At a time when so many people are discontent with their current situations, we are seeing an increased demand for alternative lifestyles. The professional track of the baby boomer is not what younger generations want today, and this sentiment is not exclusive to the western world. The malaise extends globally. Today’s earner prefers to use their income on experiences rather than being tied down by hard capital assets such as real estate. They’re looking for careers that provide much more time freedom, mobility and the ability to focus on personal needs. But how to start a lifestyle business?
For those professionals looking for more meaning in their lives who, like me, are not quite ready to leave all worldly possessions behind and join an ashram, a co-op or become a wandering nomad, thanks to the Internet, we can use our existing business skills to create and grow mobile and time freedom businesses.
My laptop allows me to function from anywhere. Clients don’t know whether I’m sitting at my desk at the office or working from a café in Paris. Frankly, why should it matter so long as I’m providing value?
I began my Internet business journey six months ago, not ever having heard of digital marketing before. My entire growth has happened online. I’ve yet to meet my teachers and mentors but this has not made a difference in the success of my business. How is the ongoing education I receive different from taking a course online or receiving a degree from a digital University?
I would caution, however, to do your research well before investing in any online business that claims you can make money instantly or that guarantees a minimum income. There is no such thing.
NOT FOR EVERYONE
E-commerce is exploding and now is the time to get into the game. A laptop business, like any other brick and mortar venture however, is only as successful as the amount of time, money and energy that you invest in it. Everyone has a different risk tolerance and work ethic and it is unrealistic to make any income claims.
Online marketing is not for the faint of heart. It is not a get rich quick scheme. This is not a business where you sell cup cakes online and become a millionaire overnight, no matter what you may have heard. The successful professionals in their businesses treat it as such: a serious business. Do your diligence and understand that there is a process to growing any commercial venture.
Online marketing is for the dedicated entrepreneur. If you want a sustainable business, you must have focus, organization and determination.
CREATE YOUR BUSINESS PLAN
How to start a lifestyle business? Your first step is to create a business plan. It should include what you want to do (your mission) and why you want to do it (your vision). I suspect that if you’re looking to create a lifestyle business, the “why” probably means you want a situation that provides you with mobility, income and the freedom to spend time as you wish.
Outline the value that you will bring to the market. In other words, what do you want to offer, a service, a product or an idea?
How you will finance the venture is the most essential part of your plan. Not everyone is a trust fund baby, so you will need to figure out how to back your efforts. Loans, partners and investors are great options if you don’t have personal assets. Your idea should be solid, clear and targeted if you want investors.
You will need startup capital to create your website and logos and money for ongoing expenses such as website maintenance, SEO expenses, and ongoing advertising. While the neophyte may spend $10/per day advertising, the pros may be spending thousands per day. This is what puts them at the top of their game and you can reach this status once you start turning profits. This is called scaling your business, the ability to reinvest your profits to speed up the growth of your company.
TARGET YOUR AUDIENCE
Once you have defined your plan, target your audience. This is known as identifying your Avatar. Who is the person that will purchase your offering? Where do they “hang out” online? This is where you will advertise. Your goal is to reach the right consumer and you will need to figure out where they are.
Remember that today’s online buyer wants instant information. You website should be designed for speed and visibility on mobile phones, where most consumers begin their search. You want to keep their interest from the start or you will loose them to another site. Attention span is very short for the online consumer.
CREATE QUALITY CONTENT
The whole purpose of your business is to provide value. This should be clear in all that you do and it should be consistent throughout your website, blogs, advertising, videos and other venues you will use to communicate with your market.
Make sure your voice is heard and your personality comes across. The personal touch is essential when communicating with your list. A buyer wants to know that there’s a real person behind the ad or website and that you can be contacted. Reassure them that you are a real business. Using testimonials in your content is reassuring to a skeptical online consumer.
Unless you’re an affiliate using someone else’s landing pages, you should have a professionally created website. Your authority site is the most essential tool in your business. People should be able to find you quickly. Make sure to have Search Engine Optimization and several ways for people to contact you on each page. Visibility is key to growing any online business.
Have banners, sign up forms and buttons where people can provide their email addresses. This is how to build a list and the only way to grow a digital business. The whole purpose of your effort is to develop a list of loyal clients. Repeat buyers ensure that your business grows.
Once your site is optimized you can begin advertising on Google, Bing, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and a myriad of other social media. But don’t spread yourself too thin. Pick two or three mediums that resonate with your business and personality.
Your ads should be clear and to the point, never misleading. The opening lines should catch people’s attention and draw them in.
START GROWING YOUR LIST
As in any other business, it is essential to follow-up once you have a subscriber. Continue to provide information and added value. Make sure to thank them for subscribing. I use automated systems to do this like Aweber, to make this process effortless. This type of electronically generated follow-up will be especially useful when your list is in the thousands of subscribers.
Satisfied buyers who feel they’re receiving value tend to become repeat purchasers. They are also a great source of referrals.
I hope you find this information useful on how to start a lifestyle business. Imagine owning a company that works for you 24/7/365; one that allows you to travel more, spend more time with those you love, take up new interests or just have more time for yourself. You are in sole charge over the kind of life you lead and lifestyle that you create.
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Author, Agapanthus Rising