All Hands On Deck

3 Tips For Building Your Dream Lifestyle Business

Today, I want to address the difference between fantasy and reality for online business.

We all have our fantasy picture of entrepreneurial life, and it doesn’t always match reality. The sooner we accept the realities of this lifestyle, the sooner we can enjoy its benefits. However, some people get stuck on the fantasy and refuse to feel satisfied until their life looks exactly like their daydreams. Entrepreneurs like this end up unhappy long-term.

The fantasy comes in many forms, so I’ll give a couple of versions:

One version goes like this: You’re sitting on a beach in [insert favorite warm region here], sipping on a Piña Colada. You work on your laptop for half an hour, while money flows effortlessly to your shores. You have a two-hour workweek, and spend your days on other luxurious and leisurely activities. You live the trademarked “laptop lifestyle” to the fullest.

Another version goes like this: You’re leading an entrepreneurship retreat in the mountains of Colorado. People paid $20,000 to attend. You share a few of your insights and everyone is amazed. Then you go skiing. Your books on entrepreneurship sell millions of copies, you have a gigantic social media following, and you get mentioned as a chief inspiration by hundreds of business leaders.

Those are desirable, and in some cases even possible, but are they realistic?

For the real experience that the “gurus” won’t tell you about, check out my “What’s The Secret?” Podcast.

Why The Entrepreneurial Life Is No Luau

No, the fantasies are not realistic. Even the people at the top work ridiculous hours every week in order to stay on top. In my experience, the entrepreneur’s life feels like fantasy less than 1% of the time.

Most of the time, you simply grind it out. You do what you have to do. When you achieve success, you immediately look for ways to leverage it for the next success, rather than sitting back and relaxing. 

People who paint a fantasy picture of the entrepreneurial lifestyle probably want you to buy something that will get them closer to the fantasy. You, meanwhile, can get left empty-handed. The best teachers share a lesson or two from the school of hard knocks, not the beach.

Take this example, if you’re ready for harsh realities. When Offline Sharks (our marketing business) launches a new course, I clear my schedule for two weeks before and after the launch date. Those four weeks get filled with hundreds of hours of last-minute marketing, technical support, and customer success. Sometimes on launch day, I’ll work 24 hours straight.

I have an entire podcast season dedicated to six-figure launches. Check it out!

I’m not saying that running an online business is the toughest profession out there. Far from it. What I’m saying is the best parts of it come through hard work. 

In sports lingo, success comes when you play “to the whistle,” instead of stopping when you feel like it. The best running backs keep moving until the referee stops the play. Yet many new entrepreneurs think they can run for four yards, say “good enough” and sit down. That mentality won’t keep them in the game for long.

Speaking of football, I wrote up a play you can run to gain more yardage with your next business idea. Check it out for free, here!

How To Play To The Whistle

This isn’t all doom-and-gloom. Some of your dreams can come true for you. How do you maximize your chances? You focus on becoming the right kind of business leader, and then make the best use out of every day.

  1. Grow by investing in personal development, outside of work.

We’ve all been guilty of using work time for personal development. We research client acquisition strategies for two hours instead of spending two hours acquiring clients. Research makes you feel like you accomplished something when you really haven’t.

To get closer to your marketing dream, use work time for work, and use the non-work time for personal development. Some listen to helpful podcasts on their way to and from the office. Some spend their lunch break going through a course. Others take a Saturday to attend a webinar.

Personal development is crucial to your success, but it must happen during personal time. I’ve seen so many new business people spend 90% of their time working on themselves instead of in their business, and then wonder why the phone doesn’t ring with new customers. 

By the way, your personal development all starts with mindset.

  1. Get more done by planning your work in intervals.

When you plan your calendar for the week, create intervals where you plan to work, intervals where you plan to invest in yourself, and intervals where you plan to rest.

We work most productively through regular, timed intervals rather than huge chunks. How many times have you sat down at the beginning of a long workday and froze up, not wanting to start another 8-10 hour grind? Break those hours up into something more manageable.

Some people I know do 25 minutes on, then five minutes off. Some do 50 minutes on, and 10 minutes off. Others may do it by hours. They challenge themselves to see how much they can accomplish within the interval, and then take a rest.

Give yourself a 50-minute timer and see how many cold emails you can send, or how much you can write, or how many podcast episodes you can plan. The results will astound you.

  1. Reject idleness by filling your calendar entirely.

This goes hand-in-hand with the previous two. Fill every hour on your schedule with something, even if that something is relaxing or napping.

Why? Because giving yourself something to do beats giving yourself nothing to do. You may end up doing something different, but even then, you’re still ahead.

Have you ever heard the saying, “Idle hands are the devil’s workshop”? When we have nothing to do, we rarely fill that time with anything good. How many of us reach a white space in our schedule and immediately hop onto Facebook or Instagram, getting sucked into the infinite scroll?

Combat idleness by intentionally filling your calendar. That way, when you’re working, it’s intentional. When you’re resting, it’s also intentional. 

Nothing drains your energy like working on trivial things when you’re supposed to be off. Nothing will sabotage your business like resting (or scrolling) when you’re supposed to work.

Pick one of the three to work on this week. Do you need to move your personal development to fall outside of work hours? Should you adopt an interval-based approach to productivity? Is it time to build more intentionality into your calendar? Choose one, and be careful to evaluate as you go to see if it’s working. In time, you’ll earn yourself a few beach days.

If you found this helpful, I highly recommend reading my free resource called The M.I.L.K. It Method, a battle-tested method for turning your ideas into cold, hard, cash.

About the Author
Tom is the host of What's the Secret podcast and co-founder of Offlinesharks.com

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