A “Scholarship to Life”

My father-in-law – now retired – had two professional careers, spending his first 25 years as Naval officer, and another, equally long stint as a university professor and dean. He loved his time in the Navy, and it also offered a lasting benefit in the form of a military pension – what he likes to call his “scholarship to life.”

I love the idea of a “scholarship to life” – it’s a perfect description for the amount of capital (or ongoing income stream) that fully addresses the basic needs of life, without robbing you of the drive to build and create. The happiest people I know aren’t the ones who made a pile of money and shifted their focus from creating to consuming. It’s the ones whose past success has given them a “scholarship to life” (at whatever level they define that), freeing them to pursue their creative dreams and passions with total commitment.

If you’re a cash-strapped entrepreneur who hasn’t yet had a hit, you still have a path to a “scholarship to life” – it’s called cash-flow breakeven, and as soon as you cross that line you can stop asking permission from investors just to stay in business. You (and your customers) get to decide what happens next, and that’s a great feeling.

Here’s my advice if you want to live the entrepreneur’s dream and “follow your heart” for a living: go and get yourself a scholarship to life.