What is a lifestyle business? Great question, because If you have some entrepreneurial blood inside you this concept might change your entire life.
I don’t remember when I first learned about the concept of being an entrepreneur. I certainly don’t remember learning about it in school and I’ve talked to many other people who have confirmed that school didn’t teach them about entrepreneurship either.
In fact, all I remember learning during most of my childhood is that I need to get good grades so I can get into a good college and get a good job. Any talk of living outside of that model was always described as some sort of tremendous risk.
I knew from a very young age that I wanted to own a business, though. It was in my blood. That’s why I sold candy out of my backpack in elementary and middle school (even though teachers considered it contraband). It’s why I sold video games on my street corner. It’s why I bought Pizzas and then went door-to-door selling by the slice. It’s why I mowed lawns.
At 18, right after completing bartending school, I started my first “official” company. It was a mobile bartending service for weddings and special events. I filed the paperwork myself to start a C-Corporation. I had no idea what I was doing. In fact, the IRS is probably still trying to track me down for that one.
15,000 hours of public school “education” did nothing to prepare me for being an entrepreneur. I didn’t know anything about running a business, managing money, selling, writing copy, building a product, or anything else.
I buried myself in books and blogs. I learned through trial and error in the school of hard knocks. The “hustle, fail, and hustle again” method taught me everything I know. But I was still confused.
I thought that being a legitimate entrepreneur meant building a big company with a big team and big revenues (in the millions). Entrepreneurship meant taking huge risks, grinding 24/7, and building something that changes the world.
In fact, that’s still a very prevalent view. Gary Vaynerchuck preaches 24/7 hustle and posts a daily VLOG where tens of thousands of people watch him grow a 150 million dollar business. One day, he says, he’s going to leverage that business to buy the New York Jets.
That’s exactly the definition of entrepreneur I had in my head for the longest time. And there’s a good chance that you have the same “understanding” of entrepreneurship. That changes today.
Don’t get me wrong, I love GaryVee. I just don’t want to be like him or do what he does on a daily basis.
What is a lifestyle business?
A lifestyle business is a business that serves you just as much as you serve it. It’s big enough to support your needs (and your family’s needs if you have one), but it’s not so big that it creates a ton of stress and risk.
Lifestyle businesses don’t need a lot of startup capital. You can bootstrap them and they don’t require significant overhead. Because of this, there are no investors, shareholders, or bankers to answer to (or landlords in most cases).
One of the best and most popular places to build a lifestyle business is online. This provides for schedule and location independence as well as all the other benefits. It’s not required, though. You can build a brick and mortar lifestyle business (you’d still use the internet to market it, of course).
The entire goal of a lifestyle business is to do something you love, serve people, and serve yourself. I’m not talking about serving yourself with money only. I’m talking about serving yourself with flexibility, autonomy, balance, and manageable stress levels.
Don’t lose site of the variance and possibility within this model, though. Building a six-figure lifestyle business could mean building a business that grosses $100,000 a year or one that grosses $999,000 a year. So there are lifestyle businesses that are doing 8-9x the revenue of another lifestyle business.
What a lifestyle business isn’t.
There’s a lot of popularity surrounding the term “passive income” right now. Everyone wants to build a “passive income business.”
Let me tell you something about being an entrepreneur from scratch: there’s no such thing as passive income.
No business is passive, lifestyle or otherwise. It takes work. You have to hustle and grind. There’s nothing easy about it.
The only difference between a traditional entrepreneur and a lifestyle entrepreneur is the end game. The former’s objective is scale. The latter’s objective is security and balance.
In other words, being a lifestyle entrepreneur and building a lifestyle business is all about quality of life.
Why should I build a lifestyle business?
I don’t know if you should or not. That’s something you’ll have to decide for yourself.
You also need to figure out if you’re a real entrepreneur. There’s a lot of people who like the idea of being an entrepreneur but they’re not willing to do what it takes to be successful. We call these people, “wantrepreneurs.” They’re everywhere.
If you’re a real entrepreneur and you love the idea of building a business that serves you as much as you serve it, then it sounds like building a lifestyle business is right up your alley.