Getting Your Act Together First

If you spend any time reading blogs that help you change your lifestyle, career, or circumstances, you quickly discover that everyone is in a huge rush.  We write things like “Just start something.  Get moving.  Do it NOW.”  You deserve cool things, and you deserve them right now.  When we realize what we want out of life, then we want the rest of our life to start as soon as possible.1 All of that is well and good.  Personally, I’m a big fan of action and forward motion.  I am convinced that the world has changed, and delaying your quest to find meaning in your life until after you have “paid your dues” is a scam.  The delayed gratification of retirement should not be our ultimate goal in life.  Finding meaning and doing meaningful work should be things that we strive for at every stage of life. Now, here comes the “but.” We want change and we want it now, but I wonder if we pay adequate attention to the timing and costs of acting, particularly when it comes to financial obligations.  We are all responsible for our own choices.  If you have debts, you have an obligation to pay them back.  If you have a child, you have an obligation to provide for them, and so on.  There is a tension between the rush to “follow your dreams” and the things that tie us down.  How do you know when it’s time to do something new, especially if it means leaving a regular paycheck? How much do you need to prepare before you start? How much should you work to get your financial act together before you venture off to do something entrepreneurial? Should you be debt free first? Should you have X months of salary set aside first? I have a personal stake in these questions.  They haunt me, because I’m still carrying a significant amount of business debt from another entrepreneurial experiment.  I’m anxious to get moving with my plans for the future, but I’m not necessarily prepared to take another huge financial risk at the expense of my family.  We weathered the last financial storm, and I’m not sure we’re ready for another. These are some tough questions, and I don’t have the answers.  So, I decided to ask others with some experience in these matters.  I posed them to writers I respect, especially in the areas of finances and entrepreneurship.  I received several great responses, and here are some of the best.   Corbett Barr is one of the brains behind ThinkTraffic and Expert Enough.  He works with people trying to get really good at what they love to do and expand their online presence. How much should you work to get your financial act together before you venture off to do something entrepreneurial? This is really hard to answer for everyone because there are way too many variables and specific circumstances. Personally, I waited until I had multiple years of living expenses saved up…

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