So you’ve heard the term ‘lifestyle entrepreneur’ and you’re intrigued. It sounds great, right? Location independence, financial independence and the ability to create something that has impact on the world, whilst living on your own terms. Who wouldn’t want those things?
Dealing with doubts
However, maybe the doubt has begun to creep in. You mentioned it to a few of your friends, or maybe your partner or family, and they just stared at you like you were talking in the Klingon tongue. Or worse, maybe they told you that it was a pipe-dream or unrealistic goal.
We all have times like this when we are looking to achieve something new in our lives. It’s normal and natural to have doubts. However, becoming a lifestyle entrepreneur is a real possibility (although it’s not just an easy way out or shortcut like some seem to think, as it takes hard work and smart thinking).
Learn from the best
When in doubt, sometimes the best thing we can do is to find other people who have already achieved what we want to do, and learn from their successes (and failures).
With that in mind, here are three of the most successful lifestyle entrepreneurs who have proven that it’s possible to run a business without sacrificing their enjoyment of life.
Tim Ferris is probably the number one ‘poster boy’ for the lifestyle entrepreneur movement and has been described as “Indiana Jones for the digital age” and listed as one of Fast Company’s “Most Innovative Business People”.
Tim’s book The Four Hour Work Week has probably done more than any other to encourage fledgling entrepreneurs to take the plunge and start their own business, and he’s published two more books since then, The Four Hour Body and The Four Hour Chef, in which he demonstrates his expertise in both food and fitness.
All three of his books have been New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestsellers – proving he’s way more than one-trick pony. Not only that, but Tim is an angel investor/advisor for over 20 companies including Facebook, Twitter and one of our favourite ecommerce sites Shopify. And did I mention he runs an extremely successful blog?
So what can eager entrepreneurs learn from Mr Ferris? In a video interview on the topic he talks about the success of his first ecommerce company: “My first real business was a sports nutrition company. I reached the point where I was making as much per month as I had been making per year, which was a wild, wild feeling at the time.”
He also explains what he thinks makes someone an entrepreneur:
“People who like to create something from nothing. That is what makes entrepreneurism. Ideas, in and of themselves are kind of valueless I think – it’s the people who take those ideas and have the stomach and the courage and the excitement and the enthusiasm to go through all the trials and tribulations to create something meaningful is what separates them.”
Pat Flynn is a great example of a lifestyle entrepreneur who is extremely transparent about his business, to the benefit of those wanting to follow in his footsteps – for example, he openly shares his monthly income reports on his Smart Passive Income website and has an extremely popular podcast where he shares what he’s learnt from running several online businesses.
Pat trained as an architect, but as he recounts in his book Let Go, was laid off before his career could even get started. Fortunately, he had a lot of success with the first ever website he set up to help people pass a notoriously difficult architect exam. By putting together and selling an ebook on the same topic, he was able to earn over $7k in the first month and continues to earn from it to this day.
He now says being laid off was the best thing to ever happen to him:
“Without my 9 to 5 job holding me back, I’ve since been able to earn more money and work less (and more flexible) hours – which in the end allows me to be home and spend time with my family.”
Chris Guillebeau is the founder of the hugely successful Art of Non-Conformity blog, and is the author of the New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestselling book The $100 Start Up, in which he argues that anyone with an entrepreneurial mindset can set up a thriving business with very little investment.
He is also the founder of the World Domination Summit, an annual event that has taken place in Portland Oregon over the last 3 years, with 3,000 people attending in 2013.
Guillebeau is well known online for his mission of travelling to every country in the world by the age of 35, which he completed earlier in 2013. So how did he raise enough money to enable him to achieve this?
Well whilst his blog does not have advertising, he makes an excellent income from his Unconventional Guides ecommerce business, which sells digital downloads of his ebooks and multimedia guides, and he also runs the Travel Hacking Cartel membership site.
Chris has also written at length on his blog about the topic of being an entrepreneur. He says that “Entrepreneurship is about creating personal freedom. The ability to structure your life around your own skills and rhythms is very important, and one of the true benefits for successful entrepreneurs who can balance this well” and adds that “Most wealth around the world is created by entrepreneurs, and studies show that your best chance of becoming wealthy is to start a business.”
However he also makes the point that a true lifestyle business is one that allows you freedom, and therefore requires that you put the right systems in place:
“A business earns money while you sleep and while you are on vacation. A business is an asset that can be bought and sold. A true business is largely independent of its owner, although of course this is a matter of degree and only rarely is 100% independent. Therefore, entrepreneurs pay close attention to the creation of processes that will eventually allow themselves to focus on what they’re best at, or perhaps even leave the operation entirely.”
Now It’s Your Turn
The three people I’ve profiled here are examples of highly successful lifestyle entrepreneurs. I’m sure you can see the potential for starting a lifestyle business of your own.
Maybe, like Tim Ferris you want to find a way to make money from your love of business, food and fitness. Or perhaps you have more in common with Chris Guillebeau and want the freedom to travel the world without being tied down. Maybe you just want to be able to spend more time with your family, but still earn a great living like Pat Flynn.
Either way, the only way to succeed is to get started! After all, if you don’t give it a go, then you’ll never know.
If you’re still not convinced you might be interested to read Why Starting a Lifestyle Business is a No-Brainer, and of course you can explore all of the resources that the three lifestyle entrepreneurs above have shared on their own sites. If all of that doesn’t inspire you, then maybe you should keep the day job after all!
If you’ve been inspired by the above examples to start your own lifestyle business, we’d love to hear from you in the comments.
Or if there are any other great examples of lifestyle entrepreneurs that you think we should feature here, please let us know.