I recently heard a story about a friend-of-a-friend who had a decent consulting career. Instead of leveraging his skills to make as much money as possible, he took a different approach.
Each year he would accept consulting projects starting in January. His skills were in demand and so he was able to work extended contracts charging over $100 per hour, nearly 40 hours per week. Up until this point he seemed to have a normal consulting career.
But then every May or June something unique would happen. He stopped working.
A magic number
You see, he had a number in mind. A number that to him was enough money for the year. Once he hit that number he stopped working. He wrapped up his existing projects, said “no” to all new clients, and stopped working entirely.
For the rest of the year he traveled, worked on fun projects, did volunteer work, and practiced his hobbies.
Instead of trying to make as much money as possible, growing his business, and doubling revenue each year, he decided how much money was enough, and stopped once he reached his goal.
I have a lot of respect for that.
For the first three months of this year I’ve worked really hard. I’ve done great revenue on all of my ebooks, launched Photoshop for Interface Design and Mastering Product Launches, and grown ConvertKit. It was a really busy time, but I was paid well for it.
If I continue on this path I think I could more than double last year’s revenue.
But for now, I have enough.
I worked hard for three months, now I plan to take two months off. My next son is due in about a month (May 8th!) and my older son will turn three this year. I want to be around more, be thinking about work less, and generally have more time for everything else.
With a caveat
As I write this I’m about a week into my new found freedom of not having any goals or deadlines. At first I was working very little, but then something terrible happened: I got bored. I spent more time reading, drawing, exercising, and playing with my son, but I missed work. I missed spending the majority of my day creating.
Trying to take too much time off is a problem. I enjoy my work—so why stop? That’s when I realized I need to take a break from the crazy deadlines and hard work, but not from work entirely.
The new plan is to make slow, consistent progress towards my goals and continue hiring and training a team to do even more work on my behalf. This new plan will give me plenty of time for things besides work, allow me to work on my goals without immediate revenue being the focus, and keep me from getting bored.
It’s time for a (temporary) change of pace.