“I want to start a business.”
Those words are used by thousands of women every single year.
Chances are, when a woman uses those words, she has some ideas in mind for what she wants to sell, and the overall concept she wants to create.
But when I sit down and talk with women about the business they are choosing to create, I make them stretch a bit more.
“Do you want a business you can run locally with local clients and face to face meetings? Or are you interested in a lifestyle business that allows you to work from anywhere at any time?”
A Traditional Business In A Non-Traditional Way
When I used to tell people I was a photographer, an automatic assumption formed in their minds.
- Commercial studio
- Clients coming in to view a portfolio
- Office space with landlines
Yet that wasn’t the case.
We completely rethought our photography business, and changed it from traditional to non-traditional by making it virtual. We created a lifestyle business long before lifestyle businesses were the “in” thing. And quite frankly it took work. You have to look at things a bit differently.
- We very rarely met with a client before the day of the event. All correspondence was made by phone, email and online forms.
- We didn’t have physical samples. Instead, all of our work was kept in an online portfolio that could be viewed anywhere in the world via Internet access.
- Our marketing didn’t target local people in a certain zip code. Instead we focused in on specific demographics and looked for them around the world.
See the difference?
Hopefully just these few tidbits of information have helped you look at your Big Idea a bit differently. And while this is a good starting point, there are many things you should have in place to transform what you do into a lifestyle business.
It’s a Whole New Way Of Looking At Things
1. Focus on whom your clients are rather than where they are
When we focused in on our ideal client, we quickly created a profile in which we could identify key characteristics. Woman 25 to 40. College educated, professional. Technology driven, has the latest gadgets. Travels extensively.
My demographics went on and on.
When you look at a list like this, you’ll find one thing missing – a zip code. No where in my key demographics did I list out “located in city x” because I knew my ideal client didn’t require me to be right next door.
So the more I discovered who she was, the more I could focus in on how to talk to her, how to reach her, anywhere in the world.
2. How can you have a client 1,000 miles away?
“I’m a ___________. I only can service people in my local community.”
I hear that from a lot of business owners. And in some cases, I agree. We have to have the plumbers of the world in our local area ready to be called on at a moments notice to fix a burst pipe. Or the dentist who has a practice to check our teeth once a year.
But in all business models, there are ways to expand your potential clientele way beyond your local community.
Back to the plumber. Bob Villa became the go-to person for home do-it-yourself projects by offering advice on home projects. You can watch shows or read books produced by his company. He’ll teach you everything you ever wanted to know about home improvement projects. And a local plumber can take notice of his successes and use it when modeling his own business. A local plumber, for example, could expand his offerings and his reach simple by thinking about the do-it-yourselfer and offering tips and resources. He could expand into books, videos, even a do it yourself membership site. All with a lot of potential.
Now look at your business. How can you service a client 1,000 miles away from you? Its up to you to choose the direction, the products and services that generate the income and lifestyle of your choosing.
3. Speak like you’re 1,000 miles away
Guess what? If you’re 1,000 miles away from someone, you can’t meet him or her for coffee tomorrow morning.
So why does your voice mail state, “I’d love to schedule an appointment and talk over coffee.”
When you’re a long distance from your ideal customer, you have to reach out to them and communicate with them in different ways. They have to be able to see what you do online. They have to build a relationship with you by following you on their favorite social sites. They have to have immediate access to all the information they need to make an informed decision.
And if that’s what it takes, how will you provide it? How will you deliver it to them?
When you can’t leave it to the last minute, to talk it over at a coffee house, it makes you look a lot harder at your systems and your process. And how it will be viewed through the eyes of your clients.
4. You have to find profit zones in things anyone can buy
When you first set out to design your business, its easy to pigeon hole yourself into one product or service. Instead what I recommend is finding ways you can keep your clients happy and coming back again and again.
I work with an image consultant who teaches you how to dress your best. She originally started out working with local clientele going into their homes, helping them clean out their closets and keep only the best items, then shopping and helping them select the right pieces that would last a long time and coordinate with everything in your wardrobe.
Lots of work for one client.
Until she figured out a way to video everything she did and sell it as an information product. Now hundreds of people buy her product every month, and she only updates the product occasionally when she wants to add new things.
She also has a line of clothing she uses during the videos to teach what you should look for. And of course she sells those pieces in her own shopping cart system. And makes profits again and again as people come back to her season after season updating their wardrobes with her suggestions.
Lifestyle Businesses … It’s Only Natural
Creating the business of your dreams isn’t difficult, it just takes time and thought. And thinking about a lifestyle business takes a little more effort than a traditional business because chances are you won’t have dozens of mentors right around you to follow.
If you look at your competition right in your local community, you’ll likely find a wide variety of business owners targeting local clients for local dollars. They won’t understand lifestyle targeting because they’ve never thought that way before.
Which means you have to chart new territory and create your lifestyle business following those that have done it before. Don’t get caught up in the way local businesses in your field do things. Instead, pave the way by following how other lifestyle business owners do things, weaving in products and services clients are looking for in your industry.
Remember, there are always ways to turn any business into a lifestyle business – we did it with wedding photography long before lifestyle businesses were buzzwords. The key is defining your client and how to reach out to them in unique ways. Then building a system around your marketplace, and making it work for you.
Its something I teach regularly to select coaching clients. Are you ready for individual coaching?