Will The New Plan Go Anywhere?

In my life there have been various moments when I’ve decided that it’s a good time to answer one of the most important questions there is.

What’s next?

The context… it’s nearly the end of a year, which is usually a good time to evaluate anyway. But on top of that, the forthcoming year, 2015, contains my 30th birthday. Surely, then, no better time for a mid-life crisis?

Perhaps not yet. Right now I am feeling remarkably philosophical about the forthcoming year. I’ve been feeling “old” for at least the last five years now, so adding a further year is not going to make a difference. It will, of course, be sad to leave the 20s behind, but there’s nothing I can do about it. I am getting further and further away from the youth demographic, and it’s tremendously depressing when I stop too long to think about it.

So I try not to. Instead, I contemplate the future.

The new plan, which is to run in parallel with current businesses, is to consider a third venture. One which is a bit more reliable from a long-term perspective: property.

I have secretly always wanted to be a property tycoon. I like the idea of having a property portfolio. I reckon it was too many student days catching rubbish like Homes Under The Hammer, but the prospect of the returns that can be made is quite enticing for someone like me… I like to think of myself as a very modest entrepreneur.

It seems to make sense. I have spent my entire 20s saving and saving, living a pretty rubbish, frugal existence, which very little in the way of outside interests. As a result, I have some money that I would like to invest. I would very much like to start my 30s owning my own home, but frankly I don’t really care that much about it being my home. I would be just as happy if it were a home that I built (with assistance of course) which was then sold on to make a profit, before moving on to the next one.

And so the plan begins. The idea being that me and my business partner (for my second business) are going to commence a self-build house project. I bring the finance. He brings the building knowledge.

The trouble is, the prospects are limited. Where we are… well, let’s just say land doesn’t come up very often. Demand is phenomenally high. And my finance is not limitless. In fact, it might not be enough.

It could be a long time waiting.

Which is problem, because I am starting to get impatient.

I am hardly a showy or flashy individual, and status symbols like cars, houses, expensive possessions and jewellery generally have no impact on me whatsoever. I have never desired any of these things. But, to some degree, I am seeing the house project as a life milestone. Everyone remembers buying their first house. I want to do the same, but build it myself. It will be quite the marker for a 30th birthday.

It’s nice to have goals, though. I feel like I have been drifting somewhat for the past year… so I am ready for a new challenge.

The Major Month

This month has disappeared in a blur, but it has also been somewhat slow. I’ve never quite fathomed why sometimes time feels so slow, and also so fast.

The best explanation I can put on it is that when you are working non-stop like I am lately, every day feels the same. Weekends are no different. Out of hours doesn’t exist, except as a fleeting window of time during which I can knuckle down and get things done without worrying about the phone ringing.

So consequently, when I look back and think “How come it’s only Tuesday, this week has been so long!” – it’s just because my “week” probably started about four months ago.

The main reason why this is the Major Month is that, finally, the bullet has been bitten. The die has been cast. And all manner of other horrible clich├ęs.

I have been saying all year that I really must do something. Well, the confluence of two events has finally forced my hand.

First, I am now the director of a friend’s business. This was not a decision taken lightly, and has involved a huge amount of personal and financial sacrifice in the very short term. But, frankly, the numbers add up, and it was a proposition I’d be stupid to miss.

Secondly, one night I just snapped. I was lying in bed (at 10:00pm, as is my new routine…) and thought – why on Earth am I working 12-14 hours every day of the week? I could cut my hours down to a third of this, and pay someone else to do everything else, and I’d still make a profit.

It was only a hunch. But the timing was perfect. I have been feeling this for a while, but the sudden realisation that I could time this with the rise of the other business – which needs an office to function properly – was just perfect in every way.

So now the office is in progress. There is a potential employee waiting in the wings. I feel like I am seeing the path towards a more strategic/corporate role… the one that I’ve always thought I’m good enough to be able to achieve. The one where I am overseeing operations, driving the business forward, rather than constantly dealing with the day-to-day tactical battle of fixing things and getting stressed by the occasional customer asking the occasional irritating question…

The target date is in two weeks time. It could be the best birthday present in a long while.

A part of me is nervous. But another part of me is completely philosophical about it. If I cannot support an employee and an office on the current and projected workloads, then I will never be able to do so. And if I am not here to expand this business, to make it into something bigger, then I might as well just give up now. I do not like standing still. I do not like the thought that I could be doing the same thing for the next 10 years without anything different ever happening.

I have always been an ambitious person. I have written it many times. I always want to know there is something ahead, something worth fighting for. Something worth living for. A new challenge.

This is it.