Financial independence means different things to everyone
By Chia-Li Chien
During my 2nd quarter SRI Business Retreat meeting recently, I talked with forty-six business owners about history. I used as an example the fine economists who also play the role of historian by reporting our economic situation on a monthly basis. They do a great job of telling us what is going on in the economy. For example, the Federal Reserve System provides a great deal of historical data about our overall economy. You can even download local data from your Federal Reserve branch. My branch is the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, which covers North Carolina.
Why do you need to know about economic reports? Because these economic reports typically talk about the unemployment rates, interest rates and consumer spending that will have an impact on your business both now and in the future. Your response to the data in the reports means you play an intricate part in the overall economy. According to a recent article, 6 Things Missing From the Recovery from U.S. News & World Report, L.P., small businesses account for 65% of new jobs created in our economy. So yes, we all play a key role in the overall economy. But yet, the U.S. unemployment rate was 9.9 % in April 2010. The Wall Street Journal Economic Forecasting Survey of May 2010 predicts that unemployment will be down to 9.7% in June 2010.
Our world is changing, and changing fast. Perhaps your big business (Fortune 500 or Global 1000) is not creating new domestic jobs up to pace compared to the past. You may see outsourcing come and go without being really certain which direction your business is going. But there is one thing for certain –not all of us will live forever. And not all of you will work in the corporate world forever, either.
Financial independence means different things to different people. But answer this question for me, ”What’s next for you?” As a mother, daughter, wife, daughter-in-law, business owner, boss, vendor, advisor, etc., my life reflects how we all have different roles to play. I did not find my true passion until I got very sick while working in a Fortune 500 company as Director of IT, with a $5 million overhead budget plus an average $10 million project budget annually. It was a wakeup call for me of sorts, when I became so sick that I slept seven days straight. I also thought I was paralyzed from my right shoulder up to my head. I awakened to realize that I had really never listened to my own voice. I knew something had to change, but I wasn’t sure what that was.
After two years in various different treatments, I finally went through comprehensive financial planning and happily came to the conclusion that I could afford to take a different journey. So I did. I resumed, or restarted, my consulting business in late 2003 and today, I love what I do! I am passionate about enabling women business owners to increase their business in value so they can enjoy financial independence. I am on a mission to innovate, to reposition and to capture value growth for women in business.
Take a look at other examples of those who followed their passions:
• Judge Shirley Fulton, is a recently retired Superior Court Judge from Mecklenburg County, NC. She is the owner of The Wadsworth House, a meeting place for corporate, civic and social events, and she co-founded Charlotte Law School (the first for-profit law school in Charlotte).
• Cathy Maday, was in a corporate role as a Project Manager. Today, she is the owner of Wingspan Coaching, which provides management and executive coaching services for Fortune 500 firms. She and her team were recently featured on The Learning Channel (TLC).
• Patricia Golden, was a Marketing Executive. Today, she is the owner of a ten-year-old company called My Team of Experts, Inc., a premier public relations company that helps small businesses.
Perhaps your path is different when it comes to financial independence. But no matter what you choose to do, whether owning/running a business or a civic/non-profit organization, or something else entirely, what you do will depend on what your passion/purpose is calling you to fulfill.
Consider the following:
• Find your passion/purpose and listen to the universe. No one can tell you what to do; only you can. The answer is already here if you listen carefully. Most importantly, you already hold the key to success in whatever you desire to do.
• Seek a career coach for advice. Reference my previously published article, Secrets of a Successful Exit, in which I identify ten variables to consider. The first six variables can help you decide if you want to start a business.
• Carefully analyze your situation and seek financial planning advice. But remember, your goal is not to get an approval from your CFP for retirement. The goal is to test the waters to see if you are financially ready take on a huge investment and risk such as owning a business.
The truth is that no one can predict what will happen in the future – especially in the uncertain economic environment of today. But wouldn’t you prefer to be part of the statistical history that shows an upswing, or making history brighter now for a brighter future? Begin now to visualize your future, and you’ll be the one writing your own history.
About Chia-Li Chien: Chia-Li Chien, CFP®, CRPC, PMP; helps women entrepreneurs to convert their business into meaningful personal wealth. She is the author of Show Me The Money and columnist for WomenEntrepreneur.com & Fox Business online. She is available for consulting, speaking engagements and workshops. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.