Back on September 26th I posted a bog - “My Retirement Job” - in which I discussed the conscious decision I made to change hobbies so that one day I could retire. What I didn’t discuss was the fact that I wrote a business plan, identified strategic risks, marketing issues - I tried to put a firm basis for the concept I was working with - having a “job” when I retired.
I am still amazed that the plan worked.
But, that is not the subject of this posting. As soon as I started “walking the walk” by building a relationship with a clock dealer in Salzburg Austria I also started talking the talk. By that time I had already sold perhaps 15 grandfather clocks, so it was legitimate for me to start telling people I met that I was an antique dealer. Rather than saying I was an engineer with an oil company. Looking back, it is amazing how important that really was - getting my mind started down the road to being ready to let go of my day job.
Today I think back to the years that I had two jobs - restoring antique clocks evenings and weekends, and engineering for the 9 to 5 weekdays. By treating my hobby as a job, with a commitment in the business plan to plow all revenue right back into more clocks, I was able to buy original clocks in Austria and build a quality reputation based on the fantastic pieces we found.
I am still amazed at how the business plan worked out. And, how, with that business up and running I was able to handle the transition from engineer to antique dealer. I suppose more than anything else, getting the chance to retire at 53 was a big relief - going from 2 full time jobs to just one was an even greater relief!
In retrospect it all seems so obvious - that’s the thing about looking back, we forget the nights worried about the last money transfer - worrying whether we would be able to build sufficient clientele - worried about packing, shipping, insurance, damages...
And all this while holding down a 9 to 5. But, since I did have a day job I was able to draw on experience of people at the oil company to help me understand some of the ins and outs of international finance. And shipping. And insurance. Or, as my Austrian buyer often said, and, and, and...
Most importantly, when I was given my freedom (otherwise known as walking papers) I was able to step into a functioning business - I was in fact an antique dealer!