Note: Want to start a lifestyle business in 2018? This post has just been updated for accuracy.
In 2008, I had a pretty good idea that my day job wasn’t going to be a long term solution for me.
However, it wouldn’t be for another 18 months until I’d actually leave my job.
During most of those 18 months, I stayed stagnant and made no progress to the goals I’d really set for myself – namely traveling the world, and building a business.
It wasn’t because I didn’t want to, but it was mostly because I didn’t know where to start.
In 2009, things started coming together a little bit more, but it really only took about 5 months from the time that I started actually taking action to the time I parted ways from my job.
I’ve found though, that once you start moving, it’s a hard train to get off.
Your Excuses for Not Starting are Legit
All the time I hear from people who want to start a lifestyle business for themselves but simply don’t know where to start.
And you know what? I get it!
It can be daunting, especially if you’ve spent the last decade or two sitting in a cubicle building things for other people.
Then you factor in family responsibilities and keeping some semblance social life, and the thought of actually doing more work in your spare time seems so ridiculous you don’t do anything about it.
And then the cycle starts again.
Here’s some good news, it doesn’t take as much drastic action as you think it does to start building a lifestyle business.
In fact, many of the most beneficial steps to building a business are probably things you either are doing or have been considering doing anyway, you just haven’t realized it.
The goal of today’s post is to give you 10 extremely actionable tasks that you can start doing today that will begin pushing you towards a business of your own and the lifestyle you’ve been wanting for years.
Here’s how to start a lifestyle business:
- Step 1: Get a domain, hosting, install WordPress
- Step 2: Send emails to 20 people living the life you want
- Step 3: Find someone who has the same goals you do
- Step 4: Do a brainstorming exercise
- Step 5: Start freelance writing
- Step 6: Register for Upwork
- Step 7: Set attainable goals with “How to” actions
- Step 8: Build a habit
- Step 9: Improve your copywriting chops
- Step 10: Create
That may or may not all make sense right now, so let’s jump in and show you exactly how to start building a successful lifestyle business, today.
Ready to take some action towards a better life? Sweet, let’s do this.
#1: Get a domain, hosting, and install WordPress
This is hands down the easiest, most tangible thing you can possibly do today to get closer to a business of your own.
Every single thing I do online (social media being the exception) has been built on WordPress – my entire business revolves around it.
I don’t care what you start building. It could be a blog, business website or even a fan page for your favorite Spice Girl (hey, don’t judge, that might be a great niche site). Doesn’t matter.
What matters is that you get hosting (which will allow you to build unlimited websites), and install WordPress on your new domain.
Once you feel comfortable with that, all of the other steps become much more attainable, because you’re removing one of the biggest technical barriers out there.
If you want a little more hand holding through the process, check out “How to Build Your First Online Asset in 48 Hours.”
Action Step: Check out How to Set Up a Blog to get step by step instructions for getting your site started.
#2: Send emails to 20 people who are living the life you want
Who better to build a relationship with than the people who have already successfully done what you’re striving towards?
I sent an email to Chris Guillebeau on March 6th, 2009 that completely changed my life.
We met for coffee, formed a relationship, and he became an essential part of my transformation from employee to entrepreneur.
That being said, there’s a right and a wrong way to approach influencers.
Don’t give them a 10 paragraph essay of your problems and life story. They are busy, respect their time. Simply send them a quick note introducing yourself, and give a specific example of how something they’ve done or written has influenced you.
This opens up the door for further communication down the road.
Often your natural inclination is going to be to tell them as much info as possible, and then offer them everything under the sun in terms of help. Don’t go there.
Slowly build the relationship as an equal, and if there’s an opportunity to meet them in person, go for it.
Action Step: Do this for 20 people, and there’s a very good chance at least a few will develop into personal relationships that will be really valuable as you move forward.
#3: Find someone in the same place as you
Just as important (if not more so), is finding someone who is going through the exact same thing you are.
For me, it was my best friend Ryan.
He’d quit his job and moved to Hawaii, and as I watched him begin to live out his dreams, I sure as hell wasn’t going to be the one who got left behind.
Having someone for accountability and support is so so important – especially early on.
There will be times where you struggle, you will feel like you’re not making as much progress as you should be, and where you just want to give up on it all and watch more Netflix.
This is totally normal. But it also really helps to have someone who’s going to keep you moving forward.
Action Step: Find a buddy you can connect with who is in the same boat as you, stay in touch and support each other.
#4: Do the brainstorming exercise
One of the most common excuses I hear is “I want to do something, but I don’t have any ideas.”
I promise that you have way more ideas than you think.
I think you can start a website that will make you at least $500/month around literally any topic.
So, what’s the brainstorming exercise?
Make a list of every product, hobby, niche, and interest you have. Really think about how you might be able to build a site around.
Seriously, spend 20 minutes on this. You should have at least 50 items.
Then begin narrowing down which ones make the most sense.
For more help with this check out “How to Build a Niche Site that Brings in At Least $500 a Month.”
For most people it’s not a lack of ideas, it’s a lack of making a decision.
Just pick something!
When you’re first starting out, there is no wrong decision. Just going through the process will put you miles ahead of where you would have been otherwise.
Action Step: “How to Come Up with an Incredible Business Idea (and Validate It)”Read for a little bit more structure on how to go through this process.
#5: Start freelance writing
If you’ve been a reader here for awhile, you know that I’m a firm advocate of a three step process for building a lifestyle business:
- Build Skills – If you don’t know what you’re doing, you won’t be successful. Take the time to educate yourself.
- Freelance – Pick one of the primary skills in the post above and build a freelance business around it. This will give you some income and the confidence to know you can make this work.
- Take those Skills and Build Your Own Projects – Once you have the basics you can do whatever you want. Membership sites, e-commerce, info products, affiliate sites – the list goes on.
Hundreds of people have leveraged freelance writing inside Location Rebel to successfully transition into their own businesses online. It’s the easiest way to start making money this week.
Here are a few ways to get into writing
- SEO Writing: While it’s not as easy to get into now as it used to be, it’s a place to start
- B2B Writing: A lot of people have the experience to get into this and don’t even know it
It’s not always super sexy, but it’s a fantastic way to make the transition from employee to employer.
Action Step: Start a daily writing practice. And if you need inspiration to just start writing, check out this post on the tools that can help you get writing every day.
#6: Register for UpWork
Keeping with the same theme of finding ways to make money right now, register for UpWork. This is a site where people post all types of freelance work from copywriting to web development and much more.
There are a lot of things you may not be qualified for, but probably more than a few that you would be perfectly capable of completing.
Sign up and peruse through a few of the ads – if one catches your eye, bid on it.
Again, this isn’t a be all end all solution.
You won’t make as much on Upwork as you might through other sites – but that’s not the goal at this point. The goal is to help you build the confidence necessary to be successful with your own business over the long term.
#7: Set attainable goals with how to actions
“Be making $1k/month by September” is not a good goal.
Because you have no direct control over it – not only that, the time frame is way too far out. Something like this can be a good thing to shoot for long term, but you need much smaller more attainable milestones throughout the process.
We like to call this the Milestone Mindset and it’s all about building a system that can help you achieve what you want.
As I mentioned, you’ll have ups and downs, but if you’re continually reaching your goals, you’ll have much more confidence to stick with it.
Here are a few examples to get you going:
- Buy a domain
- Write my first blog post
- Comment on 25 other blogs
- Get your first comment on your own blog (you don’t have control of this, but it’s attainable enough that I think it’s worth adding).
- Write your first piece of sales copy
- Apply to a writing job
#8: Build a habit
I just finished the book The Power of Habit. When you’re working for yourself, building good habits are more important than ever.
Start with one. That one will make it much easier to form another, and another…
For me personally, I rarely eat breakfast. So I decided to start making breakfast every morning. It’s amazing how that one commitment has led to greater productivity and doing things like going to the gym every day.
You can use a tool like Ask Me Every to help you stay accountable for this one keystone habit.
Action Step: Start small and pick one positive habit you want to build and set yourself a reminder to do it daily.
#9: Improve your copywriting skills
Life is all about selling. Whether you’re convincing someone to go to coffee with you, buy your product, or simply side with you on which bar is best for drinks on a Friday night.
If you can sell and persuade, your life is going to be much easier.
It’s important to note that I don’t mean you should be deceitful or scammy in your persuasion. You should simply recognize it’s a part of life and do everything you can to put yourself in a good position to succeed.
If you’re going to do anything online, copywriting (persuading through written words) is especially important.
Luckily there are some resources out there that will get you moving in the right direction really quickly.
These are the resources that have helped me improve the most:
- Influence by Robert Cialdini – Cialdini looks at all of the different methods of persuasion and gives great examples of how they have worked on him in his own life.
- Breakthrough Advertising by Eugene Schwartz – Recommended to me by multiple marketers, it can be tough to find a high quality copy, but is worth the effort.
- Cashvertising – I think about the “Life Force 8” just about anytime I’m writing sales copy.
- Copyhour – Arguably the most effective out of all of them is Derek’s method of handwriting sales pages.
Action Step: Pick up one of the copywriting books (or any good copywriting book) and give it a read so you can start learning copywriting techniques.
#10: Create something
Anytime I’m feeling unproductive, I look at my desktop where I have a note that says “Are You Consuming or Creating?”
Regardless of what you do in your lifestyle business, you’re going to be creating something. So you might as well start now.
Write a blog post, edit a photo, start a website – create something. If you get in the habit to create as much as you consume, you’ll be amazed at how quickly things can progress.
Action Step: Try taking a 30 day challenge. Make it easy to start right now by creating challenge a that will help you take action starting today.
BONUS: Join Location Rebel Academy
You don’t need to spend any money or join any course to have a successful online lifestyle business. Anyone that tells you otherwise is lying – you can find all the information you need, out there for free.
That being said, there are tools and resources that make the path much easier – and Location Rebel Academy is one of those resources.
It has detailed blueprints to help you with all ten of the previous steps in this post. It has a community of hundreds of people who were exactly where you are right now – and have built successful businesses on their own.
Having that support system coupled with an exact roadmap for what you need to do is everything I wish I had when I was getting started.
You don’t need this program, but I’d love to see you inside if you’re ready to make a commitment to building a life where the only boss is yourself. It certainly will take a lot of the pain and confusion out of learning how to start a lifestyle business!
What actions would you recommend people take right now in order to gain traction with their dream lifestyle?