The answer is yes if your primary goal is to create a business that allows you to earn enough money to sustain your desired lifestyle. Perhaps you’ll be able to earn a bit more or even scale it to great heights, but that’s not the primary goal. Before you start dreaming of days on the beach with your toes in the sand, you need to be confident that you can build a sustainable business primarily based on your own skills, experience, effort, network, and style.
We are becoming an increasingly transient society. According to the 2007 US Census data, the average American moves 11.7 times over the course of their life. In 2009, I left my corporate job to create a portable lifestyle business. Smart move! We ended up moving six times in 14 years, and I also had a baby along the way. I leveraged my corporate experience to begin marketing strategy consulting, and that evolved into life coaching ex-pat spouses. The flexibility and experiences my coaching business has provided me is more rewarding than the corporate salary I walked away from.
If all of this sounds intriguing, here are a few things to think about. Note your thoughts and ideas as you read along and add to them over time. You will be amazed at what may come to mind once you put the thought out there.
1. Idea – What problem can you solve?
Visualize the lifestyle you want. How would you like to spend your days? How do you want your life to look and feel? What activities make you happy? Think about others whose lives you admire. Allow yourself to daydream a bit. With this lifestyle in mind, think about a problem you could solve for others?
Maybe you have a skill or talent that you can monetize. If so, nice! There are many successful people out there who have built a lifestyle business on teaching others what they know. This success can be leveraged to scale into coaching entrepreneurs on how to also build a successful business – Cathy Heller and Amy Porterfield are great examples of this.
Don’t worry if you don’t have an obvious idea for your lifestyle business. You don’t have to be an expert in something to get a lifestyle business off the ground. What are you good at doing? What brings you joy? What makes you unique – skills, hobbies, experiences, etc.? Ask friends/family what they think you are good at doing. Most skills and talents can serve as a lifestyle business in the form of teaching, coaching, and consulting.
2. Validation – Who will pay you for what you are offering?
Don’t underestimate what you have to share. What you take for granted can be packaged and presented in a way that is valuable for others. People will pay for transformation; in some cases, they will pay a great deal. To make this happen, you need to get clear on who you are serving, what they need, and how they want to receive it.
To start, research the target customers, competition, offerings, delivery, and pricing. Look for gaps in current offerings and how you can differentiate. Google is an invaluable tool at this stage. Your search with lead you to related topics and generate new ideas.
Add to your research by reaching out to your network for input and ideas. Expand your network by joining interest groups and attending conferences, especially ones that will allow you to build relationships with potential customers or experts who can offer advice.
3. Presence – How do you want to be seen and heard by your followers?
Once you have validated your initial idea, begin creating a presence online. Create a company name and social media handles and reserve them online. All of this can be simple and inexpensive to start.
Your website, if you have one at this stage, can just be a landing page. You can make simple posts and add a question to inspire followers to engage. Don’t forget the power of a hashtag to help potential followers find you.
Begin to post and comment on social media pages and blogs. Engaging with potential customers and experts will help you build a following even before you are selling anything. Always be authentic and share what you know to establish yourself as a source of information that reflects the end state you would like your business to reach.
4. Offering – What are selling now, and how will it evolve?
As your presence grows, your followers will tell you what they need and how they want to receive it. Keep an open mind and be willing to evolve with your offering. Multiple streams of revenue gained through writing a book, sponsorships on a blog or podcast, selling live and downloadable courses, creating a membership group, hosting a virtual conference, 1:1 or group coaching, and consulting VIP programs, hosting a retreat, affiliates are all enabled by technology today.
If this all sounds intriguing, here are a few parting thoughts.
- Put yourself out there and experiment. Be willing to learn and evolve.
- You don’t have to do this alone. Create a group of like-minded people to support and motivate you—partner with someone in the same space.
- Be authentic, and your unique offering will attract the people you are meant to serve.