Plan Your Lifestyle, Then Business

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It is impossible to separate the lifestyle we lead from other areas of our lives. The jobs we do, the business we have, and where we live all affect the quality of life. I honestly believe that to build a successful business you have to envision the lifestyle you desire to have first. For example, it does not make sense for me to start a fishing business when I hate fish. Regardless of how much money I make, I will hate every second of the process. Wealth is not only measured in terms of money but the fullness of life we enjoy as a result.

Lifestyle design or lifestyle entrepreneurship is designing your business around the lifestyle you want. Lifestyle design is something that became important to me when I had my first child. I knew I did not want to spend hours working away from my children but at the same time I needed to provide for them. I was determined my children were not going to spend countless hours in daycare and as a result I negotiated with my boss to design my job in such a way where I can still spend quality time with my baby. Even though I did not have an official terminology for it then, I never based my decision on taking a job based on money alone. The job had to be flexible enough to grant me the lifestyle I desired.

Now fast forward fifteen years later, I treat my business with the same mindset. I was not afraid to do away with all the traditional norms of starting a business and building a business that will afford me the lifestyle I love. I have been truly blessed all through this process.

Planning a lifestyle business

Firstly – specific and measurable goals
If you throw a penny up, it will come down: One truth we cannot escape is that we will most likely end up in the direction we are heading. We cannot meet the goals we set for ourselves unless we aim for them. So if you want to design a business that accommodates your desired lifestyle, you have to become very specific. In other words, you need specific and measureable goals.

For instance, rather than saying, “I want to lose weight” say “I want to lose 10 pounds in 3 months”. Having specific and measurable goals can translate in any area of life. If your lifestyle goal is to spend your winters somewhere warm then you need to incorporate that preference in your business. You will need to think of a way to structure your business where:

  • You make enough money to afford the lifestyle
  • Your business is mobile/ flexible enough where leaving your permanent residence for a whole season will not disrupt cash flow.

If you do not take your preferences into consideration, what ends up happening is you grow a business you learn to hate and you find yourself stuck in a hamsters wheel. Planning a lifestyle business is less complicated than people make it.

Secondly, identify what you need to know and learn
In the case of losing 10 pounds in 3 months, you would need to know how to lose 10 pounds in 3 months. When you have clear specific goals, then knowing what you need to know will come quite easy.

Thirdly, write some actionable steps you can take to get started
Once you know what you need to know, you need to write some actionable steps on how to gather the information you need. To lose 10 pounds in 3 months, you can do the following:

  • Buy a book on how to loose 10pounds in 3 months and do it yourself
  • Research online for some practical steps on losing 10 pounds in 3 months
  • Hire a personal trainer
  • Join a gym

Your actionable steps should be written in such a way where it takes you one step further than you are today. You do not need to know how to get to the end line but each action should lead you to the next one which eventually takes you to the end line. For instance if you were totally clueless, you can hire a personal trainer to take you through the process. When you hire an expert, you get the advantage of having someone help you to the finish line faster than you can do on your own.

We often have a mental picture of what we will like to achieve. But until we write down our goals and create a system for measuring our progress we are likely not to take action.

Lastly, ask yourself, “Am I willing to pay the price?
This is a hard question: I hear men talk about wanting a close family, but they aren’t willing to place their family ahead of their career or hobbies. Someone says they want to advance in their career, but they aren’t willing to gain the education necessary. Achieving success at anything requires a certain level of sacrifice. Some people may want to attain the level, but they aren’t willing to invest what is required to get there. At some point you will have to determine if you are ready to make the required sacrifice.

After you figure out what is required of you, you need to ask yourself if you are willing to pay the price. Do not start unless you honestly answer this question or you will never finish. Don’t answer this question too quickly but spend some time wrestling with this question and be truthful to yourself. If you do decide to pay the price, share your goal with someone who can keep you accountable.

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