A successful entrepreneur shares her thoughts on business success and failure.

Realization: "Temporarily Retired" Doesn't Fit Me Any More

I think it started with my recent post about business cards, actually. But I really noticed it when I logged in to my LinkedIn account recently.

Encouraged by Seth, I am slowly getting into the habit of typing all the names and email addresses of people I meet at conferences into LinkedIn. After going to BarCampBank SF last weekend, I logged into LinkedIn, and there was my current job description: “Temporarily retired” at “my house.” For the first time, it wasn’t tongue-in-cheek humorous anymore. It actually made me cringe.

I always knew my “retirement” was temporary. The money I’ve made by selling my business, though it is substantial, is not enough to allow me to retire permanently unless I were to move to somewhere significantly cheaper. Though I seriously considered moving to Florida or Texas for many good reasons, I eventually decided my heart for now longs to be near to the Pacific Ocean…and, well, I just couldn’t hurl myself off the deep end and move to Thailand, either. ๐Ÿ™‚

It’s Official – I Am No Longer Retired

There were two reasons I have — officially, I suppose, now that I am declaring it on this blog — come out of my temporary retirement and am ready to hang out my shingle again. One is that I realized that, since I am getting paid monthly for the sale of my business, my income is still dependent on someone else. It’s rather like getting a large salary for doing very little work. While this is wonderful (don’t get me wrong!), it still means my income is 100% dependent on one company that is not run by me. Being a born entrepreneur, this makes me skittish.

I want to be in control of my own destiny. I am saving the vast majority of the money that comes in, but I don’t want to get in a situation where the buyer stops paying for some reason and I get to watch my bank account dwindle instead of grow every month. I don’t have any reason to believe my buyer will default, but my natural paranoia about receiving a single check every month gnaws at me nonetheless.

My second reason is that I discovered something I am really passionate about — something that lit that fire right under my butt and motivated me to get out of bed every day. I am pleased to finally announce the first look at my “hard labor” project of the past month — WealthCamp.

“WealthCamp – In Just One Day, We Will Help You Change Your Financial Situation”

I first came up with the idea in January to create a conference that was cheap to attend and that taught regular people how to understand money, investing, and saving. Then I immediately put it on the back burner. After all, I had this Internet marketing thing (Hardworking Millionare) that was going to make me a lot of money. Plus I had Inspiring Innovators (my interview site) and a new “offline” business to start up. Any one of those three would be a full-time job. Adding a fourth job — setting up a conference — would guarantee that one or more of my other goals would have to be put aside — perhaps permanently.

Two months later, I can safely say that I’ve put them all aside for WealthCamp.

Why? It was getting out there and talking to regular people that convinced me I had to do this. Once it was a conversation about investment properties with others who did not understand what a “cap rate” was. (Probably the first hint that they were in way over their heads.) More recently, it was a conversation with my chiropractor, who didn’t know how much he needed to put away for retirement or where to place his investments so that they were safe, but a better return than a bank savings account. It was a friend who told me that she kept close to 6 figures in a bank savings account earning less than 1% interest because she didn’t know where else to put it.

These things kept gnawing at me. There was a voice in the back of my head saying, “You can do something about this. You can help these people.”

The Dream That Has The Potential To Touch Millions

I have said from the beginning of this blog, and probably before that, that one of my life goals is to touch the lives of millions of people. Hardworking Millionaire, as a membership site, wouldn’t do that. Inspiring Innovators will, which is why I have postponed it instead of writing it off completely. And my “offline” business that I fully intended to start after I sold Simpli — which was to be a coworking space here in the Bay Area — will probably be picked up by someone else who will become hugely successful doing that.

I had to let them all go to pursue my dream…so I did. That voice in the back of my head was telling me that WealthCamp, as envisioned by me, could potentially have a larger impact than a coworking space and a membership site combined. That this was the gateway to a speaking career, and a book, and that I got it. I understood where these people were coming from. I had no clue about investing until I sold my business! I understand the subprime mortgage crisis and economics on a deep level, and I am passionate about making arcane financial information accessible to the average person. I also am getting connected with lots of other great people who can speak and lead workshops at these sorts of seminars.

There Is Nothing Out There Like WealthCamp

WealthCamp will help regular people learn about personal finance. Those who are struggling with credit card debt, mortgage debt, and student loan debt — so many of us are in over our heads, and yet in our society it is taboo to talk about money. This is, frankly, killing us. Those peddling financial information typically have a vested interest (“I’m a Realtor(TM) — now is a great time to buy a house!”)

The world is crying out for financial information where someone doesn’t make a profit with every word that comes out of their mouth. Where real people come in and talk about money, not people who are there to bedazzle you with ridiculous charts and graps. Real people, who have made it and who have been successful, who aren’t there to push a product, but to share what they’ve learned and how it can help you. I knew I could make a large impact by having one of the only financial planning seminars in the world that wasn’t run by someone with a mission to make a huge profit.

I knew when I started WealthCamp that I had a long, winding, and mostly unknown road in front of me. I have never organized or put on a conference before. But instead of convincing myself I couldn’t do it, I asked questions of those who had, bought books about seminar planning, and followed organizational steps like creating a mind map so I didn’t get overwhelmed by all the tasks. Then I just worked on a few tasks for WealthCamp every single day.

Lo and behold, the path started to become visible. I found a venue. I settled on a date. I have two excellent keynote speakers lined up and several more in the wings to talk to. I have some great promotions lined up. My friends are interested. I am messaging A-lister bloggers to make sure they blog about and promote the conference.

Every plan that I had two months ago has gone out the window, and I couldn’t be happier. This is my chance to make a difference. It is the first of many ways in which I will make a real difference in the world. “Temporary retirement” was awesome. I used about 5 months to read, grow, learn, and improve my methods. I got organized, threw old stuff away, and replaced things that needed replacing. Now I am ready to go out there and change the world, again.

Please put yourself on the “watch” or “attend” list for WealthCamp, and I will notify you as soon as the signup form is online. This isn’t the last you will hear about WealthCamp, as I have many more hurdles to jump over and many more ideas about the conference!

As always, I welcome your input in the comments below.

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I'm Erica Douglass.
After selling my online business at age 26 for over $1 million, I created this blog to help you grow your own business quickly.

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