Set for Life

02 Jun 2012

I’ve been meaning to write this post for over a year now, but now seems like an important time to write it.  There’s a common saying: “Set for life,” which usually means “Financially secure for the rest of your life.” Someone winning a Powerball jackpot would be set for life. I think there’s a much more achievable version of “Set for life” that more of us should aspire to: creating a niche in the world where we can do the work we love doing for the rest of our career.

A friend of mine started a SaaS company early in his career. While I don’t know any of the financial details, the process of starting the company, and nurturing it to its current state speaks volumes for his abilities. The company was acquired, and my friend stayed on for a few years, but has recently left to explore new opportunities. The company has, from my perspective, been a success.

Although I’m sure he didn’t win the jackpot, I am also sure that he is set for life. I think he’ll enjoy options to work where, and how he wants for the rest of his career. He knows what it would take to do it again. Imagine if you were in his position, knowing what it takes to make your own way, and having some success behind you to push you forward. I see that as a much more satisfying version of “set for life” than merely winning the Powerball. (Of course, being independently wealthy would be fun, too!) Here comes some hackneyed cliches: We live in a time where each of us can be “Set for Life,” purely by finding what we’re good at, and creating a niche for ourselves. The costs to start our own thing are in the few hundreds to a few thousands of dollars, plus our time and our talent. Who can’t find a way to put together a few thousand bucks to get their dream started? Who doesn’t want to know what they’re made of? Who doesn’t want to be “Set for life?” In the next 3 months, find a way to chip away at becoming an entrepreneur. Figure out what you’re better at than anybody else, and then figure out how you can get people to pay you for it. If you do, you’ll be set for life.