The Internet has been used by academia since the 1980’s, but in the last fifteen years it has become what we know today. Today, 2.5 billion people log onto the Internet every day, and it's estimated that the number will double in the next five years
For entrepreneurs looking to start or grow a business, the Internet offers a fairly unlimited and mostly untapped customer base. There are many successful lifestyle entrepreneurs, but they are just scratching the surface of the opportunity that’s available.
A “lifestyle entrepreneur” is an entrepreneur who makes their living online. They don’t have a physical location or need one to operate. All they need is a laptop and connection to the Internet to manage their business. There are several tools and software they use, but they're portable.
They are not tied down, which allows them to operate their business all over the world. There can also be a passive income element to their business, but it’s not necessary. If they offer services, such as coaching or consulting, they can work over Skype.
If this type of entrepreneurship model appeals to you, here are six steps you can use to become a location-independent lifestyle entrepreneur.
1. Pick a profitable target audience.
I’m not going to give you the standard “choose your niche” advice. While being specific can help, it’s not always necessary. Where niching helps is when you get to be industry-specific. Idea specific is a lot harder to niche.
The more important point is to make sure your “niche,” or target audience, can afford to pay you. Too many entrepreneurs pick a group that interests them but can’t afford their products and services. You are creating a business; there has to be a potential to generate income with whatever audience you pick.
2. Build a simple foundation.
The foundation of a lifestyle entrepreneur’s business is their website. A website, however, will be a constant work in progress and holds too many entrepreneurs back. You don’t need all the fancy widgets and plugins. You don’t need the best looking website in the world. The only way your website hurts you is if it’s too cluttered and confusing. Zen Habits has over a million readers, which proves simple works as long as the content is good.
A foundation has other essential elements:
- A robust and active social media presence.
- A large emergency fund -- just in case and for the slow months.
- Tools and software that help grow your business.
- Connecting with your audience on a deeper level.
3. Focus on what works for you.
The Internet has given us access to success. You see successful lifestyle entrepreneurs talking about what’s working for them and you’re tempted to copy. Successful entrepreneurs model success. They don’t copy.
You have to figure out what works for you and your business. Just because it worked for someone else, doesn’t mean it will help your business. The best things you can do are to test and learn what works. It takes incredible and strategic focus to build a lifestyle business.
4. Get exposure and grow your audience.
Creating a strong social media is one great way to build your audience but there are strategies that could get you better and “20%” results.
- Be a guest on podcasts. There are podcasts that get more downloads than radio stations have listeners.
- Guest post on other blogs. In 2012, guest posting on 50 different blogs brought 500,000 unique visitors to my website.
- Write for large authority sites. Writing for large websites such as the Huffington Post and Entrepreneur have grown my email list from 3,000 people to over 20,000 in less than a year.
These are a few ways to get exposure and build your audience quickly. As the Internet grows, so will the effectiveness of these and other strategies.
5. Offer value and charge what you’re worth.
When you provide value through your free content, people will want to dig deeper. Your paid content is what they turn to. Too many entrepreneurs don’t charge based off of the value they provide.
Offer your value by consistently creating free content that’s better than other’s paid content. Charge a fair but profitable price for your premium offerings. Lifestyle entrepreneurs value their time above everything else, so their time is the most expensive service they offer.
6. Study what’s working and scale.
Once you have made progress, review what’s working for your business. See where you can make the process smoother and more efficient. Spend your time growing that profitable part of your business and scale the progress.
Focus on what’s working and commit only to learn what will help your lifestyle business grow. Don’t become a victim of information overload. That has crippled many entrepreneurs.
Being a lifestyle entrepreneur has been amazing for me. I enjoy real freedom. I don’t want you to think it’s all roses because there are real challenges. It takes years to build this kind of business, and it can be a roller coaster ride income-wise.
If this type of business appeals to you, know that it’s possible and profitable. Do your homework and use these six steps to build the kind of business that best supports the type of life you want to live.
At the end of the day, this isn’t about money, it’s about freedom in every area of your life. When you experience this freedom, you can live life on YOUR terms.