Let’s talk about Bill and Heather. Bill grew up in Denver, Colorado. Got his college B.A. degree, major in statistics. Married at age 25 to Heather, a Registered Nurse. They have three kids, one of which still requires daycare after school.
During his career so far, Bill has been with four companies, doing business and marketing statistical analysis.
The family moved to Seattle WA eight years ago, drawn by its beauty, diverse outdoor recreation, and high-tech/bio-tech job opportunities.
Everything was a joy…at first. It was everything they wanted. That was then.
This is now. Today, Seattle bears no resemblance to the city they moved to. (I won’t go granular on you and enumerate that city’s troubled state of affairs today. Suffice it to say, it’s the same decline that many US cities are going through on many fronts – at an accelerated pace right now.)
Bill has had a gnawing feeling in his gut for over a year now, even before the pandemic cast shadows on every aspect of quality of life and “making a living”. He yearns for a simpler, healthier, safer, slower-paced, more sane lifestyle. He envisions living in a small town or smaller city, where quality of life is far more favorable than in any big city these days.
After debating with himself about the possibility of blind-siding and shocking Heather, Bill works up the nerve to disclose his feelings to her. But to his amazement, he discovers that she has been having the same feelings for even longer than he has. And she introduces an additional concern – the poor quality of their children’s education. She doesn’t like what their kids are being taught. And not being taught! Not one little bit.
They start scheming together. How can they possibly transition into living in a small town or smaller city? What about the lesser employment opportunities? Even with a significantly lower cost of living, they both would still need to work to save for the future that they had envisioned together even before marrying.
Heather has the easier pathway – with her excellent nursing credentials, she can likely get a nursing/health care job most anywhere. And she could likely secure employment at their new location even before they moved.
Bill’s case is more challenging. How would he find a job as a statistician in a small town or smaller city? Especially when so many businesses have downsized or shuttered their doors due to the country’s shutdown. He might find local work in their new home, but that isn’t his only option.
Heather floats an idea with Bill. He has built-up an excellent network of business associates involved in statistics during his career. What if he reached out to that network – even before moving – and sought opportunities to become a remote-working employee for one or more companies? He would be totally upfront with his prospective employers, offering a compelling scenario:
- He would work remotely. Statistical work itself can be done from most anywhere. And due to the pandemic, thousands of businesses have discovered and embraced remote-working. It turns out that their fears about it were unwarranted.
- When any one-to-one discussions or meetings come up where the employer required Bill’s participation, the company could patch-in Bill using Zoom, Skype, or any other such services. Depending on how far away from Seattle he moved, Bill could even come into the employer’s office now and then for face-to-face sessions (once a week, once a month, once a quarter, as needed?)
- He would be a W-2 employee – Bill isn’t ready to create his own business…at least yet.
- He can save the employer money vs. adding an in-house employee. He can work for an attractive-to-the company hourly rate or salary – less than on-site employees require – because his living expenses would be less (cheaper housing/everything, no commuting costs). Company benefits would be negotiable – that may represent another money-saving opportunity for the company.
- His time availability for work would be excellent, since he wouldn’t have to burn unproductive time on commuting.
He is open to part-time work with a given employer, which allows him to make such arrangements with more than one company, giving him more income diversity and probably a greater total income upside.
And there is the child care issue. With Bill working from home, maybe they could eliminate after-school childcare costs as well as be more directly involved in their children’s development. Bill is onboard. He believes he could manage his work schedule to accommodate that idea.
After a time, Bill will have the option of switching to doing the same or even different work as an independent contractor with his own online business, dramatically lowering their overall income tax hit. By doing his own business in the form of a proprietorship (as opposed to a corporation or parnership), he wouldn’t even have to create a company. He would just start keeping good, separate records of his business income and deductible expenses and roll-them into his personal income tax filing, making the family’s financial picture even rosier.
Bill and Heather become very excited about their new plan. It didn’t take long to agree on where they wanted to move. They had shared sentiments about places that they liked while sitting around numerous campfires on their vacations.
Bill would start sniffing-out his network the next day to quietly get wind of who might be in need of statistical help. Heather would start researching nursing opportunities at their new destination.
Their plan goes exceedingly well. They now live in Turnaround, Utah and are loving their lives and the education that their children are getting.
Oh yes, and the nearest Costco has a great new collection of kayaks for sale. Bill is scheming to get one-person kayaks for each of them. His wife is leaning towards getting one, two-person kayak. She asks Bill, “What about the kids and Henry, our lab? You know how much they all love the water.”
Aaargh. You should be blessed with such problems. 🙂
Please leave your comments and questions related to this topic below.
Today, there are millions of American city-dwellers in situations similar to that which faced Bill and his wife. Granted, jobs that require one’s physical presence don’t lend themselves to Bill’s solution. But so many jobs do allow it with a little creativity, especially white collar jobs.
If you are one whose job is portable and you are interested in a better quality of life and adapting to the new realities of making a living, here are some great resources to get you started:
- If you need help working through family decisions, weighing the pros and cons of remote working, creating an online business of your own, or if you just want to clarify your passions that point to your ideal job, you would do well to get a little help from a life coach. One of the best places to link- up with a coach that’s right for you is the free life coach matching service provided by Wainwright Global.
- If you’re drawn to remote working but don’t know how to get started, the Laptop Lifestyle Academy is perfect program for learning the ropes.
- If your preference is starting an online business of your own now or soon, there’s no better place to start than the free course at My Online Startup. It provides a great basis of knowledge and tools that will be relevant no matter what type of online venture you choose to pursue.
Yes, times are certainly challenging right now. But such developments can also be the catalyst that triggers overdue changes for the better in your life. There are plenty of great resources – like the above – to help you make them.