How to Get Your Ideal Lifestyle as an Entrepreneur
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I have a confession to make: I’ve never been particularly interested in founding the next big up start up. You’ll never see me on the cover of Entrepreneur Magazine. To me, earning vast wealth is only somewhat appealing.
I’m a lifestyle entrepreneur. I began pursuing this path so that I could live a modest life of my choosing. So far, I think I’m doing pretty well at that. I’ve started a video production business that lets me hone my craft and travel the world for free (more on that in a bit).
I’ve already talked about some of the benefits entrepreneurs enjoy in my post about the top 30 reasons to be an online entrepreneur. In this post, I want to talk a little bit more about how to develop your business in a way that allows you to achieve your ideal lifestyle.
Honing Your Craft
The life so short, the craft so long to learn.
Let me tell you a little bit more about my ideal lifestyle. As a kid, I always wanted to be a novelist or artist. When I got a little bit older, I added musician to the list of “dream jobs”.
The problem with those professions, is that they’re not generally ones that you can make a living with right away. Stephen King worked as a high school janitor while trying to publish his first novel; Robert Frost used to change light bulb filaments for a living. In the arts, you should plan on honing your craft for years before earning a decent salary.
I understood this when I entered the job market three years ago and I chose to become an entrepreneur because I thought that it gave me the best opportunity to earn a living while developing the skills that I would need if I ever wanted to become a professional novelist, artist, or musician. I’ll explain…
How Entrepreneurship Lets Me to Hone My Craft
Entrepreneurs get to pick their own field of work and job description. If you do this right, you can essentially handcraft a job that allows you to practice your craft.
In my case, I knew that I wanted to work in an area that allowed me to (1) write, (2) practice visual design, and (3) learn about sound and audio. Video production was the perfect fit for me because it allows me to do all three of those things at once – while also providing value for other people and businesses.
In this way, with each video I produce I become a little bit better at my craft – and a little bit closer to becoming a professional novelist, artist, or musician.
How You Can Do It
The first step here is to understand what you really love and want to do. From there, you must find a way that you can provide value to others by doing something related.
This last point really can’t be emphasized enough. If you have a business, it isn’t enough to simply be passionate about it. The business must provide value to other people and businesses. So whatever your passion is, seek out ways that you can help others with that passion.
Photo Credit: Stephen A. Wolfe
Getting the Tools of the Trade
The mechanic that would perfect his work must first sharpen his tools.
Every dream life requires a few accessories. If you want to be a Professional skateboarder, you’re going to need a skateboard, pads, and possibly a personal practice space. When the business that you start as an entrepreneur is aligned with your other dreams, it can be an avenue for you to acquire the tools necessary to reach those goals.
Let’s say that your dream is to become a comic book artist. If you start a business as a graphic designer, you’ll be able to invest some of your earnings into buying a digital drawing tablet, a scanner, an external hard drive, and maybe even a new computer.
Before long, you’ll have all of the tools of a professional comic book artist – and that’s a big step on the way to actually being a professional comic book artist. There’s also the added benefit that many of your business investments are likely tax deductible.
How Entrepreneurship Let Me Acquire Necessary Tools
In my case, the first thing I needed to get upon starting my video production business was an Adobe Creative Suite with Adobe Premiere video editing software. I’ve since purchased microphones, cables, and – most importantly – a Canon 60D camera.
Each of these tools has been a big investment in my business, but they’re also expanding my horizons for personal creativity. In a few weeks, a film that I shot will be showing at our local theater in Fort Collins, something that would have been impossible without the camera, the software, and the expertise that I’ve acquired through my company.
How You Can Do It
This is a pretty straightforward concept, so the challenging part is in the execution. First, you must pick a business that aligns well enough with your other interests so that they share the same tools of advancement.
Then, you must actually save up a portion of your earnings to invest back in the business. I find that it’s best to have a set system (me and my partner split our earnings evenly between the two of us and the business) so as to ensure that you’re consistently investing.
The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.
- St. Augustine
Travel is one of life’s great pleasures. Unfortunately, most career paths discourage travel by giving you a rigid schedule with limited vacation days per year.
Being an entrepreneur offers a different relationship with travel. In fact, I’ve traveled more in the last year than ever before in my life and I owe it all to my work as an entrepreneur.
How Entrepreneurship Allows Me to Travel the World
Last month, a company flew me out to Los Angeles, California to help them shoot video of a conference at the Anaheim Events Center. Two weeks before that, a different company flew me to New York City to shoot a Kickstarter video. I took the picture above while walking through Central Park at night.
For both trips, I asked for the return flight to be a few days later so that I could spend some extra time as a traveler. For me, it was a dream come true to be able to travel from one coast to the other for free.
If you want to learn more about how I got these jobs in the first place, you can read my article about how to attract leads and land clients online.
How You Can Do It
If you don’t provide an in-person service, then you’re probably thinking, “Well, that’s all good for him, but my clients/customers will never have any reason to fly me anywhere.”
That may be so, but it doesn’t preclude you from traveling. Cody McKibben works totally remotely as a marketer and web developer – and that’s what allows him to be a ‘digital nomad’, living primarily in Thailand and always traveling the world.
What’s Your Ideal Lifestyle?
Lately, I’ve truly been feeling like I’m living the life of my dreams. My work is allowing me to travel, hone my craft, and it’s flexibility means that I can devote more time to my music, writing, and film.
This probably isn’t your ideal lifestyle — in fact, you might be working 60 hours a week developing the next big online startup right now and that might be perfect for you. If so, then keep at it.
Mostly, I just want you to truly consider the lifestyle you’re looking for as you work towards your entrepreneurial goals. Personally, I still don’t believe there’s any better vehicle for achieving the lifestyle of your dreams than becoming an entrepreneur.