It doesn’t matter if you’re looking in the blogosphere or the book store – Lifestyle advice is all around you. Build a business to support your dreams! Yay!
Lifestyle is the new black. Minimalism rules and pundits are trying to find the new definition of “enough”. It seems that any self respecting entrepreneur is supposed to build a micro-internet business to support their ambitions. Those ambitions usually revolve around tropical retirements and/or working from your PJs while homeschooling your kids.
Sounds great right?
Yet the psychology of these “lifestyle” entrepreneurs indicates they’re more unfulfilled, fatigued and miserable than ever before.
In New Zealand, land of sparkly waterfalls and lush rainforest, there is a thing known as a “Lifestyle Block”. This is essentially a hobby farm, a couple of acres stocked with all the barnyard animals and organic vegetables that a single nuclear family can ably take care of.
Moving to a Lifestyle Block is the solution to the urban existential crisis – when yet another day in the office seems like it’ll kill you. People swap expensive metropolitan rents, move to the sticks to bask in rural serenity as they nourish their body and spirt on self-sufficient produce.
At least, that’s what is supposed to happen.
The reality is much different. They also talk about the “Death-style Block” phenomenon in New Zealand That’s when moving to a lifestyle farm results in, practically speaking, the end of your life.
City slickers who want to grow tomatoes, keep bees and have a few pigs running around… don’t have a clue. They don’t realize the kind of work that is required. They naively believe they’ll be sitting out on their porch, snacking on roast pork, night after blissful night.
In reality, lifestyle farmers are up to their elbows in pig shit. Not once, but often – because any farmyard task that needs doing now will also need doing again. Soon.
The truth is, running a Lifestyle Block is damn hard work. It’s a never ending cycle of repetitive dirty work, with only the shifts in season providing any kind of variation… and even the seasons get repetitive after a while.
When people get seduced by the lifestyle farming dream, what they’re really looking for is what you get after you successfully farm. They’re pursuing a fantasy of end-of-season apples, fresh laid eggs and dripping honeycomb. No bee-stings, thank you.
The parallels should be immediately obvious. Entrepreneurs who dream the “lifestyle” dream are the same. In fact, all entrepreneurs can get sucked into this.
Wannabe writers want to “have written” not actually write.
Start-up dreamers want to “get funded” but not actually build a business.
Most of all, the home-business folk who want to sell info products, an e-course and some kind of consulting service… they don’t know what they want!
Trying to build a business to fuel your lifestyle design is attempting to do something part time that entrepreneurs with serious street-cred almost kill themselves over.
You’re lusting after the milk and honey, without thinking about the bee stings. You’ve probably never even seen (or smelt) a cowshed.
Think about it. Imagine overnight success, then multiply it by a decade. Imagine your online dog trainer coaching school (or whatever) being booked solid… year after year, after year.
Three years in, would you still be enjoying the “lifestyle” this business creates for you?
Imagine doing whatever you’re doing now (or want to be doing)… then imagine what it would feel like to do that, round the clock, for years.
Still sound like fun?
The idea of building a business so that you can do something else is a dangerous one. Most businesses fail. The ones that succeed require the kind of work that few people apply to their full time office jobs.
The only successful (and happy) lifestyle farmers are those who wake up pumped. Pumped to muck out the pigs, shovel fertilizer and do other uncomfortable and squishy things.
If you naively allow yourself to be seduced by the lifestyle dream, you’ll expose yourself to all kinds of mental self sabotage. Your unconscious mind knows you don’t really want to spend your time training dogs or whatever – especially if you’re only doing that to pay for your exotic vacations. Your unconscious self, in it’s infinite wisdom, will work hard to make sure you spend as little time possible on your business.
Eventually it will “save” you from having to run your lifestyle-business all together! Other people will call this “failure”.
Your business is your lifestyle. If it isn’t, you’re not really an entrepreneur. You’re just someone looking for a better job to do, to pay for your playtime.
The only successful (and happy) entrepreneurs are those who enjoy every step of their entrepreneurial journey, from day one to year twenty. And every day in between.