There is a smart way to take a risk, and I have proven it in the past four years. You might ask how am I qualified to write on this matter; well, I have moved from having a career in the Public Service (boring) to owning a café to selling the café and now living the life of a seaside retirement in New South Wales. And I’m only in my 30’s.
Think about what you want to achieve and then break it down in to parts.
To begin with I wanted to leave the Public Service. That is a difficult decision to act on because as everybody knows the Public Service offers good pay excellent conditions and a life time of work. It is impossible to be fired from the Public Service. I had four weeks annual leave a year, a week off across Christmas/New Years for free, three weeks of sick leave, Flexi-Leave, and only had to work 7.21 hours per day. Ridiculous. I was also at the time being paid more than $80k a year. Despite ALL of those conditions, I was not happy.
The idea of staying in the Public Service for my whole working life, which at the time was longer than my whole life, made me miserable. My co-workers would sit around me talking about their superannuation, and so I calculated my superannuation and by the time I retired or died I would have close to $2 Million in Super. But then I realised that that would involve sitting at the computer and working a boring job for another 35 or more years. I could not stand that thought.
So I began to brainstorm (thank you Public Service for showing me the benefits of brainstorming). I wrote lists and more lists of different ways I could leave the Public Service. And it always pointed to me having my own business. That way I can own my efforts. If I work hard I benefit. If I don’t work hard then I don’t benefit. So, what sort of business should I set up, I asked myself. This is a big and broad question, probably best for another article. (3 years later after having owned a business, I’m asking myself the same question, and the answer will be completely different, but that is also for another article).
I decided on a owning a café. VERY hard work. Before leaving the Public Service I calculated – how many coffees and meals will I have to sell to 1/ cover expenses 2/ make a profit. Then I calculated how many coffees and meals I would have to sell to save enough money to pay off my house in 3 years. Once I played around with those calculations and realised that I could achieve my goal, I bought a cheap café (to build up), and quit the Public Service.
How does this show an Intelligent Risk?
I was unhappy in my situation (Public Service)
I brainstormed other ways to make money, and at each step I brainstormed further the costs and risks involved.
I decided on a café and then calculated what was involved to make money and also achieve a massive goal like paying off my house.
With all my brainstorming and calculations in mind, I bought a very cheap café.
Again, reviewing my calculations I felt I could make more money at the café than in the Public Service, with hard work and focus.
I reminded myself it wasn’t only about the money – I absolutely had to get out of the Public Service because it made me feel empty.