August 2013: Build a Lifestyle Business

In the past, I’ve resisted the urge to write about business topics here because my biggest goal with this project is to help you create your ideal lifestyle.  But being an entrepreneur has been one of the best things I’ve done for my own lifestyle, so I figured it was time to talk a little more about that. It’s also something I’ve helped hundreds of other people do successfully, so it just sort of makes sense. Want to build an awesome business? Let’s do this.

Build a Lifestyle Business“Being an entrepreneur is a piece of cake.” – No one ever

I don’t usually talk a lot about my business here, but I’m changing things up with this month’s experiment. If you’re an entrepreneur, or you want to be one, you’ll want to follow along.

Over that last 10 years, I’ve advised hundreds of awesome entrepreneurs and helped them create and grow some really great businesses. It’s been an amazing experience, and I feel incredibly lucky to work with some of the smartest and most inspiring people in the world.

In that one Facebook movie On paper, being an entrepreneur sounds amazing. You just come up with a good idea, and then BOOM, it’s all about money and freedom… right?

Um… no. In reality, starting and growing a business takes a lot of thoughtful and dedicated work. That’s why it takes passion to build a great company. Without passion, doing something hard would just be irrational. You’re not irrational, right? Ok, good, you can read on then…

I like to talk to other entrepreneurs about why they started their business. Maybe you’re motivated by freedom, or you want to build a legacy, or maybe you don’t really know. That’s ok. What matters is that your personal motivations should determine what kind of business you create.

Lifestyle vs. Business Goals

There’s a spectrum that every business owner falls on.

On one end are people who say, “I want to build a giant company, a publicly traded empire that will outlive me.” Their goal is to build an amazing business.

On the other end are people who say, “I want to build an awesome business that takes care of all my financial needs and lets me live an amazing lifestyle.” Their goal is to build an amazing lifestyle.

My buddy Corbett Barr said it really well in his post about what it’s like to have a startup versus a lifestyle business, “A startup’s job is to grow big enough to provide a return to investors. A lifestyle business’s job is to provide a great quality of life to its owners.”

Of course, there’s nothing wrong with either approach. It all depends on your priorities. But, I think running a giant company sounds terrible, so…

Let’s Build a Lifestyle Business

Of course, the Monthly Experiments Project is all about creating your ideal lifestyle. So, that’s what this experiment is going to be about.

We’ll have two goals, depending on where you’re at in your entrepreneurial journey:

  1. How to turn your existing business into a Lifestyle Business.  Or…
  2. How to start a new Lifestyle Business from scratch.

Since I already have a business, you’d think I’d be in the first camp, but I’m actually going to be starting a new business from scratch just for this experiment. I’ll explain why in a future post, and I’ll be giving a lot of advice that will help you if you’d rather just improve your existing business.

My Ideal Lifestyle Business

Since I’ll be starting from scratch, I want to share some of my own goals for my Lifestyle Business. Your goals can and should be different than mine.

  1. I want to do work I love.
  2. I want the ability to work from anywhere. (aka “location independence”)
  3. I want a highly leveraged income. (I’ll share what this is, and how it’s different from “passive income”)
  4. I want flexibility.  (The ability to travel, and not work crazy hours.)
  5. I want to help people. (I want to make the world a better place.)
  6. I want to structure my work around my “ideal day.”

I’ll get into a lot more detail about that stuff in the coming days.

Share Your Lifestyle Business Goals

One last thing. I recently asked an entrepreneur friend about what kind of business she originally set out to build, and I wanted to share her answer because I liked it so much.

“I never had any preconceptions about what kind of business it would be. I just wanted to make something I thought was awesome that would change peoples’ lives and to be able to do whatever the fuck I wanted.”

That’s an awesome definition of a Lifestyle Business! I want to hear yours. What does your ideal Lifestyle Business look like?

Share your answer in the comments. 🙂

Subscribe to Monthly Experiments

Challenge yourself. Try something new. Improve your lifestyle. Create better habits. One month at a time.

Get free updates and exclusive subscriber-only content.


  1. Dee Copeland Patience says:

    I want to turn my Tactical Branding into a lifestyle business. It’s basically business development- online lead generation, sales, conversions, etc.

    I’ve been helping Fizzlers, doing coaching via Skype and helping others in private Facebook groups, but just need to launch my business. I have two friends that I can help for a deferred payment, maybe % of growth.

    Also started a new thread in Fizzle about the new show and podcast, which will help me promote my services and courses along with Google Hangouts.

    I’m pretty pumped about it, but it’s hard balancing a full time job with growing a new business.

    • Hey Dee. Let’s talk.

      Also, don’t worry about launching something. Just find one person you can help and help them for money. No fireworks or launch needed. That comes later.

  2. I wonder if I can call my new project a lifestyle business.

    OK I will 🙂

    Look forward to following along with this.

  3. I love seeing you write so much these days, John. And I can’t wait to catch up with you on your lifestyle business and all the adventure you seem to be up to these days. 🙂

  4. I have an idea for my design business that will allow me to outsource more of my projects to (super amazingly awesome) qualified outsourcers, allowing me to take on more projects without taking on more hours in the day. Possibly even less hours in the long run.

    Starting work on this now, but it is still in the nascent stages. 🙂

  5. Hey John,

    I agree that a Lifestyle Business sounds more appealing than running a large company. Your values are very similar to mine and I’m excited to see how you tackle this project. I decided to take the “under construction” plugin off this weekend and get my new blog going. I’ve struggled with domain names and blog topics for some time now but I’ve decided to start. As long as I’m providing value I feel like I’m accomplishing something. I’m going to start with a “monetizing my blog” approach initially which is totally fine with me. I’ll explore business topics on document it on the blog as I go. Take care…Frank

  6. Hey John,

    Awesome post! I’m very intrigued. What is this business that you’ve started for this experiment?


  7. Hi John, today is my 46th birthday, and I’m a little bummed. After being downsized in 2012, I started an Etsy business, but it’s struggling. I have an interest in graphic arts, some design and writing ability, but no portfolios to speak of. (And I definitely don’t want to go back to 9 to 5 pink collar cubicle hell.)

    My idea of a lifestyle business right now is one that would let me work from home (of maybe from anywhere), earn a living wage with some of the skills I have and keep learning and improving. Scalable earnings potential would be wonderful, but right now a living wage alone would be heaven.

    • Happy Birthday Blakeney!

      Best of Luck and keep your head up. I can only imagine how difficult it may be. I’m seeing a lot of friends and family in similar situations and feel really inspired to help in any way I could. I actually created a blog that will hopefully inspire people to make changes in their lives and point them in the right direction if they need some help. I’ve taken a few courses that have helped me along the way especially if you’re looking to do something online and I’m sure John can help you out as well.

      Take care,




  1. […] in 2013, I challenged you to build a new lifestyle business. I took that challenge and ended up creating a business I still run […]

Speak Your Mind