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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Renewing the Corporatepreneur

As a 10 year corporatepreneur and an original contributor to this blog, I have been quiet this past year or so. The recession hurt my business like most, especially considering it was dependent on online ad rates. Having a corporate job did take some of the stress of the recession off, but I am now ready to renew my efforts as a corporatepreneur. My old business is still running at significantly lower income, but I have decided to take what I have learned to look for other new opportunities.
It is exciting to start with a blank slate after focusing on the same business metrics for so long. But at the same time it is daunting to think about all of the time, effort and work it took the first time. That is why I have gathered some statistics to support the theory we have all held here about the need for corporatepreneurs.

1. Retirement will be the new field of the Haves vs the Have Nots.
2. Any job, even a good one may not be enough to fund a modern retirement.

When I started in the corporate world, I saw a lot of people retiring at the normal 50-55 years of age. However, what I did not know was that so many of them did not really fund a lot of their retirement. They were the last generation to have pensions and benefitted from a great run through the 90s of the stock market.
In 1985 91% of employers offered a pension.
In 2005 61% of employers offered a pension.
In 2009 only 37% offer a traditional pension.
I am actually surprised how relatively high the last 2 numbers seem vs how it feels. However, the message is the same, traditional pensions are dead and everyone is on their own for retirement. And many companies have stopped any 401k matching programs.

The primary retirement question used to be WHEN you could retire. With people hoping to comfortably stop working at 55 or even 50. After reading Rich Dad Poor Dad, I thought the question for our generation would be not when but IF one could retire. I thought this shift was 20 years away, however with the recession and a massive debt crushing our economy, we may have already hit the time when a significant portion of the population could not retire at all. In a recent CNNMoney poll, 34% said they may never be able to retire. Even scarier, you can go to INGcompareMe.com to see how your retirement planning stacks up against 100,000 people who have entered their data. The average amount saved at every age group and income seemed shockingly low to me. I consider myself a dedicated saver for retirement and I still worry that I am not doing enough to prepare for retirement.
I read a recent article talking about moving the retirement age from 62 to 67 or even 70. They justified it saying it is necessary because of large debt and feasible because people are living longer and our service economy is not as hard as farming or labor allowing people to stay in the work force longer. All fair points, except for the fact that companies would need to want to keep people around until the age of 70. And looking around the office, I do not see too many people beyond 55. That means you may expect to have a 10 year gap between retiring from the corporate world and social security and Medicare benefits. Are any of us planning ahead for this second career? I have heard of people retiring to go into teaching or other types of work. I am certainly not against working in retirement because there are many health and social benefits, I would just like for it to be a choice and not a way to try and make ends meet.

The ultimate goal of a corporatepreneur is to have a business take off so that you can be your own boss. Even if that never happens it would be great to have a business fund a proper or early retirement. Or If none of those dreams come true, it would be great to have a business established and running that could ease the tradition into retirement.

I have to think in the next decade, we will move from anonymous blogs to whole communities helping each other achieve our goals.


Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Comment of the year

@Timothy said, regarding my reward and punishment for my 5 hours a week goal:

Very nice! I was thinking of picking up a Galaxy from ATT. Toys are a perfect motivator. If the toy doesn't work, Bears Cares ought to do the trick, especially since the Bears just handed the Pack a loss.


Sunday, September 26, 2010

This is it!

In about 45 minutes, I will have fulfilled my 5 hours a week of work for 5 straight weeks. The closest I've come to not getting the 5 hours in was the last two weeks. Last week, I was taking a trip out to SF and had no hours booked up to the day I traveled. Thank goodness for Delta's wifi on the plane! I knocked out 2 hours on the 4.5 hour flight out there. I couldn't do more because 1. The battery on my Mac drained, and 2. There was about 30 min of turbulence that was bad enough that I couldn't type straight. Then on Friday, while everyone else was sleeping and I was still on Eastern time, I knocked out the remaining 3 hours, giving myself the 5 hours for the week. Not bad considering I didn't do any work on the weekend. This week the same thing happened. I had no hours booked through the week... just constantly had stuff going on and the messed up sleep schedule caused me to be really tired at night. Well I knocked out 2.5 hours on Saturday and I'm wrapping up the last 2.5 hours for tonight.

I've been tracking the work I've been doing and the time I've spent doing it. A majority of the time I've used to learn Wordpress for a new website I'm trying to start. It's fun going through the logs. On Sept 5, I spent 30 min at Starbucks downloading Wordpress. Then later, I spent an hour on my couch troubleshooting the wordpress installation (it's NEVER the 5 min installation they say!). But then as I went along, I started picking up what Wordpress was all about... picked a theme, figured out how to change widths of stuff, figured out what "the loop" was, and eventually getting to a point where I could do some stuff on the code level. It's awesome to see the progression!

I definitely want to keep this level of discipline in my work. I would like to get to a glidepath to get to 10 hours a week. I've been pretty good about the work being real execution work, with minimal brainstorming and theorizing work (I tend to gravitate towards that kind of work anyway, so it won't be an issue to try to limit it). It's still hard to get started, all the self doubt and wondering if what I'm doing is really worth it or not kicks in. But it's a great feeling when you're done with the hour and you figured out that Wordpress issue!

As for the iPhone 4... I cheated a little bit and bought it last week in SF because I wanted the better camera and video recording capability. But I was still going to make that donation if I didn't get the hours in, and I was more determined than ever to get the hours in so I wouldn't hafta face you guys!


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