Getting a job that offers a bit more vacation or a slightly less-demanding schedule is definitely a plus. Nobody would turn down either of those perks. But for most of us, the quest to find the great work/life balance we’ve been sorely lacking will require a lot more than incremental progress.
For the long term, looking a decade ahead, what do you really want your lifestyle to look like? Do you want to still be working for a company? Or do you want something closer to real independence and freedom to live however you want?
If you’re serious about finding the right balance that will leave you both fulfilled in your career and happy enough to enjoy yourself, consider the following pathways. If it all bounces right, one of these routes could be your ideal path to a much happier life.
1. Take Advantage of the Gig Economy
There are a now many options to earn money on the side. This so-called “gig economy” means that you don’t necessarily need a formal 9-to-5 to bring in consistent income. Companies like Uber offer a very clear way to start earning almost immediately. Other options include Fiverr and Upwork, which cater to creative professionals that can provide design, editorial, or other in-demand services to clients in need. Then there is the traditional route of offering what you do best — whether that’s painting houses, lawn care, catering or baking cakes — in your local community.
While giving up that cushy office job without security may be scary, doing some extra work on the nights and weekends at first will allow you to build up the consistent clientele you will need to land on your feet when you do take the plunge fully. This could sound like a step backward. And cutting hours to solely use these options may not provide the income you need to truly be happy. But it can help you get out of a bad situation and start planning the next phase while you still have some revenue coming in. Sometimes, a bit of space and time is just what you need to get ahead.
2. Start Your Own Business
The most tried-and-true way to find a great work/life balance is to never have a boss again. And the best way to do this is by being the boss yourself. When you start your own company, you will forever have full control over your life and your salary.
As every entrepreneur can attest, it never comes easy. But launching your own successful business will always be the best way to achieve true financial independence. And if you really knock it out of the park, in a few years, you might not even have to show up to work anymore.
In a best-case scenario, your business idea will be so good and executed so well that the people you hire can handle the day-to-day operations like clockwork — while you relax on the beach and only worry about the big-picture concerns.
3. Independent Business Owner
In addition to launching your own enterprise from scratch, many entrepreneurs have found great success by partnering with an established platform. Amway is one company that excels in this area, offering independent business owners the opportunity to set up their own venture and become their own boss.
No, unlike the fake rumors some have spread, there is no “Amway scam.” This isn’t a pyramid scheme but a globally recognized brand that provides a wide range of resources, training, and support.
With all this at your disposal, the direct sales model can provide an excellent option for anyone who is newer to the world of sales or simply wants to get their feet wet slowly before building toward the work/life balance they envision for themselves in the future. And if you really excel, you may end up bringing in so much income that you will be working fewer hours and making a higher salary than ever before.
4. Establish Rental Income
Another way many people have unshackled themselves from corporate drudgery is by collecting passive income through their rental properties. This naturally is hard to do overnight, as it requires an investment into real estate that can then be rented out. But adding even a small amount of money through this route can be the first step toward independence.
Maybe you have inherited property from a relative. Perhaps you can go the more old-fashioned route by temporarily renting out a room in your home to a college student. Or why not jump on the Airbnb trend to make the place you normally live in available for a few weekends a month when you’re out of town?
This might not be able to rid you of your long hours at the office immediately. But it can be a piece of the pie that pushes you toward that goal, especially if combined with some other income sources.
The Ideal Balancing Act
Finding the ideal work/life balance is everyone’s dream. There is nothing better than knowing that you — and only you — are in control of your own destiny. But getting there that means you will need to take some initiative and make it happen. Nobody is going to put it on a platter for you.
In many ways, the reality is even better than the fantasy. When you get your time back, you can start living healthier, pursuing personal development opportunities, and making time for your favorite activities.
On top of all the other oft-discussed benefits, these hidden advantages should be all you need to take action. Now is the time. Stop day-dreaming about how to get out of that soul-crushing desk job and start coming up with a practical plan to find the balance you need.