Are You Cut Out to Be a Lifestyle Entrepreneur?
What is a lifestyle entrepreneur?
A lifestyle entrepreneur is someone who builds a sustainable, profitable business around a desired lifestyle. For many, this involves limited material and financial ties (like a mortgage, a house, etc.) and instead involves continual or extended periods of travel.
At its core, lifestyle entrepreneurship is about creating a business that is founded in a person’s passion, supports and is often synonymous with the chosen lifestyle, and gives the entrepreneur freedom to explore and expand their world and experiences.
You might say it’s an alternative lifestyle, but it’s one that arose in answer to the recent economic challenges that forced many to reconsider their priorities and create versatile lives and careers. It’s not a lifestyle for everyone. It requires you to become business and finance savvy, to stay flexible, and to pursue creativity at every turn.
Review these five steps for becoming a lifestyle entrepreneur and see if it’s the next career or life step for you.
Decide what the lifestyle is that your entrepreneurship will support and even augment.
Is it year-long travel living in an RV, van, or converted school bus? Or is it living on your own homestead with more time with your family? It’s important to pin down the specifics of the lifestyle you’re aiming to support and incorporate into your entrepreneurism, as well as where you’re willing to compromise to realize this dream. Without a clear vision of your lifestyle endgame, you won’t be able to explore/discover/hammer down how your business will support—and not supplant—that lifestyle.
Find a profitable target audience that matches your passion.
You know your skillset, so deciding what you offer as the foundation of your business won’t be as difficult as pinpointing a target audience who not only wants but can also afford what you’re offering. While you may not be tied down by a five- or six-figure mortgage, you will still have operating and living costs that need to be covered. Your skills, passion, and your customers’ wallets all need to align.
While you’re learning about your target audience, make sure all of the logistics of running your business line up with meeting your audience where they are—be it entirely online or at physical locations you will travel to.
Establish a foundation.
You’ll need more than a fully converted van before you’re ready to dive into your lifestyle entrepreneurship. A solid business foundation will increase your odds of success and will allow you to enjoy your dream lifestyle sooner. Here’s what your foundation should include:
- A large emergency fund to cover all of your life and business operating expenses for several months.
- Tools to operate and grow your business.
- An existing connection with your audience.
- An active and growing social media presence.
- A business plan that identifies how, when, and where to grow your business; how to cut expenses or earn additional income during slow months; and at what point you need to head for home base and reconsider or modify your plan.
- Options for mobile banking. Make sure your audience has convenient ways to pay you and for you to access your money. In addition to traditional banks and non-traditional mobile payment apps, credit unions are a competitive option for lifestyle entrepreneurs.
Build relationships, get exposure, grow your audience.
Whether you offer consulting services, photography or videography services, accounting services, or products that promote a nomadic lifestyle, you will need to always be thinking about growing your audience. Here are some great places to start:
- Events that speak to your business, passion, or lifestyle wherever you’re living or staying for a while. See if you can be a guest speaker, set up a booth, or simply drop in to network.
- Podcasts and radio shows. Get your voice out there! Become a guest on a podcast or radio show.
- Blogs beyond your own. Guest post on a related blog or see if you can be a guest on a popular vlog.
- Industry authority websites. Contributing to websites with established followings is a great way to grow your name and nab some potential followers.
Outsource what you can to a VA.
Outsourcing what tasks you can to others means saving you time and effort…which you can then better spend on growing your audience, living your life, etc. These days, with a reliable internet connection, you can pay a virtual assistant (VA) to handle many of the day-to-day tasks of running a small business. Unlike Siri, Alexa, or Google Assistant, these VAs are professionals and freelancers who work remotely from home—sometimes as their own lifestyle entrepreneurs. They can help with:
- Email correspondence
- Data entry
- Scheduling appointments
- Blog management
- Project management
- Graphic design
- Tech support
- Customer service
- Social media management