Sea Change Frequently Asked Questions
PLANNING YOUR SEA CHANGE
What are the pros and cons of weekend sea changing?
But let’s start with the positives!
Firstly, buying or renting a country weekender is a terrific way to recharge your batteries and totally switch off from the pressures of a full on job and the relentlessness of city life. Many of my clients describe the feeling when, on Friday evening they drive past that point where the traffic lights stop, and traffic lightens and they know they are in the country. Your shoulders drop; you breath more deeply and consciously feel yourself relax. You create the opportunity to live a completely different lifestyle, swapping the laptop and meetings for fencing, chopping wood, baking, walking in the countryside or simply creating space to just read the paper uninterrupted, cover to cover!
The next positive is that having a place in the country you can escape to on weekends gives you the best of both worlds. It’s like having your cake and eating it to. During the week you have all the perks of city life a well paid job; everything you need and want close at hand and limitless choices about where to send your children to school; how to spend your time and money.
Thirdly, a weekender helps you to ‘try before you buy’. If you’re not sure if country life is for you, it’s a great way to get a feel for a place before you commit to it permanently. Being there on weekends through all seasons and experiencing what’s within driving distance will help you know first hand, what country living is like.
Interestingly, a ‘weekender’ could also involve starting up your own home-based business whilst keeping your day job. Investing time on weekends to consciously create a business linked to your passion is a less risky way of making a significant career change over time.
OK so let’s take a look at the downsides of a weekend Sea Change:
First up- you’ll always be considered a visitor or a hobby farmer by the locals. Because you’ve not yet made that commitment to become a full-time resident, it may take longer to make lasting friendships. You’ll have fewer opportunities to become part of the local community which takes time and effort on your part.
One of the other negatives may be that you feel like you don’t belong in either your city suburb or the country. It can be like living in a twilight zone where you’re not fully committed to either lifestyle. This can lead to doubt and indecision about what’s best for you over the longer term. Many of my clients say that they turned a corner and felt more settled once they’d decided to make their sea/tree change move permanent.
An obvious downside is the significant cost. Maintaining a city and country place can be expensive with costs such as mortgages, utilities and rates being duplicated. You’re restricted by not being able to rent out either property because you’re living in both.
The key to deciding whether to make your sea/tree change permanent or weekends only is to take a good look at where you are now in your life and what you want the next five years to look like. What’s it costing you to stay in the city and current job and is that a price you’re prepared to pay? What does your ideal lifestyle look like and what would it take to create it?
If you decide to give the weekend sea/tree change choice to see what it’s like, set yourself clear goals and a timeframe to review whether it’s working for you.
Regardless of which option you take, the best way to make it work for you is to weigh up all the pros and cons that relate to your priorities and circumstances, make your decision and give it a go. If you don’t, you’ll always be left wondering.
The Great Life Redesign steps you through everything you need to know and do to decide which option is best for you.
If you need help to decide which option is right for you, contact Possibility to Reality today for a complimentary, no obligation Sea Change Discovery Session .
How do we avoid sea change ‘failure’ and get it right next time?
Based on what you have learnt, how do you want your future life to be? Remember you aren’t going backward, rather you are moving forward and writing a new chapter of your life.
If everything was possible and your ideal life was easy to create, what would you need to do to make it happen? This often involves reframing limiting beliefs and deciding how you need to be before you decide what you need to do. Maybe your last sea change wasn’t a failure – maybe it was a dress rehearsal to ensure that your next lifestyle change is a happy one. What resources do you need to make it happen? This will include the practical (time, money, somewhere to live, a job etc) and the emotional (courage, inner confidence, faith and self-belief).
I’m confident your next sea change will be successful – with the benefit of hindsight, careful planning and a positive attitude you can and will create the life you want.
The Great Life Redesign shares the secrets, tools and tips to making such a major lifestyle change easy and successful. It uncovers the potential risks and shows you how to prepare a ‘Plan B’ – your insurance policy against sea change failure.
“I’ve been wanting to get out of the city and move to the country for years but I’m just not sure what to do first – get a job…decide where……decide when etc. I’m sick of making excuses about it and just want to get going – where do I start?”
Knowing where to start is one of the biggest challenges sea changers face. There’s so much to decide, organise and do and before you know it overwhelm kicks in and it all seems too hard.
If you’re focused on working out where to live or what job you’d do, stop! You’ve actually jumped two steps ahead in the sea change process. Without starting at the beginning, you risk running out of steam and packing in your sea change dream when you hit the first problem.
Making a sea change is one of the biggest decisions you’ll make in life. Changing everything about your lifestyle can be both stressful and challenging. It’s also unlikely to be an overnight decision or process, with most sea changers taking 6 months to 2 years to make it happen.
Consciously deciding what you want to achieve will crystalise what needs to happen when and keep you focused, motivated and committed to your ‘escape to the country’ goal..
To get your sea change started, take out a pen and paper or your laptop and write down the answers to the following questions:
1. Work out why you want to make a sea or tree change.
Draw a line down the middle of the page and on the left hand side make a list of your ‘Don’t Wants’. You’re probably very clear about what you’re not enjoying about your job and city lifestyle right now. This may include commuting time, pollution, crime, lack of time, office politics, unfriendly neighbourhood, high cost of living etc. Keep writing until there’s nothing more! Now shift your thinking to what you do want your sea changed life to be like. It’s kind of like flipping the coin from tails to heads. Imagine your dream and write it under the heading of ‘Must Haves’ in the right hand column. What would ‘perfect’ look like?
2. Identify your needs, wants and priorities.
Think about what you want from your career/job, wealth and financial needs, growth and challenge, health and wellbeing, location and environment, family and relationships, travel and hobbies or interests. Add these to the ‘Must Haves’ column and include what you’d love to be doing, if only you had more time, freedom and opportunity.
3. Clarify your values, what really care about that’s vitally important, your strengths and passions.
While this may seem a little vague and esoteric, it’s probably the most important step. For your sea change to be worth the upheaval and period of uncertainty, you need to know it’s going to work out. By consciously creating a lifestyle that’s aligned with who you are, focused on what you care about and using your strengths more consistently, you significantly increase long term happiness and fulfilment.
With these three questions answered, evaluating options and making informed decisions becomes infinitely easier, killing procrastination dead in its tracks.
Ironically, the hardest part of getting started is taking the first step. From here you can get clear about the practicalities, research the options, set goals and create a step by step plan to make your move to the country a reality.
The P2R Dream It! Design It! Do It! self paced and simple coaching program, steps you through everything you need to do to make your sea change a success. Working at your own pace, you only need to focus on taking one step at a time.
Remember, in the immortal words of Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu, “the journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step”.
I’m single, 37 and have lived in Sydney all my life. I’ve been wanting to move to the country for a while and have been offered a transfer to a town in rural Victoria. Having accepted it, I’m now getting cold feet worrying that I may be bored and possibly lonely as I don’t know anyone there. What can I do to make sure it works out right?
Cold feet is a perfectly natural and common reaction. After all, this is a big change and having not lived in the country before, you’re understandably unsure if it will be right for you. However, there are a number of ways to take the fear and risk out of your tree change.
- Ask yourself, ‘What’s the most important thing I need certainty about?’ The answer to this question will give you peace of mind, knowing that everything else will fall into place. For example, if you want a fall-back plan (in case it doesn’t work out), ask your employer to build in a revocable 12 month trial period.
- As you are transferring with your current employer, make friends with some of your new colleagues before you move. Send them an email, introduce yourself and ask if you can give them a call. Once you’ve made contact, find out more about the town – what they like about it; what there is to do and if they have any tips for newcomers.
- Visit your new town before you move. Use this time to familiarise yourself with what the town has to offer; find somewhere to live and get to know some of the locals. This will take the ‘just landed on mars’ feeling out of the move.
- If you play sport or have a particular hobby, find out if there are any local clubs or groups you can join. If the town doesn’t offer the leisure activities you’re interested in, look for opportunities to pursue a new interest such as volunteering. This is a great way to connect with a ready-made group of like-minded people.
- Once you’ve made the move, don’t wait for the locals to make friends with you. Invite them over to your place for drinks or a barbeque. Become actively involved in your new community – you’ll soon find people you click with.
The key to settling into a completely new lifestyle and location is to be curious and open to a different pace of life, tolerant of different attitudes and willing to adapt.
Sea Changing Made Easy – The Emotional Side provides simple strategies and the insights of other sea and tree changers and will help you overcome your biggest fears and challenges.
If you need help to overcome your ‘cold feet’ fears, contact Possibility to Reality today for a complimentary, no obligation Sea Change Discovery Session.
“My wife and I fall into the ‘Baby Boomer’ category and are approaching semi-retirement. wondering what sea/tree change options exist for us?”
There are so many options available and many significant events that have changed the sea change landscape for Baby Boomers. As little as 10 years ago, the stereotypical sea change for this special group was the classical retirement to a small coastal town. However, the GFC has put a dint in many Baby Boomer retirement funds meaning that full retirement may be delayed for a number of years. Thanks to rapid advances in technology, there many options to consider. Based on your personal circumstances, your sea change could include:
- Part-time work and/or job sharing
- Overseas volunteering projects
- Starting up a small physical or online business
- Offering Consulting or Advisory services in your area of expertise, working as much or as little as you choose
- Writing a book, articles or blogs based on your knowledge and experience
- Building your expertise in a prime life interest (hobby!) and teaching it to others
- Travel and sharing your experience online for others to learn from.
- Returning to study to transition to a new field of work or interest
- Move to a location where active communities of like-minded people share your interests and values.
Regardless, your dedication, loyalty and commitment will stand you in good stead for either paid or voluntary work. You have a lot to offer with your work and life experience, skills and knowledge that many younger people don’t have and the key is to be flexible and open to change.
We’ve always lived in the city and crave the freedom and simplicity of country living. We’re planning a sea change but don’t know if we have an unrealistic view of the ‘good life’ in the country. What’s the best way to make sure we go into it with ‘eyes wide open’?
Firstly I acknowledge you for even considering this! Many city slickers have a view of what it could be like to live in the country – no smog, peak hour traffic, high crime or fast-paced living. Peace, birds singing, no stress – ah, bliss! However, their perception is often based on an untested fantasy which is risky.
One tree changer who moved from the city to the country was surprised that the shops closed at 5pm, weren’t open on Sundays and that neighbouring farmers were harvesting their crops at midnight which disturbed her sleep for weeks!
To ensure that your expectations are realistic is simple.
1. Research, research, research and discover all the pros and cons based on what’s important to you.
2. Write down everything you’re wondering about and create a Sea Change Criteria Checklist of questions to ask.
3. Identify the things you enjoy about your current life and evaluate your options. To what degree will your new life provide or enable those things? It helps to rank your criteria based on their relative importance to you. For example, if you want a lifestyle that includes plenty of wide open space and a lovely natural environment to ride your bike or spend time with your children, give this an 8/10. If you’re not so worried about the availability of a good latte in a trendy cafe, give this a 4/10. Then assign a score for each of your options.
4. Once you’ve narrowed down your location alternatives, use your Sea Change Criteria Checklist, to ask people what it’s like to actually live there. Locals are usually more than happy to share their experiences and chances are they will be peppered with a healthy dose of dry country humour.
Eyes Wide Open sea or tree changing is all about extensive research and detailed planning. Once these are done you can confidently make informed decisions knowing that where you’re heading, what you’re doing and how you’re going to get there is right for you.
The Dream It! Design It! Do It! self paced coaching program includes handy tools, templates and strategies to discover everything you need to know to make your sea change a success.
I’ve heard you need to be ‘3rd generation born’ to be accepted into country communities. How do I find out if newcomers are welcome in the country town I want to move to?
While there will be a curiosity factor about a new person or family, mostly they will be looking to you to ‘fit in’. You have moved to their town and it’s all about adapting to the country lifestyle. Note what clothes people wear and if it’s relaxed and casual, ditch the suit and revel in the freedom of not having to wear a tie!
Talk to people who have moved there within the last 1 – 2 years and ask them what they did to settle in and become accepted. Drawing on the experiences of others who have faced this challenge will give you invaluable tips and ideas on fitting in, as well as giving you insight into the interesting people who make up your new community.
If you’ve chosen your sea or tree change location carefully, you’ll have found a community that’s active in the things you are interested in so get involved. Whether it’s sporting clubs, hobbies, community or environmental groups, churches, service clubs or taking up the opportunity to volunteer, these are great ways to make connections.
David and Pam moved from NSW to the lovely Yarra Valley town of Healesville in Victoria, with a population of just over 7000 people. They didn’t know anyone but liked the ‘feel’ of the place and wide range of opportunities to join in. What immediately struck them about Healesville was the friendliness of the people and they quickly made friends. As well as attending their local church, Pam volunteered for Meals on Wheels, while David got involved in the Yarra Valley Arts Society and became a volunteer guide at Healesville Sanctuary. Within 6 months they felt as though they’d been living there for years.
If you keep to yourself, proudly wear your ‘city slicker’ label and believe that you won’t be accepted then chances are, you will experience loneliness and isolation. Get out there, get involved and if you try something that isn’t quite right for you then move onto something else until you find your place, doing what you love with great people.
The Great Life Redesign shares the secrets, tools and tips to find a community that’s right for you, settle in and soon become a ‘local’ yourself.
When’s the best time of year to make a move to the country?
Consider the needs of everyone impacted by the move. If you have school aged children, the ideal time to move is at the end of the school year, prior to the start of the new school term. This gives children time to settle and make a few friends before school starts so they don’t feel quite so ‘new’ on the first day of term.
If you’ve lined up a new job, the time of year will be irrelevant as your move will be determined by when you start. If you’re starting a business or taking over an existing one, aim to move and/or take over a few months before the peak time of year for that type of business. This will give you time to settle in and adjust before the busy time.
Consider what loose ends need to be wrapped up before you leave your current home. The best time to sell a home is usually the Spring so your settlement period will determine the timing of your move. Likewise, if you’re renting or moving into a currently tenanted home, the lease period will likely dictate your moving date.
Some families choose to move over time. While one member of the family moves and settles in, the other may stay behind to complete work or other commitments.
In short – there’s no ‘ideal’ time and if it all lines up perfectly, you’ve done well! Make a list of the most important factors for you, create a plan and make the move happen at the best time for you.
Dream It! Design It! Do It! self paced coaching program includes a number of handy tools and templates to help you make decisions such as ‘when’ easily.
What’s the best way to get a feel for a town before going to visit? Who should we ask what is it like to live and work there? My potential employer in Port Douglas paints a rosy picture but how can we get a realistic opinion?
1. Contact the Economic Development Manager/Officer at the local council Explain you situation and ask him/her if they could put you in touch with some people who actually live there, including local councillors.
2. Contact the local Chamber of Commerce and ask them if you could speak to one of their members.
3. Email the president of a local service club such as Rotary.
4. Depending on your line of work, you could also contact the related industry group and ask if they have any Port Douglas based members you could talk to.
5. If you have school aged children, expand your research by talking to Principals of local schools
6. If you have special interests, hobbies or are interested in volunteer associations (eg SES), these also provide a link which can open the door to talking directly to local people.
The key is to know what you want to ask (have your spiel and questions ready!) and adopt a friendly, curious tone over the phone. Most people are happy and willing to share their views on where they live – it’s simply a matter of connecting with them.
Dream It! Design It! Do It! self paced coaching program steps you through how to weigh up different locations and communities and make the best sea change decisions. It also teaches you how to find a job in the country, if you don’t already have one lined up.
I’ve been wanting to escape the rat race and make a tree change for years but my job and other commitments leave no time to do the research, plan it and do it. How do I fit it in and make it happen?
You’re right when you say that making a tree change takes time. Actions to make it happen include getting clear about what you want; researching all the options, visiting possible locations at different times of the year, making decisions and all the logistical tasks needed to move you from your current life to the one you want, all take time.
First of all decide that your tree change is a priority – one of the ‘big rock priorities’ in your life around which the smaller gravel and sand tasks need to fit. Failing to do this, will fuel the risk that you’ll never make the change. Days, months and years will pass and you will still be living the same life you’re living today, only somewhat older and probably less happy.
Ask yourself, “What will it cost me to not invest the time and is that a price I’m prepared to pay?” Picture yourself in 12 months, 5 and 10 years time. Is the picture filled with regret for the path not taken or one of a fulfilling life, doing what you love with those you love in a place you love. I wonder what your future looks like and how willing you are to do whatever it takes to create it.
What are you afraid of? Sometimes we procrastinate and fill our days with less important but heavily time consuming things as a way of avoiding an underlying fear. If you’re worrying about failure (and there are plenty of stories of failed sea and tree changes) get specific about what’s causing it and plan to actively avoid it. For example, if you’re worried your tree change won’t live up to your expectations, be crystal clear about what you want and do your research to make fully informed decisions. If it’s lack of money or financial security you’re worried about, what do you need to do to create sustainable wealth?
Ask yourself better questions. We often inadvertently talk ourselves ‘out’ of doing things we really want and need to do by telling ourselves things that just aren’t helpful. For example, “I haven’t got time” becomes, “What do I need to do to make time?” or “What’s one thing I can do right now to get started?”
Finally, think about seeking the help of an experienced Sea Change Coach to help you develop a realistic plan and hold yourself accountable for achieving your goals. It could be the best investment you make!
The Great Life Redesign shows you how to avoid overwhelm and burnout whilst planning and making a major lifestyle change and what to do when you’re in the ‘Living Parallel Lives’ phase of the change.
I’d really like to do a sea change but talking to others who have done it, I have some reservations. How do I push past them?
Reservations or concerns are messages from your intuition telling you that something about your sea change plan is ‘not quite right’. It’s your sub-conscious doing its job of keeping you safe. Rather than ignoring them, it’s far better to understand and resolve them.
First up, what are they? What is it you’re worried about? Write them down and take time to understand where they come from. What’s the real, underlying concern you have and how do you know that it’s real? Are they based on your experience or other’s? Whilst learning from other sea changers can be invaluable, it’s worth remembering that your experience will be different from theirs.
Once you can articulate your reservations, the next step is to find out all you need to know to resolve them. Talk to other people; do your research and find out what alternatives exist to help you resolve them.
Sometimes it’s useful to talk to someone who doesn’t have an emotionally vested interest in your sea change. Family and friends will be somewhat biased based on how your sea change will impact them. Talking to a professional coach will help you uncover ideas and strategies you may not have thought of.
If your reservations are well-founded and, after doing your research, there’s no way round them, listen to that inner voice and act on it. Maybe a sea change isn’t right for you, right now.
If, on the other hand you’re open to different ways of tackling them, put all your energy and time into developing these alternatives. After all, every problem has a solution!
The Great Life Redesign shows you how to uncover what you’re really concerned about and overcome whatever problems (real or imagined) you may face when making such a major life change.
If you need help to overcome your reservations, contact Possibility to Reality today for a complimentary, no obligation Sea Change Discovery Session.
MAKING THE MOVE
How will we know if we’ll like living in the country before we make the move?
What many would-be sea changers are looking for is certainty and creating certainty is the key to making sure your decision to change your lifestyle is the right one.
Creating certainty involves 4 simple steps.
- Identify what it is specifically that you want and need certainty about. Think about the things that are worrying you the most. Is it about making friends with like-minded people and settling into a new community? Maybe you need certainty about the work you’ll be doing, where you’ll be living and how you’ll be spending your time. Whatever it is for you – write it down.
- The next step is to be clear about your priorities for each of these things. For example, if you need certainty about the people and the community you’ll be living with – what sort of people do you like? What are their interests, priorities, values and attitudes?
- Give it a go! Visit your chosen location or take a sabbatical from work to see if you’ll like your new lifestyle is what we call ‘try before you buy’. Be sure to do this at different times of the year and be clear about steps 1 and 2 before you do your ‘trial run’.
- Finally, acknowledge what you’re leaving behind and be really honest about how important these aspects of your current life are. If you can make peace with closing this chapter of your life to open a new one, you’ll make your sea or tree change with a positive attitude, determined to like it, regardless of how different it is.
If you’ve fully researched the alternatives and found somewhere that ‘ticks all your boxes’, the final tip is to trust your intuition. If something just doesn’t feel right, find out what it is about and what you could do about it. Likewise, if you have a good feeling about making the move, you’re far more likely to make it a success.
The Great Life Redesign helps you discover everything you need to know to get clear about what you really want and how to consciously make it happen.
I was born and raised in the country and after 15 years in the city, am itching to get back to the simpler, easier life and closer community feel of a small NSW coastal town. One problem – my partner doesn’t want to leave the city. Help!
Sit down together and individually write down your hopes, dreams and goals – what you really want out of life. This means being really honest and reflecting on why these things are important to you.
Compare your lists and look at the ones which are the same or similar. Chances are these will include the priorities, common interests and values that brought you together in the first place. These are your areas of opportunity – a good place to start in defining your future lifestyle.
Where there are differences, ask yourselves “What would this give me and how else could I achieve it?” For example, if your partner loves the city night life, ask him what it is that he loves about it. If it’s the ‘buzz’ and alive feeling of a city at night, could he achieve this by taking up a high energy sport or joining an active social club? Could you agree to several short city holidays a year to give him his city night life fix?
What are you prepared to compromise on? All great relationships involve give and take and maybe you need to shift your priorities and expectations to create a life where you’ll both be happy. Be prepared to look for alternative ways to meet both your needs – the effort will pay off by keeping your relationship in tact.
Ask your partner what his reluctance to move is ‘really’ about. Often the initial blocker one partner puts up, is masking a genuine, underlying concern. Get to the heart of the matter and work together to find a solution.
Undertaking a major lifestyle change can create major strain on a relationship or strengthen the ties that keep you together. Work together to create 5 and 10 year plans that take into account the different life stages you’ll go through, regardless of whether you make a sea change.
It’s often useful to talk together to someone who’s independent and doesn’t have the emotionally vested interest in your future. Able to see things you can’t (because you’re in the situation), an experienced professional coach will be able to help you gain new insights and strategies to create a lifestyle that will work for both of you.
Regardless of which approach you take, be prepared to invest the time and effort to find a solution – future happiness will depend on it, for you both.
After 12 years living overseas we want to return to Australia to give our children a more ‘normal’ upbringing. We’d love to live by the beach but after so long away aren’t sure where we could settle. My husband is an entrepreneur who travels a lot but runs his businesses from home so we need to be near an international airport – just don’t want to live in the city. I’d really appreciate any guidance you can give us about where to start looking.
The following questions will help you narrow your options down even further:
1. What’s your ideal climate? From tropical North Queensland to cooler Tasmania and Western Australia, our climate still varies enormously. One expat family I’ve helped had lived in Asia for many years and wanted their children to experience the four seasons. This played a big part in their decision re where to move to.
2. Where do your family and friends live and how important is this to you? After years of being away they may be looking forward to you living closer and there are many benefits to children growing up within their extended family, rather than being occasional visitors. Family and friends will also be happy to share their views on the ‘best place to live’.
3. What’s your budget? Regardless of whether you’re renting or buying, house prices vary enormously around Australia and what you can afford vs the type of home you would like will also be location specific. That said, house prices are currently falling in many areas so it’s a good time to be coming home.
4. How often does your husband travel and how far from an airport do you need to be? This will help you draw a circle around potential international airport locations and see what’s possible up and down the coast from there.
5. What type of community and facilities are important to you? Beachside communities all have their own unique character and culture and finding one that fits your needs, values and criteria will be easier when you make a list of what you’re looking for.
The key to getting your ‘return home’ right is to do thorough research. The more informed you are, the better decisions you’ll make and the transition will be much easier. Don’t underestimate the emotional adjustment and give yourselves time to settle. Welcome home!
The P2R Expat New Start program is designed specially for anyone relocating to a new country – a move which takes sea changing to a whole new level.
There are many things and people in my current life I’ll miss when I make my tree change. How can I manage the inevitable homesickness?
1. Accept that this is a normal part of the transition process that comes with any significant change.
Acknowledge what or who you’re actually missing and why. Discover new ways to meet the need and stay in contact with those you are missing.
2. Surround yourself with small, familiar things. Moving to a new location can feel like landing on Mars! Unpack quickly and place items into the same drawers or cupboards they were in previously. Put up photos and pictures as soon as you can – don’t dismiss this as something that can wait until you’ve got time.
3. Get to know your new location. Take time to find your way around town, where your favourite groceries are on the supermarket shelves and connect with local services such as your new doctor, chemist or plumber. This is an easy way to get your bearings.
4. Make an effort to make new friends. Loneliness is homesickness’ best friend! If you’re feeling lonely, homesickness can become overwhelming. Introduce yourself to your new neighbours; invite new work colleagues over for dinner and join a local group that shares a common interest.
5. Accept that it will take time to adjust and notice how quickly what was at first strange and unfamiliar soon becomes familiar. Celebrate the day you can go out and come home without a map or sat nav!
The Great Life Redesign shares Michael’s experience and tips for adapting easily to life in the country when he moved from Melbourne to Armidale, NSW and Jane’s experience settling into life in rural New Zealand.
I’ve lived in the city all my life and would like some tips on how to easily adapt to a totally different lifestyle.
Acceptance is all about acknowledging the differences, withholding judgement and making peace with the way things are. Rather than resisting the differences, adopt a ‘go with the flow’ attitude and focus on the benefits your slower paced life are giving you.
Maybe the weather is colder or hotter, maybe the locals seem to have different priorities and maybe it’s not quite how you imagined it would be. Accepting the differences will help you dress for the climate; embrace the shift in what’s important and revel in how your new life really is.
Curiosity is about being prepared to get out into your new community and discovering what’s possible without relentlessly comparing it with how your old city-based life used to be. Seek to understand why things are the way they are and couple this with acceptance.
The night life may no longer involve clubbing, restaurants and the theatre. Perhaps entertainment is more about inviting new friends around for a barbeque after the local football match.
Patience comes with the realisation that adapting and fitting into your new community won’t happen over night. Taking it one step at a time, being willing to learn and getting involved are all ways to gradually unwind, connect and fit in. Tree changer Mike moved to country NSW 2 years ago to create a lifestyle that would bring him closer to his family and pursue more meaningful work. He and his wife Jenny bought a 50 acre hobby farm in the Southern Highlands where the shock of cold winters and making new friends brought a steep learning curve.
Recognising that he couldn’t become an instant farming expert, he set himself a 5 year goal to learn all he could and make it a success. This included joining the local Rotary Club to make friends, ajisting neighbours cattle and doing an evening small farming course at the local TAFE. He says,
“The breakthrough came when one day it dawned on us to stop comparing what was available in Sydney, focus on what was on offer in the nearby towns and making the effort to get involved”.
With Acceptance, Curiosity and Patience, you’ll soon be embracing your new lifestyle. After all, what are you making your tree change for?
The Great Life Redesign shares the secrets, tools and tips to making such a major lifestyle change easy and successful.
The dream of buying a small farm in the country and simplifying our lives is really mine. How can I get my wife and daughters to get excited about it?
Start by asking your wife and daughters how they feel about moving to the country. Really listen and uncover their hopes and dreams. Suspend the need to jump in and reassure them or tell them they’re wrong. Simply acknowledge their concerns and find out what they think it would be like.
Discover what’s important to each of them and help them identify opportunities to fulfil their own dreams, as well as those you all share as a family. What does happiness mean to them and how could they achieve it through a lifestyle change? In other words, ‘what’s in it for them?’
Develop a list of Sea Change Criteria that includes what’s important for everyone in the family. Use this list to research different locations and encourage your family to identify different ways to have their needs met.
Involve them in all the decisions and tasks that such a change would require. Give them choices and help them to ‘own’ the change as much as you do. You may need to compromise to meet everyone’s needs but in the end, making it a family tree change will help all of you make the transition more easily.
Sea Changing Made Easy – The Emotional Side includes a handy quiz to help you see if your family is ready for a sea change.
I’m not sure what work I could do or how to find a job in a town where I don’t know anyone?
1. Looking back over your career so far, make a list of the roles, responsibilities and tasks you’ve really enjoyed. It’s likely these will also be your best skills and strengths.
2. Identify which skills and experiences you have that are easily transferable to any industry, organization or business. The more of these you have, the better your chances of securing work quickly in your chosen location.
3. Decide what ‘perfect’ means for you. Make a list of what you need in a job to be happy and decide what type of work will best suit and sustain your new lifestyle. If you want more flexibility and time, part-time or fixed term contract work may be a better option.
4. Do the sums and work out what your new lifestyle will cost. Compare it with what your city-based lifestyle costs today and decide what changes you’ll make both in the work you do and the way you live.
5. Thoroughly research what’s possible in your chosen location or region. Be prepared to consider travelling to nearby towns – a 20 minute drive in the country is still going to beat a one hour city commute.
6. Seek advice from local business associations and the local council and connect with people already doing the type of work you’d like in your new town. Use their names as introductions to potential employers and be clear about how you can best help them.
7. Finding the perfect job may take time so be prepared to take an interim role to establish your reputation. The key to landing a great job is to be patient. In the meantime, demonstrate what you bring through doing the best job you can.
Sea Changing Made Easy – The Practical Side includes a section on finding work in your dream location, identifying your transferable skills and setting up a sea/tree change business.
If you’d like to see what’s possible for you, contact Possibility to Reality today for a complimentary, no obligation Sea Change Discovery Session.
“I’m worried about being left ‘stranded’ without a job if my sea change doesn’t work out. How can I make sure this doesn’t happen?”
Saying goodbye to your old life and ‘burning your bridges’ can feel daunting, especially given that there are no guarantees that what you’re moving to will work out. No matter how well you plan, unanticipated challenges will still arise and the key to sleeping well at night is planning for them before you make the change.
Ask, ‘What’s the worst thing that can happen and what will I/we do if it does?’ If your new career or location hits an unexpected problem, it’s wise to have an alternative ready. Your Contingency First Aid Kit could include:
- Keeping the door open with your current employer before you resign. This may include alternative, future positions with the company, working remotely or part-time until you get back on your feet. However, remember that this is only likely to be a short-term option as the reason you wanted to leave in the first place may still be there.
- Establish and nurture your network of friends and colleagues. Staying in touch and tapping into who and what they know, will ensure you have a ready-made team who will keep their eyes and ears open for new opportunities.
- Work out how much it would cost to reverse your sea/tree change and put that money aside in a ‘rainy day’ bank account before you make the change. If the worst happens, you want to know that you are not trapped by insufficient funds.
- Rent out your house rather than selling it for the first 6 – 12 months. This will enable you to give your sea/tree change a trial run. The first 3 months of a major career and lifestyle change are usually the most challenging and it’s likely you’ll know within 6 months if it’s what you hoped it would be.
Remember, there’s no going backwards once you’ve undertaken a major career and/or lifestyle change. Even if you return to your former home and job, you will be changed by the experience. Focus on the future, take with you all that you’ve learnt and move forward.
I left my marketing career 7 years ago to start a family. With my youngest now at school I’m keen to return to work but it needs to a job that’s fulfilling and fits around my family. Do you have any ideas about what work I could do?
Before you despair, there is another way to work when and how you want, doing something you care about. More working parents than ever before are now starting up and running very successful lifestyle businesses. These are businesses that fit with and support the way you live, an alternative to the constant compromises and stressors experienced as an employee.
You may be thinking, “but I’ve never run a business before and wouldn’t know where to start.” Again, there’s never been more help available for first time business owners to find their feet and create viable, income generating businesses that fulfil a need, market or cause you really care about. There are also many vibrant small business communities to support you and government grants to help you get your business idea off the ground.
The options for creating a workable business model are also unlimited. If you’re worried about being lonely or not having the right skills or experience, find a business partner (maybe another working Mum) who has complimentary skills and shares a common passion. Getting the right partner will give you flexibility and someone to share the work with.
If the idea of a lifestyle business is appealing, take out a pen and piece of paper. Think of a range of problems you can solve or needs you can meet in a unique way. These may well be ones you’ve experienced yourself. Next, research the options – identify and meet with others who have already successfully done what you would like to do and learn everything you can about it.
A word of caution – starting a sustainable lifestyle business takes a lot of hard work and commitment, especially in the early years. Far from being a ‘soft’ option, it requires focus, an open mind, willingness to make mistakes and learn from them and hunger to make a difference to something that’s important to you.
Yet the potential rewards are also unlimited. As well as the satisfaction that comes from doing something you love and being paid for it, working the hours you choose and being challenged, as a role model you’ll be teaching your children invaluable lessons. If the idea of running a lifestyle business is appealing and you’re curious to know how to make it work, the P2R Lifestyle Business Kickstart Program will step you through the process from idea to viable business.
If running a business isn’t for you, the P2R Career and Lifestyle Change Program will help you find a job that ticks all your personal and professional boxes.
RUNNING A BUSINESS
I’m thinking of running a B&B but am not sure of the hours and being available 24/7. I would like to travel too. Any ideas?
- Drop the 9-5, Monday – Friday mindset. Changing your lifestyle often requires changing your habits and routines. Business ownership is rarely a 9-5 proposition. However, successful business owners will tell you that while they work hard, long-term success doesn’t come from being a slave to the business. B&B owners often work over weekends but may have time off during the week when it’s quieter.
- Plan a year in advance. This includes blocking out time when you won’t be available. If you want to travel, choose a time when your business is likely to be less busy (eg winter is often quieter for B&Bs).
- Be prepared to work hard during the busy season. If you can optimise the business during peak periods, this will create longer periods of time and more money to take time off in the slower times.
- Find an experienced locum to manage your business while you’re away. This should include someone who knows the ins and outs of your business and is a member of your industry’s professional body. As long as your bookings are solid, the cost of paying a manager when you’re away travelling for long periods of time should be easily covered.
- Alternatively, buy the business with a business partner who has the same goals as you and is happy to share the work and benefits.
As with all lifestyle businesses, it’s important to go into it with ‘eyes wide open’ and decide if it’s right for you. For information on running a B&B the BBFAA is the recognised peak industry organisation representing bed and breakfast, farmstay, guest house/boutique hotel, cottage and self-catering accommodation and a good place to start to find out more.
If running a lifestyle business appeals to you the Lifestyle Business Kickstart Program will help you design, plan and create a successful business that fits with your desired lifestyle.
My wife and I want to establish a farm to grow and sell organically grown fruit. We know where it will be and have set ourselves 5 years to swap our current city bound corporate jobs to a simpler, healthier more fulfilling lifestyle. But it seems such a long way off and we find ourselves getting disheartened, wondering if it’s too big a change.
Vision – Get Clear and Stay Focused on your future life. Write down everything you want to achieve and build a picture of what it will look like. Create a Vision Board by cutting out pictures of what your future life will include and pin them on a corkboard. Place the Vision Board where you will see it often and keep adding pictures over time. This will help you visualize your future life, keep it front of mind and make it real.
Goals– Create a timeline for the next 5 years and identify the 3 main goals you will need to achieve to create your new lifestyle. Make sure the goals are SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-framed) and place them on a timeline.
Strategies – Break each goal down into a 3 key strategies or ways that you will achieve your goals. Identify what resources (time, money, information, support) you will need to implement each strategy.
Steps – For each strategy work out what simple steps you will take and set a realistic timeframe for each one. Baby steps need only take 10 minutes a day. With each step you will learn more and gain increased clarity about what you need to do next.
Action – Take one step at a time! Allocate time each day and week to take each step. Don’t worry about what you’ve planned for next week or next month. Simply focus on what you need to do today and tomorrow.
Rewards – Celebrate each step you take; each strategy you implement and each goal you achieve. You’ll be surprised how quickly your dream will take shape by focusing on what you need to do now.
To create your own simple life redesign blueprint and make your dream a reality, The Great Life Redesign steps you through an easy to apply process.
I want to leave my job as a bank manager to run my own online graphic design business from home. What’s the best way to do this?
1. Assuming you are technically and creatively brilliant at what you do, the first question to ask is, what do you hope to gain from such a change? What will it give you and what’s the catalyst for wanting to run your own business? This will help you clarify your reasons and motivation for making the change. When faced with the many challenges involved in setting up your own business, it will be important to often remind yourself why you’re doing it.
2. Now, what does outrageous success look like? If we were to meet in 5 years time and I was to say “Hey Jane, how’s the business going?” what would you tell me? What will you have achieved and how did you do it? This will form the basis of both the vision you have for your business and lifestyle and the goals you will set to achieve it.
3. OK – so now we need to ask what makes you special? There are many online graphic design businesses out there so what is unique about what you offer, the way you offer it and why should people deal with you?
4. Next, define your target market and build a profile of your ideal client. What are their key challenges or needs that you will meet? What do your ideal customers really value – what’s important to them?
5. Who are your competitors and what do you know about them? How will you differentiate your business? This could include products, service, value and price. Research the most successful competitors and identify what they do well. Remember, online businesses today are collaborative and competitors are also potential joint venture partners.
6. Now it’s time to build your business plan – yes, even a small, home-based micro business needs a business plan. It doesn’t need to be long and complicated but the risk of not having one is that you could drift aimlessly and waste time, effort and money on things that aren’t directly building your business from day one.
7. What don’t you know? It’s important to identify your knowledge gaps and plan to bridge them. Undertake a small business course and build a team of experts and mentors around you including an accountant and possibly a business coach to guide you. There are also a number of excellent publications and training courses full of knowledge and ideas.
8. It’s a good idea to financially estimate how much money you will need to get the business started as the first 6- 12 months can fluctuate between feast and famine as you establish a reputation and start to get return business from delighted customers. Put aside a ‘nest egg’ to tide you over and cover your expenses for 3 – 6 months. Develop a contingency plan, rainy day account and alternative ways to generate income for the initial start up stage.
9. Finally, one of the risks of running a home-based business is loneliness and isolation, particularly if you’re coming out of a large corporate environment. Identify a business network you can join where you can build and leverage other complimentary business relationships as well as learn from those who have been running home based businesses successfully for years.
Most importantly – enjoy the ride and embrace the steep learning curve. Escaping the rat race and building a successful business is one of the most exhilarating, challenging and potentially rewarding ways to create a life aligned with who you are.
My husband and I run a home maintenance and gardening business in Sydney. We’re keen to move to a country town and set up our business there. How do we choose a town where our business will do well quickly?
1. Identifying towns or regions that need a business like yours. If you have a number of country locations in mind, determine which one most has a need for the services your business offers. Have a look at the demographics of the town, the styles of homes and gardens and talk to local councils, chambers of commerce and other business people. Towns and regions which are expanding or have plans for strong future growth hold the most potential.
2. Who are your potential competitors? What’s working well for them and how successful are they? Is there room for another provider of similar services? Be prepared to look for opportunities to add new services, modify those you already provide. Look at ways to compliment rather than compete with existing established businesses.
3. What other businesses offer similar services with whom you could form an alliance (eg the local hardware store, builders/property developers or nursery). Establishing your credibility and reputation for great service at a good price will be a top priority and partner businesses can offer vital introductions. Focus on adding value to their business.
4. Create a marketing plan to launch your new business. Build your profile and let people know you are there by contributing a regular column or feature article in the local newspaper. Include testimonials from former customers, introductory offers, free trials, coupons on shopping dockets and discounts for referrals. Target customers who are more likely to sign up for a longer term contract to quickly establish stable income and
5. Draw on the lessons you learnt when you first set up your business and the experience you have gained since. Don’t assume that what worked in the city will automatically work in the country. You may need to re-visit the type of services you provide and identify new pricing structures.
I wish you every success! If you’re considering re-locating or establishing a business in the country our Lifestyle Business Kickstart Program will help you get your business up and running successfully, step by step.
I run my own successful tree-lopping business and would like to relocate to the country. Having invested in the equipment and finally breaking even after 5 years, I’d need to build and re-establish the business with new customers. How can I do this without going backwards?
- Due your due diligence. Determine if there is a demand for your services; assess the competition and work out how to differentiate your business. What other tree-lopping or similar businesses exist in the region you are considering moving to? Be prepared to service a number of towns within a region to build your customer base and consider offering other, related services to diversify the business.
- How did you build your business and client base when you first started out? Apply and modify these approaches to appeal to your new potential customers. Do market research to identify what people want and need. Develop a publicity campaign to market your services to meet these needs. This could be as simple as putting an ad in the local supermarket or a promotional offer in the local newspaper to build awareness.
- Talk to local business owners and build partnerships. Partnerships with local nurseries and gardening services are worth exploring as well as finding out who holds the contract for maintaining trees on local council property, government agencies (eg schools and hospitals) or private businesses with established grounds.
- Build a financial buffer to tide you over the first 6 months. It will take time to establish your reputation and for local people to trust a newcomer so expect business to be slower to start with. Exceed their expectations with exceptional customer service and consistently high quality work. Gather referrals, testimonials and introductions from every client you work for as ‘word of mouth’ will be your strongest advocate.
To find out more about how to establish a successful country business, Sea Changing Made Easy the Practical Side includes a chapter on Business Essentials for Sea Changers – what you must know and do.
If you would like expert guidance to successfully establish your lifestyle business, our Lifestyle Business Kickstart Program steps you easily through the process.