How my 7-step guide can help you change your life
Let me start this month’s blog with some questions:
- Do you get to the end of the week and feel completely chewed up?
- Would you like to work because you want to, rather than because you must?
- Are you worried about running out of money?
If your answer is “yes” to any of them, I can empathise. I’ve been through the same stress, but I’ve also come through it with more freedom.
Like me, it’s likely you’re a successful businessperson, running a well-established business or series of businesses that you worked hard to build from scratch.
You’re working flat out to ensure you remain successful, leaving yourself little time outside work, and even less to stop and think about your situation and how to get a better work-life balance.
In 2019 I wrote a book entitled Seasons of Wealth: Because it’s about more than money, which recounted my battle with the same stresses you’re facing. It then outlined a seven-step process that I believe can solve your problems and help you to a more fulfilling life.
Here’s a precis of that seven-step process for you.
1. Carve out time and space to think and dream
Get away from your workplace to ensure there are no distractions. Then dare to dream and think the unthinkable.
At the end of the process, it might not be so unthinkable.
Note everything down. Sometimes when you go through the notes you make – from meetings, calls, or even personal brainstorms – random thoughts that seemed to make no sense at the time suddenly become bathed in clarity.
2. Ask yourself the right questions
To prompt your thought process, ask yourself some questions. The answers are likely to be the first step on the road to gaining complete control over your life for, potentially, the first time in years.
- Why did you set up your business?
- What would you really like to do if money was no object?
- Think a year ahead and imagine what your situation would be if you could make the changes to your life that you really want to.
3. Avoid making assumptions
We’re hardwired with unconscious assumptions. It therefore helps if you can work with people who can help you avoid assumptions and make decisions based on facts and reality.
Speak to friends, family, and business partners. Be brave enough to ask what your blind spots are.
4. Work with a business coach
Most successful people have a coach or mentor. Sometimes these are visible – think sports stars, for example – but even more frequently they are hidden away, doing their invaluable work behind the scenes.
A business coach can help you turn your outline plans into clear objectives to help you achieve your business goals.
It’s down to you who you choose, but it makes sense to find a coach or mentor who has been through the same process and has a proven record of success.
5. Put your financial plan together
Once you’ve established your goals, the next step is to consider the financial side.
This is probably the most detailed, and potentially time-consuming, of the seven steps so it makes sense to break it down.
- Cost up how much you think you’ll need to do all that you’ve identified.
- Then consider high-level, realistic timescales.
- After that, consider your own income and expenditure. Detail is required here, so it may well be worth using an app designed for the task. Include current and projected business profit and the withdrawals you take.
- Then comes the cashflow modelling phase. Initially this should look at your current financial position, but it’s also worth modelling different scenarios to see what the impact is.
- The next step is to change the future by modelling different scenarios and see what can and cannot happen and even what sacrifices you can make now to get you there.
This whole process is designed to answer a question we alluded to earlier: “will I run out of money?”
If the answer initially is “yes”, you can then look at different assumptions and see what needs to change for you to meet your financial goals.
6. Intelligent investing
If you’re happy managing your investments, then there’s no reason why you shouldn’t continue to do that.
One word of caution I would put forward, however, is that investment can be complicated and stressful – mistakes can be costly and irreversible.
If you aren’t 100% happy, then you should consider delegating to a financial planning professional who will give considered advice and recommendations based on detailed analysis, not emotion.
Research carried out by the International Longevity Centre has shown that those who take advice are, on average, more than £40,000 better off than those that don’t.
Leading investment fund managers, Vanguard Asset Management, have quantified the value of investment advice to be worth as much as 3% net each year.
Furthermore, when it comes to crucial financial planning matters – such as making sure you do not run out of money – are you comfortable managing all this yourself – with the associated demands on your time, and stresses involved?
7. Regularly review and monitor
Once your plan has been brought to life and enacted, it’s crucial to regularly review it to ensure it stays on track.
I’d always recommend an annual review at the very least – with ad hoc reviews if circumstances change.
Note that these could include personal changes or external events that you need to react to.
Get in touch
If you’re a business owner facing some of the issues I’ve raised here and you would like more information about how I can help you, then let’s chat.
Give me a call on 0203 813 8265 and we’ll set up a convenient time for a clarity call.