Two downshifters dropped their income by 85% but are now beating the recession with their

“personal diversification”


Stepping Off run weekend courses for others wanting to downshift or refocus their lives and will be at One Life Live at


March 2010

 Jo Hampson is a speaker in the One Life Live Theatre

85% pay cut + personal diversification = contentment


Having downshifted from senior policing jobs in the south to a smokehouse in rural  Cumbria Jo Hampson and Georgina Perkins have taken a tip from farm diversification schemes and now see their own personal diversification as the foundation of financial security and more importantly, contentment. 


“We now have time to live – rather than feeling like rats on a wheel” said Jo Hampson, founder of Stepping Off (and former teacher, Chief Superintendent, Smokehouse director and general “Jill” of all trades).  She continues “We work out how much we need to live on – then we go and try and earn it from one or more of our diverse schemes – training, speaking, PR, book-keeping, running courses and B&B and even painting and decorating!”


“We look at life completely differently – instead of having one full time job we now have a portfolio of small income streams allowing us flexibility, variety and choice, together with time to enjoy life.”


In the middle of successful policing careers Jo and Georgina “stepped off” the wheel to run their own business – a smokehouse near Penrith.  Three years later, having built up the business and learned a lot about themselves, they sold it on.


At this point they set up “Stepping Off” offering weekend workshops to help people plan their new lives, sharing their experience and offering advice about the pitfalls of downshifting.  They wrote ‘Life Swap – the essential guide to downshifting’ which is full of hints, tips and exercises to ensure a successful life change.   


As the fledgling business grew they started to look for an additional income stream -

Following their own advice – don’t turn away from your skills - they launched “Smoky Jo’s” food smoking courses. These turned out to be popular and great fun – and like Stepping Off they help their home to pay for itself.


“When you have been in one line of work – however varied and however much you enjoy it – it can be a real eye-opener to find how much more of a world there is to engage with”  said Georgina. “Call it synchronicity, serendipity or luck but we started finding other income streams almost accidentally”.  Jo is doing more public speaking and they are using skills acquired running their own business to work with other small businesses.  Even thought they do a variety of jobs they still have more time to enjoy themselves and to spend time with previously-neglected family and friends.”


A lifestyle that has been dubbed ‘Personal Diversification’ – shows that everyone has transferable skills that can enable them to earn money in a variety of ways.   A business can risk its very existence by relying on one major client – personal diversification avoids the similar risk of having only one source of income, and allows people a way to live and earn that is sustainable through this economic downturn.”


“We love running our courses and meet great people.  We enjoy our smaller jobs, which all play to our strengths.  By choice we certainly do not earn a lot of money - but then we don’t seem to want for much either!” adds Jo.  She continues “With most people their fear of a life change is largely about money – we have proved that by examining your priorities and by working differently you can earn enough to get by, and have enough time to enjoy life more”.


For further information contact Jo Hampson or Georgina Perkins on 01931 716638

Photographs: Images are available on request

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