Create a “Business Plan” for Your Life
Hal Shelton, a Washington, D.C.-based mentor at SCORE Association, a national organization that provides mentoring and education to small and midsize business owners, advises would-be retirees to draw up an informal “personal business plan” to work through how they will be spending their time. “The format’s not important, but it’s envisioning what post your current role would be,” explains Shelton, who is also an investor in early-stage tech companies, and author of The Secrets to Writing a Successful Business Plan.
The plan could identify “work-related” goals, such as joining boards of directors, teaching, or writing a book, or activities such as volunteering, taking up a new hobby, or re-exploring an old one, notes Shelton.
Rex Frank encourages channel pros to look to professionals for help with creating a plan for retirement, just as they do when they are preparing to sell their business. “Everybody thinks about their lawyer and their CPA, but I don’t think people find somebody to be a life coach, or mentor, or spiritual adviser––they’re not reaching out for that,” says Frank, vice president of academy at distributor Pax8, which recently acquired Frank’s company Sea Level Operations, an edcation and coaching firm for IT service providers. And yet, he adds, it’s advisers like these who can help would-be retirees define what fulfillment means to them.
Build a New Social Life
While they may have friends outside of work, channel pros spend the bulk of their days interacting with employees, vendors, and clients. You may promise to remain in touch with these people after you sell the business, but in reality that’s unlikely, according to Gilbert.
“I would encourage people to be intentional––starting maybe three years before retirement––to start getting engaged in things outside of your work environment with people that are totally unconnected to your business environment,” Gilbert advises. Getting involved in volunteering, or consulting your local Meetup dedicated to an activity of interest, are a couple of ways to start forming new friendships.