What picture do you paint when you hear the phrase lifestyle entrepreneur?
Someone sitting under a coconut tree on a white sandy beach with an open laptop sipping Mai Tais?
Or is your picture a bit more intense, like a ragged t-shirt, bandana-wearing adventurer climbing volcanos or swimming with sharks?
When I was starting a business as a lifestyle entrepreneur, I pictured the first. While I wanted to be the dude swimming with sharks, the closest I got was treading water with dolphins. Yet I quickly discovered focusing too much on either picture, at least early on, is lame because neither laptop location nor exotic adventure produce revenue, and what matters most when starting a business is revenue.
When it comes to getting your lifestyle business off the ground, take it from someone who got distracted early on by travel and adventure, your business will not produce revenue or create the life you want until you clarify your lifestyle/work vision.
Your lifestyle/work vision, which I define as figuring out the life you want to live and finding a way to fit work into that life, is what shapes your business strategy.
In fact, instead of worrying about what kind of laptop plug you’ll need in Tahiti, the best question to ask yourself as you start your entrepreneurial journey is this: What kind of lifestyle business fits what I want?
Two Lifestyle/Work Pictures.
Even though scaling mountains or laying on beaches represent the most popular kind of lifestyle-entrepreneur picture, it’s not the only one. There are at least two types of lifestyle businesses you can create, and the differences between them are both foundational and fundamental.
The first has already been hinted at in this article. It’s creating a business to support the life you feel called to live. Classic examples include an online business that sells niched products or a buy-and-hold rental real estate company.
The goal behind these businesses is to create passive income so that you can unplug from the business and spend time pursuing your true passions. In other words, your business is designed to support the life you feel called to live beyond the business.
The second lifestyle-business picture is actually more common than the first, even though it doesn’t receive nearly as much fanfare.
In the simplest terms, this type of business is designed around your life’s calling. This means your work and life are not seen as two separate things; instead, they’re complimentary. They aren’t silo-ed, they’re spaghetti-ed.
Your business still gives you freedom to live the lifestyle you want, but because you are passionate about the work this business does, you invest your time and energy back into the business. In other words, the business is part of your life’s calling, so work doesn’t feel like work…it feels like play.
Different Pictures. Different Visions.
One lifestyle-business picture isn’t better than the other, each is just connected to a unique lifestyle/work vision. The vision of the first is to create enough support to allow you to live the life you feel called to live. The vision of the second is to create a vehicle that allows you to do the same. The first buoys your life, the second drives your life.
For example, I own two businesses and both have different lifestyle/work visions.
My real estate company’s primary goal is to create support for me to live the life I feel called to live. I’m not particularly passionate about working in the real estate business, but I appreciate the passive income it produces. Because I want to minimize the time I invest in this business and maximize my passive income, I have created systems that streamline operations so I can be as hands-off as possible. This business buoys my life.
On the other hand, the primary purpose behind my speaking and consulting business is to create a vehicle for my life’s calling. Since this business allows me to do work I’m passionate about, I want to give as much of myself as possible to this business. I still seek to streamline operations, but not because I want to unplug from the business. Since the work I do in this business is such a part of who I am and how I want to impact others, I streamline operations so that I can maximize how I invest my time and energy. I purposefully spaghetti this business into my life because it drives my life’s calling.
What’s Your Lifestyle Vision?
These two visions for starting a business have little to do with laptop locations or exotic adventures.
Instead, they answer a deeper question—what kind of life do you want to live and how do you want work to fit into that life?
Will your lifestyle business buoy your life or drive it?
When starting a business, it’s more important to figure out this vision than to worry about what plug to use in Tahiti.