Lessons Learned From 10 Years Running a Lifestyle Business

Lessons Learned From 10 Years Running a Lifestyle Business

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Well that was a F**king disaster!’ I exclaimed as I turned to my partner at the end of one of my first ever webinars, which had ended with me unable to turn Go To Webinar off and having to embarrassingly enlist the help of one of my audience members to do so. The screen lit up in front of my eyes as a slew of ‘We’re still here Jo!’ & ‘We can still hear you’ comments flooded my computer. Oh My God! I still hadn’t turned it off!

And this is just one of many faux pas along the journey of running an online business.

I remember being in floods of tears for 3 days straight when uploading and embedding videos required umpteen apps and a degree in internet programming. I’ve launched products with pay buttons not working, have ran between pubs to get internet connection during an interview with an expert who had to do the bulk of it himself when our internet failed, deleted my entire email list once by accident & lost everything on my computer twice over when it broke down in the days before dropbox & the cloud.

For the last 10 years, my small family & I have been traversing the seas chasing the sun around the world!

In order to do so we had to make some money along the way and so between us, my hubby & I, we built two very successful, life-changing online businesses.

Businesses which gave us the freedom to live anywhere, work anywhere, for me to pack up work for a couple of years and also for us to start to build a nest egg and make our money work for us over the long term.

Whilst I’d love to tell you we did all of this while sipping cocktails on a beach that is only partially true!

I say partially because there have been plenty of times we have been toiling away on our computers while sipping a bottle of Chang by a pool or by the beach, such is the nature of working from anywhere!

But there have also been many many times I have watched the dawn break over the top of my computer screen as I realize I’ve been at it all night or we’ve holed ourselves away somewhere for days on end to just work our butts off to make things happen.

Many frustrations, lots of tears, a bit of burn out at times and more moments than I care to admit when you ask yourself whether just going home and getting a job would be easier.

But overall it’s 500% worth it.

The lifestyle we live, the freedom we have, the experiences we have been afforded and can continue to expose our daughter too.

I wouldn’t give up what we have in a heartbeat and to be honest right now I feel a huge second wind coming and the next few years are pure excitement to me!

But before I get carried away, let’s have a look at some of the key lessons I have learned along the way.

Lessons I hope will inspire and help you with starting and running your own lifestyle business.

1. It’s hard work

There is no getting away from it my friend. Building a business and I mean any business is pure and simple hard graft.

There are no short cuts. No quick hacks. No magic buttons. No matter what copy and paste headline you have just read.

Yes, there are more complicated business models vs simpler business models, but each and every business model, no exception, requires commitment and hard work to get it off the ground.

There’s no getting around it.

When I first started back in 2010 every headline was a promise to make you rich with the click of a button and because the internet was so new and shiny and the opportunity was abounding it seemed so feasible!

People were creating companies out of thin air, investors were getting rich off of technological startups catapulting businesses into the billions overnight, kids were starting businesses in their bedrooms.

The last 10 years have been like the 60’s for entrepreneurs – Anything goes! Dive in, envelop yourself with the entrepreneurial euphoria man.

And yes while certainly, the odds are way more in our favor to start and run a lifestyle business now, and I would personally recommend it to everybody and anybody, to reach the heady heights of financial freedom you have to put down the metaphorical bong and put your back into it!

2. You will need time or money or both.

I remember walking through the foyer of a large internet marketing event in London back in 2010. I bumped into the event organizer after hearing a multitude of rags to riches stories on stage.

Remember them? His particular story (the organizer) was from memory some huge emotional journey through a cemetery or something where he was practically homeless and down and out and had an epiphany by a gravestone and went on to make a million, or something ridiculous like that.

I asked him – ’so what does it really take to make a million’, he looked at me with a slight smirk on his face as he adjusted the sleeve of his Hugo Boss suit and said ‘how much money have you got?’.

I didn’t really understand him at the time, but it is true that money begets money.

If you have money you can buy your way into a well-connected mastermind and network with those who can give your business a huge boost or even partner with you making you an overnight success.

If you have money you can invest in a team and resources to help you build your business including advertising, great design, great video production etc, all of which certainly help to grow your business faster.

If you have money you could buy an existing business and simply look for ways to make it better, more efficient, more profitable, etc.

But even with money, you’re still going to have to do the work or pay handsomely for someone else to do so.

We chose the route of time to make our first million as that’s what we had as opposed to oodles of money.

We laser-focused on our goal, like looking at the bullseye of a dartboard and consistently worked hard every single day.

It took me one year to hit 6 figures. Another 4 to hit the very high 6 figures. Then in the 5th year, we hit 7 figures.

It took time and energy and focus and commitment and certainly the more money we made and invested back in, the easier it got to reach that high number.

The good news, the low cost to entry of building a lifestyle business is what makes it so attractive, so if you have no money but reckon you could work your butt off for a good few hours a week, and have a solid focus and a good work ethic, then you too have the same opportunity we did to make it happen.

3. You must follow your passion and not profit

I say this with certainty but even as I write I still wonder if this depends on your personality and without being gender bias, whether this actually applies more to women than men.

The reason I say this, is that my partner is passionate about money so he doesn’t really care what business he’s in as long as it’s turning a profit.

I, on the other hand, cannot passionately invest myself in a business unless it’s something I’m passionate about!

When we started our Amazon business we did so in a niche that was popular rather than something I felt I could build a brand around.

I have no interest in kitchen products whatsoever! I hate cooking and am terrible at it so I wasn’t about to become the next Pioneer Woman if you know what I mean.

That’s why all my focus moving forward is on Your Lifestyle Business which is what I’m super passionate about. My experimental eCommerce site is aimed at empowering women which I’m also super passionate about and next year my hubs & I are launching a new travel brand which of course we’re both incredibly passionate about!

The more you LOVE what you do, the easier you’ll find it to do it.

Those cold mornings when you do not want to get out of bed and get on your computer, those dark nights when you really just want to go to sleep, those moments when things don’t work and you want to pack it all in.

They will all become infinitely easier if you’re working on something, talking about something, posting about something you absolutely love!!!

Sorry to sound twee, but life will pass by in a flash my friend, why waste it just chasing money when you can have so much more!

4. Get super clear on the direction you want to go in and stick to it!

Ok, so time for a bit of honesty and vulnerability here folks!

If there is honestly one thing I could change about my journey over the last 10 years and that would be that I’d had a clear vision of what I wanted at the start.

Which I kind of did, but I kept getting distracted and veering off which I’ll talk about in lesson 5, but I also lacked confidence which was a huge proponent to following trends rather than my heart.

I knew when I started I wanted to work with people who wanted to start and build their own business.

But I’d only had a couple of failed businesses up to then, who was I to guide.

So even though I started with a brand called The Entreprenette, I didn’t have the gumption to keep it going.

One day I fell over facebook so immersed myself and started teaching that. From that the Social Networking Academy was born, but social media wasn’t enough, so a bit later, Online Marketing Addicts was born, but that sounded too scammy & focused on just marketing in my mind and, so after that Jo Barnes Online was born.

Then we got sidetracked with Amazon and I started playing with a brand specifically for training on Amazon.

I’m actually pretty ashamed to say, that the years of indecision, planning, thinking about the overall direction of my business and still not having a super clear direction had exhausted me. I burned myself out through lack of clarity.

So after 6 years with an email list of over 50,000 subscribers, a blog getting 25k or so hits per month and a decent social media following I just stopped.

It was probably the best thing for me at the time, but now some years later the world has moved on and I’m essentially starting again and it’s a tough and competitive world out there!

Look I’m a huge advocate of any decision being better than no decision. I promote it as a strategy when you can’t make any decision at all, and I’m glad I had all the experiences I had. I wouldn’t be where I am today if I hadn’t followed the path I had and here I am with the freedom to not work if I choose to.

But have the courage of your convictions as my Mum would say.

I knew what I wanted right from the start, but my own self doubt stopped me from pursuing it single mindedly. I danced around the houses confusing my audience, my peers and most importantly myself.

Look deep within yourself, you know that thing you don’t want to do because it seems too big & scary? That’s probably the thing you need to be pursuing.

5. Distraction & Indecision is your enemy

So that brings us to the subject of bright shiny objects!

Once you have decided your path it’s so important you stick with it.

Our challenge today is not lack of opportunity, rather too much of it! We are bounded by opportunity. There are now hundreds of ways to start a business that will supplement or completely replace and supersede your income.

Blogging, influencing, self-publishing, coaching, ghostwriting, web developing, teaching, eCommerce, freelancing.

You name it. You could literally pack up your job and start to create an income today.

(That’s got to be my next episode right, ‘how to pack up your job and create an income today’).

But seriously, there are so many things you can do, you have to just make a decision based on what you love to do and then stick with it.

Have a listen to episodes 36 & 40. 36 goes through the different business options available to you and 40 walks you through how to make the decision!

But once the decision is made do not let fear, self doubt, lack of confidence stop you.

Have the courage of your convictions my friend and make it happen!

6. Network as much as possible and get to know people in your industry

‘Be so good they can’t ignore you’ – Steve Martin

I love this quote.

I love it because networking online, especially with ‘influencers’ can be super hard.

Take me to an event or place where I can meet people face to face, I’m happy. But online when you’re trying to network with influencers and start relationships it’s hugely time-consuming and they’re overrun with comments and people liking and sharing so how do you stand out?

My strategy is to be so good they can’t ignore you. Focus first on being amazing yourself.

Create a great business, focus on your customers and be inclusive! Never worry about competition, instead embrace others in your industry, talk about them and share their quality content with your customers.

The fastest way to network with your peers is to be so good at what you do that they notice you because your customers love you and you have been open-minded enough to share them with your audience.

Also, it doesn’t hurt to like & follow their content online when you can with the occasional interesting comment.

The best strategy of all is to get in a room with them, so if you can attend industry meets, go. Take their courses if they offer them and be a vocal part of their groups and masterminds and if you run a podcast or youtube channel, try to get interviews to help them promote their new thing whatever that may be, in the meantime, making a connection.

Don’t be an island my friend, nothing great was ever built alone.

7. Stay away from Charlatans. Do the work.

I know how easy it is to be sucked into what sounds like an incredible opportunity.

Seriously my hubby calls me a ‘marketers dream’.

To this day I still remember when I was about 15 years old, I was at one of these Sunday morning farmers markets. You know the ones where they sell meat & produce from the back of a van.

There was a guy selling electrical goods and he had this huge boom box (we are in the 80’s at this time). Double cassettes, recording, playback, radio, etc.

I didn’t really want it because I couldn’t afford it. I was 15!

But he sold it and sold it and I found my hand going up and next thing you know I’m reluctantly walking home with it!

To be honest I’ve been a bit like that my whole life!

But the key is to stay away from the charlatans because they’re just out for your money and I guarantee you, they do not have a magic solution which means you do not have to work as hard!

There is no magic solution, see lesson 1.

You’ll know the people who are real and those who aren’t.

Those who are real share for free. They practically give the farm away before they ask for a penny of your money.

They don’t harp on about the millions they’re making and post pics of themselves with Ferraris and big houses because if they do, that’s a huge red flag for me.

Either because they’re a complete charlatan or because they’re engaging in old school marketing which in my opinion is just as bad.

There’s no need for it in today’s transparent and open social media world.

Just be you, people! I guess if you run around in a Ferrari and live in a big house then it can’t be helped but you know what I mean!

Look whenever you’re faced with an offer that looks too good to be true the only way forward is to ask yourself if you trust the person making the offer.

Have you consumed lots of their info, do you know people who have been through their courses and have made it work. Have they given you so much value that moving to the next step is a no brainer.

That’s my personal favorite.

When I know that there’s no question it will be valuable because I’ve got to know them through their videos, podcasts, books etc and so I don’t even give it a second thought.

Lastly on this point, if you do decide to get some education, make sure it’s moving you closer to your goals!

Don’t just buy a course because it’s the next best thing that’s definitely going to make you money.

If you have a clear vision of what you want your business & life to look like, do not veer off. Stay on your path and use courses only to leapfrog you forward towards your goals.

8. Create an avatar that you can look at every time you create any content

Ok so this has been a recent one for me.

I have flipped & flopped over the years as to whether having an avatar is actually any use whatsoever.

Just yesterday I read a blog post which used the word ‘rubbish’ when the writer talked about getting clearly defined on your audience and there are times when I agree with that to be honest.

When I talk about a lifestyle business, for example, I’m just as likely to attract a 25-year-old go-getter who can’t stand the thought of working for someone else as I am a 65-year-old retiree who wants to supplement their retirement fund.

But if you don’t know who you’re talking too it can make creating content very tough.

So I have found since sitting down and defining my avatar it comes in very handy when I’m wondering what might make a great blog post or podcast or how to write the opening paragraph.

I have a quick look at my avatar and the picture the person in my head and the kind of questions they might be asking at that very second and it helps immensely!

So if for no other reason create an avatar for yourself.

9. Believe in yourself, stay true to your values & do what feels right to you

This is so important!

You do not have to follow the crowd.

In fact, Warren Buffet warns against it!

Be fearful when others are greedy and greedy when others are fearful‘ he says, specifically about the stock market, but the same can be said of building your business.

Just because everyone right now is following one method doesn’t make that method right for you.

In fact, it was part of the reason I burned out as per lesson 4.

When I first started online product launches were all the rage.

I had learned from Jeff Walkers product launch formula, my closest mentor Jason Fladlien, Mike Filsaime, Frank Kern.

This was back in the day!

And for a while, it was super fun. My favorite model was to teach people to live in a closed group. So a typical launch for me was entry to a six – twelve-week program, hosted live with support & coaching along the way.

Great model, absolutely exhausting if you’re doing them back to back which is pretty much what I ended up doing in 2015.

Because you’re not only constantly creating and improving content, you’re 24/7 support for people all around the world and then gearing up to a new launch with videos and testimonials etc.

And frankly, I hated the sales process.

With a passion. Hated it.

But felt weak for feeling like this. I felt that perhaps I was in the wrong career.

My mentor said I must be selling, Brian Tracy said you must always be selling. Dan Kennedy god rest his soul, always be selling.

Every ‘expert’ I knew said sell, sell, sell!

So even though I hated it, it was all I knew until I’d just had enough.

Until I realized how unhappy I was and I didn’t want to do it anymore.

So I took a huge step back to regroup. And some years later here I am. I will not sell, sell, sell my books, any courses I may choose to do in the future, or anything I’m offering.

There is a multitude of ways to put your products, offers, and services in front of your audience without ‘always selling’. In fact, I would say ’never sell’.

Offer, demonstrate, describe, extol the virtues, highlight the benefits, but never sell.

My good pal Chris Farrell once said to me ‘people hate being sold too but they love to buy’.

You have to do what’s right for you. Just because everyone else seems to be following one model does not make that model right for you. Even if they are the expert!

Question everything!

Do what you know in your heart makes you feel good and creates a win-win for everyone involved.

Be self-aware and belief in yourself that you know deep inside what works for you.

10. Don’t think, do!

This is intrinsically linked with lesson 4, get clear about what it is you want to do.

With clarity comes action. Oh my gosh, that’s shareable.

With clarity comes action!

I’m am literally the best in the world at planning.

Seriously I have life plans coming out of my arse.

What was it that John Lennon said;

Life is what happens when you’re busy making plans

Oh never has a truer word been spoken.

I used to be a huge advocate of goal setting. I mean years and years ahead. Goals for 10 years from now, 5 years from now, 1 year from now.

Here’s what 20 years of doing that has taught me.

Somewhere deep inside me, I had some non negotiables. I may not have known it at a conscious level but subconsciously there were some things that I just knew in my heart of hearts would happen.

  • I knew I would meet a life partner who would be my best friend.
  • I knew if I had kids I would raise them abroad.
  • I knew I would run my own business and achieve financial freedom.
  • I knew I would have absolute freedom in this world from the moment I sat on a rock in Faliraki overlooking the med.
  • I know right now I will make a living for the rest of my life as a writer, an author, and an angel investor.

Do you know? Are you conscious of your non-negotiables?

If not, stop planning, stop goal setting and look for your non-negotiables.

Take a day and visualize your life exactly as you want it to look.

Have as clear a vision of what you want your life to look like as possible. It may not end up like that but at least it makes you consciously aware and gives you something to aim for.

Then, in all honesty, I don’t really plan more than 100 days in advance anymore.

I don’t know if that’s right or wrong but it works for me.

For example, I have two goals to have launched and generated $5k revenues on my experimental eCommerce store and finished my first book (for my daughter) within 100 days.

Both goals take me closer to the vision I have for my life and because the end is so close, ie just over 3 months, I know exactly what I need to do every day to move them forward.

This means rather than endless planning I’m just doing.

You have to get yourself into the position of just doing.

Like cleaning your teeth, you know what you need to do that day to move you closer to your short term goals and long term vision.

Does that make sense?

Another Buffet quote – “It is not necessary to do extraordinary things to get extraordinary results.

Every day I get up and write anywhere between 500 – 6000 words. Every day. Every day. Every day.

I’m not doing anything extraordinary.

I’m just doing what I need to be doing every day to achieve my goal of finishing my book.

As an aside when we made our first million on Amazon do you know what we did?

We got up every day and secured reviews & discount sales. Every day we made sure we got more reviews and discount sales. Every single day, 7 days a week.

We didn’t do anything extraordinary. We just did what we needed to do to achieve our goal.

Don’t think too hard my friend. Start doing. Action is the key!


Phew that’s been a bit of an outpouring!

I do hope it’s helped and inspired and made you think.

It’s certainly been a ride and although I say in Lesson 4, I could have done it differently, had I done so we may not be where we are now.

My path may have gone in a completely different direction which may have been good or bad who knows.

Someone once said you are exactly where you’re meant to be doing exactly what you’re supposed to be doing.

A bit deep but hey, who wants to live with regret right?

If you were sat across from me now we’d crack open a bottle of champers and toast the next 10 years.

I wonder what my podcast episode will include 10 years from now!

Have an awesome week my friend and remember Live Life on Purpose and as always Make It Happen!

10 Years Traveling the World! Here’s What I’ve Learned…

10 Years Traveling the World! Here’s What I’ve Learned…

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Subscribe & listen on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Sticher or your platform of choice. Click Here to access all links.

Links Mentioned in This Weeks Episode

Make It Happen Monday EP88
Nomadic Matt
The Nomad Capitalist
World Travel Family
Your Lifestyle Business Facebook Group

Read Here

10 years ago, we sold everything we owned in a 5 day gumtree sale (the UK equivalent of Craigs List), generated a princely sum of £900, jumped on a plane with our 4 year old under our arm and haven’t looked back since!

It all came about when a week earlier I had attended an online marketing conference in London to see my good friend Daniel Wagner sprinkle his magic on stage. A compelling & engaging speaker I was always in awe of how he resonated with an audience.

Sat at the back of the room with his then-girlfriend Lieve, she told me how they were traveling around Europe for the summer.

Having visited their gorgeous apartment in Cyprus earlier that year, I joked, ‘you’re not looking for house sitters while you’re gone are you?

That was that!

She said Yes, I called my partner who is an action taker like none other and by the time I returned home on the Sunday afternoon all of our worldly possessions were for sale on Gumtree.

By the following weekend, we were sitting on a balcony overlooking the beautiful blue Mediterranean Sea, not a cloud in the sky, glass of wine in hand!

Since that day we have visited and lived in over 30 different countries and have plans to experience many more, however, it’s not all chocolate and roses, especially with a child.

We’ve had our fair few challenges along the way, have learned a lot and have made plenty of mistakes, however, it’s quite possibly been the most interesting, eye-opening and mind-broadening 10 years I’ve ever had – particularly seeing my hubby in a pair of cut off women stockings acting as a pair of knick knack paddy whacks in a massage parlor!.

I’ll get to that in a bit…

Here’s some of the biggies;

1. Burn the Boats!

Although I had been overseas plenty of times in my life heading to Spain & The Canary Islands regularly on childhood holidays, heading off to the Greek Islands on girl trips in my 20’s etc. This was the first time I had ever done anything which seemed at the time so wildly crazy!

I had a daughter! I had a mortgage, I had responsibilities, right?

Sell up everything & just go was something out of my wildest dreams & yet at the time it just felt like the right thing to do.

I didn’t have time to get nervous or scared we just did it!

What followed was an unbelievable journey of recording videos on the beach, building a business from a balcony with the most amazing view, traveling through Thailand for the first time on route to Australia & within 9 months my first six-figure launch.

This is what I mean by burning the boats. I had rented my house out, sold everything I owned, said goodbye to family & friends and if we wanted to keep living the life we had to find a way to make money.

So I went on to launch a six-figure business that I did within the year and if you watch episode 88 of my MIHM vids on youtube, I go through exactly what I did to make that happen.

But in brief, I worked my pants off to build an audience and launch a membership site.

When I started I knew nothing about running an online business.

I went from a total internet moron to $117,000 in 9 months. Believe me when I say if I can do it, you can! 😁

2. No need to be a millionaire

Very quickly we started to spend quite a lot of time in Thailand.

The weather was amazing, the food out of this world, the people super friendly and the best part it was cheap!

Cheap cheap cheap! You can get decent apartments and small houses for less than a couple of hundred bucks a month, a meal, with beer for two of us, would be less than a fiver. We weren’t paying car payments, gym payments, internet, phone contracts, electricity, water, etc.

All the stuff that mounts up at home, you don’t have when you’re traveling.

You buy a cheap Sim at the airport, bills & wifi etc are all wrapped up in your accommodation and you exercise by swimming in the sea and walking about exploring the country!

You just don’t have the same kind of expenditure.

Stupidly as I record this we have allowed ourselves to get trapped into the expat lifestyle and therefore our expenses have exploded, but not for much longer. We are going to get on the road again. I’ll save that story for another podcast.

3. Batch Content

One of the challenges though is that it can be very challenging to focus and run your business on the go.

Firstly there’s so much to see, you want to be out and about exploring most of the time. Secondly, it can be super disruptive if you’re not used to it, to be traveling and then to try and refocus on a task.

Nowadays, I can write wherever I am, make videos wherever I am, talk to my team wherever I am.

But even now, especially if we cross time zones, it can be quite a challenge to keep up the momentum.

I tend to do stuff in batches to make sure I’m prepared and have content ready to go if it takes me a few days to readjust.

4. Connect, connect, connect!

Another challenge is it can get quite lonely. Travel by its very nature is very transient and you’ll meet people who are also traveling or on holidays etc, as they’re or you’re passing through.

This is what I love about social media and the online world.

You can connect with so many people and alleviate any loneliness you may feel.

My recommendation is to get on Skype and actually face to face talk to people. Create a small networking group or have an accountability partner, but don’t try to do everything yourself, in your own little bubble behind your computer.

It will burn you out and lead to depression.

I’ve been there and done it.

5. The confidence code

It undoubtedly increases your confidence and stretches your comfort zone without you even realizing it!

Like the time I went backpacking across India with my Sister, or up in a hot air balloon in Myanmar, or my first time in China when I realized they didn’t allow google.

All these little experiences add up to you becoming more worldly-wise, more practical, more problem solving, more independent, braver and more confident which bleeds into the rest of your life.

You’ll find yourself doing things you never thought you would.

Right now you might be worried about making a video, or releasing a new blog post, or confessing to your husband about that small dent in the car, etc. Go traveling and those kinds of things will be the least of your worries.

In fact after a few years traveling…

6. Make a Difference

After a beautiful bike ride through a small Cambodian village where I had been surrounded by kids all desperate to be in a picture with the strange white woman, we arrived at a large community of wooden huts on stilts.

Men & kids as naked as the day they were born were jumping in and out of boats, dragging fishing nets and looking both playful & industrious at the same time.

I turned to my guide and asked him what people here strived for.

His answer was simple – to survive he said.

There’s no time for personal development or finding oneself, or building a lifestyle business or exploring their creativity.

They simply need to eat.

And these people would give you their last bowl of rice if they felt you needed it more than they.

After a few countries of experiencing this most basic human need, you begin to realize how abundant the West is and how because of various reasons (most corrupt) that I won’t go into on this podcast, how huge the gap truly is between those who have and those who have not.

And without a doubt, it gives you reasons bigger than yourself for wanting to create the lifestyle you strive for. To put yourself in a position where perhaps you can have a greater impact on the world as a whole.

It gives far greater meaning to the words ‘make a difference’ and ‘give back’. And don’t ever think that you cannot have an impact.

Each and every one of us simply by experiencing and sharing their stories begin to have an impact, and if we can do more. If we want to do more then all the power to you my friend!

7. 15 Minutes of Fame

While on the Great Wall of China a couple of years back, I was heading up to one of the watch towers when a very recognizable face and his entourage walked past me.

I shouted down to my sister – ‘Natalie! It’s Mark Zuckerburg!

Really‘ she shouted back, ‘I thought it was Chris Martin.

Mark Z turned and laughed and carried on walking up the steps.

At the time Periscope was all the rage and so I flicked my vid camera on and attempted to chase him up the steps.

Hasten to add he’s a lot younger and fitter than I am so although I was able to have a quick convo with a couple of his team and get quite a good close up side shot of him, I was unable to actually greet him.

But hey! Claim to fame we were on the wall together and I had the most number of people watching my Periscope ever!

8. It’s complicated

You need to be aware that life does become a little more complicated.

Things like bank accounts, taxes, medical care, phone contracts, all that kind of stuff.

If you’re traveling full time, you’re now not essentially a resident of your own country.

Your local doctor’s surgery may not like that. If your credit card gets hacked, your new one will be sent to an address in your home country. Sometimes you need a home country number to access apps on your phone. You may now be classed as a digital nomad etc etc etc.

Now don’t let this stop you going, just figure it all out on the road as we did, but you just need to be aware and look into this stuff.

My biggest recommendation would be to get travel insurance from the getgo. Everything else you can resolve as you go.

Some good resources are;

The Nomad Capitalist.com

9. Caught in a Trap

It’s very easy, as we did, to fall into the expat trap.

You’re traveling, you get a bit tired of all the travel. You find a nice place, you settle for a while.

A while becomes 6 months. 6 months becomes 2 years. 2 years becomes 5 or more.

All of a sudden you’re living in a bigger home, you have more stuff, you have a car, you’re going to local gym, you need to pay bills, and one day you look up and realize you’re living the same life you were at home just in a different country, miles & miles away from all your family & friends.

Now there’s nothing wrong with that if that’s what you’re actually looking for long term.

But if your goal was and is to travel and one day you look up and realize you’ve stopped then get up my friend and keep going!

This is precisely where we find ourselves as I record this.

Life got so easy. Things just fell into place.

Until I just stopped and looked around and realized there was so much more of the world I had yet to conquer!

More about our future travel plans with a teenager by the way, in another episode. But the reason for including this as a lesson is that it’s easy for this to happen without you even being fully aware of it.

You have to be self-aware enough to wake up and ask yourself, is this what I really wanted?

10. Stretches the Mind, Irrevocably

I have changed.

I’m a totally different person now to the person I was 10 years ago. Well, not totally different…

But, I see the world differently now.

Travel expands your mind. The small daily struggles that you get consumed by in normal society become less important.

As I started to say in point 6, the culture in the West is so abundant, that we have in my humble opinion far too much time to dwell on why we are or aren’t happy.

And when you experience some of the horrors of what’s happening or has happened in the world around you;

  • The killing fields in Cambodia
  • The peace memorial in Hiroshima
  • The war museum in Ho Chi Minh City
  • The slums in India
  • The migrant worker camps in Thailand
  • The rates of infanticide & female subjugation in India & China which can be experienced first hand just visiting these countries.

You start to question what’s really important.

And for me, that’s manifested itself as the realization every single day of how incredibly lucky I am.

How lucky I was to be born into a country of freedom and opportunity.

And that knowledge alone makes me a far happier person.


I’m sure there are many more lessons I could share with you, but these are my big 10.

Next week I’m going to share the 10 biggest lessons from building and running a lifestyle business while traveling, so listen out for that one!

I’d love to hear your comments and feedback.

Let me know which lesson resonated with you the most.

The best place to come and have a chat with me is in my facebook group. Just search for ‘Your Lifestyle Business’ on FB and come and join the fun!

In the meantime, Live Life on Purpose and of course as always Make It Happen.

Thanks for listening, speak again next week.

Jo :)

What Starting a Lifestyle Business and Getting Married Have in Common

What Starting a Lifestyle Business and Getting Married Have in Common

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Links Mentioned in This Weeks Episode

MIHM 82 – 4 Ways to Start Your Lifestyle Business

Your Lifestyle Business Facebook Group

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So last week a good friend and member of the YLB community contacted me with a conundrum.

He has a full time job and needs to replace his income within the next 3 years or so. He’s been working on 2 or 3 online business ideas but is unsure which one to pursue.

Should he do the one he has some experience with and kind of got started a while ago but was thwarted by platform updates. (I’ve been there many times, hence why I don’t publish social media courses anymore!)

Should he go with a dream of his he’s had for a while or should he go with a business he’s already invested into quite heavily with his partner, but is mainly his partners dream.

Hmmm, decision, decisions.

But you know, its decisions like this that hold us back from getting out there and living the life we dream about, so in todays episode I’m going to talk about why starting a lifestyle business is a lot like getting married and how this can help you finally make that all important decision.

The greatest challenge we have today is not lack of opportunity but rather too much!

There are so many choices now of paths we could take to build a lifestyle business or side hustle.

In all seriousness sometimes I feel so lucky to have been born into a time with so much opportunity, and I’m always preaching abundance to my daughter, but unfortunately it’s also had an adverse affect.

The sheer amount of abundance available to us now in the West has led to indecision, procrastination, and in more severe cases overwhelm and depression.

But I am not a counsellor so I will simply focus on the amount of opportunity available to us and how we can make the kind of decision which sets us on the road to building a lifestyle business we can run from anywhere in the world, which is my speciality.

So if you’re listening to this thinking really Jo? Opportunity? What is it, where is it?

Firstly listen to MIHM Episode 82 – My 4 ways to build a business while traveling and then google – ’side hustles’, you will see hundreds and hundreds of ways you can earn enough money to give up your day job.

The challenge is which one is for you?

One of the reasons we have such a hard time making these decisions is a good old thing called FOMO.

You know that feeling you get when your family won’t let you in on the inside joke!?

Fear of missing out.

We fear that if we pick one avenue, then we may miss out on the opportunity of another avenue which may be a better choice.

We do this so much that we end up simply researching and learning about all the avenues without actually taking action on any of them.

All of a sudden a few years have passed and we’re no closer to where we truly want to get to.

We start to say things like, I don’t know what my passion is, or I’m not sure what my calling is or I don’t know what my purpose is.

And the simple thing is not everyone has a clear cut passion or purpose.

In fact I believe that passion comes from passion. It’s not just something that’s sitting there waiting to be found.

For example, I live in an environment where everyone exercises. Seriously you would not believe the amount of people who are constantly engaged in triathlons, iron mans, marathons, mountain trails etc. You name it they’re all doing it and it’s a classic contradiction of the theory you are who you hang out with.

Because no matter how much I hang out with them I do not look like an athlete and my body is definitely not built for triathlons!

But I digress.

The fact is at the beginning of this school term, I had a choice to go swimming 3 times a week, do bootcamp or walk round the local dam with a friend.

If I do swimming I get a fabulous all round workout with no heavy impact on my aging knees. If I do bootcamp, I work on strengthening my muscles and it’s more social. If I go walking it’s also a great catch up with a great friend.

So you see there is no clear winner!

And this is the conundrum.

When assessing what business you’d like to start or what niche you’d like to go into, unless one absolutely jumps out at you and says ‘pick me, pick me’ and you just know that’s the right way to go, how do you decide?

Well baton the hatches my friend because I’m going to tell you, it’s extremely technical and not could take a moment or two for you to truly understand and comprehend so are you ready?

1. Gather a list of your favorite options
2. Open your phone and go to your timer feature
3. Set the timer for 60 seconds
4. Click start
5. Recite ‘eeny, meeny, miny moe for 60 seconds
6. When the alarm goes off, the one your finger is on is your choice.

You may think I’m being flippant, but seriously any decision is better than no decision.

What is holding you back is not the amount of opportunities, the lack of opportunity, whether you have or haven’t found your passion or purpose.

What is holding you back is your indecision.

If you cannot make a decision based on logic alone, then flipping a coin is your next best option.

And guess what?

By doing rather than thinking or learning, you will probably quite quickly discover whether you have made the right decision or not.

It could literally happen with days that you decide, you know what this isn’t for me.

You may find yourself doing something you really don’t like or feel uncomfortable with, and if that’s the case, act quickly and about turn and try something else.

Trust your instincts.

I have just done this myself.

I have started two new projects, one of which I love and can’t wait to get out of bed to start.

The other within a day I realized this was not for me and so I will use it as an experiment and move on pretty damn quick.

But you only discover this by doing. Otherwise you may romanticize about what it could be only to find it’s not for you.

It might take a bit longer to discover its not for you, you may have invested some money or time, but still you will have learned an immense amount along the way and will be able to take those new found skills into something else.

On the flip side of the coin, you could start doing something and find you absolutely love it and Boom! There’s that passion you’ve been searching for.

So here’s why starting a business is like starting a solid relationship that you have high hopes for.

Once you have decided what business you are going to pursue, you need to commit wholeheartedly.

You cannot stray for a minimum of 12 – 18 months. You have to give the model and yourself time to make it work.

Your enemy is distraction. Other business models, other people talking of their success with other business models.

Do whatever you need to do to limit your distractions.

I have recently decided I want to become an author. It is undoubtedly where my passions lie.

I have unsubscribed from anything that does not aid me in my plight to achieve that goal.

I do not want to learn how to build video courses. I do not want to learn how to run a software business, I do not want to learn how to become a YouTube influencer.

I want to learn how to write better, how to build an audience more rapidly, how to increase visitors to my blog, how to improve my social media impact to help build my audience who will hopefully buy my books.

I have honed my inbox, my notifications, my podcasts etc to everyone and everything that can help me to achieve my main goal.

So when do you know whether it will work or when to quit?

Years ago, I took a job as an Assistant Entertainments Manager at a caravan park in Bristol UK.

Sounds grand, but basically I was a glorified kids entertainer, singer & DJ.

When I first arrived it was Winter and miserable. The caravan park was empty bar me and my boss who lived in a beautiful static motor home while I couldn’t swing a cat in mine and had to blow dry cling film to my windows to keep the wind out.

It was dark, dreary and lonely and with respect my boss was an arsehole and spoke to me like shit.

I remember calling my Dad, crying down the phone and telling him I wanted to come home.

He told me, give it 6 months Jo. If you hate it in 6 months, you can come home then. But you have to give opportunities, no matter how tough they may be, a fair crack of the whip.

He was right and as summer came round, the park got busy, I made new friends and the whole season was a ton of fun.

The moral of the story is course is that you have to give something your all.

You can’t go into a new marriage with one foot out the door eyeing up other opportunities.

You have to commit, passionately and give it 100% until either you realize you absolutely, categorically cannot stand doing it another day or you have exhausted every possible avenue to make it successful but it’s just clearly not that into you!

Please always remember though, if someone has done it before you, it can be done.

Don’t liken that sentence to a relationship please or it sounds a bit dodgy.

Every day you need to remind yourself why you’re doing it, what your goals are and what you want to achieve and by when. Set small milestones, give yourself some quick wins and focus, focus, focus.

If you stick with it and put 100% into it, you will succeed.

I would love to hear from you! Let me know what decisions are holding you back.

The best place to come and have a chat with me is in my facebook group. Just search for ‘Your Lifestyle Business’ on FB and come and join the fun!

In the meantime, Live Life on Purpose and of course as always Make It Happen.

Thanks for listening, speak again next week.

Jo :)

My Top 10 Life Changing Books for Lifestyle Entrepreneurs – MIHM113

My Top 10 Life Changing Books for Lifestyle Entrepreneurs – MIHM113

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Links Mentioned in This Weeks Episode

Jen Sincero
Brendon Burchard
Jesse Itzler
David Goggins
Steven Pressfield
Ryan Holiday
Yuval Noah Harari
The One Thing
Mark Manson
Kiva – Micro Angels Lending Team
Half The Sky
Your Lifestyle Business Facebook Group

Read Here

In today’s episode I thought it would be fun to give a summary of the 10 top books that have had a huge impact on my life this year and that I believe are an awesome read if you’re wanting to expand your knowledge, build your business, grow your confidence and become an awesome action taker!

To quote one of the authors ‘if you want to walk around so lit up that you shoot sunbeams out of yer eyeballs‘, then keep listening my friend!

1. You Are a Badass – Jen Sincero

From a ‘get out there and make things happen’ perspective this is one of my favorite books.

Written in a down to earth and super humorous manner, Jen has really helped me to light a fire under my backside and I now read a passage from her book and my own 100 day manifesto every single morning.

Here’s the passage I read;

Give yourself the permission and the means (yes, this includes the money), to be who you are REGARDLESS OF WHAT ANYBODY ELSE THINKS OR BELIEVES IS POSSIBLE. Do not deny yourself the life you want to live because you’re worried you’re not good enough or that you’ll be judged or that it’s too risky, because who does that benefit? No one, that’s who. When you live your life doing the things that turn you on, that you’re good at, that bring you joy, that make you shove stuff in people’s faces and scream, ‘check this out!!!’, you walk around so lit up that you shoot sunbeams out of yer eyeballs. Which automatically lights up the world around you. Which is precisely why you are here: to shine your big ass ball of fire onto this world of ours. A world that literally depends on light to survive.

Oh my gosh that sets me on fire!

Plus I’m currently doing a 100 day challenge at the moment, in that I have set myself 3 very specific goals to achieve in 100 days.

In one of Jen’s chapters she encourages you to write a manifesto which is essentially your goals and vision of having already achieved those goals. It’s very similar to what I have taught before in my ‘Power of Focus’ video course I used to give away where you create a detailed vision of your perfect day.

Except this time I wrote a vision of being at the end of 100 days and having achieved my goals. So I sit and read that each morning also to remind myself how I truly want to feel!

I tell you this has had a huge impact on my productivity and I’m getting more done now than I have in years.

So if you can read the book.

If you can’t go find her online.

Lastly decide on a time in the future and write your manifesto!

Jen Sincero – https://jensincero.com/

2. High Performance Habits – Brendon Burchard

I’ve had this book on my kindle for a while, but decided this summer to get down and read it.

It’s pretty easy to read and split into two main sections, Personal Habits & Social Habits, six habits, 3 in each section and then practices within each habit.

The six habits included are;

Seek Clarity – Be super clear about who you want to be and why you’re doing what you’re doing. What skills do you need to achieve your goals, how can you make a difference, what do you want to feel, is what you’re doing personally meaningful.

Generate Energy – Optimize your health, be intentional about the energy you’re bringing to your life and some specific techniques on releasing tension and setting intention.

Raise Necessity – Really affirm your why for doing things by verbalizing so it becomes real and important, surround yourself with the right people, and know who needs you on your ‘A’ game.

Increase Productivity – Figure out the 20% of your workload or project that really matters and work on that. Focus and say No to everything that is not a priority. Chart the five major moves you need to take to make your goal happen and then treat each move as a project, then work out the five major skills you need to execute your moves and become insanely good at those. (I would say this was the section I got the most out of.)

Develop Influence – This was about challenging people to think in a certain way, helping them to grow and challenge themselves and being a great role model. As far as I’m concerned the greatest influencers act before they talk. It’s something I aspire to myself!

Demonstrate Courage – Accept that there will be struggle and don’t complain about it. Embrace the challenge. Live your own truth and don’t be afraid to share your goals and dreams. Find something bigger than yourself to focus on which will help to drive you forward.

The lessons that clearly had the biggest impact on me because they’re what I can remember from the book were firstly the whole five major moves.

Once you’ve set a clear goal what are the five major moves you need to take to achieve it.

So, for example, one of my goals in my 100 Day Challenge is to write a book. It’s actually a book for my daughter, a ‘Mums advice’ to her daughter if you will.

My goal is simply to write it. Not to publish, promote etc. Just to get it written as it’s been sitting on my to do list for the last couple of years.

So my five major moves are to;

  • Create a rough outline – tick
  • Breakdown the chapters into subheads – tick
  • Create bullet points of what I want to write about under each subhead – tick
  • Write 5,000 words every 10 days which gets me to 50,000 words in 100 days which is about how long I want it to be – 10,000 words completed so far by the way.
  • Take some time out at the end of the challenge and then read through chapter by chapter, amending and tightening up.

When I get to the publishing bit, I’ll figure out my five major moves to publish & promote (if in fact I am going to do as it’s really a book for just my daughter but if it helps other Mum’s and daughters then I may well launch it out into the public realm.)

Secondly the whole get insanely good at what you do.

I personally want to become a full time writer. I love it. And so I will be focusing over the coming years on reading the kind of literature which helps to improve my writing skills and of course writing itself! ‘The knowledge comes from the theory based learning side, the skill comes from practice!’ That’s a quote by me!

Lastly, focus on something bigger than yourself to help drive you forward.

I’m currently launching a new ecommerce brand. My focus is on a), teaching my community how to launch and build their own business and b), I see the brand as becoming an outlet for my desires to get involved in the world of micro lending and helping female entrepreneurs in developing countries.

So if you can read the book.

If you can’t go find him online.

Lastly, get super clear with your goals, find something bigger to focus on that just your own ends and chart out your next five major moves & the skills you need to get you there!

Brendon Burchard – https://brendon.com/

3. Living With a Seal – Jesse Itzler

I loved this book! I only read it because my hubby to be had read it before me and recommended it as a good read. Plus as he was reading it he was giggling so that’s always a good sign!

Jesse Itzler is the husband of Sara Blakely the billionaire founder of Spanx. He is successful in his own right and co founded a private jet company which was later bought out by Warren Buffets company Berkshire Hathaway. He now co-owns the Atlanta Hawks, is an author and a keynote speaker.

His story is about how on one of his ultra marathons he encountered an navy seal who he later contracted for a month to come and live in his house and train him to become super fit.

It’s a fab story, very funny and highly motivating although you wouldn’t catch me jumping through an ice hole in a frozen over river for love nor money.

But the book led me to look up the seal in question who’s name is David Goggins. (In the book he’s simply referred to as ’Seal’).

Find more about Jesse Itzler here – https://jesseitzler.com/

4. Can’t Hurt Me – David Goggins

So David Goggins who is now a retired navy seal, the world record holder for the most pull ups in 24 hours, an ultra marathoner and a keynote speaker has written his own book called ‘Can’t Hurt Me’.

This was a tougher read as he recalled the trauma of his childhood and the story of how against so many odds became a navy seal despite going through hell week three times!

His tales of how he overcame challenge after challenge are nothing less than incredibly inspirational and it made me realize just how weak minded we can be when faced with a challenge.

And I’m not talking about bleeding blisters and knackered legs at mile 65 of 100 and continuing to the end no matter the pain.

For me personally I’m talking about giving in to the pizza when the scales haven’t given me the result I thought I deserved or not following through on learning Thai because the language is too hard, or not sitting down to write my book for fear of it being rubbish!

These things really aren’t challenges at all, but as David says we have to callous the mind. We have to do stuff even when we really don’t feel like doing it as it’s that which strengthens our resolve.

The book was hugely inspiring but what’s even more impactful is I now follow him in Instagram where he posts 1 minute videos regularly and whenever I feel my brain is weak, I go and watch one of his videos.

Try it, it works!

David Goggins Instagram Account – https://www.instagram.com/davidgoggins/

5. The War of Art – Steven Pressfield – Books 1 & 2

As a wannabe author, Steven Pressfield would be a natural choice. As at the age of 76 he’s written 17 books (the first published when he was 52, some 27 years after he started writing).

9 fiction
5 are educational books on writing
3 are historical non fiction books

He’s also written several Hollywood screenplays for films starring names such as Anthony Hopkins, Steven Segal, Emilio Estevez and in 2000 his first novel ’The Legend of Bagger Vance’ was made into a movie starring Will Smith & Matt Damon.

He’s quite the character and I first saw him on an interview with Marie Forleo.

He captured me with his talk about ‘resistance’, the invisible force which stops all of us from doing what we really want to on a regular basis.

In his own words – ‘the enemy—what I call Resistance with a capital “R,” i.e. fear, self-doubt, procrastination, perfectionism, all the forms of self-sabotage that stop us from doing our work and realizing our dreams.
So I picked up ’The War of Art’, then read ’Turning Pro’ and ’Nobody Wants to Read Your S**t’.

All books are easy quick reads and written more like a collection of blog posts put into a book than a book per say.

I really enjoyed what he called ‘Book One’ & ‘Book Two’ in ’The War of Art’. Book One is all about resistance and how it stops us and Book Two is all about becoming a professional and how to overcome it. Book Three I’ll be honest goes over my head a bit.

It’s all about angels & muses and the authentic self and just got a bit woo woo for my tastes. But it didn’t stop me going on to read two more of his books!

Check him out at – https://stevenpressfield.com

6. The Obstacle is the Way – Ryan Holiday

My first audio book, I really enjoyed listening to this book as I walked along the beach near my Mums house while visiting the UK.

A huge advocate for stoicism Ryan takes us on a journey through events & stories about people like Amelia Earhart, Thomas Edison, Margaret Thatcher, Teddy Roosevelt, Steve Jobs, Eisenhower & many more.

His goal with the book was to demonstrate not only how we can overcome obstacles but become stronger because of them.

The very definition of stoicism is ‘the endurance of pain or hardship without the display of feelings and without complaint.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t tell you which part of the book really stood out for me as it would seem I retain more from reading rather than listening, but I do remember thinking that this was the intellectual person’s self help book.

Rather than the rambunctious ‘You are in charge of your life’, ’Nothing can hurt you if you don’t let it’, ‘Change your story, change your life’ cries from the popular self-help gurus, this was a deeper, more demonstrable exploration of how we can control our perceptions, actions and will in order to better control our life.

I have no doubt the messages within left more subconscious impressions which have affected my behaviors since.

Find Ryan Holiday here – https://ryanholiday.net/

So staying with the intellectual;

7. Sapiens – Yuval Noah Harari

Recommended on a Tim Feriss’ podcast. I loved this book.

It took me a while to get through it as I’m not quite as well read as Tim Ferris or some of his guests.

In fact, it made me giggle as it was a conversation between Tim & his friend and guest Naval Ravikant who is like a super intellectual, entrepreneur and angel investor, and Naval said something about Sapiens and said ‘it’s an easy read’.

So I bought the book and from my standpoint, it was anything but easy!

But it was insanely interesting.

The book basically walks through the history of humankind from the beginning to where we are now.

Covering the the Cognitive Revolution (70,000 years ago), the Agricultural Revolution (10,000 years ago), and the Scientific Revolution (500 years ago), the author explored prehistoric humans, where and when humans evolved, neanderthals, the evolution of Home Sapiens (meaning – wise man) and how via each revolution we and the world changed and evolved.

It made me realize that the world we live in today is really just an idea, a thought, a cog in the wheel of evolution.

Capitalism and nationalism that so many fight & die for are no more than a few decades old and money is simply an evolutionary concept. It doesn’t really exist. Trade is real, money isn’t.

He covers religion, gender, war, the economy, the future. It’s jam-packed with so many out of the box ideas, you can’t possibly read it and not have your eyes opened and your thoughts broadened.

It’s a book you can’t go back from if you get my meaning.

Find out more about Yuval here – https://www.ynharari.com/

8. The One Thing – Gary Keller

Ok so back to a good old easy to read productivity book, the one thing is now not only a book, but a podcast and a movement!

Advocating the benefits of focus, the one thing teaches exactly what it says on the cover. How to hone in and focus on your ‘one thing’.

It’s core idea being to ask yourself the question – ‘What’s the ONE Thing you can do such that by doing it everything else will be easier or unnecessary?

I have tried endlessly to focus on only one thing at a time, but at my age time is passing too fast to make this a total reality.

However, I also know from experience I get nowhere fast trying to focus on too many things.

So in my 100 Day Challenge I have 3 main goals I’m working on, attempting to put everything else on hold and saving for my next 100 days.

So far so good, I’ll let you know in 100 days.

If you don’t have time to read the book, check out the podcast;

The One Thing – https://www.the1thing.com/

9. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F**k – Mark Manson

I really like Mark Manson’s style of writing.

He has a great blog which I refer too regularly and has just released a new book – ‘Everything is F***ed – A book about hope’.

As the title of the book suggests, he’s pretty down to earth and unafraid of expressing his opinion and whilst I don’t always agree with everything he says, I love how open and honest he is.

In fact, I sometimes read a post of his just before I’m about to start writing to get some grammatical inspiration.

The book as the name suggests is about getting comfortable with being different, or expressing different opinions or following your own path rather than that of the crowd.

It’s actually not truly about not caring, it’s far more about being precise and calculated in what you do care about and ensuring you only care about that which is important to you and what could actually impact your life positively.

He also talks quite a lot about identity and how you identify yourself. If you believe deep down that you are or are not something then you will take the actions necessary to prove that.

For example, if you identify with being a great cook, you will do everything in your power to be a great cook and god forbid you to serve up a horror of a meal.

However if something threatens your identity you’re more likely to avoid it, for example, if you’ve been overweight for most of your adult life and you subconsciously identify with someone who is constantly losing weight, the chances are you will avoid taking the actions necessary to lose that weight once and for all.

For real! I can see that.

It’s a fairly quick and easy read with lots to make you think, so I highly recommend giving it a go.

Find more on Mark Manson here – https://markmanson.net/

10. Half The Sky – Nicholas Kristof & Sheryl WuDunn

Quite simply this book changed my life.

Written by two New York Times journalists & Pulitzer Prize winners, this is a collection of stories about women in Africa, Cambodia, South America and other war torn, poverty stricken and developing countries.

Interviewing the women themselves, NGO’s, charitable organizations, the writers explored the horrors that the women in these countries are facing today.

Illegal and underage prostitution, human trafficking, genital mutilation, arranged marriages, legalized rape, infanticide, murder. It is horrifying.

However, they also shone a light on the organizations who are trying to effect change, the people on the ground, the charities and in particular the programs which impacted me the most, the micro lending institutions.

Founded by a chap called Muhammad Yunus back in 1976 in Bangladesh, the Grameen Bank is a microfinance organisation and community development bank.

Microfinance is basically a way of funding people in impoverished areas with no collateral or banking facilities and giving them the startup monies they need to start a small business which transforms the lives of themselves, their children & their communities.

97% of the borrowers are women.

The stories are nothing short of inspiring.

The lady in Pakistan being beaten by her husband and Mother in Law and Brother in Law who borrowed $75 to start making and selling shawls at the local market and who now employs her entire village including her deadbeat husband. No-one touches her anymore!

The story about the woman in Cambodia, trafficked as a young girl into illegal prostitution and drug addiction who now runs a home for victims of the same who she goes out and saves via local police raids.

The lady who was tied to a tree in the DRC and gang-raped repeatedly for 2 weeks until she escaped to a refugee camp in Uganda, where she started a small business selling charcoal and now heads up a group of women she called the ‘Angels’ who out of their profits fund other female startups in the camp.

My research led me to an organization called Kiva.org founded in 2005 who work with NGO’s in affected countries to find people who need loans and then through their website crowdfund those loans via people like yours truly in increments in $25 or more.

Last year I lent out $200 to a variety of projects and am sitting on repayments of $227 to re-lend out at the moment.

That’s what I love about micro loans. You lend the money, it gets repaid and you loan it again to someone else. So you don’t help one or hundreds you potentially help thousands as your money gets loaned over and over again effecting dramatic changes across the globe!

To become a member of my lending team, click here – https://www.kiva.org/team/microangels

To get your copy of Half the Sky, click here – https://www.amazon.com/Half-Sky-Oppression-Opportunity-Worldwide/dp/0307387097


So there you have it. The Top 10 Books that have impacted my life greatly over the last year.

Right now I’m reading ‘The Happiness of Pursuit’ Chris Guillebeau and I have the distinct feeling he may make my next Top 10!

The book is making me seriously think about my own life and the quests I would like to undertake. If only I had more hours in my day and more years in my life!!!

I do hope you’ve found this list interesting and thought provoking.

If you have read or do read any of the books above, Id love to hear your thoughts. Equally if you have any books you absolutely recommend do please let me know!

The best place to come and have a chat with me is in my facebook group. Just search for ‘Your Lifestyle Business’ on FB and come and join the fun!

In the meantime, Live Life on Purpose and of course as always Make It Happen.

Thanks for listening, speak again next week.

Jo :)

How I’m Starting My Online Ecommerce Business Today! – MIHM112

How I’m Starting My Online Ecommerce Business Today! – MIHM112

Listen Here

Subscribe & listen on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Sticher or your platform of choice. Click Here to access all links.

Links Mentioned in This Weeks Episode

Customer Avatar Worksheet – Digital Marketer


99 Designs

Your Lifestyle Business Facebook Group

Read Here

Back in 2015 my partner & I started a business selling products on Amazon. Kitchen products to be precise.

Within one year we had grossed over a million bucks with just one product.

In the following years we grew our product line and our revenues so much so that I packed up work for a couple of years to focus on my health & my daughter.

However after two years of lunching & brunching I realized this was not my destiny and earlier this year relaunched my Jo Barnes Online brand as Your Lifestyle Business.

My mission is to arm action taker with the tools, strategies and inspiration to build a business you can run from anywhere in the world whether that be your kitchen table or a beach in Fiji.

For those of you listening who have been part of my journey for the last 10 years you’ll know this isn’t my first rodeo.

I made a very nice living between 2010 & 2016 which is when I stopped working from video courses, ebooks, membership sites, affiliate sales etc.

But when I relaunched this year I wanted to do something different. I didn’t want to charge for the education part of my business. I really believe that information on it’s own is readily available for us now everywhere we turn.

Just search up ‘How to Start an Ecommerce Business’ and a gazillion free posts & videos will pop up.

My goal instead is to utilize my education as my audience building tool and make money via ecommerce pursuits, books (I really want to become an author), possibly retreats in the future and along the way some well researched, well positioned and very valuable referral offers.

So, I’m about to launch my first experimental ecommerce store using Shopify. The goal being to build my own store and educate the members of my FB group as I go with over the shoulder videos, posts, and lots of discussion.

If you’re not a part of the FB group then do come and join is. It’s free!

Join Here – https://yourlifestylebusiness.com/fbcommunity

I’m not going to launch on Amazon because even though it’s a cracking site to start a business, it’s not very exciting, you have limited control and I want to play with print on demand & drop shipping.

And having built the Shopify store for our kitchen products brand I know my way around the platform a bit and it’s a lot of fun!

So here is my 12 step plan for launching my new ecommerce brand! Exciting!

Step 1 – Choose your business / niche.

Whether you choose to sell on Shopify or Amazon picking a niche is so important.

If I could go back to 2015 when we started on Amazon, the one thing I would change would be to have picked a niche that we were passionate about, that we could have built an audience around, that we could have created content about and that we could have talked about all day long.

The mistake is just to go for a niche because it’s popular. That will get you so far, possibly even 7 figures far on Amazon, but the landscape is becoming so competitive, the more passionate you are about a niche and the more you build an entire brand around it the better an advantage you have.

I honestly believe that micro brands are the future.

Amazon has completely cornered the market for the one stop shop where you can find everything you need.

My personal recommendation would be to get very specific with your niche and start a store in one narrow area, such as yoga pants or a specific type of sunglasses or a particular type of water bottle etc.

Some great examples are;


My brand is an outlet for my ‘female empowerment’ passion. It’s called Legends Not Ladies, quote by Stevie Nicks and is a hat tip towards feminism I guess (am not a feminist per say). But I do have a desire to be apart of the female empowerment movement and thought his would be a great outlet to support women everywhere.

It’s also an experimental brand as I want to have a play with print on demand and drop shipping, neither of which are ideal long term options for me.

Print on demand suits creatives and artists more as the profit margins are tight so if you are the designer your outlays are less.

Drop shipping has long delays between ordering and receiving and you cannot always test the quality of a product. Plus there is no uniqueness. You are simply advertising someone else’s product and saying it’s your brand.

For a long term sustainable ecommerce business you want to be private labelling products and branding them with your own brand and even better, creating products which are completely unique to you.

However both of those require purchasing and holding large quantities of inventory and so to begin with we’re just going to pick the low hanging fruit to get a hang of the business model without too much risk.

Step 2 – Purchase domain

Ok so now you know your niche you can do steps 2, 3, 4 & 5 in tandem or in any order.

Step 2 is to decide your name and purchase the domain.

The name of my brand is ‘Legends Not Ladies’ based on a quote by Stevie Nicks. I love it!

It’s created mixed emotions in my community with comments such as the ’not’ part is negative and ‘why can’t we be both’, but this is where you have to go with your own gut instincts.

I believe if I named my site Legends & Ladies or something similar it would just be another vanilla brand in a sea of vanilla brands.

Legends NOT Ladies has a bit of oomph about it. It’s a bit contentious and has an air of feminism which I’m not particularly affiliated with, but I do like the connotation so I’m sticking with it.

Don’t spend too long here. You could spend months trying to think of the perfect name and domain. Just pick something you think could work, not too complicated, fairly easy to type and go for it, even if you can only get the .co or .net version.

People find websites via links these days so .com is nowhere near as important as it used to be.

Step 3 – Create brand outline – avatar, colours, feeling etc

Pretty important step is to decide who you’re selling too.

I talk a lot about customer avatars and truly there is no better explanation online that Digital Marketers customer avatar worksheet I recommended in last weeks podcast.

Just go to digitalmarketer.com and search for Customer Avatar worksheet or see the link directly under the podcast.

Once you know who you’re selling to, you can start to think about your brand colors, the feeling you want to portray on your site, how you want your site to look.

The best thing to do at this stage is to have a look through other ecommerce websites and make a list of ideas for your brand.

Just google ecommerce website examples or head over to the Shopify blog for loads of ideas.

Step 3 – Decide what you want to sell.

What products will you sell?

This will depend largely on the niche you have chosen.

For example if you have chosen the jewelry niche because you make it, then you’ve decided the product before the niche.

Let’s say you decide to go into the pet niche, there are so many ways you could go; outfits for dogs, pet food, safety products, training products, grooming products.

I would say start small and scale.

So for instance my brand is about female empowerment so my growth strategy is as follows;

1. Print on demand – T-shirts, pillows, bags, shoes, mugs, journals etc with empowerment quotes
2. Drop shipping – Jewelry / Stationary
3. Private Label / Own products – Journals, diaries, stationary, bags
4. Affiliations – books, other people’s products
5. Not for Profit – Ideally the end goal is to use the site as a vehicle to sell products made by women in developing countries funded by micro loans.

If we take the pet example, you could start with outfits for small dogs, then move into say harnesses, then maybe add safety products, then training products, then grooming products etc.

Or you could stay with just outfits and become a dog fashion store.

The choice is yours, go where your passion lies. (Hence my brand leans towards stationary, I love it!)

Step 4 – Choose how you’re going to obtain your products.

As I said in Step 1, you have a choice between Print on Demand, Drop Shipping, Affiliation, Private Label, Manufacturing Your Own Goods.

Only you can decide which business model suits you right now.

Print on Demand means that you just need to design the artwork and all the products will be printed and shipped directly from the manufacturing company.

Drop shipping means that you advertise the product, the buyer purchases it and you them purchase it from the manufacturer who then sends it directly to the buyer.

Arbitrage means you buy things cheaply and sell them for a profit. So you may head down to your local stores at sale time and stock up just to sell at a higher price later from your own site.

Affiliation means that you advertise other peoples products and get a commission for every sale you make. Be careful with this one as profit margins will be low.

Private Label is where you source products in bulk, usually 5,000 or more and brand the product with your own brand name either directly on the product or on the packaging.

Manufacturing your own goods says what it does on the tin. You would design and then find a manufacturer to make your own unique branded products. To be truly unique you’d need to go down the route of patents etc or the manufacturer can just sell your design to someone else by the way.

I know it’s a crooked world!

Step 5 – Decide where you’re going to sell.

Locally? Internationally? In just one specific country?

Again this greatly depends on the niche you’re in and the business model you choose.

I have a friend I’m working with who wants to open a clothing store and she has all the clothes in her home which she had designed and made a while ago for another project she was working on and once she’s sold those she has a manufacturer she knows who she will continue to source clothes from.

She will wrap and ship the products herself so she will start her site selling only locally to ensure the system of shipping etc works, that she’s profitable and then we’ll look at expanding her reach.

You may find that print on demand is too expensive to ship internationally. I’ll tell you more when I’ve had a play.

Drop shipping most products will probably come from China so you should be ok to sell all over the world but to start with you might say just in your home country to test the waters.

If you’re arbitraging it usually means you’ll be shipping it yourself, so you’ll need to bear that in mind.

If you’re private labeling & / or manufacturing it will all depend on profit margins and where you’re shipping from.

We’ll cover this in more detail as we go and grow, but just bear this step in mind.

Step 6 – Create logo & site designs

Alright so with all decisions made it’s time for the fun stuff!

Get your logo designed! (Or design it yourself)

I’m a terrible designer so I paid $299 to 99 designs and started a design competition.

It’s still running at the moment but I’m pretty sure we have a winner. Plus it’s given me some great design and color ideas for the site.

Shopify comes with lots of great free themes so once you’re signed up you can select a theme and then decide the images and colors you want for that theme.

Don’t spend too long here. You could spend months building the perfect site only to sell nothing!

Focus on the products and the sales process, you can tweak and improve the site as you go.

Step 7 – Sign up for Shopify or your ecommerce store of choice.

For my store I will be using Shopify because it’s super easy to use, built specifically for you to sell products & has lots of apps & bells and whistles that connect it to print on demand services, drop shipping services & social media for easy promotions & sales.

Other ecommerce options are;


and various others.

You need to research the platforms & decide which is best for you.

Right now though I’m signing up to Shopify’s basic plan at $29 / month with a 14 day trial.

Step 8 – Add theme / designs / products / payment vehicles

Depending on the platform you choose you now need to add your site customisations such as logo, colours, images, payment vehicles (PayPal, stripe etc) & of course your products.

Make sure you’re in my FB group to watch over the shoulder videos of me adding products & setting up my store!

Step 9 – Go Live!

Yippeee! It’s time to go live.

You can let out a huge sigh of relief, your site is live & now people can come flooding to your gates…..

Wouldn’t that be nice!

Step 10 – Create IG / FB / Pin – pick one as your main one

Nope. Now the site is live it’s time for the hard work to start.

Here are 3 steps to get you started but I’ll discuss launch strategy & promotion in another podcast.

Firstly create a social media account / page, whether that be Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube, you choose.

Pick just one as your main account.

You can setup apps that copy your content across to the other accounts just for when you get started. You can employ a team later to really start to cover all angles.

I’m starting with IG.

I’ve found a name & created an account & bio – you can check it out & follow if you like. The link is in the show notes.

Step 11 – Populate with cool content pertaining to brand

Start posting valuable content!

My strategy is to gather together lots of awesome quotes from lady legends across the eras, add them to nice backgrounds or photos & start posting.

I’ll also start to recommend books, websites, articles & podcasts created by legends!

Plus of course I’ll gradually be feeding in images & links to the products on the site.

Step 12 – Begin building your audience

Here’s we start to get super juicy.

With our valuable content we will start to build an audience of people who resonate with our brand.

Then we’ll create a freebie or two to encourage people to join our email list.

Maybe it’ll be a discount or a digital product that complements our products.

But the goal will be to begin building our community of potential buyers.

Then we’ll up the ante with more content, co promotions, influencer marketing and paid ads.

But that’s enough for now!


I hope you’ve enjoyed today’s episode & it’s given you the steps & the impetus to get going.

If it all sounds too scary just start with baby steps.

Step 1, Step 2 etc.

Bite it off in small manageable chunks.

And remember be sure to join my FB Community to watch my over the shoulder training videos as I post them.

In the meantime, Live Life on Purpose and of course as always Make It Happen.

Thanks for listening, speak again next week.

Jo :)

10 Steps to Building Your Freedom Lifestyle Business

10 Steps to Building Your Freedom Lifestyle Business

Listen Here

Subscribe & listen on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Sticher or your platform of choice. Click Here to access all links.

Links Mentioned in This Weeks Episode

Ep110 – What Business Should I Start

Customer Avatar Worksheet – Digital Marketer

How to Hire an Awesome VA

Your Lifestyle Business Facebook Group

Read Here

Over the last 10 years we have had the fortune to live in or visit over 30 different countries.

We have traveled with wild abandon dragging our little daughter with us for the most part, slowing only when it was clear that school agreed with her & she should stay in one place for a while to make the best of it.

We still go away every holiday & I continue to travel at other times through the year.

This has only been possible because we started a business back in 2010 which we could build & manage completely online. Since then we have gone on to create two life changing businesses and have plans for many more.

In last weeks episode – ‘What Business Should I Start?’ I shared with you the different types of lifestyle businesses & how to decide what business you should start if you’re currently unsure in which direction to go.

Today we’re going to explore the 10 steps to building your lifestyle business no matter the model you choose.

Let’s begin.

Step 1.

Know the business you are in.

Too many people start with ‘I want to make money online’

‘Doing what?’ I say.

‘Making money online!’

There is no such thing really. The internet is a tool to help you reach a much larger audience with your product / service / brand.

So you have to have a business idea to start.

As an example I’m currently launching two businesses.

One as an author, in that I’m building an audience who will hopefully buy my books I have yet to write.

Secondly an ecommerce business selling physical products.

Both require roughly the same 10 steps I’m sharing with you today, starting with the fact that I know what my business is.

If you’re not sure what your business is then listen to last weeks episode.

Step 2

Know who your business is for.

Who do you want to serve? Who do you want to work with? Who is your ideal client / customer?

The online world is incredibly competitive and so to stand out from the crowd we need to be speaking directly to our audience and if you don’t know who that is you can’t talk directly to them.

I know this is scary as you feel by targeting one group of people you’re eliminating or alienating another, but it won’t actually work like that in practice.

You will begin to attract the very audience you desire plus people you never thought you’d resonate with because you’ll be found easier.

You’ll cut through the competition far easier and do you’ll automatically have a lot more exposure.

I highly recommend ‘The Customer Avatar Worksheet’ on the Digital Marketer Blog.

The post gives a detailed explanation of creating your ideal customer avatar along with an accompanying worksheet.

Step 3

Start building your audience.

You know there’s really no hard & fast order for some of these steps.

You can start with a product or not.
You can start with an attractive email list building offer or not.

The key is to start whether you have anything to start with or not. Which is why I start content.

Choose your platform. Don’t try to be everywhere all at once, you will burn yourself out.

Do you want to be a blogger, a YouTube, a podcaster?

Perhaps you want to be an Instagram influencer or an expert on FB lives.

Go where you think your audience might be.

If through doing your avatar you think my audience watches YouTube vids & browses Pinterest then vow to master YouTube then Pinterest.

If you think your audience prefer blogs & Facebook then master blogging then FB.

I tend to pick a platform so moving forward for me it’s podcasting & a social media outlet to promote my platform so I’m liking Instagram at the moment, so that’s where you’ll find me!

Start to create quality content consistently and getting it out in front of your potential audience and you will start to gather an audience.

Please note quality trumps quantity. Take it from me.

I have tried quantity but unless you have your own digital marketing agency & a 24/7 videographer it’s tough so go for quality.

The secret to quality? Be valuable.

With every content piece you create ask how you can add maximum value.

Step 4

Create a community.

So rather than just relying on organic shares of your content, begin to grow an engaged community by building an email list and / or inviting people into a Facebook Group.

Your community are your feedback mechanism, your marketing army, your core buyers & a lot of the time become your friends! 😀

Sure you can run ads to the new yoga pants you’ve just launched on your site but imagine you had an email list of 50,000 people all receiving your free yoga vids in their email every week and discussing / chatting with other community members in the group!

How likely is it that a large percentage of community members will order your new yoga pants?

Pretty high I would say!

Plus they’ll tell you how well they fit, can you add another colour, another size, another style. In fact could you also offer tees & socks etc.

They are walking talking market research!

The best way to build a community is to offer something of value for free.

So for example I’m about to start posting ecommerce training videos in my FB community for free, you just have to join to access them.

I will then at some point ask you to sign up to my email list to get notifications of new videos, worksheets & extras etc.

One of the fastest ways I built my email list in the early days was through webinars, so don’t be surprised if a few webinar invites don’t come your way in the future.

There are a multitude of ways to build your community each one deserving of an episode all on its own. More to come.

Step 5

Build Your Asset Base

Simply put nows the time if you haven’t already to add whatever it is you’re selling.

So if you’re selling information products you might sell a video course, an ebook, a book, a membership site etc.

If you’re a coach you’ll be selling your coaching services.

Ecommerce – your products.

Influencer – your audience, your sponsorship deals.

SAAS – your software etc.

As I said in Step 3, there’s no hard & fast rule as to the order of these things.

Perhaps you had a product all along & then began to build your audience. It’s entirely up to you.

For my new ecommerce brand I will be promoting products & building my audience at the same time.

For my book, I won’t launch it until I have a bit of an audience to launch too.

It really depends on your goals and end objectives.

But all I can tell you is the stronger & more engaged your community, which by the way is directly correlated to how much value they feel they receive from you, the easier you will find it to promote & sell your product / service / brand.

So even if you start with a product, it’s important to be offering that value & building an engaged community at the same time.

One of the things that makes selling on Amazon so much easier than your own ecommerce store is that they’ve already done all that community building for you.

So you now just need to put your product in front of their audience.

(Quick note, to be continuously successful on Amazon though it would do you well to build your own audience. It’s a very competitive marketplace and you can easily get knocked out if the way by someone with more money than you!)

Step 6

Master Marketing!

The quickest and easiest way to get your products / services / brand & content out into the marketplace is to use promotional techniques to do so.

Whether that be SEO, gaming social media algorithms, co promotions with other marketers, paid ads etc.

You need to be promoting even more than you’re creating.

If you publish a video on YouTube other than getting the tags right, your title, description etc you need to be adding a segment on your social media channel of choice, sending out to your community, trying to get other people to promote it for you or running ads & promotions to it.

The same for your podcasts or blog and / or your products & funnels.

The best content & products in the world are no good if they’re not seen.

So almost from the getgo you need to be looking at creative ways to get your brand / content in front of your target audience.

The first step is in knowing where your audience is which we touched on in Step 2.

The second step is being uber valuable as that will attract people to you & encourage word of mouth.

Then it’s using all the resources available to spread your message.

Once again this section is both long and wide so we will hone in on some great marketing & promotion techniques in various future episodes.

Step 7

Add systems & a power team.

By now you will likely be exhausted!

You’re creating a podcast a week, trying to encourage people to join your community & nurturing them with valuable & consistent content, building out products and utilising marketing & promotion techniques.

You just don’t have the time or the energy to do it all!!!

Now is the time, if you haven’t already to put in place your power team.

To start with you might only have one other person on your team.

I grew my digital marketing business to a very healthy high six figure business with only 2 other full timers & some freelance contractors and we built our Amazon business to 7 figures with only 1 virtual assistant.

So you don’t need hundreds of staff to make it much easier on you to do what you must do.

I say what you must do because it’s important you hold on to the tasks that really only you can do, unless your long term goal is to exit out of the business completely which is a different discussion.

But most of my audience are building smaller lifestyle businesses and turning passion into profits so I imagine there’s a part of the business that’s yours and yours alone.

For me that’s content creation. Writing, recording, posting.

That’s not to say it won’t change in the future but you must ensure you start by delegating the lower level tasks out to your team freeing you up to do the important money making tasks.

Not sure how to get started hiring a VA? Here’s a post I wrote a while back complete with a job description and a robust hiring process – How to Hire an Awesome VA

Step 8

Continue building & nurturing your audience & community.

This is one of the greatest mistakes I’ve seen online entrepreneurs do & I myself have made this mistake in the past.

Just because you’ve had a few sales or a success launch or your ad strategy is working doesn’t mean you should neglect your community & current audience. They are the core of your business and as such demand your best attention.

But like all of us they have a multitude of things happening in their lives vying for their attention at all times.

Neglect them and they will neglect you.

I don’t know about you but I hate the promotions I see banks do all the time.

X% off for new customers. Then you call up having been a loyal customer for years, ask for a similar discount and get told it’s only for new customers!

There’s something distinctly wrong with that picture!

Nurture your community. Keep adding value where you can. Listen and act on their feedback and acknowledge their importance in and too your business.

The more you look after your community the faster you will organically grow as they will be recommending you left right & centre to everyone they meet!

Plus it just makes you feel really good yourself to be a part of such a positive & friendly community.

Step 9

Add further income streams.

Be super careful with this one as you don’t want to grow too fast.

I know that sounds counter intuitive but if you don’t have the systems or resources in place & suddenly catapult your business into high growth you could find yourself unable to meet commitments, dissatisfactory customer support & a reputational crisis on your hands.

Once you are satisfied that your business is running well and you want to up the ante you can begin to add alternate streams of income.

So if you sell stand alone video course, you could wrap them all up into a membership site.

Or you could start as an affiliate marketer & add your own courses as you go.

You could add more product lines to your store or more stores.

Perhaps you add a backend educational product to your front end product store.

There’s a whole stream of ways you can begin to add different revenue streams it will depend on your business & model.

But in all my years of doing this I have always found unless you’re starting with a solid team and plenty of financial resources it’s best to start small and grow as you go.

As I said in Step 7, we built our Amazon business to 7 figures with just one product and over the following two years grew that to 50 products but the sudden growth in product lines actually caught us out and we had to quickly scale back of risk losing growth in our whole brand.

Sometimes less is more!

So analyse your business as you grow. Listen to the feedback from your community so that you can provide what they’re asking for and grow slowly but surely.

Seth Godin said ‘The shortcut is usually the longest route’. Meaning that 9 times out of 10 when you try to shortcut something it usually takes you far longer. I wholeheartedly agree!

Trust the system & stack your income streams one by one.

Step 10

Have fun!

This is meant to be fun!

I know business can be stressful. Learning something new can be stressful. Stepping out of our comfort zone etc etc.

But at the end of the day why do it if it doesn’t bring enjoyment to your life?

There are so many ways these days with the emerging ‘gig’ economy to make a bit of extra money to supplement your income so if you’re in this just to make money then starting & growing a business may not be for you.

But if you have a hobby or a passion that you’d love to share & monetise then building a lifestyle business is the way to do it.

The end result is doing what you love every day, and earning enough to do it from wherever you want whenever you want.


So there you have my 10 steps to building your Freedom Lifestyle Business.

I do hope they’ve proven useful.

Thanks for listening and if you get a moment I would so appreciate it if you could rate & review the podcast on iTunes.

Have an amazing week, life life on purpose and of course Make It Happen!

Jo 🙂

What Business Should I Start?

What Business Should I Start?

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Subscribe & listen on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Sticher or your platform of choice. Click Here to access all links.

Read Here

Do you know you want to start a lifestyle business but are stuck for ideas? Perhaps you’re low on cash, time, self belief?

Whatever it is one of the issues facing you is the sheer amount of opportunities now available to us.

Where do we start?

In todays episode of Make It Happen Monday, I’m answering an email I received from a lady called Sarah who asked this very question – ‘What business should I start?’

Here are my top 3 tips for hacking away the jungle of information surrounding you and making your way out into a sunshine filled clearing with decision and precision in mind!


Hello! Welcome to Make It Happen Monday.

I had a great email a couple of weeks ago from a lady called Sarah who said;

‘I’ve been following you for a couple of years and everything you put out is fantastic.

I’ve been looking at different online businesses, but find it challenging on which to start.

I have very little disposable cash to invest. Can you advise me what you think would be good to start.

I need to be doing something that brings me the lifestyle like yours.’

Great question Sarah, but a toughie for me to answer as it really depends on your time, resources, passions, skills, interests etc.

But I thought I could give some suggestions that might help you in the decision making process.

There are literally hundreds of lifestyle business ideas you could start tomorrow ranging from dog walking to ghost writing to digital marketing, selling on Etsy, building websites etc etc.

But almost all of them can be categorised into the following areas;

1. Freelance Services – virtual assistant, marketing agency services, building websites, etc.
2. Information Marketing – online courses, ebooks, affiliate marketing, books
3. Coaching / Consulting – one to one, one to many coaching services
4. Ecommerce – selling physical products online – Shopify, Etsy, Amazon, Ebay etc
5. Influencer Model – Sponsorship / product endorsements etc
6. SAAS – Software as a service – Software, apps etc

There may be the odd outlier but most fall under one or more of these 6 categories which helps when thinking about which model suits you the most.

So here are three steps you can take to really hone in on the the type of business you’d like to start and what that business might be.

Step 1.

Focus on the process not the result.

Your objective might be to create an amazing lifestyle where you travel the world and work your own hours as and when you want to, but focusing on that will only take you down scammy rabbit holes following people and programs who sell you the dream, not the reality.

Your lifestyle will be a direct result of the effort you put in and the value you bring to the table.

So what are you interested in or passionate about?

What hobbies or interests do you have which could be translated into a business opportunity?

Do you love entrepreneurship in general (like me) and want to help businesses grow?

Do you make beautiful jewelry or clothes in your spare time which you’d love to sell online?

Are you a natural cook and would love to teach people how to make cakes, or vegan food, or Indian food or healthy meals for kids etc.

Do you love Yoga and believe perhaps you could become an online Yoga instructor.

It all starts with what you love to do, what are your hobbies and do they correlate with a gap in the market or an area that you believe you could really add value.

Step 2

If you’re still not sure and can’t think of something that really floats your boat, then look at the available business models as laid out at the beginning of this podcast and in the show notes accompanying this episode.

What business model excites you; blogging, being an influencer, offering a service, selling physical products, building a brand etc. If there’s a model that excites you then you can learn a new skill to adapt to that model.

For example, you could immerse yourself in Facebook Ads and become a FB ads coach.

You could immerse yourself in graphic design and become a graphic designer.

You could immerse yourself in ecommerce and start an online store in a popular niche as I have done.

You could become a podcaster and interview people in a specific niche, build an audience and make money from sponsorship.

The ways to build a business are endless, you just have to decide on something (even if it’s not quite the right thing for you just yet) and go for it.

Have a look at my Make It Happen Monday Episode 84 – What To Do When You Don’t Know What To Do

It’s the story of how I got going even though I wasn’t entirely on the right path at the time. It’s better to be moving and switch lanes than to do nothing and just think about your goals.

Step 3

If by this stage you are still undecided – although I would hope you might have one or two potential ideas by now – focus on who you’d love to serve.

Sometimes deciding on ‘who’ we’d love to attract / impact / serve with our business can help us decide what business to get into.

Foe example perhaps you’d love to inspire Dads who work too hard to manage their time better and focus on their health & families more.

Perhaps you’ve just navigated your way through your kids teenage years and feel you’re well placed to help parents with teenage kids survive the onslaught! (I’m speaking as a Mother of a new 13 year old here)

Maybe you’ve just had a baby and suffered with postpartum depression and would love to help other new Mums cope.

The opportunities are endless my friend, so you have to decide on something and then go for it.

Next week I’m going to run through the 10 Steps to Building Your Lifestyle Freedom Business from the Ground Up which pretty much applies to all of these business models so between now and then jot down some business ideas going through the 3 steps I’ve shared today and then after the next episode you will be able to formulate a plan and the one that gets you the most excited to follow the plan is the winner!


I do hope todays episode has helped.

Thanks for listening and if you get a moment I would so appreciate it if you could rate & review the podcast on iTunes.

Have an amazing week, live life on purpose and of course Make It Happen!

Jo 🙂

Why You’re Never Too Old – Make It Happen Monday Episode 109

Why You’re Never Too Old – Make It Happen Monday Episode 109

Do you ever find yourself thinking that you’re just too old for all the change in the world and that the online world particularly is for the ‘young’uns’ nowadays?

I’m not going to lie, as someone hurtling towards 50, I have my own moments of doubt.

But this morning a beautiful quote popped up on my computer screen & I wanted to share out with you.

Enjoy, I hope it inspires you to take action today!

Watch Episode 109 Here

Listen to Episode 109 Here

Download the Transcript Here

Links Mentioned in the Video

Your Lifestyle Business FB Community

Your Turn

Never leave the scene of learning without taking massive action! What will you start doing today to live the life of your dreams?

Go for it my friend! 😀

Please share with your friends if you think this Make It Happen Monday episode has been useful and of course have an amazing week, live life on purpose and Make It Happen.

Thanks for watching!

How to Deal With Crippling Self Doubt – Make It Happen Monday Episode 108

How to Deal With Crippling Self Doubt – Make It Happen Monday Episode 108

So what do you do if you suffer with crippling self doubt?

So much so, that it’s stopping you in your tracks. Stopping you from getting out there and truly being who you want to be and doing what you want to do?

That was the question in an email I recently received from a member of the YLB Community.

In this weeks episode I’m giving you three tips you can start to practice today to eradicate or at least minimize your self doubt and start taking action on your dreams.

Watch Episode 108 Here

Listen to Episode 108 Here

Download the Transcript Here

Links Mentioned in the Video

Your Lifestyle Business FB Community

Your Turn

Never leave the scene of learning without taking massive action! What action can you take today to start moving forward towards your dreams?

Remember YOU CAN!

Go for it my friend! 😀

Please share with your friends if you think this Make It Happen Monday episode has been useful and of course have an amazing week, live life on purpose and Make It Happen.

Thanks for watching!

How to Generate an Endless Supply of Content Ideas – Make It Happen Monday Episode 107

How to Generate an Endless Supply of Content Ideas – Make It Happen Monday Episode 107

Watch Episode 107 Here

Listen to Episode 107 Here

Links Mentioned in the Video

Your Lifestyle Business FB Community

Episode 105 – How to Create a Super Simple Content Strategy

Are you stuck for content ideas for your service based business?

Perhaps you’re a social media manager, run FB Ads, build websites or manage email marketing and communications for clients like the lovely Helen who asked – ‘do you have any tips on creating content for those of us in a service based business.?’

‘E.g, I do email marketing for small businesses but they don’t want to know about email platforms they want to hand that over (hopefully to me) so what kind of content could I create for them?’

Great question Helen and in todays episode I’m going to give you my top 7 ways to generate an endless supply of content ideas, regardless your business type, niche or target market! 🙂

Without a doubt one of the most important things we need to do as online business owners is to build an audience no matter what business you are in.

Whether you sell services, products, courses, books, sponsorship. I haven’t come across an online business model yet that does not require you to build an audience of some kind.

And the best way to build your audience is through super valuable content.

By valuable I mean either; educational, entertaining, inspiring or solving a problem (or all of the above). Most content falls under one or a mix of those categories.

But how do we keep coming up with valuable content ideas day after day, week after week?

Well my friend you do not have to do it alone!

In this generation of big data, all the inspiration you need is at your fingertips.

Here are my 7 awesome ways to help you generate an endless supply of content ideas no matter your niche or target market!

1. Head to Quora.com

The internets biggest Q & A site, simply type your keyword into the search box and see what questions pop up.

When I typed ‘email marketing’ here’s what came up;

Do you think email marketing is important for your business?
When is the best time of the day to send out e-mails for maximum response rate and visability?
What is a successful cold email marketing strategy?
What is the biggest nonsense in email marketing?
Email Marketing: What are some free alternatives to mailchimp or Aweber?

A constant supply of interesting questions, you can answer via your content, asked by real people!

2. Join Groups

There are so many specific interests groups on FB with people engaging and asking questions everyday.

When I type in ‘email marketing’ to FB and hit ‘groups’, there are communities with anything from a few hundred to tens of thousands of members.

You can bet your bottom dollar there are interesting discussions and questions being asked in some of those that you can use for inspiration.

3. YouTube

An endless supply of content inspiration, type your keyword into the search bar and see what pops up!

Email Marketing Secrets
Email Marketing for Beginners
Best Email Marketing Software

And the list goes on and on.

If you add some more keywords such as ’strategy’ or ‘tips’ you get even more results;

Email Marketing Strategies With Copying
Email Marketing Best Practices & Tips 2019.

So many titles you can tweak and make your own for your blog posts, podcasts, FB Lives etc.

4. Google is Your Friend

Type your keywords in Google and see what comes up.

The term ‘email marketing’ brings up thousands of pages of ideas, instantly showing you what makes the SEO grade also, which is handy.

All you have to do is work out how you can make your content better and tweak then title to make it relevant to your business and your audience.

For example, the top ’non paid for’ result for email marketing is;

‘Email Marketing Made Simple’

So your post might be;

‘Email Marketing Made Simple for Online Coaches’ or
‘Email Marketing Made Simple for Fitness Professionals’

Depending of course on your target market.

5. Make a list of competitor & collaborator blogs / sites

Who do you admire in your niche?

Which site / brand would you most like to emulate (in your own unique style of course)?

Make a list of sites you enjoy visiting and use these as a content source of inspiration when your ideas have run dry.

Don’t ever be a copy cat of someone else, but there’s no harm in getting ideas from the content they’re creating.

Also look at the comments from their community. What questions are they asking? What is it your target market want to know?

6. Listen to Podcasts

Type your search term into Apple Podcasts and you’re guaranteed to find a plethora of podcasts pertaining to your niche.

You only need to subscribe to one good one to generate hundreds of potential ideas. (Although feel free to subscribe to more)

You can look at their titles, or listen to the episodes and create a few ideas per episode depending on the subject matter etc.

7. Use a blog post title generator

By now you should have hundreds of ideas, but if the well has really run dry, then use one of the sites below to help you come up with some super groovy titles.

Just type in your main keywords and let the site do the work for you!



So there you have 7 practical ways for generating content ideas no matter your business type, niche or target market.

By now you should have hundreds of ideas for interesting and valuable content.

You may even be overwhelmed with ideas!

If that’s the case my bonus tip is to create your content ideas in topics clusters.

So for example you may have clusters such as;

Getting started with email marketing (for beginners)
Email marketing platforms (technical info)
Email Marketing strategies, tips, practices
Case Studies / examples

Then group your titles & ideas into the different clusters, to keep you organized and focused.

Lastly now you have your list of content ideas go back and watch ‘Episode 105 – Creating a Super Simple Content Strategy’ to see how to now create an ongoing strategy of creating and publishing your content in order to grow a huge audience of raving fans!

I do hope this weeks episode has been super useful.

I love receiving your questions, so do please let me know if you have anything you’d like me to cover in a future episode in the comments below!

Have an amazing week, Live Life on Purpose and of course – Make It Happen! 😀

Your Turn

Never leave the scene of learning without taking massive action! What can you do today to start generating content ideas for your business?

Just utilise one of these tips today and create a list of 3 blog posts, videos or podcast ideas for your niche / target market. Decide your deadline to create and get cracking!

Go for it my friend! 😀

Please share with your friends if you think this Make It Happen Monday episode has been useful and of course have an amazing week, live life on purpose and Make It Happen.

Thanks for watching!

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