What is a lifestyle business? And why you should consider one.

Lifestyle design has become a priority for me. And building lifestyle businesses is my new passion as it allows subject-matter experts to serve on their terms.

Mar 24, 2024

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    Welcome to the first edition of this new NBS.

    In this first post I want to share with you a bit about what is a lifestyle business and how to start building yours.

    If you received my emails last week, you’ve already read about the new focus (lifestyle design), and why I’m so passionate about it. But most importantly, why I feel this new content will help you live a better life than what I had been sharing (admittedly on and off) in the newsletter prior. 

    But if you didn’t see my emails from last week, you can read them here, here, and here.

    Let’s dive in!

    What is a lifestyle business? And why you should consider one
    It’s Not Brain Surgery #1

    What is a lifestyle business?

    In its simplest form, a lifestyle business is one that adapts to your lifestyle.

    So instead of trying to fit your life around the time your business leaves you, you design your lifestyle and then adapt your business around it. The concept is as simple as it is counterintuitive. Mostly because we’re all used to the traditional work > life prioritization. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

    Here’s how to break free from it.

    Stop living on autopilot

    Lifestyle design is about intentionality.

    It’s for those of us who don’t want to spend 80% of our adult life at work (whether it’s our business or someone else’s) while trying to fit all we want to do in life in the remaining 20%. It’s about designing a profitable business –or finding a job– that aligns with what we want to be doing in life. (I refer to these as lifestyle businesses).

    I know the concept of lifestyle businesses sounds utopian and damn-near-impossible to achieve, but I’m here to tell you it’s neither.

    And since you’re already here –and reading– I’m going to share with you how to start thinking about this whole thing.

    Step 1: Clarify Your Priorities

    The very first step to create a business that truly serves your lifestyle is to get crystal clear on *your* priorities.

    Yes, it’s perfectly fine to prioritize your career. Or your job. Or your family life. Or being able to travel. They’re your priorities.

    You get to choose them and rank them in whatever order makes your heart happy. 

    Don’t worry about what others might think. They get their own. So if they think religion, or family, or their career should come first, they get to do that too. With theirs.

    Now, here’s what throws a lot of my clients off: when defining your priorities, you don’t have to define lifelong priorities.

    Because –brace yourself: your priorities can and will change. 🤯

    I know this sounds obvious but you’d be surprised how many men and women in their 50’s and 60’s find themselves living a life they chose in their 20’s. Even when it hasn’t made them happy in a long time.

    So don’t stress about what might happen in a couple of years when you have kids. Or when your kids go to college. Or if you become a digital nomad and end up sailing the globe. 

    You get to change your priorities at that time.

    Step 2: Make decisions based on your priorities

    Clarifying your priorities is the foundation of everything else when building a lifestyle business.

    Now the hard part is filtering all of your business decisions through those priorities. I know it sounds simple –and it is. At least in theory. But in practice, not so much…

    For example, before I came up with this concept of lifestyle businesses, I began coaching other doctors in business and entrepreneurship. But because I was not clear on my priorities, I let that business grow too fast and it absorbed too much of my time and focus. And I suddenly found myself traveling twice a month to do VIP weekends with clients in other cities.

    Offering these VIP weekends was very profitable from a business perspective. But it was a terrible decision from a lifestyle perspective since it took me away from my family every other weekend. And since I was not clear on my priorities (i.e. Family > $$) I kept doing them for way too long.

    The good news is you don’t need to make this mistake to learn the lesson.

    Just make sure you’re very clear on your priorities and prioritize them!

    Step 3: Don’t wait to start living the life you’re designing

    This is perhaps the most overlooked step in the entire process.

    The common belief is you need to build a business that makes X amount of money before you can take that trip, take Fridays off, start homeschooling your kids or whatever you envision your ideal lifestyle to be.

    But that’s not how lifestyle businesses are designed.

    Lets assume you’re like most clients I help start building a lifestyle business, and one of your deep desires is to have more quality time with your spouse. Instead of thinking you need to get away for an entire week and get frustrated when you realize it’s not immediately possible, start small with something you can do regularly.

    For example, take one morning off per month.

    But don’t just sleep in. Do something fun. Take a class together, go for a hike, ride bicycles. My wife and I like to go skating down the beach where we live.

    See how easy it is to start living more in line with the life you want to live?

    And that’s how you start thinking about lifestyle businesses.

    To summarize:

    1. Get crystal clear on your priorities.
    2. Filter your every decision through these priorities.
    3. Start living –and enjoying!– your desired life today with what you have.

    I hope you’ve found the concept of lifestyle businesses appealing enough to stick around. I know you probably have more questions than answers now and that’s a good sign! In future editions I’m going to share more tactical steps to help you build your own lifestyle businesses.

    In the meantime, hit me up on X or LinkedIn and let me know what you found most helpful this week—I’d love to hear from you!

    See you next Saturday,

    🤟🏻 Dr E

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