HOW DO I BUILD A BUSINESS TO GIVE ME GREATER GEOGRAPHICAL AND OTHER FREEDOM?

DEAR DALI MAMA:

I am a man from Sri Lanka but have been living in United States for the last 8 years. I have a wife and one kid. I want to live a life that has freedom in the sense that we would be able to do whatever we want (such as going to live in Sri Lanka with my parents for a while and coming back to the United States and work again–and do this several times a year). With my current job, I cannot do that. Career wise, I want to do some kind of a business where I have more freedom than in my 9-5 job. Also, I am afraid to quit my job in case the business doesn’t work out. I want to live life on my own terms but am not quite sure how to go about it. What is your advice on this?

–S.V. (United States and Sri Lanka)

DEAR S.V.:

Since you and your wife have a child you are responsible for, it might be a little more complicated to make this happen but it is definitely doable if you make a solid plan and work hard. Be aware, however, that initially, you might less freedom as far as your time as you building your business but the initial investment can eventually give you much greater freedom.

Modern technology makes it much easier to start your own business that you can do from anywhere that has reliable Internet access. Entrepreneur.com has great resources for people starting businesses, including a list of businesses ideas you can start at low cost. See http://www.entrepreneur.com/lowcostbusinesses/ for details. You have an advantage, as you speak English fluently, and I’m guessing you probably speak Tamil and/or Sinhala fluently as well. Perhaps you can start a business that would serve both English-speaking markets as well as the Sri Lankan market.

If you need to develop more knowledge and skills, there are many great (and free) resources. Check out udacity.com. MIT and Stanford University also offer some free classes online.

I would start doing the research and make a business plan and start implementing it step by step while you keep your job. When you build up your business enough that you have some savings set aside (for your family as well as for your business), you can let go of your job and focus on your new business full-time. It will be a lot of work initially but the payoff as far as the freedom and potentially the financial rewards can be great.

As you get things going, be sure to take time to exercise, sleep enough, and play, as taking care of yourself is important to not only your well-being but be able to succeed in your plans. Perhaps you could even enlist the help of your wife when she is not at work if she works in the daytime and perhaps the help of your parents and other family members so you can pool your energy and resources and make it a successful family business without any one person (namely you) getting exhausted or burnt out. All of you will benefit in the long run.

Wishing you much success and freedom as you create the life you want.

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