In this post I'll be introducing the concept of a lifestyle business and discussing what that could mean for you, how making the decision to build your own could be a great step towards financial freedom and what you need to consider before you get started.
Once you're finished reading you should have a good understanding of whether or not starting down the path of creating a lifestyle is the right decision for you and what you can do next.
So what is a lifestyle business?
You may have come across the term lifestyle business in the past and wondered what exactly people are talking about and whether or not it's some sort of fad name that people have come up with to try to convince people like you that what they do in their basement on their computer is a genuine business venture.
Regardless of how you may have come across the term, it's probably fair to say that the reality is it means different things to different people, after all the concept of lifestyle in itself is very different depending on your background, how you grew up and what your aspirations are in life.
As an example, if you were brought up in a big city surrounded by expensive houses, exotic entertainment and other luxuries then your idea of what constitutes an ideal lifestyle is going to be very different to someone who may be from a small town where the focus may be more on family and friends, community and living day-to-day.
The key point to remember is that the key to your lifestyle (and lifestyle business) is what is right for you. So if you are interested in being able to work on your own, not have to be in the public eye and get plenty of free time then that is what you would be looking for in a lifestyle business, whereas someone else might want to be the face of their company and build a reputation for their services.
In essence, a lifestyle business is a vehicle through which you can live the life that you ideally want, something that places control of your destiny into your hands and doesn't let other people dictate when you have to work and what you have to do each day that you choose to work. It gives you the freedom to choose to do other things that you deem to be more important, without having to sacrifice your lifestyle in the process.
But how could a lifestyle business change your life?
This is an interesting question and again the answer largely comes down to what you are looking to achieve in your life and what you are willing to commit to doing in order to achieve that goal. For some a lifestyle business might be about removing the worry about how to pay the bills while you pursue a passion for an activity that may not otherwise be financially rewarding, for others it will be a way to free themselves from being stuck in a job that they don't enjoy (or even if they enjoy the work, they may not enjoy the business).
What is common across most people is the idea of freedom. The freedom to be able to choose what to do each day, where to do it and who to do it with, instead of relying on others to provide the income to put food on the table and keep themselves or their family in a safe neighbourhood (and by rely I mean having someone else giving you a pay check each month).
Instead of having to be confined to a cubicle or stuck doing manual labour for what is undoubtedly far less than what you are truly worth (and let's face it there are only so many hours one can work in a week) a lifestyle business provides you with the opportunity to generate an income that is not directly related to the number of hours you work (we'll go into that in more detail in a future article) but on the value you can provide to your or other people's customers.
Imagine being able to choose how many hours you spent on your business on a particular day and then spend more time with friends or family, or travelling, or participating in your favourite hobby. The ability to work to live, rather than living to work is what creating a lifestyle business could do for you, so you can live life on your own terms rather than be dictated to by when you need to be ‘making a living'.
What should you consider before starting a lifestyle business?
When it comes to starting a lifestyle business there are some key elements that you need to address before you leap into it, take the right approach and it could pay off big time in the long run, do it wrong or go into it with the wrong motivation and you could be in for many years of frustration.
Here are just a few things to consider:
- What is your motivation? It's important that you have a strong reason for doing what you do, without it getting through the frustration and tough times can be impossible and it can be far too easy to quit. Really think about what it is that is driving you to change your life by creating a lifestyle business, it could be family, it could be a dream you've had for years, what is the one thing that you know you will never give up on?
- What does success look like? Have you ever tried building a Lego kit with no idea what the finished product is going to look like, if you're anything like me it never quite ends up matching what you have in your head. The same goes for a business, if you don't have a clear idea of what you are trying to build and what success looks like it can be incredibly difficult to lay out a strategy to get there. Have a clear vision of what it is you want, write it down and keep it up to date!
- Are you interested in what you are doing? It can be all to easy to pick a business based on what you think will make you the most money or give you the most freedom, but the catch usually is that unless you have an interest or passion for what you are doing you are unlikely to be successful in the long run. Anyone that you deal with or communicate with as part of building your lifestyle business will get a sense of whether or not it's something that excites you, and if it doesn't they'll be able to tell.
- Can you afford to start a business? Let's face it, there are very few things in life that are truly worth it which don't require some sort of investment (financially) on your part. It is true that you can achieve a lot with very little, but if you're struggling to put food on the table for your kids or yourself you'll need to take a good hard look at what you can afford to part with to build your business. In the short term it might be better to look at more ‘standard' methods of increasing your income before you start a lifestyle business.
I'm sure there are other things that you may have thought of yourself and everyone is likely to be different when it comes to considering the option of building a lifestyle business, so you need to take stock of where you are, what you want to achieve and set realistic goals to ensure that you are set up for the best chance at success.
Interested in getting started, but not sure what's next?
If you've read through this article and find yourself thinking that building your own lifestyle business is a step you want to take then the first thing to say is… that's fantastic! It can be a truly rewarding experience to step out on one's own and build something that sets you apart from the crowd, but it can also be a little bit scary (which is completely understandable).
Here's what I'd suggest… take your time. Picking the right approach that matches with your goals and passion are crucial to your success and you don't want to jump at the first opportunity that comes along, although you don't want to automatically discount it either. There are a number of options available to you (which I will be covering in future articles) but the key thing is to spend some time really thinking about who you are and what type of lifestyle business you may be interested in building.
Spend some time thinking about what excites you, what have you come across in the past that you may have thought could be something you might be good at, have you always dreamed about doing something for people or sharing with others? Talk to people who know you well, ask them what they think you're good at, consider how public you want your business to be and whether there is anything that you just would not do.
Read back through this article and put my advice into practise (if you've found it useful feel free to share it with your friends) and then check back for more articles on this site that will dig into a number of the options that are out there, who knows one of them may be ideal for you (if not I'll share how to seek out different opportunities and evaluate them).
So, over to you. Building a successful lifestyle business can be challenging, it can be frustrating but most of all it can be incredibly rewarding. It takes time, effort and consistent action on your part and the right tools, training and support from those who you elect to work with, so choose wisely.
See you again soon!