A Lifestyle Business is not a Real Business

Before we took off to live in Cozumel, we spent a year in the San Francisco Bay Area. It seems everyone there is involved in a start-up of some kind. I’m not kidding.

I met people who were literally working 80 hour weeks while living off of savings because they believed if they could just work hard enough, then they’d catch their big break – Google would come in and buy them for 5 billion bucks and they’d live happily ever after.

I personally don’t have anything against anybody who wants to build this kind of business. I just don’t understand why they would… at least not if their #1 goal is to make money.

There’s a Much Easier Way…

What I did instead was much simpler. I created a service-based business and got real paying clients who gave me real money. I then put systems in place and hired a team to get the work done. I was profitable in my very first month in the business.

Family RocketshipI then simultaneously scaled my business while reducing my own hours and personal involvement. Then I took off to live in the Caribbean for over 2 years all with my wife and kids.

Then we spent half a year in Europe exploring castles… just for fun.

As always, I’m not saying that to brag – just to state that you don’t have to slave for 80 hours a week for 5 years to hopefully sell out to Google and THEN live your dream lifestyle.

If your goal is to create the next Instagram because of ego or a sense of accomplishment, cool. Do it.

But if your goal is to make money, there’s a much more immediate way of doing it.

But a Lifestyle Business is not a REAL Business!

When I spoke with people in the Bay Area about my business, they thought it was cool but they didn’t consider it a “real business”. Somehow, they thought what they were doing was somehow a real business.

I suppose we could look past the fact that of all the people I met, none of their businesses were yet profitable. None of company officers took a paycheck. They all worked ridiculous hours. And they all talked about customer acquisition instead of actually getting real customers.

I mean, if that’s a real business, cool. But I personally want nothing to do with it.

According to the ‘ol dictionary, business is defined as:

the activity of making, buying, or selling goods or providing services in exchange for money

Huh. Well, I was active in selling services which I got a lot of money for. Come to think of it, by this definition, I am the one with the REAL business – not just creating some cool new app, software plug-in, or the next social network.

In fact, a lifestyle business is a fully legitimate business entity that’s structured so that you could sell it… if you ever want to. Once you’re making money with a repeatable process in place, you’ve got a really cool asset that you can do whatever you want with.

In fact, let’s just define it as…


a legally structured business you create that solves a real need in a paying market that you scale quickly with systems and a team and its primary purpose is to pay for your desired lifestyle

All the Business, None of the Headaches

If you’ve ever watched The Profit or Shark Tank, it’s fun to see the business owner standing there with all of his or her employees saying they’re making money and growing the business to new record levels. You always see them all clap and cheer and it looks like fun.

What you don’t see are those same employees calling in sick, or missing deadlines, or quitting. You don’t see the owner dipping into his/her savings just to make payroll. You don’t see all of the stress and sleepless nights the owner goes through.

And that’s not even a startup! That’s just a traditional business. Startups have even more challenges!

A lifestyle business doesn’t have many of the same challenges that a startup does. Take a look at the chart below to see what I mean.

  • Can be slow to proft
  • False or hyped-up business valuation based on projections
  • Often has loans, investors, or partners
  • Ability to scale depends on market
  • Often creating a new market – no data to real paying clients/customers
  • High risk
  • Can be very high overhead
  • Not able to forecast revenue – only projections based on guesswork
  • Profit in very first month
  • Business value is based on actual revenue, system, and team
  • No investors, loans, or partners needed
  • Ability to scale is immediate
  • Follows a proven model in a proven paying market
  • Very little risk
  • Low to zero overhead
  • Predictable monthly revenue

If Money is Your Goal…

Call me selfish but I didn’t create my business to create jobs or to help put food on other people’s table. I created it to put food on my own family’s table. Oh, and to then do whatever the heck I want to do!

That’s not to say I don’t care about my business or my clients in any way. I love this business! I love the services we offer our clients. The clients love the services! I love my team that completes all of the work for our clients.

My business actually has a lot of people involved and because of the way I’ve structured it, everyone benefits. Our clients benefit from our services. My team members benefit from their employment. And I benefit from a successful business. It’s a win for everyone involved! There are no downsides.

If you want to create an app that’s going to change the world, that’s great. A startup might be for you.

If you want to make money quickly, scale it, and then do whatever you want, then a lifestyle business might be for you!


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