Lifestyle businesses sometimes get a bad rap because, on the surface, they may look simplistic or because they appear to have very limited earning potential.
Another reason why some entrepreneurs may not value lifestyle businesses as much as a startup is due to the low barrier of entry. One does not typically need to have cutting-edge tech skills, venture capital, or a team of advisers to launch a lifestyle business or to become what is known as a digital nomad. This lack of structure and formality often attracts people who underestimate the rigors of building a smart business online.
The dark side of lifestyle businesses
Even worse, a more troubling trend has emerged within the lifestyle business community, and it raises the question about whether there is any substance behind such business models.
Let me paint a scenario to illustrate the point:
- There is a basic blueprint within the lifestyle business community that involves building a website, filling it with affiliate links (disguised with somewhat disingenuous reviews of products and services), then trying to drive traffic to it.
- Another model is for the lifestyle business guru to offer private coaching, which is fine if they’ve actually done something beyond talking about the topic. However, I run into websites all the time where the person is offering their private consulting, but has no examples of their own success.
- A third model, which is slightly better, is to find a supplier overseas who will white label a product that they can sell on Amazon with their own branding.
Nothing is really wrong with these approaches to online entrepreneurship, IF they are providing genuine value instead of just being a money grab. However, too often it feels more like the money is the driving issue rather than a desire to help others.
People need solutions, they don’t need gimmicks.
There are several different models for how lifestyle entrepreneurs make their money, but they are largely part of a giant echo chamber where each self-styled guru puts his or her own stamp upon the same revenue generation model.
That isn’t good for anyone, especially in an already crowded market segment.
So why should you start a lifestyle business this year?
Given all that I said, it probably sounds like I am very much against the idea of lifestyle design, but nothing could be farther from the truth. Even with all the cheesy and rehashed examples, there are a number of lifestyle business leaders who do actually provide value.
But that’s the key…value has to be your driver, not money.
My feeling is that if people who aspire to start their own business would take a little more time to look deeply into who they are, what skills they have, and learned a bit about time management, there would be a whole lot more diversity within the lifestyle business community.
Getting started: first steps to building your own business online
The first thing you need to do is to sit down with a pen and paper and write at least 50 skills/abilities you have. That might seem like a tall order at first, but notice that I did not say you have to be an expert in all of these areas – you just have to know a little bit more than the average person.
Nearly anything can become the basis for building a business online.
Are you a parent who has taught their child how to ski? Is fantasy football a passion of yours? Did you study abroad in another country? Do you have experience making sales presentations? Perhaps you know a lot about home improvement, Interior design, or employment law?
The point is, nearly anything you list as a talent can, with a little creativity and a lot of hard work, become the foundation for a lifestyle business.
Next, and this may seem to be obvious, but you have to take action. I have a feeling that there are a great number of people out there with terrific ideas, decent social skills, and enough talent to put together a basic website, who never moved forward simply because they are too lazy or afraid.
The first step is easy because it is something you can do on your own without needing to subject it to the whims and opinions of the broader market. But once you aim to start an online business, and you actually put it out there, you will get one of three reactions: people love it, people will hate it, people will be indifferent.
However the great thing about launching a new business online is that it allows you to get real feedback on your idea, tweak it, and keep plugging away until you find something with a rabid fan base.
Building the traffic is the big task, so do not start selling right off the bat. You want to develop an audience, find out what it is that they are interested in, and provide that while getting valuable feedback from your community. Once you have this under your belt, then you can develop something of value.
While there are 1000 reasons why starting a lifestyle business is better than launching a startup, one thing that is often overlooked by people is that in some countries, like America, you can set up a home office and your and expenses become tax write offs. This helps to mitigate some of the risk, and allows many people who may not otherwise be able to work outside the home for whatever reason, to have sufficient motivation to give their lifestyle business a go.
The final point to consider on the topic is that you want to start a business that has the potential to scale, so building it only around yourself will be a huge limitation. You may want to consider that when you are contemplating your branding strategy and your product/service offering.
Lifestyle businesses can be a wonderful way to enter into the world of entrepreneurship online without needing to dedicate huge financial resources at the beginning. To learn more about how to build a lifestyle business, check out Lifestyle Business Guy for more ideas and guides.