When I started my Online Lifestyle Business back in 2010, I had no idea that’s what I was building.
My partner & I had decided to pack up our lives in the dreary UK, had sold everything we owned, packed 3 suitcases, scooped our 4-year-old daughter under our arm, and set off to house sit for a friend in Cyprus.
With no income and not a lot of savings, we knew we had to start earning fast and it just so happened the friend we were house-sitting for was involved in something called ‘Internet Marketing’.
We wanted to continue travelling and knew this remote-based, location independent business model was our ticket if we could figure out how it all worked.
In the last 10 years, we have travelled and lived in over 30 different countries all the while growing our online lifestyle businesses as we went.
Currently living (and locked down) in Phuket, Thailand, it’s now my mission to share our experiences and help others build their own lifestyle business that gives them the freedom to live and work from anywhere in the world whether that be your kitchen table or a beach in Fiji.
What is a Lifestyle Business?
According to Wikipedia – ‘A lifestyle business is a business set up and run by its founders primarily with the aim of sustaining a particular level of income and no more; or to provide a foundation from which to enjoy a particular lifestyle.’
I’m going to take it a step further;
A lifestyle business is an opportunity for you to turn your passion into profit. To build a location independent business, doing something that you love to do, when you want to do it and from anywhere in the world, whether that be your kitchen table or a beach in Fiji.
A lifestyle business is your chance to become a master of your own destiny and generate a monthly income that funds your ideal lifestyle whatever that is to you.
When I started, I just thought I was making money online. Some 10 years later I now realise I was building a business I love, to fund our lifestyle.
Lifestyle Business vs Startup – The Difference and Which is Best For You
Just to ensure you’re in the right place, I thought now would be a good time to define the difference between a lifestyle business and a startup.
A startup is usually associated with raising capital, starting with an exit plan in mind, building a minimal viable product and long days & late nights, slogging away to build the next ‘unicorn’ to be sold for billions in the corridors of silicon valley.
A Lifestyle Business is about you. This is you deciding how much you need to live your ideal lifestyle every month and then building a business doing something you love to generate that income.
It might be something you build that you intend to sell at a later date, it might not. It might simply be a hobby you’re monetising, or a passion you love to talk about and can make money from, or a problem you solved for yourself that you can now solve for others.
Either way, the key phrase here is ‘Lifestyle’.
The point of a Lifestyle Business is that your lifestyle comes first.
As an example, we just took a family road trip all around Northern Thailand. I hardly worked for the 4 – 5 weeks we were away and that’s because I’ve built my business to work around me, my family and my lifestyle.
Why Start a Lifestyle Business
1. The first and most obvious reason is that you have complete freedom to work from wherever you want in the world.
- If you like to get up at 10, grab a cuppa and work from your bed for the next few hours, you can.
- If you enjoy walking to the local coffee shop and flipping open your laptop while enjoying a latte, you can.
- If you’re a night owl and like to work from your kitchen table while everyone else is asleep, you guessed it, you can.
- Or if like me, you love to travel the world, exploring different countries and cultures, you can work while you’re on a plane, in a bus, at a hotel, or even at the beach!
Hot Tip, get an anti-glare screen protector, it works wonders for seeing what you’re doing on a sunny day.
2. You’re creating something from your passions or interests.
Imagine working on something every day that you really enjoy!
- Perhaps you’re a fitness nut who just loves to talk about Zumba all-day long, record Zumba videos, sell Zumba clothes, promote the Zin program, go to Zumba retreats, etc.
- Maybe you’re passionate about baking and just want to spend all day in your kitchen, baking up beautiful delights for your family and friends and now you can share that with the world while selling baking books, products, courses, you name it!
- You might be just like one of my best friends and spend your days doing challenging jigsaw puzzles. What I’ve learned about how to organise pieces, layout corners and straight lines, collate colours or patterns from my buddy! Who knew so much went into puzzles? Imagine talking about that all day, designing new puzzles, selling themed puzzle boards, uploading photos of completed puzzles.
In today’s world whatever your interest is, as long as there is a market out there interested in the same thing you can turn almost anything into an online lifestyle business!
3. You’re selling to a global marketplace.
And here lies the secret of why building an online business is so powerful. You are reaching the world.
Unlike a physical retail store, an office, or an education centre which can only cater to the immediate surrounding area or however people are prepared to travel to enlist your services or buy your products, you can reach anyone, anywhere, in any time zone, in any country around the world.
While the world was disintegrating into chaos earlier this year due to the Covid pandemic and subsequent economic nosedive, some ex-students, now good friends of mine who run an e-commerce website online had three of their best months ever.
Exacerbated and accelerated by recent events, online transactions have increased and are likely to do so exponentially over the coming years including, shopping online, learning online, building relationships online, and pretty much running your life online.
So now would be a pretty good time to start your lifestyle business to cater to the growing market.
4. You can get started with relatively low upfront investment or even no money down.
You might need a few quid to get your website set up, get some graphics done, etc, but you don’t need to layout lots of $$$ unless you’re manufacturing or purchasing products to sell which I cover in my Amazon FBA guide.
If it’s Amazon or e-commerce that interests you, I have a specific article about each of those models;
In this article, however, we’re going to be talking more about the information marketing and service-based lifestyle business models that you could start today without a penny to your name!
5. You can diversify across multiple models and have several streams of income.
Keith Cunningham is a very successful businessman and educator in his own right. He is also the inspiration behind Robert Kiyosaki’s ‘Rich Dad’ in his book “Rich Dad, Poor Dad‘. He is a super clever guy.
Some years ago I attended a training course of his on how to buy businesses in San Antonio, Texas.
While there he said something on stage which has stuck with me since;
‘You get rich focusing in on one thing, you stay rich diversifying’.
The moral of the story is, focus on your niche and monetisation plan until you’re making enough money to systemise and diversify, then add multiple streams of income.
For example, you may start as a blogger selling affiliate products. Once you reach your ‘ideal monthly lifestyle budget’, (more on this below), if you want to you could now add your own products, courses, ebooks, physical products, services, whatever makes sense to your lifestyle business.
Or not! It’s completely up to you and your lifestyle and monetary goals. But the option and opportunities are there.
It’s Not All Champagne & Roses
It may all sound like champagne and roses but please note there are some downsides also.
Firstly it’s bloody hard graft to get your business set up.
There’s a lot of competition and so you’re going to need to work super hard to stand out or come up with an idea so unique no one else can touch you.
(You do not however, need to hustle 24/7 as some would have you believe unless you’re building a multi-million 8, 9 or 10 figure business, which is not what we’re talking about here.)
It can be lonely. Working on your own in front of a computer all day can really get you down so you need to ensure you have a strong network around you, either family or friends or a solid community online all on the same journey.
The 3 Most Profitable Lifestyle Business Models & Which is Best For You
There are so many ways to build your lifestyle business. To try to go through each and every one would take far more than I could fit into this post, however for ease I have grouped them into three main models.
Pretty much every single lifestyle business type fits into one of these models;
1. Information Marketing
Call it what you like;
Information Marketing, Digital Marketing, Internet Marketing, Info Products.
So many names for what is essentially you generating an income by delivering information by way of digital products that generally solve a problem in the market place.
As James from Digital Prosperity puts it;
Information marketing is the process of creating, promoting and selling digital products which help to solve a common problem within a specific niche or “topic”. These products are often created in the form of e-books, video training courses, software, live coaching programs, audio interviews and more.
Wikipedia says that Digital Marketing is; –
Digital marketing is the component of marketing that utilizes internet and online based digital technologies such as desktop computers, mobile phones and other digital media and platforms to promote products and services.
And Webopedia says that Internet Marketing is; –
Internet marketing, or online marketing, refers to advertising and marketing efforts that use the Web and email to drive direct sales via electronic commerce, in addition to sales leads from websites or emails.
2. A Service-Based Business
A service-based business is a business which offers ‘services’ rather than ‘products’ to clients.
You’re essentially utilizing your skills or the skills of others to help entrepreneurs, businesses and companies achieve tasks in their business they don’t have the time or the in house skillset to do.
- Web development
- Graphic design
- Social Media Manager
- Facebook Ads Specialist
- VA Services
- Music Teacher
- Language Teacher
- Podcast Producer
- Booking Agent
- Technical Support
- Voice Over Talent
- Coach (some cross over with Info Marketing also)
3. An Ecommerce Business
Ecommerce can literally be used to describe any kind of business transaction online.
E-commerce (electronic commerce) is the activity of electronically buying or selling of products on online services or over the Internet. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E-commerce
So technically every single post I write on this blog about starting a lifestyle business could be lumped under the ‘e-commerce’ banner, but for the sake of clarifying the models, I am specifically talking about the sale of physical products vs digital products or services.
This might be on Amazon, via your own online store, Print on Demand, dropshipping, etc. If ecom is your jam then read my full guide on starting and growing an ecommerce business.
For the purpose of this article, we’re going to focusing on No’s 1 & 2, Info Marketing and Services.
But before we get into the nitty-gritty of starting your lifestyle business, you need to decide what kind of lifestyle entrepreneur you are and which model suits your personality the best.
What Kind of Lifestyle Entrepreneur Are You?
Your natural personality plays a large part in the lifestyle business you choose.
If you’re an outgoing creative extrovert happy to be the life and soul then you will approach an online business very differently from someone who wants to remain anonymous let’s say and is more analytical and data-driven.
Let’s break it down.
What Kind of Information Marketer Are You?
Broadly speaking there are two main types of Information Marketers;
1. Public Figure
This is the person who’s happy to be the face of the brand.
They might have named their brand after themselves or you’ll see their face plastered over everything they do on their site, on social media etc.
Case in point, moi!
My brand name is ‘Your Lifestyle Business’ but it’s clear I’m the face of the brand.
Here are some more examples;
2. Person behind the brand
This is the person or more likely team who’s built a brand that’s more about the brand than the person, albeit they probably become quite well known as the creator of the brand without spending a ton of time promoting themselves.
Quick Quiz – Who are the famous faces behind each of the above brands? Come and comment in the group!
So it is quite possible to build a huge brand without actually being the face of that brand if that’s what you’re more comfortable with.
The Different Models of Info Marketing
There are quite a few different models of Information Marketing and lots of cross over between the different paths, but for the sake of simplicity I’ve split it into 4 main areas;
- Educator – Courses – Videos, PDF’s, Audio etc
- Author – Books
- Affiliate Marketer – Recommends other people’s products
- Influencer – Sponsorship, ads, speaking etc
So let’s break it down a bit and give a little clarity.
In this model, your goal is to teach your audience how to do something.
- How to tend their garden
- How to make jewelry
- How to Train their pets
- How to get fit or lose weight
- How to build a business
Hence why people in this space are regularly called the ‘How to’ or ‘Go to’ person for a specific niche.
Your products will likely be video courses, ebooks, PDF’s, audio courses, interviews, group coaching programs etc.
Amy Porterfield is the ‘go to’ person if you want to know how to build a list, create online courses and promote yourself via webinars.
Dana Malstaff has quickly become the ‘go-to’ person if you want to know how to grow your FB Groups (and also build a business while raising a child!)
Emil is the ‘go-to’ person for learning how to become an expert photographer using only your iPhone.
Marie Forleo for many years has been known for inspiring you to build a business & life that you love.
Author absolutely could come under the educator banner also, and absolutely does! Both Marie Forleo & Dana Malstaff are also published authors.
But I wanted to talk about it separately as it is an income stream in its own right;
Mark Manson has fast become one of the most popular authors of the last decade with his fresh perspective on personal development. He started his career as a dating blog which over time morphed into his humorous and what he calls negative self-help.
His blog gets over 1.5 million hits a month.
Steve Scott is an author who has written and published 42 books on the kindle platform earning him an average monthly income of around $45k / month. His entire focus has been on writing and publishing books on the Kindle platform in the genre of small business & marketing.
Joanna Penn writes both fiction & non fiction and is also a New York Times bestseller with her fiction writing. As part of her success as a writer she wanted to share her journey and so also runs her educational blog alongside her writing career.
So if you’re a fiction writer and wondering if that falls under the banner of Info Marketing. I’d put it more into the entertainment bucket, but you still have to follow a similar path to grow a brand to sell your books, so why not!
This model is about selling other people’s products and collecting a commission.
What I love about this model is that it’s a win-win. You can both network with a like-minded entrepreneur by promoting their product and provide huge value to your audience by bringing them the best of the best.
This works particularly well if you’re in an over-saturated niche which lots of products on offer. You become the curator of the best and both serve your audience while making great connections.
Here’s s brilliant video from the best in the business when it comes to affiliate marketing;
So this is a relatively new model, although previously influencers were referred to as ‘guru’s’, ‘industry experts’ & ’thought leaders’, but didn’t seem to have the clout the influencers of today have.
Methods of income include;
- Sponsorship / Brand endorsement
- Speaking Opportunities
Please note, you do not have to have 166million followers or take photos of yourself in your underwear to be an influencer, although from what I can see on IG, the underwear part certainly helps! 😂
Adding Streams of Income
Any public figure who commands the attention of an audience is an ‘influencer’ by definition and therefore you could also sell;
- Video courses, ebooks, audio courses
- Other people’s products & brands
- Your own experiences by way of speaking engagements
And you could take it a step further and bring ecommerce into the mix selling your own line of products.
Some great examples of this include;
Rachel Hollis is an entrepreneur, an author, a speaker and everything in between. Her Start Today journal is one of many physical products she sells along with live events, books, programs and more.
Kaelin Tuell Poulin is a weight loss expert, an author, a speaker, and an inspiration. Her LadyBoss store sells programs, products, supplements and all sorts.
Jenna Kutcher is a photographer, influencer, marketer, podcaster etc. She sells programs, presets, sponsorship, physical products and more.
You don’t need to box yourself into a corner here. The world is your oyster when it comes to what you can expand into, just don’t try to take them all on at once.
What Kind of Service Based Business Entrepreneur are You?
There are a multitude of service-based businesses you can start as you can see from my post – 48 Online Service Based Business Ideas, but to make it simpler I’ve grouped them into 4 main groups;
- Starting a Digital Marketing Agency
- Starting a SAAS Business (software as a service)
Freelancing is probably the most flexible of them all and you could literally get started in the next hour. In fact, freelancing is one of the fastest ways to get your lifestyle business off the ground.
Typically you will have a specific skill – writing, graphic design, customer service, social media etc.
You’ll then pitch yourself to businesses who are looking for that specific service. You might work for them on a one-off project or more long term, but generally, you choose when to work and agree measurable & deadlines etc with each client individually.
This post goes into great detail on how to start your freelance journey, but some of the best places to get started are;
If you have a lot of experience in a particular niche or huge empathy and your goal in life is to help people reach their true potential, then coaching might be for you.
Building a lifestyle business as a coach is very similar to building an information marketing business, as essentially you’re selling the experience and information in your head, but you’re doing so in a one to one or one to many setting.
This post walks you step by step through how to grow your coaching business, but here are some of the heavyweights in the coaching world;
Starting an Agency
Perhaps your skill sets are more wide-ranging or you can see a need in the market that as a natural entrepreneur you’d like to fill.
Starting an agency means you’re thinking a little bigger than just doing the odd web development job for companies as and when they come up.
You want to offer a range of services to cater to businesses needs and employ people with the relevant skillsets to help you meet those needs.
In this post, I go through what you’ll need to do to start and grow your agency, but for now here are some great examples of agency models;
Starting a SAAS Business
Not for the faint-hearted, perhaps you’re a skilled developer or have a more technical brain than the rest of us, starting a software as a service lifestyle business can be very lucrative.
It can also be a huge time & money suck (as I discovered when attempting to go down this route a few years back).
It’s amazing how fast money can disappear beneath pages of code!
In this post we look at the nitty gritty of starting your own SAAS business but for now here’s some great examples of SAAS based businesses online today;
By now you may have an idea of the kind of online lifestyle business you’d like to start so how do you get going?
8 Steps to Starting Your Lifestyle Business
- Choose Your Niche! Always remember the internet is simply a tool for you to reach and offer your products and services across the globe. ‘Starting an online business’ is not a business, it’s a business model. You have to decide what niche your lifestyle business is in, so start here.
- Know Your Life & Business Goals. If you read my story you’ll see that it took me years to discover my perfect business and we’ll certainly talk more about this in this section, but having clear life goals alongside your business goals will ensure you’re moving in the right direction.
- Identify Your Ideal Market. Once you know your niche you have to decide who your ideal customer is. It’s impossible to be all things to all people so it’s important to narrow down as much as possible. Once you have a clear idea of your ideal target market it helps with communications, content marketing, branding, pretty much every area of your business.
- Define & Create Your Brand Ideal. Branding isn’t just colours and logos, it’s your message, it’s what you stand for. This is most definitely a ‘secret sauce’ to many brands success. Get this right from the outset and you can’t fail to stand out from the crowd!
- Plan For Profit. It’s all good and well turning a hobby into a business but what are you going to sell? How will you monetise your lifestyle business? What will your market need and how can you serve them best? The goal is to turn your passion into profit!
- Build & Grow Your Audience. Which platform will be your main hub? What content will you deliver? How will you generate leads? How will you stand out from the crowd? How can you add massive value?
- Develop Your Business Model. What business model will you choose? How will you build it? How will you sell it?
- Scale & Diversify. Who do you need to hire to help you scale your business? What needs to be systemised and made more efficient to maximize profits? Where can you begin to diversify and increase your streams of income?
A lot right? Fantastic! That’s why I’ve created this guide, to take you through each of those phases step by step. With that being said, let’s get started!
1. Choose Your Lifestyle Business Niche
No matter what business model you choose to explore it’s super important to know what business you are actually in.
For example, you might be thinking ‘I want to start blogging’ or ‘I want to be an affiliate marketer’, or ‘I’d love to be a life coach’ or ‘a writer’.
But what does that actually look like?
What niche are you in? How will you best serve your potential market? How will you monetise?
When I started I was already an entrepreneur in the offline space and I knew I wanted to help small business owners build an online business but I had no experience in building an online business myself, so in the early days I focused on Facebook fan pages.
I immersed myself in how to use Facebook fan pages to generate leads for a small online business.
I quickly became an expert in all things Facebook and became the go-to for Facebook marketing for online businesses for a while. (I also unwittingly started a small software business which nearly sank me, you can read about that in my post – How to Start a SAAS Business.)
I had attracted an audience of small online business owners via going niche on one element of their business and learning everything I could about that niche.
I was then able to gradually expand to all social media, then to marketing as a whole to today where I can confidently teach and demonstrate how to build a lifestyle business online because it’s exactly what I do and have done for the last 10 years.
So let’s unpack that and do an exercise I hope will help.
1. What type of information marketing or service-based lifestyle business attracts you the most;
- Affiliate Marketer
I’m not saying you can’t diversify and have some multiple streams of income in the future, (in fact I actively encourage it as you’ll read later in this post, but having a starting point would be a good thing.
For example, if you love to educate, via big posts, podcasts, videos, whatever your medium of choice will be (we’ll get to that), then educator is definitely for you, but you may choose to educate for free and monetize via affiliate offers.
You may want to start as an educator and then become an author, or start as an author and add an education side to your business.
You might start as a freelancer, build your skills and income and turn that into an agency or a coaching business or your own educational website.
You might become an author, an educator and an affiliate marketer and then down the line grow into an influencer.
Or you might start out with influencer in mind and your whole focus will be on growing your audience to attract sponsorship deals.
I couldn’t find an appropriate ‘mind completely blown‘ meme for this part of the post, but your challenge will never be lack of opportunity. Rather too much choice.
We will dig much deeper into your profit plan below, but for now, just keep in mind which models attract you the most as we delve deeper into your potential biz opportunity.
2. Make a list of all your interests, things you love to do, talk about and things you’re good at.
Some examples might include;
- I love tinkering with websites & anything technical,
- I love photography,
- I love home decor,
- I spend all day discussing the future of AI & technology,
- I love travel & Instagram,
- I’m a keen gardener and enjoy helping my neighbors with their gardens.
- I love baking.
- I’m a natural-born coach and love to help people feel great about themselves,
- I‘m a fitness fanatic and love talking about nutrition
- I love writing
- I love marketing
- I love business
What are the lifestyle business opportunities you can pursue from your interests?
Here are some examples;
Primarily an education site on all things WordPress, they’re affiliate marketers and a SAAS company, monetising via affiliate offers on their site and selling plugins they build.
Here Emil brings his love of photography alive through his educational website and monetises primarily through his courses.
These ladies bring their love of home decor, photography and lifestyle together into an inspiring website which started as a blog. They monetise via Adsense (yuk), advertising, sponsorship, courses, books, their own Airbnb properties and I’m sure numerous other ways off of the site such as speaking opportunities, partnerships etc.
Matt took his love of travel (particularly on a budget) and turned it into an informational blog monetising via guide books, print books, courses, affiliate income & revenue from adsense.
Here this lady has turned her love of gardening into over a million views a year! She monetises via the Amazon Associates affiliate program, consulting, some guest posting and a book.
Brooke Castillo is a force to be reckoned with. She started as a weight loss coach and over time has grown her own online life coaching school & certification program generating 8 figures a year.
Jeff Goins has taken his love of writing and turned it into an educational writing blog for writers, monetising via his books, courses and affiliate sales.
Jason Fladlien started as a freelancer, ghostwriting and copywriting for other businesses. He then took his skills and began monetising ebooks, started to create courses, plugins, membership software, a coaching program, became a master of webinars and now runs multiple Amazon businesses. He’s pretty much done it all!
Gary Vaynerchuk as we all know ran a wine company with his Dad, then following the success of Wine Library TV, went on to grow VaynerMedia, a digital marketing agency, with his brother and over time has become a heavyweight influencer.
3. What audience do you want to attract?
This is hugely important as knowing the type of people you’d like to work with, serve, add value to can help immensely with getting clarity on which niche you should pursue.
We’ll hone in on your ‘who’ in greater detail below, but for now, think of who collectively.
For example, I knew I wanted to attract small online business owners or people who wanted to build online businesses.
I could have talked about how to use Facebook pages to grow your hairdressers, or accountants practice or your restaurant.
But I talked specifically about how to generate leads using FB pages to your online business.
So ask yourself what audience do you want to attract?
Men over 40 looking to improve their fitness
Coaches & consultants
Creatives or artists
Small offline businesses
Women in business
Once you know who you want to attract you can start to look at where their challenges & problems are and where you can help or meet a need.
4. Where do you want to be and where are you now?
Focus in on your strengths, skills & interests.
- What have you done, that you have a wealth of experience with that you can now help others in that space?
- What interests you to the extent you’re willing to immerse yourself in and learn everything about?
- What current niche could you hone in on that would attract the audience you want to expand into?
In my example, I had no Facebook skills (in fact if truth be told I wasn’t a big Facebook fan), but I had learned how to generate leads via a mentorship program I had attended and I was great at taking the complex and breaking it down into simple steps on video.
I immersed myself in FB and learned everything there was to know so I could teach others the same. This was a pattern throughout my online journey to be honest, so don’t let the fact that you’re not yet an expert in your given subject be a barrier to getting started.
As long as you’re willing to do the work and learn everything you can, there’s no reason you can’t teach as you learn.
5. Are you your own target market?
In other words, is there something you’re struggling with that you feel others are in the same position and you feel you have the solution?
Think ‘Joy’ here. Have you seen the movie with Jennifer Lawrence in which she portrays Joy Mangano who frustrated with her conventional mop, designs a new self-wringing mop and goes on to build a multi-million dollar empire?
According to Wikipedia;
“Mangano holds more than 100 patents for her inventions. “I think my products have been successful because they have mass appeal,” she has said. “I’m just like everybody else out there. I’m a mom, I work, I have a house to clean, things to organize. We all have similar needs, and I address them.”
What’s missing in your world that you wish there was a solution for and you’re sure others feel the same?
6. Can you do it better?
Perhaps you’ve spotted something already in the market that you just know you could do better a job of.
Maybe you’re frustrated by the service, the product, the operations, whatever it is you’re constantly saying to your spouse or friends, ‘if only I ran that business, here’s how I would do it!‘
Well here’s your chance!
7. Pick One Thing!
I can’t remember the number of times I’ve said this over the years. In fact, I’ve said it so often my old tech manager Neil (God Rest his soul), recorded a cartoon style audio of my voice speeded up shouting ‘Pick one niche’!
Unless you have unlimited energy and resources if you try to catch more than one rabbit you’ll lose them all, so pick one thing.
You can do anything my friend but you can’t do everything, so pick the one path that excites you the most, put your other ideas into a little black book and commit to making your idea a reality, even through the tough times!
8. Get uber clear on what your lifestyle business is.
As you go through this post the goal is to define your market, your brand and the money path. The idea is that you come out the end with a very specific and clear description of who you are, who you’re for and what you do.
Spend some time here.
This is an area that trips people up. They pick something that doesn’t suit who they are or what they’re trying to achieve or it just looks good or easy or something someone told them to do.
Every single business you start is hard work. Some models may be simpler than others (which of course is subjective), but there is not one single business model that is easy money.
Start off on the right foot by picking a business and niche you are passionate about and that you won’t give up on when the going gets tough, which it will!
2. Know Your Life & Business Goals
To avoid packing up at the first sign of adversity, it’s imperative you get super clear on what you’re trying to achieve.
Saying ‘I want to make money’, or even ‘I want to make enough money to travel the world or look after my ageing parents’ is not specific enough and certainly doesn’t fill you with the passion and grit needed to start and run any type of business.
You may still not be entirely clear on what lifestyle business it is you want to start and delving deeper into your wants and needs as a person may help you with that and give some clarity.
If you are totally clear on exactly what you want, when you want it and how you’re going to get it, feel free to skip this part, but if your future is still a bit hazy and you know you want to make big changes and create something amazing but you haven’t really thought through precisely what you’re looking for or how it’s all going to play out logistically, then please read on.
I want you to imagine you’re going on an exploratory road trip. You have a rough idea of which direction you’re headed, but you have no idea how you’re going to get there and you have no real deadline for ending your trip. You’ll just see where the wind takes you!
Your bags are packed, you’ve said your goodbyes and the car engine is humming outside.
With your trusty roadmap and GPS, you set off on your adventure, not really knowing where you’re going or where you’ll end up. EXCITING!!!
(Pretty much sounds like my idea of heaven by the way).
Or not. Perhaps it’s not exciting at all. In fact, it’s more likely to be terrifying and you may find yourself returning home within an hour because you just have absolutely no idea where you’re going or what you’re doing.
Now imagine you’re going on the same road trip, but this time you know the exact location of your final destination and you know what day you want to be there by.
You’ll still see plenty of sites on route, but now you have a very fixed direction and time scale.
Instead of just drifting and waxing and waning, taking your own sweet time and letting fate play a role in your destiny, you have an organised clear plan of where you need to go each day, how long you can spend there and when you need to be on the road again to meet your deadline.
(Meet my husband!)
Well, it’s the same way in your business.
If you don’t have a clear picture of what you want your life and your business to look like in say 1 / 3 / 5 years from now, how can you ever really know where you’re going?
You’ll drift. You’ll wax and wane. You’ll jump from one opportunity to another and you’ll feel like you’re on the road to nowhere.
‘How can you determine your direction, if you don’t know your destination?’
A recent customer survey told me that the main things holding people back from going for their dreams were a lack of focus, clarity & direction. Many just don’t know where to start!
I know this may sound kooky, but you have to start with the end in mind.
If you’re currently in the land of overwhelm, procrastination, lack of purpose & frustration, it’s probably because you don’t really know where you want to go or where you want to end up.
If on the other hand, you’d like to wake up every morning knowing exactly what you need to do and with true PURPOSE. Feeling excited and motivated & determined to get the absolute best out of the day ahead because you KNOW it’s going to take you closer to your goals; then you must create a crystal clear vision of where you want to be in a determined time frame.
So how do you do it?
A caveat – What I am about to describe may possibly sound a little bit woo woo, a bit fluffy, and you might be chomping at the bit to get going, which is why I suggest spending no more than a day doing the following steps.
But I can’t tell you how effective this actually is if done properly, made visible and regularly reviewed! (That’s the secret).
Find an inspiring space to sit with a pen & paper or your computer with the wifi turned off and all browsers closed. Turn your phone off also.
If you’re serious about building your ideal lifestyle business, then take the time to do this and don’t allow yourself to be distracted.
Before we wind the clocks forward, if you really have no idea what business to start, start by asking yourself;
What do you love to do?
What do you love to talk about?
What captures your interest on a daily basis?
What do you daydream about?
What did you dream about when you were younger that you’ve perhaps closed a door on because you never thought it was possible?
What’s a skill you’ve always wanted to learn?
What frustrates you in your daily life that you wish there was a solution for?
What have you done in your career that you’d like to develop on your own terms?
What problems do you see friends, family, colleagues having that require a solution?
What hobbies do you have that could be turned into a business?
Try not to overthink it.
The goal here is to build a lifestyle business doing something you enjoy!
So once you have some ideas, now give some thought to your personality traits;
Are you an outgoing face of the business type of person?
Are you more introverted and would rather stay behind the scenes?
Are you more of a creative and love to create content or graphics or design?
Do you love to write, speak, make videos?
Do you love numbers and logic and measuring results?
Do you enjoy being given clear directions and creating awesome work for others?
Do you enjoy total autonomy and working on your own?
Being aware of your strengths and the type of person you are will help you to determine which business type you’d like to pursue.
For example, numbers, logic and measuring results lends itself to an ecommerce business or running an Ads agency perhaps.
An extroverted outgoing personality lends itself to an influencer style business model. A creative lends itself to a service-based model, etc.
If you still have absolutely no clue what you want to do, that’s ok, but you need to do something.
It’s taken me years to get super clear on my ultimate outcome, but I’d never have achieved that clarity if I hadn’t taken the action I’ve taken over the last 10 years.
Check out my Make It Happen Monday Episode – Episode 84 – What to do when you don’t know what to do
Also, have a listen to a podcast I recorded in response to a lady called Sarah who emailed me to ask this exact question ‘What business should I start?’ – Episode 36 – What Business Should I Start?
So armed with a semblance of what lifestyle business you’d like to start & grow, imagine you have fast-forwarded by precisely 12 months. It’s whatever date it is today 1 year from now.
In your ideal scenario having just spent 12 months building your business;
Where are you?
Who are you with?
What are you doing?
What are you reflecting on?
How did your year go?
What are you proud of?
What did you learn?
What did you achieve?
What breakthroughs did you have?
How has your life changed?
How has building your lifestyle business over the last year impacted your life?
What are you looking forward to in the next year?
Be specific! Really place yourself there and imagine everything as if it’s already happened through the year.
Don’t just say “I grew my blog”, say, “I now have 50,000 visits a month to my blog“.
Don’t just say “I finally started to make money” say “I’m generating $3000 a month in my business“.
The more granular you can get and really see it in your mind, the more excited your vision will make you and the more emotion you can attach to the outcome, the more likely you’ll do what it takes to get there!
Here’s how I started mine for the year ending 2020 (written pre-Covid by the way);
It’s 5am on 31st December 2020. I’m 48 years old and I’m sitting at the desk of my plush room at the Bellagio in Vegas.
Rhett & Cerys are asleep.
Shortly Rhett & I will go out for a big walk up and down the strip and stop for tea at Starbucks up near Trump Towers.
Tonight we will celebrate NYE along the strip with all the other revellers. Apparently it’s car-free, there are fireworks everywhere and it’s going to be amazing!
I then go on to talk about how the year went, what I was proud of, what happened in our life, what happened in my business, where my business is now, how many are in my FB community, on my email list, visits to my blog etc.
It’s very detailed.
So get down and deep my friend, no-one else has to see it, this is just for you, so dream as big as you want to, but really feel, as you’re dreaming and writing, how you might feel if you had truly achieved what you’re writing down.
Now write out why.
Why is this vision important to you?
What will it mean to you if you achieve your goals or are at least on route to achieving them?
What happens in your life if you have actually started this journey, created momentum and are loving it!!!?
When I read my why statement it brings tears to my eyes. As with your vision, the more emotive you can make this, the stronger your motivation will be!
By having a clear vision and a clear reason why, on the days you struggle, and there will be days like that, many of them, you won’t spend hours wondering why you started down this darn path in the first place.
You won’t start second-guessing yourself, or asking yourself if you took the right direction.
You’ll just read your vision and your why and you’ll know you’re doing the right thing, it’s just self doubt and fear seeping in, which you can whack over the head with your why statement and tell them to bugger off! 😁
Turn your vision and your why into pictures, posters, inspirational messages, however, you feel is the best way to make it visual so that you look at it every day!
You may want to keep it just to yourself, I get that, so write it out into your Evernote or notes app and have it handy to open every morning and read when you wake.
Or you may be doing this as a couple or a family and want to make it big and bold so create a picture wall as myself and my daughter did one year.
Print out pictures that represent your dreams and stick them on the wall.
Keep it simple, do it fast, don’t let it drag out for days never getting round to it. Just get your dream and goals visual so you can remind yourself every single day where you’re going and feel that excitement!
Read them every day! This is so important. Remind yourself every single day where you’re going and why you’re going there.
The brain is a super-powerful machine and I have no idea how it works, all I know is that if you fuel it with the right messages every single day it has an uncanny ability to support you in your mission!
Ok let’s get specific about your business. Shortly we’re going to delving into your niche in great detail, but for now I’d like you to take some time to think about the purpose of your business.
What is the purpose of your lifestyle business?
What is the absolute biggest thing you want to achieve with your business and I urge you to look outside of yourself for this answer.
Richard Branson once said “I can honestly say that I have never gone into any business purely to make money. If that is the sole motive, then I believe you are better off not doing it.”
Walt Disney’s purpose was to “Make People Happy”.
Steve Jobs purpose was to “Make innovative, robust and beautiful products that delighted customers”
My purpose is to “Help lifestyle entrepreneurs achieve total physical & financial freedom.”
What’s Your Purpose?
Take time out to think about your core values, (in other words what do you stand for), that will stand the test of time, no matter what happens to the market!
These are the underlying principles of your business that will remain forever unchanging and will speak to your market over and above any product campaigns or promotions you do.
Here’s a screenshot of Gary Vee’s I took a while back;
My core values include;
Grab life by the balls (energy & passion)
Make your own rules
Live for now
Pretty much everything I talk about includes one or more of those values and I try to live my life by those same values every single day.
What are your core personal and business values?
Write down your BHAG! (Big Hairy Audacious Goal!)
What is your ‘absolutely out there, HUMONGOUS goal or goals’ for your business and life!
What makes you really excited but also scares the beejeebies out of you at the same time!!!
Personal confession, as I write this post, just yesterday I had a tearful moment with my partner over my morning cuppa because I’m so scared by my goals I had a moment of huge self-doubt!
But remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day so what may scare you today, a year from now with progress, momentum, some new skills, new connections etc., may not seem so scary.
By all means, frighten the life out of yourself but then remember to focus on the process, not the end goal or you’ll never do anything!
But you know what to do with your BHAG right?
Yep, put it somewhere you can see it or catch sight of it every day so you can remind yourself where you’re going.
Lastly at the end of a productive, emotional and exciting day, allow yourself to push aside the fear, the knowledge of how hard you will have to work to make this a reality and the fact that you are probably about to push yourself so far outside of your comfort zone you will never return, let your mind wander into dream mode and Get Excited!!!
You’re about to embark on a journey which can give you ultimate freedom in life.
The freedom to work from anywhere in the world, whether that be your kitchen table or a beach in Fiji.
The freedom to do what you love to do every single day.
The freedom to have an impact and make a difference to your friends, your family & to the greater good.
The freedom of choice! You choose when you work; who you work with; how hard you work; whether you work in PJ’s, a bikini or a suit is entirely up to you and you alone. You will have more passion and energy than ever before because this is your dream, your goal and you are the master of your own destiny.
Have fun my friend and let’s make it happen!
3. Identify Your Target Market
I’m going to be super honest with you here, this is one of the toughest parts of starting and building a business.
Us humans are programmed with some kind of deep-seated FOMO (fear of missing out) in many walks of life, particularly us girls!
So nine times out of ten the market we target is way too broad.
We worry that by niching down we will alienate or miss out on other potential people who may also like our product or service.
The challenge with going too broad with our target market is that we simply cannot please all of the people all of the time and you will spend an awful lot of money trying to find out who your actual buyers are.
However, you also don’t want to be so niched that the potential market size isn’t big enough for you to make any money!
So we need to find a balance between say, ‘women over 20’ and ’25 year old college leavers, with black hair, brown eyes who studied microbiology.’
I’m clearly being facetious but you get my meaning, right?
You must also always bear in mind, the marketplace is extremely competitive in many niches these days and so the more you can define and own your niche and try to completely monopolize that market segment, the faster you can expand and diversify as you grow.
I’m not saying that eventually, you can’t target multiple market segments but to give yourself a fighting a chance when you get started, get defined.
You’ll also find, the clearer you are about who you’re talking too the easier it will be for you to create a brand that resonates with that person.
Your communication will be on point, you’ll be speaking directly to them and you’ll know the kind of posts to publish on social media, the kind of articles to write or ads to create because you’ll have such a clear idea about who it is you’re talking to.
Believe me, this exercise will save you hours of blank screen syndrome and frustration!
Here’s an example of an avatar I did for my business;
Kate is 48 years old, from the Midwest with two children aged 16 & 19. The 19 year old has left home and is at college.
Kate is a respected Office Manager on a decent wage but as the kids have grown she has a hankering for building her own business. She’s been tinkering with a blog and a social media account for the last couple of years and has even built an email list of around 500 people, but she’s a bit lost and not sure what to do or where to go next.
Secretly she’s pretty darn good at making jewellery and is always selling pieces to her friends. She lays awake at night wondering if she could turn that into a business and how it could become something that has a positive impact while being profitable.
Kate’s not ready to disappear into the obscurity of middle age but fearful of a lack of both time & energy to put into a new venture.
Kate would love to start travelling with her husband in the next few years and therefore wants to get something off the ground she can do on the move and also so they can travel in relative style. (She can totally see herself backpacking across India, as long as the hotels have spas & air-conditioning).
Plus she wonders if travelling might help her with her dream of finding beautiful jewellery pieces to add to her collection while helping people in developing countries at the same time.
Kate wouldn’t call herself a domestic goddess but likes to look after herself & her family with good nutrition and a healthy lifestyle.
Kate loves to read (both fiction & non-fiction), is a museum-goer, enjoys yoga (although would love to be better at it), likes to learn and stretch herself and catch up with the girls for Friday night wines.
She’s actively involved in charitable affairs and helped out at the school garage sales & discos when the kids were younger. She has ambitions to have an impact in the world but has some secret fears that she’s passed it and perhaps left it a bit too late to start again.
With an eclectic taste in music spanning from Fleetwood Mac to 80’s disco to Bruno Mars, she knows she is responsible for her outcomes and is an action taker at heart.
She loves Oprah Winfrey, Michelle Obama, Brene Brown, Bridget Jones Diary and believes strongly in female empowerment.
She worries about her spreading waistline, competing with youngsters online, her ageing parents and her almost grown-up kids. But after years of looking after others, it’s her time and she wants complete financial independence & freedom while investing her time in something she’s passionate about, that could potentially have a positive impact & allows her to travel.
Imagine I’m sitting down to create some content and I really have no idea who my target market is. I have no idea who I’m creating content for and therefore cannot hone my message.
Imagine again I sit down with Kate.
Do you think it’s much easier for me to address her fears, her dreams, her apprehension, her lifestyle?
To be sure it is!
Also how many Kate’s do you think there might be in the world? Women who have reached middle age, kids growing or grown-up. Time for a new opportunity, chasing a passion project etc. Yes! Lots. A solid potential market size.
Can you build a business without a customer avatar? 100%. I have done it a couple of times over. However, it will take more time and money as you kind of throw things at the wall to see which one will stick.
Creating your own avatar will ensure straight out of the gate you know exactly what your message is and who you’re talking too.
So let’s get started.
Creating Your Customer Avatar
Based on your values and business ideas which you formulated above, start to think about your ideal customer, the person you would love to serve, the kind of person you’d have no hesitation getting on a call with to talk to about your products.
Now imagine you’re sitting in Starbucks or your favourite coffee house with this person describing your products to them.
Remember this is your person. You make their life up for them.
Who are they?
What’s their name, age, marital status etc?
Do they have kids?
What’s their family situation?
Where are they from?
What do they do?
What’s their job?
What’s their financial situation?
What are their hobbies, activities?
What do they dream about, what are they scared of?
What keeps them up at night, what gets them excited?
What music do they like?
What movies or books are they into?
What do they secretly worry about?
What’s one of their core values?
What motivates them?
Get specific here, the more you can intimately know this person, the greater your level of communication and ability to resonate with the right people.
Please don’t worry that you’re going to be alienating people when you focus in.
It’s the clarity that’s key here.
The clearer you are, the easier it will be for you to take action. The more action you take the more people you will attract.
Just because I’m targeting Kate does not mean that I will not attract older people, some younger, men, Ozzies, Brits etc. So many people will resonate with Kate & her fears & desires and my messages will be that much clearer.
So get as detailed as you can.
Digital Marketer have a great ‘Customer Avatar’ Worksheet to help you go through this task methodically.
Then when you’re ready, print off a pic from google of what the person looks like in your mind.
Then next time you sit down to create content, or source a product or create an ad on Facebook, you can imagine you are sitting across from the very person you’re creating it for.
This exercise will help you immensely so do please take the time to do this and put it somewhere you can look at when you need to.
4. Create & Align With Your Lifestyle Business Brand Ideal
“Your brand is what other people say about you when you’re not in the room.” – Jeff Bezos
It’s easy to get caught up in the wrong elements of your brand at the start. So much so that you spend weeks on creating the best name, determining the right colours, logo, images etc.
Don’t get me wrong how your brand looks is important. How people see you, perceive you and feel around your business and brand determines whether they carry on and do business with you.
However, the fonts logos colours etc are nowhere near as important at the start of your journey as you just getting started producing and providing awesome value.
If it’s a choice between spending 3 months creating the perfect look & feel or 3 months writing a blog post a day on a clean, basic WordPress theme and getting your message out there, definitely choose the latter.
1. Start with your brand ideal.
Your brand ideal is the higher purpose of your brand. It’s your inspirational reason for being.
See Simon Sinek talking about the ‘why’ of your business here.
As he says;
“The goal is not to do business with people who need what you have, but to do business with people who believe what you believe.”
Have you noticed how big brands like RedBull, Dove, Nike actually rarely talk about their products. That’s because they have a higher ideal, a bigger purpose and attract their audience via that purpose.
What I love about this strategy is that it doesn’t just help formulate your messaging and eventually your logos and colours, it guides you as to the type of content you should be publishing across the web.
My brand is all about lifestyle, freedom, travel and independence. So the bulk of my content represents the same.
How to come up with your brand ideal?
Ask yourself the following questions;
- What do you stand for? What are your values?
- How can your brand improve your target markets life?
- What are 5 emotions you want people to feel when they come across your brand?
- What’s the deeper reason for people wanting to use your products and services?
- How can you now translate that into your brand message and the content you create & publish?
Also watch the replay of the Facebook live I did all about the power of your brand ideal.
2. Consider your target audience
By now you should have defined your ideal customer avatar. Armed with that knowledge how does that translate to your branding?
For example, are you hoping to attract women, retirees, men over 40, college graduates, creatives, etc.
- Who is my target market?
- What are the brands they currently follow?
- What are they drawn to or attracted by?
- What inspiration can I glean from other brands
3. What is your mission?
Different from your ideal, this is what you want to achieve with your business. For example, my brand ideal is to help people achieve total freedom.
My mission is to help action takers build a lifestyle business they can run from anywhere in the world.
My belief is that in starting a business doing something you love and that funds your ideal lifestyle leads to ultimate freedom, which is my brand ideal. See the loop?
Your mission is the transformational effect your business will have on your customers.
Here’s some examples of mission statements.
Don’t spend too long here. This can be refined as you grow.
4. What’s your story?
Drawing from both your ideal and your mission statement, what is your brand story?
In an ideal world, it will be the reason why you created this business in the first place!
My story is all about how we sold everything we owned in 1 week and left with 3 suitcases never to look back and then how we built 7 figure businesses while travelling the world over the last 10 years.
What’s your story?
In fact I hope Marie Forleo won’t mind me spilling the beans on a section inside her awesome B-School program. (Highly recommended by the way).
In Mod 1, she’s talking about how to leverage your uniqueness and in one of her worksheets recommends having an arsenal of stories ready to tell at a moments notice.
In her words;
‘Facts tell, stories sell. It’s important for every business owner to know their core brand story and to continue to collect stories to share with customers, when you’re interviewed and through your free content.’
The action step is to then write out your ‘core business story’. Why you got started, why you’re doing what you’re doing, what brought you to where you are now etc.
She then goes on to say that it’s a good idea to have at least three versions of that story ready to tell in different formats;
And lastly, you should ‘brainstorm at least 5 other simple stories, aha moments, mistakes or turning points in your business or life that may serve as connection points to help you connect more deeply with your ideal customers.‘
Great examples include;
5. Create a simple brand which can evolve over time as you grow
So the goal now is with all the information you’ve gathered how do you turn that into a great looking brand you can use across all of your social media platforms on your blog, podcast etc?
My advice. If you’re crap at design, don’t try to do it yourself. Even with cool tools to help you, if you just don’t have an eye for that kind of thing, go and find someone who does.
Head to Upwork, Fiverr, facebook chums etc, and find someone who’s far more creative that you, to run through your brief as created by going through all the questions on this page and creating your logos / images etc, for you.
It doesn’t have to be an expensive job. If you have a good friend or a creative family member you never know they might do it for a glass of wine.
But whatever you do don’t spend hours on Canva, trying to ‘figure it out’, or thousands of dollars on a branding agency figuring it out for you.
Create something simple, clean and effective just to get you off the ground and then improve as you grow!
I’ve given an overview here. Clearly you can go as deep into branding and neuropsychology and colours etc as you like, but my goal is to help you get a lifestyle business up and running as fast as possible so you can start living the life you dream about.
If you’d like to delve deeper into the subject, here are some amazing resources that can help you build an awesome brand.
Take my advice however, create something clean and profesh looking and get started! Use awesome content to start building your audience and when you’re earning a bit of cash, come back and enhance your brand as you grow.
5. Plan For Profit
If you are pursuing a passion, you may go into your business not 100% sure exactly how you’re going to monetise it.
I don’t recommend this but I also understand the vagaries of starting a business around something you love to do and would happily do for free if only someone else could pay the bills!
So let’s say you’re currently working a day job and at nights, mornings and weekends you start a blog all about gardening.
You love your garden and in your spare time you fill your blog & Instagram with images & videos about all the plants, hacks and tips you love to showcase in your garden,
You could spend every day all day in your garden but then the alarm goes and you know you have to head back to the job you’re tolerating until the day you can figure out how to turn what you love into a profit-making venture.
Start with the end in mind
To turn your passion into a lifestyle business you need to start with the end in mind.
What do you need to earn to live the life you want to live?
How much do you need on a monthly basis to;
Give up your day job
Fund your lifestyle
Travel the world
Spend more time with loved ones
Live the life you dream about
In order to get specific and focused on your business, you must get specific and focused on what you need your business to generate in revenues.
Get your research head on my friend and let’s get started!
1. The Ideal Lifestyle Budget Exercise
Take out a pen, piece of paper, google doc etc and do a cost exercise of your ideal life.
- Travel Expenses
- Doodads (stuff – clothes, cars etc)
- Everything you need to pay out to live the life you want to live.
If that includes a yacht and a helicopter, so be it, although I’d first ask whether you really want to own those kinds of things or just rent when you need!
Talk to people currently living the lifestyle you’d like to emulate and get some numbers from them.
- How much actually does it cost to housesit my way across Mexico
- How much actually does it cost to move and live in Thailand
- How much actually does it cost to rent an apartment in (insert ideal city)
I think you’ll find that the amount you actually need to live the life you dream about is nowhere near the amount you think it is.
So many people believe they have to become a millionaire to be free!
When we moved to Phuket back in 2012, we were totally free at around $3000 / month!
Sometimes it’s about changing your circumstances to create the lifestyle you want.
Jon Morrows story about saving $100k a year on medical bills by moving to Mexico is super inspiring (especially if you’re of able body & mind and are held back by your own limiting beliefs!)
Dig deep here and get super clear on what a life of freedom means to you and how much it will cost you a month.
Now write that number in big bold letters and put it somewhere you can see it.
That is the goal. That is your ideal lifestyle number!
2. How are your competitors/collaborators monetising?
Armed with your ‘number’ you need to get out into the market place and see how other people in your niche are monetizing their brands.
So taking some of our examples from above;
Here Alexander is monetising via;
- Affiliate links
- Blogging & writing workshops
Emil Pakarklis is monetising via selling a range of Photography courses
These ladies are monetising from every which way!
- Brand sponsorship
- Affiliate Links
- Air BnB!
My good buddy Dan’s new brand is monetising via;
- More to come!
Jenna Kutcher monetises via;
- Podcast Sponsorship
- Affiliate partnerships
- Brand endorsements
- Guides & Templates
Watch this space….
- Shop – Planners, journals, merch & travel gadgets
- Affiliate partnerships
- Book sales
- Podcast sponsorship
- (and something very different – to be revealed in about 5 years!)
3. Do a potential income exercise.
Now you have to really start digging.
Think about the business you’d like to get off the ground;
- Could you build a website and make money from Adsense? How many visits/month do you need to make this worthwhile?
- How much could you make from potential affiliate links?
- Could you create a video course? How much could you charge for that?
- Could you create and sell books in your niche? How much and how many do you need to sell?
- Could you start a podcast and over time attract sponsorship? How does that work and how much can you earn?
It’s time to sit down and begin calculating how to monetise your passion to the point it covers your starting ideal lifestyle budget number.
By doing this you’ll also begin to form a picture of how long it might take you to get there.
Let’s give some tangible examples;
Let’s say your goal is to achieve $3000 / month.
According to Chris at RankXL;
Now if you read the article you’ll see he’s using very broad calculations, but as an approximate, you’ll know if you want to add Adsense and start focusing on content, SEO & blog traffic as your main goal for your lifestyle business.
Let’s say you create an educational book which you can sell for $19.95.
At your $3000 a month goal, you’d need to sell 150 books a month.
150*$19.95 = $2992.50
If you created a video course priced at $197, you’d need to sell 15 a month and if you did one to one coaching priced at $297 / hour, you’d need to do 10 hours of coaching to achieve your goal.
15 * $197 = $2995
10 * $297 = $2970
Perhaps someone else has created a fabulous course you’d love to recommend and it’s priced a $997 with a 30% commission for referrers.
997*30% = $299
So you’d need to sell 10 a month to hit your goal of $3000
10 * $299 = $2990
I’m not even going to start working out Amazon affiliate income as it’s totally dependent on the niche, but here is a great article on everything you need to know about Amazons affiliate program and their commission rate card;
4. Prioritise your options.
You should by now have your ideal lifestyle budget number and a list of ways you can achieve that.
Unfortunately, we can’t do everything, or at least not at the same time, so to keep from getting overwhelmed you need to prioritise which path you’ll take.
Do you want to create courses, write books, affiliate for other people, build your audience etc?
Yes, I know all of the above, but in what order?
By getting super clear about this now, you’ll determine the actions you take building your content, your profile, your social media presence, everything!
Clarity is power my friend!
So get clear!
What we’re trying to do here is turn what you love to do into a profitable venture meaning you can do more of it! The goal being that you can fund your lifestyle doing what you love to do!
Imagine the freedom that gives you! So don’t skip this part.
Get super clear on precisely what you need to earn to fund your ideal lifestyle and the options available to you to make that dream a reality.
6. Build Your Lifestyle Business Audience
Congratulations for getting this far, you are crushing it!
Now, this is where the rubber meets the road my friend.
So many small business owners will get to this stage and either, stop, look for an easier way, start searching for a magic button and basically shy away from doing what they now need to do to get the word out about their products or services.
Don’t be that person!
I will attempt to break this down into easy to understand and actionable chunks but please remember you do not have to be all things to all people.
If you are a solopreneur it will be nigh on impossible for you to do everything you want to do straight away. You need to build on each strategy layering as you go, growing bit by bit until you can afford more resources to help you grow and then all of a sudden you’ll get some momentum and away you go.
But depending on your time and current resources that wheel may take 3 months to really start gathering speed, 6 months, 12 months, 2 years.
You have to trust the process and know that with each step you take, you’re taking a step closer to your ultimate goal.
The key to building your audience, including if your plan is simply to run ads to your target market and nothing else, is content.
Everything you do is content, from a post on Instagram to a full-blown podcast, a training guide on your blog to an ad inviting people to check out your product.
It is all content. And the better you are at creating content your audience wants, needs & enjoys, the faster your business will grow.
As Neil Patel says in his post – Content Marketing Made Simple: A Step by Step Guide;
Content marketing is a long-term strategy that focuses on building a strong relationship with your target audience by giving them high-quality content that is very relevant to them on a consistent basis.
And just in case you’re in the camp of ‘well isn’t content marketing just overrated now Jo? We’re so saturated by content that none of it is effective anymore?’
Well just look at your own buying habits.
I’ll hazard a guess that 99% of your purchases are ether from brands you’ve used before, brands recommended by friends or brands that have caught your eye because of something clever they’ve done or said online.
I’m not saying we never buy anything just because we need it and the product we’re standing in front of seems like the best one so that’ll do. Of course we do.
But look at what you do most of the time.
How often have you been inclined to make a purchase because of the way a brand has engaged with you via content they’ve published?
Just this morning I watched a video on youtube, which led to me scrolling through the persons Instagram account which resulted in me purchasing their course.
Make no mistake this stuff works.
Content Marketing Overload
But it can be a little overwhelming.
If you head over to google and type in the words ‘Content Marketing’, you are going to be hit with over 5.3billion results.
To say it’s a popular subject would be an understatement!
We are bombarded constantly with how to use Instagram, how to become a YouTuber, how to grow a following on Facebook etc.
Every man and his dog is teaching us a new strategy, a new hack.
So as I don’t have a dog, I want to approach this slightly differently.
I want you over the next few days to develop an action plan.
Content Marketing & building an audience doesn’t happen in a day, a week or even a month. As I said above it can take a long time to see any tangible results.
So what we need to have in place is an actionable and doable plan that we can execute consistently and enjoy the process!
Your Lifestyle Business Content Plan
1. Start With One
When you’re first starting your online business there is no point in trying to do everything and be everywhere unless you have an entire administration & media team at your disposal.
You will wear yourself out, get frustrated, dilute any audience you might potentially build and give up before you’ve even got out of the starting gate.
The most successful small brands started with one medium on one platform and gradually expanded into others.
Jenna Kutcher – Podcasting / Instagram
Peter McKinnon – YouTube Videos / Instagram
Sunny Lenarduzzi – YouTube Videos / Instagram
Mari Smith – Facebook / Webinars / FB Lives
Mark Manson – Blogging / Author
Brian Dean – Blogging / YouTube
Pat Flynn – Blogging / Podcasting
Marie Forleo – Videos / Blogging / YouTube
John Lee Dumas – Podcasting
James Altucher – Podcasting
Tim Ferris – Author / Podcasting
Gary Vaynerchuk – Huge media team……
It may feel like your favourite online mentors are everywhere, but they first built their reputations and following on one platform and over the years have employed resources to help them repurpose their content across all the social media networks.
(Even Gary Vee started on YouTube).
In fact, if you take a good look at some of their feeds, you’ll see a fair bit of repetition on the different platforms, which by the way is not a bad thing. People are so busy these days plus the social media algorithms are anybody’s guess, so it’s going to take a few posts before your ideal audience see your content (and even then you won’t reach everyone).
I actually heard some great advice from Dana Malstaff, creator of Boss Mom on a recent podcast, who said that rather than constantly trying to come up with new messages, we should actually be saying the same things, but to a wider audience. As a prolific content producer, I agree.
My advice is that you go deep into one platform, grow an audience and start to make sales. Those sales then pay for a virtual assistant or social media manager who then help you to chop up your content and distribute it out a bit, which means that over time you now look like you’re everywhere.
Go deep on the vertical
When I started back in 2010, I spent 6 months trying every strategy under the sun to build an audience and find a way to generate an income. I still remember to this day attending a conference and one of the guys on the stage talking about ‘going deep into a vertical’.
I had no idea what he was talking about, but he was demonstrating that the people who’d had the most success with Internet Marketing (back in the day) were those who’d laser-focused on one technique at a time. Whether that was webinars, ezine articles (we’re going back a while), JV Giveaways, product launches and so on.
By accident when I fell over Facebook fan pages and focused all my energy on how to use them to grow an email list, within 8 months I had an 18,000 strong email list and a 6 figure launch under my belt.
When we launched our Amazon business, Amazon became our only focus and a year later we’d generated 7 figures.
Now blogging is my focus and I can’t wait to see where I’m at a year from now!
Go deep rather than long and master the platform and content type you choose before trying to take on too much and diversifying and diluting your efforts.
Choosing Your Content Type
There are a multitude of different content types we can choose to create and distribute our message, from blog posts to videos to images to podcasts.
It would be fantastic if we could utilise as many of these as possible as people consume content in different modalities; visual, auditory, kinesthetic etc, so the more varied ways we can get our message and brand out there the better, but as I said above, we can’t be all things to all people, particularly when we’re starting out as a one man band.
So based on the knowledge of who your audience is, what your goals are, the kind of person you are and your product, brand or service;
What will be your No 1 platform of choice?
Do you want to go all-in on Instagram? Facebook Groups? Blogging? LinkedIn? YouTube?
Whatever you choose will absolutely be where you put 95% of your content publishing efforts, so choose wisely.
You might be attracted to more than one and that’s ok. I really want to build my FB Group but would love to master Instagram.
I’m not going to tell you, you can’t do two, what I’m asking is which platform will you publish your primary content on.
What will be your No 1 content medium of choice?
Will you record videos, podcasts, write blog posts, social media posts, create images, focus on daily stories, memes, tweet all day long with tidbits of info, host FB Lives and so on.
Again you will most likely be attracted to more than one and that’s ok. I really want to blog regularly but also love podcasting and would like to master FB Lives. Therefore right now, blogging comes first, then I record my posts as podcasts and of course promote them on social media.
Once I’ve built up my blog traffic and have a steady stream of views, clicks and sales, I’ll divert my focus to podcasting and spend a year or two making that my primary content medium, with all my focus on increasing value and downloads.
As I said, you can’t do it all, but you can repurpose a few at a time without too much extra effort, but for now, which one is your main one? What’s No 1?
Choose which medium you will create your primary content on.
Make a decision, not to give up other platforms, but to go all-in on the ones you really want to go for.
As you grow an audience, and your team, you’ll gradually start to expand one platform at a time!
2. Create a Content Pyramid
Once you’ve mastered your main content channel, you can start thinking about branching out.
Gary Vee has an excellent model for this process, called the content pyramid. He suggests creating long-form, deep dives into topics that are essential to your brand. Those pieces of content are what he calls “pillar content.”
Once you have your pillar content to draw from, you can repurpose these posts into what’s called “microcontent,” which is exactly what it sounds like. Take bits and pieces from your pillar content, reformat them, and distribute them across your other content channels and/or social media.
Using this system, you won’t need to create as much “new” content as it looks like you are. You’re just drawing from the quality, thorough pieces you’ve already created and using them to branch out into new mediums.
Let’s break this down.
12 Ways to Repurpose Just One Piece of Weekly Content
So you have created your main piece of content, for this example I’m going to say it’s a blog post, but you can start with anything, a video, a podcast, a FB Live, whatever your weekly core content is and then just swap these suggestions around.
- Create your core piece of content. (In this example a blog post)
- If relevant (i.e, if it’s a long post with a lot of info) create the post as a PDF and add a download link for people to download and read later.
- Take from your blog post quotes or paragraphs you can turn into images to be used on Instagram or Facebook.
- Take the same quotes / paragraphs and use as tweetables or posts on your social platforms of choice.
- Turn your blog post into a video script and record a video or Live to host on FB, YT, IG.
- Break up the video into mini segments to distribute across social media.
- Extract the audio from the video and upload as a podcast.
- Use a small segment of the podcast to create stories for IG & FB.
- Listen to your audience, read their comments and anything relevant, take a screenshot and use as testimonials to post across social media or questions to post and answer.
- Utilise your original article, plus FAQ’s from your audience and create an article for Medium.com
- Find questions on Quora.com relevant to your article to answer with snippets from your post
- Turn your blog post into a shareable Infographic
I’m sure there are many more ideas for repurposing your core content, but the beauty of the content pyramid system is that you can focus on only one content channel to start with, and then slowly branch out into one or two secondary channels that you can use to repurpose your content.
Your mission is to pick one main channel, master it, then decide which other channels you’ll regularly repurpose to.
Here is an insanely detailed overview of how Gary Vee produces one piece of content and how his team then chop it ups and distributes it.
I also have a very in-depth article giving a multitude of Content Marketing Ideas & Examples That Rock, so be sure to check that out for a more detailed guide to content marketing.
3. Start Building an Email List ASAP!
When you talk to most online lifestyle entrepreneurs one of their biggest regrets is not starting to build their email list soon enough.
I was lucky to have a mentor in the early days who taught me how to do that first. As I’ve already said 18,000 subscribers later I had a 6 figure business. Within 3 years that had grown to 55,000 subscribers and as a result, I had many successful product launches, affiliate campaigns and sales offerings.
I can not stress how important it is to start building your email list for your lifestyle business. Your audience is the key to success and the more you add value and nurture that audience, the more success you’ll have.
Be sure to read my step by step in-depth guide on ‘How to Build a Huge Email List of HOT Leads For Your Business‘, for a much more detailed walkthrough but for now, here are the key steps you need to take;
1. Sign up for A Reputable Email Provider
I’m currently using Mailchimp, but have used Aweber, Get Response, Infusionsoft & Active Campaign on my journey.
To be honest these days they’re all much of a muchness, so you just need to decide which one is best for your needs.
The guys over at Email Tool Tester have a great article that will help you decide – The 13 Best Email Marketing Services for 2020
There are two more new email services that I’m currently looking at that have been left off the list, however;
I haven’t tested it yet, but I like that it’s marketed specifically to content creators, the features look fantastic, the pricing is extremely affordable and I received the best pitch email I’ve ever received from the founder Welly Mulia.
At $38 a month forever no matter how big your list gets, this service is quite probably unbeatable on price. However, it’s definitely made for people who want ‘pretty’ emails.
If you’re an Instagram lover and motivated by strong visuals, this is probably for you.
2. Create an Attractive Lead Generation Offer
A lead generation offer is something you’re willing to give away for free in exchange for an email address.
An example is my 30 Days to Start & Grow Your Online Lifestyle Business which you can download for free here!
What can you give away for free to entice people to leave you their name and email address?
Amy Porterfield is my go to for anything email marketing related, and I recommend you listen to a podcast she recorded back in 2018 – The Ultimate Guide to Choosing the Right Lead Magnet for Your Audience
3. Create Valuable, Entertaining or Educational Email Campaigns
This is where many get stuck and my advice is always to be congruent with your brand and write as if you’re talking to an individual not a big list of email addresses.
People do business with people they like, know and trust right? So don’t start sending official, corporate style emails unless that’s your brand ideal!
If you come across in all your content and social media as approachable and fun, then reflect that in your emails.
If your brand is more professional and informative then reflect that in your emails.
I have three people/brands that I actually look out for their emails in my inbox;
1. Tim Ferris
I love his weekly 5 Bullet Friday email. He always comes up with some great resources, quotes and things to explore which undoubtedly open and broaden my mind.
His is a weekly email that links out to lots of different resources, not always his own.
His are the kind of emails that you’ll never get bored of if you have a general interest in life hacking.
2. Neil Patel
I’m currently studying SEO and getting more traffic to my site, therefore his emails are incredibly useful to me right now. Every email links through to a video, post or resource which helps me to learn and do more.
His are the kind of emails that may well have a shelf life. Once I feel I’ve mastered SEO enough to now focus on another specific business growth area, I’ll find a mentor who’s the best in that area and they’ll become who I look out for in my inbox.
His is a daily email that links to his videos, posts & articles.
3. Born Fitness
I’ve been on a health & weight loss journey forever, and I find their weekly nuggets of wisdom interesting and helpful.
Their emails are like mini blog posts with the option to click a link if I want to delve deeper into a subject, however, the email itself is full of actionable information.
How do my preferences help you?
I’m trying to demonstrate that there really is no right or wrong for the style of email as long as it’s in keeping with your brand ideal.
As I’ve identified above, one email is full of links to general resources, another with links to their own content and another with all the information within the email.
Here’s some more ideas for your follow up emails;
- General Relationship Builders – Tell your story, ask to connect etc
- Showcase Your Expertise – Links to podcasts, blog posts, articles
- Free Gift/Value Added Offer – Offering something of value or a product discount etc
- Link Roundups – Linking to other people’s resources
- Purely for Fun – Used to connect with your audience, might include a quiz or a fun contest
- Reviews – Reviewing other people’s products or strategies
- Product Launch – Let your audience know when you’re launching a new product
4. Promote Your Lead Generation Offer Everywhere!
In my step by step email marketing article I walk through 47 ways you can promote your lead generating offer, but for now here are your top 5 quick wins;
- Your website. If you have a blog or site, ensure your lead magnet is clearly visible for all visitors.
- Your primary social media accounts. Do you have a facebook page or Instagram account? Be sure to pin your free offer to the top of your page or group and include as your main IG profile link.
- Your content. If you’re publishing blog posts, you tube videos, podcasts or images, make sure the link to your lead generator is included somewhere in the the description of your content piece.
- Your personal email signature. We’re all sending emails all of the time. You’ll never know who might be interested in your free offer. Include the link to your opt-in page to your own email signature.
- Ask your current subscribers to share. If your current readers are getting a lot out of your emails, ask them to share it! Many autoresponders actually include this as a feature you can add to all emails now, so it should be relatively easy to add a link to all of the emails you send out to your subscribers.
8. Develop Your Business Model
When I started back in 2010, the first business model I chose was to sell a video course.
It was called 2000 Fans in 27 Days, it sold for around $37 – $47 from memory and over the course of 2-3 months, we sold a few hundred.
It surprised me how well it did, but was all the proof I needed to carry on and a few months later I launched a membership site and had my first 6 figure launch.
As I detail in the story of how I got started in this business, over the years I also dabbled in affiliate marketing, coaching, SAAS and ecommerce.
The world really is your oyster when it comes to opportunities online and the challenge isn’t in knowing what to do, it’s knowing what not to do, or rather prioritising.
You can do anything, but unfortunately with all the will in the world, you can’t do everything. (I think I might have said that already in this post, but that shows it’s an important message!)
It’s so important that you start by picking one thing.
Here are links to all the lifestyle business models I have written in-depth about;
How to Create a 6 Fig Online Course (that people love you for)
How to Create a 6 Figure Membership Site (the easy way)
What is Affiliate Marketing and How to Crush it in 2020!
How to Self Publish on Amazon Kindle & Get Your Own ISBN No!
How to Become an Influencer (without wearing a bikini)
How to Start Freelancing and Create Ultimate Freedom!
How to Become a Life Coach and Start a Coaching Business
How to Start a Digital Marketing Agency (from your sofa)
How to Start a SAAS business With No Technical Experience
How to Make Money Blogging (from anywhere in the world)
How to Make Money Podcasting and Build a Lifestyle Business
How to Start an Ecommerce Business in 30 Days
If you still haven’t quite decided which is right for you, here is my Mega List of 189 Lifestyle Business Ideas to whet your appetite.
Start with one. Hit your ‘ideal monthly lifestyle budget’ goal with one. Then start to expand and diversify as you grow.
8. Scale Your Business & Add Streams of Income
In order to scale your business at some point you will need to start hiring and outsource some of your more low value tasks.
You are not an Island my friend and if you want to be able to spend some of your time doing other things you love to do then you’re going to need to give some tasks to other more than capable hands.
This doesn’t have to be a big team, in fact you may only ever end up hiring one other person, only you will know who you need and where you’ll need them.
So start with the end in mind!
Building a Team
1. Make a big list of low value tasks / tasks you don’t enjoy doing
Low value tasks are the admin type tasks that aren’t direct money spinners.
You could argue that all jobs contribute to the money making part and of course they do, but adding images to blog posts or correcting typos on a PDF as an example is not a high value task.
Laying out blog posts, customer service, setting up emails, scheduling social media posts, formatting PDF’s; these are all jobs that can be handled by a perfectly capable VA of which there are many available.
Be sure to include jobs you dislike. If you hate to write content, find a writer, if you hate to post on social media, find a social media manager, if you hate FB Ads, find an FB Ads Specialist.
Some roles may cost you more than others and you might have to just suck up some of the stuff you don’t enjoy until you can afford someone, but at this stage just make the list.
2. Create an organizational chart
With your list in hand create yourself a little organizational chart of who you need to do what.
Don’t spend hours on draw.io or something similar (although it is a nifty little app).
Just get a pen & paper out and draw out all the different roles you would ideally love to employ to help you run your empire!
This is going to help you calculate at what stage you can afford to hire the team members you want.
3. ASAP – Hire an awesome VA
As soon as you can afford it, hire an awesome VA.
If you’re anything like me, having someone who is better at the detail, better at the minutia and has better organisational skills; i.e., a multi-talented VA who gets to know all facets of the business, will be invaluable.
(Donna from Suits anyone?)
As tempting as it may be to believe that it’s ‘just faster to do it yourself’, after an initial training period, having someone give you the time to focus on money-making tasks will probably be the making of your business.
See my post on Why Hire a Virtual Assistant, which includes a full breakdown of how I interview for the perfect candidates.
4. Gradually begin to hire other necessary posts as your lifestyle business grows
You’ll know who you need and when from your list & chart.
It’s a fine balance however. Hire too early and you’ll eat up all your cashflow making it tougher to reinvest in the business which means you’ll slow growth.
Hire too late and you’ll be burning the candle at both ends, unable to meet the demands of your business, potentially letting customers down and slowing down growth.
Only you’ll know when it’s right to start hiring a team/outsourcers to help you achieve your goals. But do remember why you started this in the fist place, to create a business that could fund your lifestyle.
Be careful not to get so caught up in the ‘business’ you forget the ‘lifestyle’.
Adding Streams of Income
No matter which business model you choose. Whether you become an author, an influencer, a video course creator, a coach, a consultant, sell products or services, as I’ve mentioned before,
“Get rich focusing on one thing, stay rich diversifying“
When you reach a point that your core business model is bringing in regular revenue (I recommend your measuring point be, when you achieve your ‘ideal monthly lifestyle budget’) and you have a team and systems in place to allow you to grow, the sensible move will be to introduce further streams of income.
Going back to my examples above, the ladies from abeautifulmess.com for instance are monetising their site in over 10 different ways.
Here’s a list of all the potential lifestyle business models that eventually could work together;
- Video courses
- Membership Programs
- Affiliate Marketing
- Physical products
- Consulting or Coaching
- Done For You Services
Look to others in your industry or niche for inspiration.
Using Ladyboss as an example again, she sells supplements, merchandise, coaching programs, digital programs and a book. She pretty much does it all!
You don’t have to go this far, but you can see the potential to diversifying into lots of streams of income.
Please note though….
Start with one! Focus in, make it work and then add in others as you grow.
Get big doing one thing, stay big by diversifying!
Your Lifestyle Business & Your Bucket List
So this has been a mammoth post walking you through the key steps to starting and growing your online lifestyle business.
But this is just the beginning!
For a more in depth, day by day guide, including how to set up each of the business models, grow your online audience, create your lead generating offers, email lists etc. Then do be sure to grab your FREE copy of my ebook – 30 Days to Start & Grow Your Online Lifestyle Business.
In the meantime, I do hope this has been useful and has given you some solid insights into what you need to do to get your lifestyle business off the ground.
Your Bucket List
Something that always inspired me, even in the darkest moments of doubt when I wasn’t sure I could do it was my bucket list.
- Flying in a Hot Air Balloon
- Swimming With Dolphins
- Learning How to Scuba Dive
- New Years Eve Fireworks Around the World
- Visiting Disneyland
- Living in Australia
- Visiting the Taj Mahal
- Seeing Mount Everest
- Diving in the Great Barrier Reef
- Having a Picnic in the Grand Canyon
- Visiting the Colosseum
- Meeting Mark Zuckerburg on the Great Wall of China (meeting Mark Z was not part of my bucket list, he just added to the experience)
- And loads more!
These make up just some of my bucket list items. I still have hundreds to go!
But just pulling out my list and imagining the places I would visit and the things I would see would drive me forward.
We’ve now been lucky enough to visit and live in over 30 countries in the last 10 years. While we’re locked down here, we’re now discovering parts of Thailand we haven’t seen before and when the world opens up again, off we’ll go to explore more of this amazing planet we live on.
But travel is my jam. You need to visualise your ideal lifestyle whatever that is to you.
I urge you if you haven’t already. Get yourself a big scrapbook and start to fill it with pictures of all the things you’d love to do in this big world of ours.
In those moments when it gets too hard, or you start to doubt yourself, or others doubt you, pull out your scrapbook and lose yourself in your dreams.
Then with a renewed sense of energy, make it happen!