I always believed in "gut feelings", and although slightly too late - four years ago - I listened to my inner voice saying: "... need to diversify - the market cannot sustain itself ..." and decided to move away from Florida and pick a less stressful lifestyle in the mountains in GA. We had an excellent business (did architectural design and had a contractor's license) in Naples - work (and income) was abundant. We took a leap of faith and I knew we had to diversify!
We had to diversify!
We had to re-think our entire life-style as well as our opportunities. It was clear that I could not survive on architecture alone. In the past three years, we opened a coffee shop (Lilly Pad Village), built a small miniature golf course on our property, added two gem mining flumes, stocked the pond and allow people (mainly kids) to fish, I learned how to design web sites (and got pretty good at it), my wife got ordained and started officiating wedding and commitment ceremonies ..... and of course I still do design work. We did all of our-build out ourselves, which not only gave us great pleasure, kept us in shape but also saved a truck load of cash (the miniature golf course took us three months to build and spent less than $20K vs the cheapest quote of $80K). Easy if you have cash in your pocket one might say - well, we did not. Lost a great deal of money in Florida with the declining economy, so we did things slowly (no instant gratification) and paid cash as we were earning it.
Basically we started thinking outside of the box and it is working!
Too many people are stuck in their comfort zone and when that comfort zone is in trouble, they get desperate. I have known many architects like myself and many Realtors I had business dealings with who simply closed shop and got out of business. You do not have to give up what you enjoy doing, you just need to re-think how you do it.
Se we live a much simpler life - everything we buy we pay for it cash; we are down to one car; cook and eat at home, and eat very well; go for long hikes and enjoy family.
So the bottom line: we are much happier; we do what we truly enjoy doing; we are a lot healthier (I am 55 and I am on absolutely NO medication whatsoever); our relationships with family has not only improved but became much stronger and our relationship (my wife and I) is as it was years and years ago when we first met.
And all this because we learned to adopt diversify. It really is not that difficult.