The Perfect Lifestyle Business
Follow These Steps to Create Yours
I followed 10 specific steps to create the Indie Business Network, the perfect lifestyle business for me. As I look back, I didn’t articulate each step clearly as I went along. Instead, I built the plane while I was flying it. In hindsight, however, I can see a clear road map, and I’m going to share it with you here.
Before I get to that, I want you to know that there is a bit of irony in my use of the word “perfect.” As I write this, my son just cracked the family room television set with a hockey puck and the garbage disposal broke. This is all happening while I write this blog post from the kitchen table, manage texts from the plumber, and scold my son (again) for playing hockey in the house.
OK, so with that in mind, here is how I created all of this “perfection.” (Ha!)
10 Steps to Your Perfect Lifestyle Business
1. Envision your perfect life.
It is critical to know what you want your life to look like, so you can build a business around that. Answer questions such as where you want to live, whether you want to marry and/or have a family, and whether you want to work from a home office or from a remote location.As a Lifestyle CEO, being happy in your business is more important than making millions in your business. #lifestyleceo Click To Tweet
In your perfect life, are your children in day care or are they home with you — or maybe a combination of both? Do you live in the city or the country? Do you own a vehicle or do you use public transportation?
What makes life worth living for you? What makes you genuinely happy? As a Lifestyle CEO, you prioritize your happiness over profits. It’s important to be profitable of course, but happiness is even more important than profits.
Answering questions like those addressed here will help you build a business that makes you happy and supports your desired lifestyle.
2. Envision your perfect work day.
Of course the perfect work day won’t happen all the time, but without a vision, it will never happen at all. Success happens in your head first, so you must ask, “What does my perfect work day look like?” Make a list, and start creating your perfect work day.
Here’s an example of my perfect work day when my children were younger:
- 6am: Drink water, shower, motivational reading, quiet time
- 7am: Laundry, breakfast; family time and tasks (kids to day care, etc.)
- 8am: Content creation and social media strategy
- 10am: Dinner planning and/or household chores
- 10:30: Meeting with VA or team, business management tasks (like email)
- 12:30: Lunch
- 1pm: Afternoon with children (after 1/2 day of day care)
- 5pm: Dinner and family time
- 9pm: Put kids to bed, spouse time
- 10pm: Plan the next day, finish up the day’s tasks and email …
- 11:30pm: Reading and bedtime
3. Set clear income goals.
Identify exactly how much money you want your business to gross each year. Remember to back out your costs, taxes, and a salary for you, and be aware that your net is going to be a lot less than your gross. If you know how much you want to gross, you can break that figure down into weekly and daily income requirements.
Doing this will help you know, from day to day, exactly how your business is performing financially, so you can address small issues before they become big problems.
4. Sell one service to one target buyer.
When I started IBN, I was tempted to serve all small business owners because I believed I could help all small business owners. While I was not necessarily wrong in thinking I could help a lot of people, it would have been foolhardy to set up a business designed to help everyone. I chose to target Makers and Handmade Entrepreneurs, and my brand message, through IBN, is focused on them and them alone.
Whatever you sell, focus on selling it to a single type of target buyer. Think of it as offering the same product or service to the same person over and over again, just at a different address. Refining and clarifying your target will keep your message sharp and focused, and help you stay on track for repeat success.
5. Use email to talk to target buyers.
On January, 16 2000, the day IBN opened for business, I did two things. I launched a website and I published an email newsletter. (You can see a screen shot of the first issue at this link.) I published that newsletter every week for 10 years, with only one miss. I built my business using email.Don't let anyone tell you that email marketing does not work. It works better today than it did twenty years ago. Email marketing works, if you work it. #lifestyleceo Click To Tweet
You may have read that email marketing is dead, but it’s not. It works today just like it did 20 years ago … maybe even better.
Today’s email marketing technology allows you to segment your customer lists so you can be hyper-focused on exactly what message you are sending to what type of buyer at any given time. You can track subscriber behavior, test different headline options, and link to your website and all of your social media outlets.
6. Identify and protect a brand name.
As you build your business, online and off, you’ll want to select a brand name that is in sync with the mission and vision of your brand.
More importantly, you’ll want to choose a brand name that you can register as a federal trademark to identify you as the source of goods and services sold under that name.
You may wish to hire a trademark attorney to help you identify and protect your brand name. You can learn more about this process at the US Patent & Trademark Office website, which has an excellent trademark information area.
7. Build a website hub.
Your website is your piece of real estate on the Internet, and you can have more than one. Your ultimate goal is to influence your target buyers to come to your website to get to know you better, to have a look around, and ultimately, to buy something.
Build a website, and attract people to it using, among other things, social media.
8. Set up social media.
Before 2007, my means of engagement with my members and clients was through email, phone, and snail mail.
I started using Facebook in 2007. Twitter followed in 2008. These were such momentous events in my life that I remember exactly who told me about each of the platforms. Rosanne Tartaro of SunRose Aromatics introduced me to Facebook, and Leesa Barnes introduced me to Twitter.
I have been using social media as a business tool ever since. I like social media. I believe in it, and it works. However, it’s not the end game. As I said in this blog post from 2009, Twitter (and all the rest) is the icing, not the cake. Your website is the cake, and that’s where you ultimately want people to end up.
Social media is great for amplifying your message and giving it legs. But the ultimate goal must be to influence people to come to your website, the space on the Internet that you own and control.
9. Jab, jab, jab, right hook.
In his book, Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook, Gary Vaynerchuk advocates using social media to offer your fans three “jabs,” or tidbits of content that are consistent with your brand message, followed by a “right hook,” otherwise known as a sales pitch.
For example, if you are a travel agent, you might share three posts in a row on Facebook, as follows: (1) how to pack light, (2) how to avoid sea sickness on a cruise, and (3) how to choose the most comfortable airline seat. Those would be your “jabs.” The fourth post would be a “right hook,” or a pitch for your travel agent services.
This approach provides information of great interest to your target buyer, so they can know that you care about them and are interested in providing them with information that is truly useful to them. Once you have jabbed a few times, you have paved the way for your right hook, or sales pitch.
25% of your posts are right hooks, and the rest are jabs.
10. Tweak, rinse and repeat.
Once you have a system that embraces all of the above, you will tweak and refine it as you go, day by day. It’s a dynamic process. You will always be making it better.
Of course, nothing is perfect, nor am I at all happy with the newly broken television set. And, and the last thing I want to do is spend $600 on a new garbage disposal.
But this is “perfect” for me, because I built it all in the presence of my children. I have published thousands of blog posts and recorded hundreds of podcasts from this very spot, and I know my children are watching and learning. Twenty years ago, I envisioned exactly this. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.
In addition to the steps here, there are others you must take in order to build a solid business. With rare exception, each fits neatly into one of the 10 steps listed here.
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I invite you to continue the discussion by leaving a comment below. I look forward to coming back to see what you have to say!