As you see your ideas starting to build into a business model before your eyes, something else may occur alongside it: fear.
- Can I really do this?
- Will people think I’m crazy for trying this?
- Do I have the time and the resources it takes to become successful?
- Will this turn into a 24/7 concept that takes away my time and my freedom even more so than what I have in my life right now?
In many ways, when people start up a new business, it consumes them. It’s not necessarily a bad thing in the beginning because you’re excited about it and want it to thrive.
So you take on this new venture as if it were your baby, waking up early to nurture it and staying up until the wee hours to finish tasks you couldn’t complete during the day.
But if you come from a 9 to 5 background, one of the reasons you probably chose to quit your job was so that you could have more freedom pursuing the things you loved most. Maybe its spending more time with your kids after school, or investing time in a hobby you never had time for before. If your new business takes even more time than your job, you may think twice before you pursue it.
Today’s term of “lifestyle business” has become almost commonplace. Some people think of it in the ever-popular terms that make their way through the marketplace, such as the 4 hour work week model. Others see it as an unidentifiable concept, something that simply happens as they plan and grow along the way.
And that is where the problem originates. Having a lifestyle business means first defining what you want your lifestyle to look like. If you create your business and let it move front and center as new things move into place, it will consume all of the space, time and energy it can. But if you control it from the start, you’ll quickly see how your lifestyle comes first, and your business supports the lifestyle you choose to lead.
Notice how I didn’t say your lifestyle business takes second place. Because it can’t. Your business is what supports you, finances what you want to do in life, and provides you with the wealth you choose to build over time. It’s your support system, not the second rung on your ladder to success.
The key to building a successful lifestyle business is to incorporate it into your lifestyle right from the beginning using these 12 elements as your guide.
1. Think backwards – build your business around your lifestyle
People tend to think forwards, its what we do. Write a book … check. Create a coaching package … check. Book a coaching client for a time convenient for her … check. And before you know it you’re working from 6 am to 10 pm seven days of the week. If you look at it with the end in mind first, it’s easier to adjust your schedule right from the beginning. Maybe you only choose to meet clients on Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings. Maybe you only work four days of the week. The more you see it first, the more you can plan it along the way. And let your clients and workload fit into your schedule, not the other way around.
2. Face your fears
Change is hard for everyone. As you move into your new lifestyle venture, you will face change on a daily basis. It’s easy to put aside the things you are uncomfortable with, hoping they go away. Unfortunately they rarely do, and if you put them off, they quickly add up into much bigger problems than you ever anticipated. As things bubble up you really don’t want to face, spend the extra time learning and doing rather than setting them aside.
3. What are your expectations?
Stop listening to those around you, whether they are friends, family, or mentors you learn from along the way. They will define success in entirely different ways. For some, they won’t stop until they have a million dollar business. For others, they simply want to put their kids in private school and take a great vacation once per year. Their dreams aren’t your dreams. Define it for yourself and don’t get sidetracked by listening to other people’s dreams and goals.
4. The online world
A lifestyle business is always controlled by the online world. That’s what gives it flexibility. With everything you do, your ultimate goal is to drive an audience to your web presence, and connect and build relationships with everyone you meet, whether its in person or through an online chat with someone half way around the world. Make sure you’re always planning for your future, and building a presence now that can carry you forward as you continue to grow and change.
5. Focus on you
When most people pursue a job, their top priority centers on the job. But with a lifestyle business, the top priority is your lifestyle. That means you put your health and your happiness first to ensure that your business can always operate as efficiently as possible.
6. What wealth means to you
Some describe wealth as a monetary number. Not most lifestyle business owners. Instead, we describe it as how much opportunity exists within our lives. Can we take vacations when we want to? Can we take an afternoon off to have lunch with a friend? Do we have enough money to do the things we truly want to do? The key is balance, not obsession over any one particular area of our lives. Home, health, relationships, career and finances are all on an equal playing field.
7. Stop hiding
Are you an online lurker, watching things from the sidelines? Do you prefer to read or watch what is happening to others in your industry while staying as silent as possible? No more! As a lifestyle business owner, your job is to be as specialized and niched as possible. Then become vocal! Make a commotion to those around you. The more refined your business model is, the more you can reach out and connect with those in your community in a meaningful way.
8. Make sure you are getting results
Only you can truly decide what it means to get results. Is it a certain income coming in? Is it so many hits on your website? Is it a certain number of people communicating with you on Facebook? Or is it your ability to bring in enough income to do what you’ve always wanted to do? Define what it means as you take action on each step, and make sure you ultimately find what you are working at is achieving those results.
9. Look for new opportunities
With a lifestyle business, we realize that what works today may not work for us tomorrow. We grow and change every day. We may start a business because it works for us while we have kids in elementary school. And when they are off to college, we may completely refocus the direction of our business to meet our needs as an empty nester. Opportunity exists everywhere; we only have to look for them as they appear. As an experienced lifestyle business owner, you quickly gain the skills necessary to watch for these opportunities as they appear in your radar.
10. Leverage everything you do
When you have success, share it with those around you. One success often feeds into another, because successful people always want to be around success. It’s okay to “toot your own horn” and share the things you do along the way. Often times when someone sees what you’ve done for someone else, they apply it directly to their own needs and desires, and see how they can bring you into the picture too.
11. Automate, automate, automate
In today’s world, technology is our friend. We can email people at our convenience, set up autoresponders to connect with people even when we aren’t there, and set up social media messages to help connect to our potential client base 24 hours of the day. If you find yourself doing something more than once, find a way to automate it. It will make your brand be more professional, and give you more time to do the things you truly want to do.
12. Share you
People want to do business with those that are open, vulnerable and real. They want to see you at your worst, and see the steps you took to recover. They want to know what makes you tick, and the tips and tricks you learned along the way as you put your life together to become who you are today. Your gifts aren’t something to hide; they are things to acknowledge and share with the world. The more you share, the more you’ll connect with those all around you, and quickly you’ll find how this can take your lifestyle business to an entirely different level than you ever thought possible.