Freelancer lifestyle design.

Freelancer lifestyle and designing a life with the golden years in mind.

Now that you’ve started, where do you want to go?

It has been over a year since leaving the full-time grind to focus on my business. It has been a huge asset to build my client list and experience part-time since 2003. I would recommend that those looking to make the leap from their ‘job-job’ to something they love should absolutely test the waters before diving in. (Probably not necessary to test the waters for ten years though!)

Recently I was shooting a wedding in Southeast Kansas. To arrive at the wedding fresh, I asked a very talented photographer/videographer friend of mine in Girard, KS if I could crash at his house. I’ve offered advice and guidance to this friend for the past few years, trying my best to help him grow as an artist and as an entrepreneur. Late into the night we were talking about ‘big picture’ things (no pun intended) and I asked the question, “What would be your dream job?”

His answer was clear. “Compensated for sports photography,” which is a fantastic answer because he is pretty darn good at it. I suggested putting a plan in action to arrive at the ‘level’ of sports photographer that he would want to become (high school vs. professional level, etc).

Then after further discussion, I fully admitted, I had no plan for myself. Is my current business my dream job? Not sure. On the journey home I reflected on that part of our conversation. What was Nick Schale aiming for?

Retirement! YES, that’s it, that’s the end game. After all, I’ve been saving since the mid-90s for it. Smart thing to do, but stupid answer. “Retirement” to someone like me is going to be a hard pill to swallow since I struggle to slow down in general.

So here is a thought and a fun exercise to do whether you are an entrepreneur, student, or even a full time-grind kind of person. Take a sheet of paper out and write out your dream WORK day (as an aside, this is also fun to do for your retirement ‘day’). Maybe write out your dream week, or quarter, or even year. Then look at that plan. How far are you from having that be your itinerary? How close are you to some elements? How hard would it be to get parts of it right now? Which parts are you a month away from achieving?

Here is a piece of my plan. I’m planning to combine two things I love: travel for leisure, and photography for business. My dream quarter includes one 5-day trip for travel photography (with a lovely assistant of course: my wife). I’ll be sharing my journey to becoming a travel photographer later as this is a five to ten year plan.

Exercise for at least three times a week, read a book a month, meditate daily… these are all elements to my perfect lifestyle design. They are also elements I can implement immediately.

Visualize your perfect day, week, and year. Write it down. How far are you from living your perfect life?

“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.”
–Chinese Proverb

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