Creating a lifestyle business you love

Whenever I’ve engaged a business coach, we’ve spent most of our time working towards taking my business to the next level. But one thing has always been missing... the idea of creating a lifestyle business that I truly love!


Most business coaches think that bigger is better. While I understand that this isn’t the case with all of them, to me there’s a more important issue at stake.

What do I really, really want from my business and more importantly, what do I want from my life?

I watched Robert’s interviews with Michael Gerber recently and read all the comments from the Flying Solo community afterwards. I felt validated to know that I’m not the only person in small business that feels that e-Mything my business isn’t my only option.

I don’t dispute that Michael’s work is brilliant or doubt his passion for it. But not every small business owner wants to expand.

Here’s what I’ve learned about creating a lifestyle business from my own recent experience of revising my strategy back to being a solo operator and from talking with my own small business clients.

"What do I really, really want from my business and more importantly, what do I want from my life?"

It’s okay to take the path less travelled

Most business coaches (and many business owners) believe that success means growth. More sales, more income and more staff.

You need to define your own version of success though. Mine is that I need to love my business.

I’ve had countless conversations with clients who’ve created ‘successful’ businesses only to realise that they’re no longer enjoying work.

An example that comes to mind is the owner of a boutique design agency whose business strategy was to double their income. After a while she realised that she’d crafted a role for herself that was nothing to do with being creative. She was managing people and doing loads of business development to keep up with the sales targets – and she was miserable.

She took the courageous step of letting her team go and went back to doing what she loves best: design work. Now she gets out of bed each morning excited about going to work.

Want more articles like this? Check out the lifestyle business and work styles section.

Think outside the box and creating a lifestyle business

If you’re not interested in managing a team but you want to generate some extra income, think creatively.

What’s another way that you can use your expertise to generate passive income?

What can you let go of to free up your time so you can do more of what you’re exceptionally good at?

My own way of handling this is that I’ve given up the idea of retiring. Why would I want to stop doing the thing what I love? This strategy will (hopefully) give me an extra ten years of income, albeit maybe part time.

When I review my long-term financial goals, this is far more effective than increasing profit through engaging contractors – and it will lead to more personal satisfaction too.

Stay where you are

In my view, one of the greatest problems in Western society is this idea that bigger means better. It fascinates me how quickly people absorb their successes and start looking for the next thing.

Remember when you were on a salary and you had a pay rise? It felt great for two months and then suddenly you were back to being 10 percent short of what you needed to live on.

We rarely stop to reflect on how well we are doing or to think about how far we’ve come. In many cases, when we do that we realise that we’ve already achieved the dream.

A lot goes into a Volkswagen van.

Three small business owners learn to unlock their potential with a Road Test in a Volkswagen van. Click here to watch their day-in-the-life stories and get tips for taking business on the road.

Kate James

runs coaching programs for creative startup businesses and she facilitates mindfulness workshops retreats in Melbourne, Bali and Byron Bay. Kate is the author of Believe in Yourself & Do What You Love and Be Mindful & Simplify Your Life.

127,122 people use Flying Solo to help them create a business with life. Do you?

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