What exactly is a lifestyle business?
Over the past few years there has been a huge surge in people looking to escape the office cubicles and be rid of the draining 9 – 5, and a way they have been looking to do this is through creating a lifestyle business. But what exactly is a lifestyle business?
Well, in essence a lifestyle business is a business created solely to fit around your lifestyle or the lifestyle you are aiming to achieve. The exact reasons people choose to create lifestyle businesses vary from person to person but it really comes down to one thing – freedom. That could be financial freedom, freedom of time or simply freedom to concentrate on other aspects of your life.
I’m guessing this probably brings you onto you another question – is a lifestyle business for me, and is it really achievable? Well, these are two questions I’m going to address in the rest of this post. To give a balanced approach I’m going to talk you through the benefits of a lifestyle business, some disadvantages and some next steps if it’s something you’re interested in doing.
Benefits of lifestyle businesses
This is easily one of the most attractive aspects of a lifestyle business, and probably the biggest reason people choose to set up one. Having a business that is purely centered around your lifestyle and the way you want to live, gives you the freedom to concentrate on other more important aspects of your life.
This may mean the freedom to spend more quality time with your friends and family, finance your travel and enable you to go where you want, when you want. You may need the freedom to work at home because of health or the health of a loved one, or simply because you’re tired of working and want a passive income that can finance a more exciting and fulfilling life.
This may sound a bit vague, but give me a moment to explain. A lifestyle business is exactly what it says on the tin – a business. Being a business, you are not restricted to your normal salary, and you have a possible couple of percent salary increase every year or two, or if you jump from job to job maybe a bit more.
With lifestyle businesses you do not have to follow the status quo.
Owning your own business means you’re in control of your earnings, which in turn means there really is no limit on what you’re able to achieve. Depending on the business model you choose and the type of business you want to have, you could quite easily see a significant increase in your earnings in a relatively short period or time, along with the bonus of more freedom and more hours to spend on other pursuits.
This is something that the vast majority of lifestyle entrepreneurs aim for, that is, a consistent income stream that requires next to no maintenance – therefore a “passive” income. People that really concentrate on creating these passive income streams (yes you can have more than one passive income stream) can over time get to the point at which it not only replaces your previous income, but also exceeds it.
You may be cynical, I get it, how could someone generate a greater income by working a lot less hours per week?
Well, let me give you an example.
Take a landlord, this is someone that owns a property or multiple properties and rents them out to tenants. They initially invest time in purchasing a property and finding someone to rent it. However, from that point onwards, as long as they don’t have a difficult tenant or major issues with the property, they will see income in the form of rent every single month with virtually no hours spent on maintaining it – even zero hours if they hire a managing agent.
Yes there will often be an initial cost in relation to time when setting up and establishing these passive income streams, but as you can see in the example above, once set up the time taken to maintain the income can be next to nothing.
Now I know you may be thinking I don’t have tens of thousands of pounds or dollars to buy properties, but believe me, there is a vast amount of business models that have a significantly lower start up cost that you can use to create a passive income in no time. I will let you know how you can learn about these in more depth at the end of this post.
Sunday night often comes around much quicker than we’d like when working for someone else, and so too does that dread of having to drag ourselves out of bed for the next week to go to a job we don’t enjoy, before then getting another two days that we are likely to use recuperating from the stress of the previous five.
Yes we’ve all been there.
Even if you’re job isn’t quite as bad as I make out above, maybe it’s ok, but isn’t “what I want to be doing forever”. That last word “forever” often makes people think they have a very long time before they need to change and do something different. Well I have something to say to anybody feeling that way – there is no better time to change your situation than right now!
With a lifestyle business you’re in control of what you do on a day-to-day basis and are therefore able to do what you enjoy and can even make a full-time income out of it! But how? Well here’s a couple examples: say you particularly like gardening – why not start a blog and then monetize it through advertisement, an ebook or by marketing other peoples products? Or you might like working out and creating new exercise routines – why not create a website in which you provide people with personalised routines. Or you might really enjoy other languages – why not create an online course or coaching site and teach others from the comfort of your own home.
Whatever it is that you most enjoy, I’m sure there is a way you can make a full time income from it.
Disadvantages to lifestyle businesses
Not Achieving Passivity
This is a problem some people can fall into on the road of achieving financial freedom. As I’m sure you agree from the section above, passive income sounds pretty damn cool and has probably got your mind spinning with all the infinite possibilities. However, it has to be said, some people do not manage to achieve it.
This can be for a number of reasons. For instance the wrong business model may mean you’re not able to generate income without you actually working. Or maybe you start a lifestyle business with the intention of it being passive but you don’t have the expertise to turn it passive.
This can be a real issue for people starting lifestyle businesses, especially those hunting for passive income. If this is something you want to achieve then it’s important that from the outset that you have a plan for how you are going to turn the business into a passive one. A good way to do this is to follow a course in which people have already achieved this, which will often mean you have a defined road map and likely a mentor or other course members to speak to if you get stuck along the way.
This may sound funny, but some lifestyle businesses where you become a “solopreneur” working by yourself, can make you feel very lonely. This disadvantage really depends on what you are like as a person, how you like to work, and the business model you choose to use. If you’re a very sociable person this is definitely something you need to be aware of when starting a lifestyle business, and is something I have fallen into during my journey as well.
If this sounds like something that could affect you then there is a number of ways you can remedy it.
One – start a business with a friend or colleague. Partnerships mean you are working and interacting with at least one other person on a daily and weekly basis and can be extremely enjoyable if it’s a close friend that you work well with.
Two – sign up to a co-working space (even if you’re travelling). If you do a bit of research I’m sure you will be able to find a co-working space with other entrepreneurs working relatively close to you. This can be a great way to meet, network and socailise with other like-minded people and lose those feelings of loneliness.
Three – simply don’t start a business that will consist of long periods of you working alone. Instead opt for a more customer facing business or one that will enable you to build up a team in a short space of time.
Yes I know I said one of the biggest benefits of a lifestyle business is more enjoyment, but if you don’t choose a business niche that is something you’re interested in, it can in fact lead to less enjoyment than you may have had at your job.
A fair few people will have started lifestyle businesses with the aim of achieving many of the benefits I have mentioned above, but forget right from the outset that the business you are creating is something you should at least be slightly interested in, even if it’s something you’re going to be running on a passive basis. As I explained further up in this post, lifestyle businesses do require at least an initial start up investment in the form of time and if the business is something you really don’t enjoy it can be fairly easy for some people to just say “ah screw it, I’m not enjoying this so I’m going to go back to my job.”
It’s therefore very important that you at least choose a business that you’re interested and can relate to in some way. Author Tim Ferris in The Four Hour Work Week goes into much more depth on this point and generally does an amazing job at breaking down lifestyle businesses and literally holds your hand through the process of creating a business that will provide you with income, while enabling you to live the life you want. This book is sort of like the bible for me and many others that have started down this road; if you haven’t read this already I would highly recommend you open a new tab, type in Amazon.com (of which ever country you’re in) and order this book now. I promise you hand on heart you will not regret it.
What does a lifestyle business mean to you?
Right, we’ve looked at some of the most significant benefits and disadvantages to lifestyle businesses; so I think it’s important we move on to thinking about what a lifestyle business will mean for you in particular.
As you will have read from the benefits section – there is a number of awesome advantages to owning a lifestyle business and if this is something you would like to do then I would recommend you go and grab a note pad and pen. On your note pad I would like you to write down what exactly it is you would like to get out of a lifestyle business, do you want more time with you children, do you want more money and freedom to travel, do you simply want to do something you enjoy; whatever it is (it doesn’t have to be one thing alone) write it down.
This list will now enable you to craft an idea of the type of business you will want to go about creating. For instance, for someone that wants minimal work hours and as much time as possible to spend on their hobbies, they will look for a highly passive lifestyle business; where as someone who would want to monetize what they enjoy will do something much more hands on.
For me personally, my lifestyle businesses need to give me flexibility of work hours and location, along with a decent helping of enjoyment. Due to my health I need to be able to rest when my body needs me to rest, and I need to be able to work from wherever I decide I want to work. These important factors mean I aim for businesses that can create a fairly high level of passivity but also the freedom to spend more time on them if I so choose.
So, when brainstorming what you would like to do, think about what your end goal is, what limitations you may encounter and of course make sure it’s realistic (but big enough too, because everyone needs to be ambitious).
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