I Used to Be Somebody: (Un)Retirement Lessons Learned

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Mr. Idea Man Joe Pulizzi

Diana Landau | September 21, 2020

Carl recently interviewed the great Joe Pulizzi on our I Used to Be Somebody podcast. Joe is full of great ideas and has been jotting them down in his journal for decades. Here’s the thing with Joe… he actually accomplishes those dream goals.


Joe left his day job in publishing in 2006 and armed with a plan and his wife Pam’s steadfast encouragement, he launched the Content Marketing Institute. With the Internet taking over every aspect of modern business Joe realized the marketing model of the future was all about brands creating all kinds of great content to attract audiences. His Content Marketing World events attracted thousands of attendees wanting to learn more.


Back then, Joe wrote down in his journal that he wanted to sell this company in less than ten years for at least $15 million. In reality, he sold the company in 2015 for $17.9 million. Talk about making your own luck!


On the podcast, Carl and Joe talked about what life was like after he sold. Joe said he was really panicked for a while, didn’t know what to do next, what he should be doing. He was only 47 and didn’t want to retire, exactly.


Here are 3 key takeaways from Joe’s journey of selling his company to a successful (un)retirement:


  1. Take some time and DO NOTHING. Joe took a 12-month sabbatical, in which he shut down social media, spent quality time with family and travelled the world.

  2. You will have other goals now and they will be very different. If you’ve been driving hard in your work life for 30-40 years, it’s hard to suddenly slow down. Creating a work life with more fun and less grind takes practice. After writing 6 business books on marketing, Joe took some time and wrote a best-selling mystery thriller, The Will to Die.

  3. Recognize that you have some real time and resources now to make an impact on the world. Joe and his wife founded the Orange Effect Foundation, to raise funds for kids who need speech therapy, many with autism. Speech therapy changed his son’s life, and now the Orange Effect helps other families in profound ways. 


Think of (un)retirement as an adventure. Don’t add stress to your life if it’s not perfectly planned out yet. The key is to take some time, identify what you want to do and then go for it!!!


For the full interview, listen to I Used to be Somebody, Episode #1 with Joe Pulizzi. For listening details go to our website!

To learn more about Joe, visit his website!


Diana Landau is the Content Wrangler for Pickleball Media. After 15 years in corporate marketing, in 2012 she pivoted to write and wrangle content for Niche Media's weekly blog. She now manages the I Used to Be Somebody weekly blog. 

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