a tremendous knowledge base, and many are willing to help if you just ask. You can find online courses and private coaches. A coach is a personal teacher helping you get the exact information you need in order to take steps forward toward your goals.

Panic has two sides. There is the panic that sends you into paralysis. You freeze. Some remain there, stuck. They end up living out their years in disappointment and regret. Others have chosen to learn the skill of turning panic into fuel. Energy for change.

Change is challenging for everyone. Even those who enjoy the outcome of change do feel a bit nervous. Everyone has some fear of the unknown. Sometimes, therapy helps you get over the roadblock, and sometimes a specialized coach like a business coach can open doors.

A wise elder once said, “An acorn falls in the forest, and, there in the silence, a great work begins.” Your thinking is the acorn, the awareness and your ability to put your finger on the problem. You can use your panic as fertilizer and energy for change to begin the growth necessary to become a great work. Your great work, your business of helping others, then bears the fruit of strong finances for enjoyment of your next phase of life.

It sounds simple. It is. But it is not easy. Learning the strategies that change your mindset is the best investment you’ll ever make. Use some time just thinking. Did you know a silent, smiling woman is a dangerous thing? Be curious.


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