Redefining How You do Business
Shannon Ward and Diana Stirling are the ladies behind Pretirement Living. Their message is that you can live your life now, instead of waiting until that magical day decades from now when you retire. They’re doing it themselves. They built a successful, million-dollar business, but they were working 70 hour weeks. When they both became pregnant at the same time, they realized it wasn’t sustainable.
They revamped their business. Diana shares, “What was born from that is we had specific criteria that we were looking for from the new business to support us not working 70 weeks. Us having more time freedom in terms of being able to have flexibility with our young families. The ability for us not to be tied to an office. The big dream for Shannon and me was to be able to travel with our young children for an extended period of time to be able to see other parts of the world.” By focusing on higher-return, lower-effort areas, they are redefining their business and their personal lives.
Simplification and Focus
Completely redefining the way you do business isn’t easy, though. “It was definitely frightening for us at first,” Shannon says. Their risks paid off though, as she shares, “Interestingly, our company is now much more profitable today than it was back in the beginning.” Diana interjects with, “While it was scary it was incredibly amazing to have our focus back. Really knowing what are the drivers in your business, and what are the priorities in your life – that’s your family, you personally – it allows you to really focus on what’s important to you. That’s what you need to focus your time on.”
Shannon expands on Diana’s sentiments, saying, “A major part of the pretirement philosophy is simplification. When we redefined our values and redefined what really mattered to us we greatly simplified the way we live our whole lives. We’re taking away all those other things that the media and culture maybe tell us should matter, but in the end they don’t. They’re the things that really take away the focus from getting what you want out of life and living your dreams.”
Time for Travel
Diana and Shannon are clearly working hard at redefining business and motherhood. What does that really look like, though? It involves a lot of traveling. For Shannon, that means three months in Costa Rica every year. She says, “Our goal for our first year was to learn how to surf. It was something we always wanted to do, so we were going to make that dream come true. We travelled around Costa Rica and ended up in this one community, and sort of fell in love with it. It’s like our second home now. We go there because the surfing is awesome and the people are wonderful.”
Diana’s taken a less structured approach to travel. She says, “We’re usually in the South Pacific. The first year we saw the entire East Coast of Australia. We’ve also done the Cook Islands. We’ve travelled all over New Zealand, which is absolutely ridiculous, in a camper van. I don’t recommend that. But this was one of those times when it was the only opportunity we thought we’d ever have to see New Zealand. We’ve also been to Hawaii, and we’ve done some travelling in Central America as well. We’re just so thankful every day for what we’re able to do.”
Babyproofing Your Business
If you’re inspired by the way Shannon and Diana are redefining motherhood and business, you’ll want to drop by their website and check out the resources they offer other moms. Their new book, Babyproofing Your Business, offers you a blueprint for building a business without sacrificing your family or yourself. They also offer two-on-two sessions to help you craft your own pretirement lifestyle. Or, come to Leading Moms on October 3, 2012 where Diana and Shannon will be just two of the amazing speakers sharing inspiration. There will be free childcare on-site, and it will be over before your kids get out of school, so there’s no excuse not to.
Thanks you so much to Diana Stirling and Shannon Ward, for sharing how they’re redefining motherhood and business!
Amber Strocel is a writer, aspiring math teacher, suburbanite, wife and mom of two. She believes in the power of the Internet to connect people, and she believes that numbers are the poetry of the universe. You can often find her knitting, sewing, volunteering, working in her garden, and sneaking chocolate when no one's looking. She blogs at Strocel.com and shares her photos on Instagram as @AmberStrocel.