30,000 Feet

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Written By Colin Graves

I fumbled around with a few side hustles before I found the one that would become a 6-figure business and allow me to leave the 9-5.

Everything changed when I decided to look at things from 30,000 feet.

I remember the moment well. It was 2018, and Laura and I were out for dinner. After finishing our meal, we spent a couple of hours talking while getting refills on our coffee.

I distinctly remember asking her this question:
“What do we want our life to look like in five years?”

Hardly eloquent, but Laura understood.

Here are some of the ideas we came up with while sitting in that restaurant.

In five years, we wanted:

  • More time to spend together
  • More freedom to travel – longer vacations, to visit family
  • More day-to-day schedule flexibility
  • To be available to support our kids as they moved into adulthood (whatever that would look like)
  • I wanted to have my own business and do creative work (Laura didn’t express her own business goals but was interested in us working together)

In looking at the big picture, we drew the following conclusions:

  • My 9-5 job was completely at odds with our desired lifestyle.
  • Any side hustle or business I started would have to enable me to work remotely (laptop and an internet connection only)
  • Our travel goals meant that we should aim to maintain or increase our income.

It didn’t happen overnight, but I used this information to design the perfect business for our desired lifestyle. In fact, that 30,000-foot view was so helpful that Laura and I now go through the same exercise every year.


I recently created a roadmap to escape the 9-5 (which you can see here).

But I now realize that I left out the first and most important step.

Before you do anything else, go up to 30,000 feet. Ask yourself the question, “What do I want life to look like in five years?” Write down everything that comes to mind. If you’re married or have a partner, ask them first. Find out what matters to them.

You can then start building your business, your 9-5 escape plan, around the life you want to live.

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