Ep. 193 What is a lifestyle business?

lifestyle business

In this week’s podcast episode, Anna looks at the term ‘lifestyle business’.

A lifestyle business is often pitted against a ‘real’ start-up or small business. And yet in its essence, it’s both aspirational and admirable. A lifestyle business allows you to have that freedom, flexibility, fulfilment… and, yes, financial security that you’re after.

*Resources mentioned during the episode*

The Outsiders Business Incubator – A year-long business incubator for experienced corporate professionals who want to translate their skills and passions into a profitable and fulfilling business. onestepoutside.com/9to5

What is a lifestyle business?

Hello, hello, and welcome back. Happy Summer. And I know I do have a lot of listeners around the world, which I love. And unfortunately that means that you perhaps are not experiencing summer right now I know it’s quite cold and you’re skiing and whatever you’re doing down there on the other side of the world. However, it’s impossible not to think of summer over here in Europe, because it’s been sweltering hot these last few weeks. And we’re, of course excited as ever to be in my case, eating ice cream every day going for dips in the sea, having some time off. While I often have time off, but in particular, proper time off to go to Sweden to see my family, we’ve got a holiday coming up. So hooray vacay mode, as they say, I will also be stripping back a little bit of content posting, if you follow me, you’ll know and you know, I come from a content marketing background. I love creating content. I’m very prolific, and I’m always trying to streamline this and no more so no less so than over the summer.

Last summer, I particularly focused the topics on taking time off and so on over the summer, and also, again, cutting back a little bit on posts.

And I aim to do the same this time now. In fact, coincidentally, or perhaps very cleverly, and strategically, we’re transitioning now. So if you’re listening in sequence to the podcast, you’ll know that we’ve been talking about personal branding and content marketing, and creating IP and credibility, and so on. That’s pillar four of my five pillars of building a life and business outside the nine to five. Now we’re transitioning into work life integration, pillar five, which is very logical and rational. But also, again, not so coincidentally, but very cleverly, coinciding with the summer period for us over here, and perhaps a winter break for you guys too. But of course, if you’re not resonating with this piece on taking time off, and so on, don’t worry, because first of all, the topics we’re exploring the next few weeks are certainly relevant, whatever the season where you live, but also, of course, I have almost 200 episodes, now there’ll be something exciting coming up, which I have yet to determine what that will be for episode 200. But that’s pretty exciting, as well. So watch this space, or either listen to this space.

So we’re kicking off with pillar five, which is designing effective work life integration.

And in fact, I should probably define what that means. But that’s for another episode, because I wanted to go straight in there with something that if you are following me on other social platforms, you’ll know I’ve been kind of toying with for a while, which is this idea of a lifestyle business. Now, it’s kind of been circulating in my head and my thoughts and my, what do they call blackboards, whiteboards, notebooks for many years, I’m always looking to, of course, stand out in my niche among many other business coaches, and marketing, mentors, and so on, you know, I’m always trying to really get clear on as I encourage you to do as well, what my value is and where I’m focusing. And I’m always looking for the correct terminology to you. So for example, with work life integration, I talked about work life integration, rather than work life balance. And in this case, I’m always looking at but what am I actually helping people do so I talked about escaping the nine to five, designing a business and a life that allows you to escape the nine to five. And I’ve always been talking about creating freedom, flexibility and fulfillment. Now, I had a friend and interviewee on a couple of years ago on the podcast, you may have listened to the episode at the time, Jed, who or Jeremy rather, is the official name of this person. And he was talking about his fantastically successful and very hot topic business called Nudge, nudge global, within the space of financial well being. So do have a search for that you can search on your platform here that you’re listening to, not right now, because you should listen to this episode. Or you can, of course, just Google it, and it should come up. So Jeremy Bement, and we’re talking escaping the nine to five with him. So he very insightfully reflected back to me, the distinction between my kind of business and the kind of business I’m talking to you all about, and the kind of business he was running. So perhaps he was an anomaly. But I’m pretty open to different people being on the podcast, of course, but he hadn’t so much escape the nine to five, in fact, in the sense that yes, he’d left his job as an employee, but he’d created a successful company, and was therefore tied into that right with investors, with a co founder, with physical premises, with teams and so on.

So very successful in the very traditional sense of the word and allowing him to sustain a certain lifestyle, in terms of paying for schools and, and living and so on, right and having an amazing life and so on. However, he admitted himself that in fact, he wasn’t experiencing the kind of freedom and flexibility that comes with the kind of business that I run and I encourage you to develop and the term he used at the time was this lifestyle business. Now the reason why I’ve resisted that term, I think, is that there is a stigma attached to this idea of a lifestyle business. It’s not a successful no was impressive. It’s like a hobby. It’s not a proper business, right? It’s not a small business, where you have a shop and you’re selling physical products. It’s not a real startup with funding and so on, right. And I, of course, looked for definitions of what a lifestyle business is. The first one that came up quite a bit was someone new, you know, a business that has the specific aim of sustaining a particular level of income and no more, which I find interesting. There is a book called company of one I want to say, which is all around this actually having the ceiling of how much you want to earn, and not just wanting to grow, for the sake of it, right, which I think is interesting for everybody, but also to provide a foundation from which to enjoy a particular lifestyle. And that’s, of course, where lifestyle comes from. Other definitions include being passion centered, you’re generating enough profit to work and live anywhere. But in fact, of course, what it looks like varies, because the whole point is that it’s personal to you, you’re designing a business that suits your lifestyle that suits the lifestyle you want to lead. So I have resisted a little bit because of I guess, that stigma and not thinking of it as a proper business, which is wrong. And because of course, the whole point here is redefining success. So for me, it’s all about designing and building a business and a life a lifestyle outside of the nine to five. It’s a business that hits that sweet spot that I’ve talked about many times of your purpose, or iki. Guy, the Okinawan concept of IKI guy, which is that Venn diagram that I often share between using your skills and strengths, the work that you’re really passionate about, that you love doing that really gets you into flow, creating something that the world needs or engaging with a cause that you believe in, and of course, something that you can monetize, that generates an income. So that’s the sweet spot of your purpose, right, you’re doing work that you’re good at, that you love doing, that makes a difference and your money. And ultimately, it gives you that freedom, flexibility and fulfillment, and therefore also importantly, financial security and perhaps even financial freedom, if you want to extend that term that you want.

Now, what does that mean compared to a small business or startup and of course, I know this, and I’ve taught this but perhaps not articulated as such lower startup costs, right?

You don’t need the physical premises, you don’t need to invest in all the software in certain you’re not developing an app or you don’t need a massive marketing budget and so on. You can literally start working with people as a consultant as a coach, as a freelancer, boom with your laptop and whatever. No VC funding therefore, so you don’t have investors who are then going to be directing you to what you can and can’t do. It’s quickly profitable, because you’ve got low costs, and you can keep your expenses low. Mine have definitely crept up over the years with all the software and tools and so on. But you don’t need all of that shenanigans, right? You can keep it really simple. location independent doesn’t mean you have to be a nomad, I’ve used my location independence to be digitally nomadic nomadically digital, who knows around the world, I’ve used it to move to London to be with my partner, I used it to move out of London, I’ve used it to manage my business alongside my kids, and so on, right? Also a solo team, you may have a loose structure of freelancers, and so on. Of course, I work with an accountant and I work with a graphic designer, podcast editor, hello, hello, and so on. But I’m not building a team as such, I don’t need a physical office. And I don’t want to have lots of employees and my as we call it in the UK, here pa ye. And there’s also a lower time commitment. Of course, it depends on the business you design, by definition for me at the moment, I have three days a week maximum, because that’s when the kids are at nursery. And when I was off on so called maternity leave, because of course, I wasn’t getting paid leave as such, and that it was a break for myself. I took strictly speaking six weeks completely off, because I’d pre recorded, you know, months and months of content. And I had a freelancer who was scheduling everything. And then I gradually started working a little bit here and there and naps and sort of ramped that up over time. So that’s what it is for me, right? It’s designing and building a business and lifestyle outside the nine to five. It’s that sweet spot of your ikigai your purpose and it gives you freedom, flexibility, fulfillment, and financial security. And that sounds pretty amazing to me.

So let’s remove that stigma. Let’s forget about what you should be doing or what other people are saying.

I certainly have no interest in sort of moving to Silicon Valley and getting a VC to fund me and pitching and so on. That sounds exciting. And in fact, having a physical product does sound appealing. But a physical product company takes you know, on average three years to become profitable. So that’s not a great escape strategy, if you’re trying to leave your corporate job immediately. So how can you design a lifestyle business well, three simple pieces. Now ultimately, this comes down to my pillars of designing that business outside the nine to five, but in a nutshell, let’s simplify even distill it to three pieces. Number one, you have to know what you want your lifestyle to look like to feel like to be like right there has to be number one. That’s right for me always define success. Get clear on the What before you get caught up in the house, get super clear on that vision of what you want your life and lifestyle to look like big picture, personal life, professional life, everything, all that jazz, long term short term, you need to know what you want your lifestyle, and therefore your lifestyle business to look like, right? Number two, you have to choose the right business model, you have to choose the model. So first of all, sounds like it’s going to be this so called lifestyle businesses, if that you can call that a business model. And getting more granular, you need to start looking at you know, it’s a service based business for me rather than product, then it is arguably not the classic Freelancer model because that ties you in and I had clients in the past who you know, were tied into making lots of proposals and so on. And that, for me wasn’t even creating the full freedom. And you still have bosses and so on.

But rather owning your own personal brand offering your own services. And what does that look like and your business model by the way. And of course, I cover this in the Business Academy, we cover it in the incubator, and so on, is everything from the clients you’re working with. Because of course, if you’re working with let’s say, corporate clients who only work Monday to Fridays, then you’re tied into certain hours. And you know, that affects your products and services that you’re offering. And I say products, I don’t mean necessarily physical products, you can product defy your services, you can serve as a for your products as well. So for example, I could sell a course and that’s a product, right? Or a book for that matter. So your clients, the products and services, you’re offering, the pricing, but also how you’re going to deliver your products and services, how you’re going to market and sell those products and services. Because if you’re having to deliver a membership program that needs new content, and calls every week and so on, that doesn’t then allow you to take the time off that you want to if you want to take three months off to sail around South America, whatever, right? It doesn’t allow you to only work three days a week if you have to be having calls every single day and working and tied to the nine to five structure still, and so on. So everything that you offer in terms of your client, your product and service offering, how your marketing, selling and delivering those services, needs to be clear and needs to be the right strategies in order to get you the lifestyle that you want. And then finally, the third piece is making it work in practice. So that’s anchoring the vision. I’ve always been so passionate about this, it’s so critical, anchoring that lovely, beautiful big picture vision that you have, and your beautiful strategy or your business model and plan. It looks fantastic on paper. And again, in the past, I’ve had clients who are great to design and create these beautiful templates and so on. But then we have to take the next step, which is doing the less sexy, disciplined, consistent work of showing up, blocking time, setting boundaries, having clear priorities, taking action, and so on. So those are the three pieces you need to design that lifestyle business number one, know what you want that lifestyle and therefore lifestyle business to look like. Number two, choose the right lifestyle business model that’s going to support that vision. And number three anchor that translated into clear action steps, boundaries, priorities, and so on that are going to make it work for you in practice. So I’d love to hear your thoughts on that how to design a lifestyle business. How do you feel about this idea of lifestyle business, we’ve been having that chat already in the community over the last few weeks or so it’s something we’re going to be talking more about, it really isn’t a shift. As such, it’s just a new and nuanced label, I suppose the principles are the same. But again, I’ve distilled that down to three key pieces. And if you do want to learn more about that, of course, you can come on over to the Facebook group escaping the nine to five. And you can also check out the website of course so there’ll be more information on that. And the business incubator and Academy, as I’ve talked about, will of course help you translate these three pieces into what that looks like for you as well. So thanks so much for listening, excited, hopefully to be supporting you and designing your lifestyle business and excited to be talking about this concept of work life integration in the coming weeks with you over our northern hemisphere summer. Thanks so much. I’ll see you next week.


Let us help you design a business and a life that gives you freedom from the 9 to 5. There are several options for how you can work with us. Choose the programme that’s right for you.

The Outsiders Business Incubator

A year-long business incubator for experienced corporate professionals who want to translate their skills and passions into a profitable and fulfilling business. onestepoutside.com/9to5

The Outsiders Business Accelerator

An ongoing mastermind for service-based business owners, freelancers and online entrepreneurs who are ready to achieve success on their own terms. onestepoutside.com/accelerate

The Outsiders Business Academy

A self-paced course for you to work through in your own time, to learn – and implement – the foundations of building a profitable business that lets you escape the 9 to 5. onestepoutside.com/course

1:1 Coaching & Mentoring

If you’re looking for one-to-one support to help you achieve your specific life and business goals, Anna has a limited number of spots for individual coaching and mentoring. onestepoutside.com/coaching

The Outsiders Business Incubator

A mentoring programme focused on implementation support and accountability to help you grow your expert business faster – without sacrificing your personal life to do so.


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