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The blog for ambitious founders.

My blog covers the MANY highs and lows of starting, scaling and selling my business for 7-figures, in just 4 years. If you're an ambitious entrepreneur then add your email below to get a new episode delivered every Wednesday.

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The reality of post-exit life.

It was something I dreamed about for so many years. Decades in fact.


How it would feel to have built a business, sold it and then have the ability to pick and choose what I did. If anything.


It was what kept me going during those challenging times that you face as a founder. Getting paid less than many of your team, not able to turn off your brain, feeling like you're going too fast yet not fast enough.


And on 21st September 2021, that dream became a reality for me.


I had built a business, sold it and now I was officially an exited founder.


So, how was the reality of post-exit life?


Well, to find the answer we need to fast forward to 1st June 2023. The day that I completed my earn out, and my post-exit life could really begin.


I could summarise post-exit life in one word. Brilliant.


Absolutely not what I expected it to be. And full of confusion and disappointment.


But still absolutely brilliant.


However, in this blog I'll touch on a few elements of post-exit life that caught me by surprise.



Who actually am I?

For the 4 years of running my business, and 18 months of earn out, I knew exactly who I was. I was my business and my business was me. We were inseparable, both physically and mentally.


When the business is removed from you it takes some time to actually remember who you were beforehand. What made me happy? What did I like doing?


Suddenly you're in an amazing position to be able to do anything you want, but for me, it wasn't clear what that was straight away.


Like being handed an Amazon voucher and having no idea what to buy.


It takes time.

The above state of confusion doesn't clear after a week or two.


For me, it's almost a year since leaving my business for the last time and I'm still not fully clear what I want from life.


If someone asks me what I do, I still revert to "I recently sold my business". My new life mission isn't strong enough yet to overpower my previous one.


I tried to take some time off. I called it my 3 month retirement. But I was bored, like really bored, within weeks. And that boredom lead to lots of ideas and plans for new things to start.


I always had ideas (see here), but now I had time and resources. I was suddenly dangerous.


I had to really work at staying bored and saying no. I did an OK job, but definitely still overcommitted to things before figuring out what I actually wanted.


My problems aren't really problems.

You may be reading this blog thinking how you would kill for these problems if it meant that you could be financially free. Or judging me for complaining about a very privileged problem.


You would be absolutely right.


The things I was struggling with in post-exit life were nothing compared to the issues of the wider world. They're not things you can share with friends. You can only really talk about them with other people in the same circumstance.


Or you can write them in a blog and let people quietly judge you from the comfort of their homes (thanks!).



You still need to make money.

The dream is to sell a business, make enough money to retire and then live off it for the rest of your days.


The reality is, that if you're the type of person that can build a company that someone wants to buy, you're not going to want to eat away at that money.


You want that money to increase.


Not because you need more, but because that's how you're wired.


But as you've sold your business, it's very likely that you don't have any income. So you need to go and start making more.


I personally found this difficult. Not the actual making of the money, but the charging people for things when they knew I didn't need the money.


I really struggled with this guilt. To the point where I just constantly delayed finding a way for FounderON to make money.


It's only in the last couple of months that I've managed to shake off that feeling of awkwardness and decide that I can, and will built FounderON into a business. Not just a lifestyle business that generates an income, but a big business that has real capital value.


And since deciding to do that I've been so much happier. Everything I'm doing suddenly has a purpose. I'm focusing on creating a business model that lets me charge people as little as possible.


I've shaken off the feeling that just because I've built something successful before, I shouldn't have the ambition to go again.


I love building businesses. And if I can do that while helping others do the same, then it feels like win win.


(By the way, you can follow my journey of building my new businesses by subscribing to my free Linkedin newsletter - https://www.linkedin.com/newsletters/7107774786386190336/)


The world keeps turning.

The biggest reality check for me was how much my life had changed, and how little that mattered to the world.


I had done what many people aspire to achieve.


I'll be honest that I expected to open my inbox the following day to hundreds of offers of brand deals, consulting gigs and speaking slots.


The reality is that it's a big deal to you, but not to anyone else.


Nothing changes. But it does.

I'm almost a year into post-exit life and if someone asked my how life changes my reply would be "it doesn't really".


Not because I'm trying to dumb down the reality. But that's what I actually believe.


Of course my life has changed.


I life in an amazing house, holidays whenever we want, no worries about paying the gas bill. But it just becomes normal so quickly.


The real answer is that life has changed in almost every way. Not because of things that I've bought. But because not having the day-to-day financial worries or work related stresses make all of the things you did already, much more enjoyable.



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