Hey and welcome to episode 10 of the Free and Fearless Podcast. Learn what a lifestyle business is and how it can allow you to take a mini retirement whenever you want (+ the exact details of my latest mini retirement during the pandemic and while my business had one of its best months ever, even though I took time off).
Tune into the episode below:
- [1:03] The details about my latest mini retirement and how much my biz earned without me
- [3:48] Why my mini retirement to Thailand 4 years ago wasn’t as good
- [6:25] The first reason why I’m so free in my business and can travel any time
- [8:54] The role passive income plays in a lifestyle business
- [10:12] How to take a mini retirement without worrying about money
- [11:47] Recession-proofing your business for even more freedom
- [13:59] How to make your active income streams take as little time as possible
How to Take Mini Retirements Thanks to Your Lifestyle Business
I haven’t published an episode in a while and there’s a good reason for that. I took a sabbatical. Out of nowhere, without any plans or preparations. I escaped lockdown in the Netherlands by getting a one way ticket to Tenerife, one of the Canary Islands, which is the place to be in Europe during the pandemic if you want to be at the beach, see palm trees, feel the amazing Spanish culture, be around people, and explore the beauty of the island.
I brought my laptop and mic, ready to record course lectures and podcast episodes, answer any email coming my way, and do work during the week, even though I didn’t have to.
I didn’t do almost any of that. There are nearly 200 emails waiting to be answered, module 3 of my new course Fearless Content is ready to be recorded and shared with the students currently enjoying early bird access, and my people expect to hear from me weekly with fresh content and an email.
Instead, I spent all my time at the beach, doing trips to the volcano, on catamarans and to a nearby island, making friends with locals and digital nomads living there for a few months, being outside as often as possible, and taking pictures of every palm tree I saw, literally, because I love them so much and because that was the first time I’m traveling to such a beautiful place since being an iPhone owner.
And yet, my business is still here. No one is requiring anything from me. I earned $6K in February, which makes it a better month than others in terms of income. I got new features, connected with new people online, generated business growth ideas, saw things from another perspective, and let all the knowledge from courses, books and podcasts from the last few months of hard work and self-education sink in.
I stopped working and reading and learning, but I was living, socializing and literally resetting my mind more than I did in the whole last year.
I know many of you crave the same sort of freedom. Because owning a business or being self-employed doesn’t necessarily mean you can do this kind of travel, take such spontaneous decisions or time off your business, without worrying your income will drop.
So in this article, I want to share why that happened.
Obviously, I’ve hustled for a long, long time before any of this was possible. But there are a few elements of my current business model that allow me to take such a mini retirement any time I want, and come back happier, with more clarity and ready to do twice the work and tackle new projects and bigger goals.
This is what a lifestyle business is all about. It means creating the exact business model you want, which will give you the type of freedom you desire, and will bring in the income necessary to sustain that lifestyle.
What’s a mini retirement?
For those of you who don’t know, a mini retirement is a term lifestyle designers invented – those building their dream life thanks to their online business.
I first heard it from Tim Ferriss nearly 10 years ago, when it was still an extraordinary thing and something I could never imagine doing. But here we are now, in a world of remote workers and self-employed people doing what they love.
A mini retirement means taking a vacation whenever you want, for as long as you want, without having to worry about finances, responsibilities or your business not surviving without you.
And let me tell you this – being self-employed doesn’t mean being able to take a mini retirement. I was self-employed 4 years ago when I went to Thailand for 6 weeks. But because I was freelancing and earning only half of my income from my blog, almost none of it passively, my work was affected.
I was distracted and couldn’t work (obviously, that’s my style of mini retirement). I stopped doing freelance work and the income dropped. I had to use all my savings, which I didn’t have much of at the time, and when I was back, I was so frustrated. I was even afraid I won’t be able to pay my rent and sustain my lifestyle in Amsterdam, where I had just relocated.
I was so stressed on a daily basis, my mom was feeling sad for me, and with that mindset, it’s so hard to do freelance work.
I still had to keep finding clients as I didn’t really have regular or high-paying ones. I had to cut all extra expenses, to show up for my clients daily and find the motivation to do the work even when I didn’t feel like. And to work on growing my blog at the same time.
It wasn’t a pretty picture. But that’s what motivated me to never be in that situation again. To replace my freelance income with my blog income, to have passive income streams, to take care of my finances, to never be left without savings again, and to never have to worry if I won’t make it next month.
So, without further ado, let’s get to the juicy stuff. I wanna share what’s different now about my business than 4 years ago. These are the things that make it possible for me to rent a nice studio from AirBnb in a central place in a top destination in Europe. To not worry about extra expenses, to live well there, to not even have to worry about my return ticket, to not have to answer to anyone.
Because you and anyone else can do the same thanks to building a lifestyle business.
Let’s dive in.
No freelance/client work
The first reason why I’m so free in my business is that there are no actual clients, which means no meetings, weekly video calls, anyone to show up for 1:1, etc.
I know many of you are coaches or want to start a coaching business and that requires clients, of course. But you can still build a lifestyle business around it by having passive income streams and only opening spots a few times a year, knowing that the rest of the time you’re free to travel without having to be behind the laptop.
If you’re freelancing though, mini retirements might be a challenge. Freelancers exchange time for money, they have to answer clients’ expectations, to look for more work, to negotiate their prices.
That’s active income – which means it’s directly related to the working hours you put in.
If that’s the case, congrats for making money online. But if you want more freedom and the ability to travel any time you want without having to worry about your income dropping, you might want to consider another business model such as blogging or online courses.
You don’t need to replace freelancing with the new income streams at once. It can happen slowly over time. Keep doing client work but build something more sustainable and passive income driven on the side.
That’s the next best thing I did in the last few years that now allows me to take a mini retirement any time of the year.
You can’t just have one income stream if you want to run a lifestyle business, no matter how small. With a lot of effort, I was able to monetize my blog in 4 different ways. That’s advertising, affiliate marketing, sponsored content and digital products.
I teach you how to build these same income streams as a blogger, even if you’re just starting out, and reach $5K months thanks to your website, with my signature course Blog to Biz System.
If you’re a coach, influencer, YouTuber or podcaster, you can still diversify your income in other ways. You can always create an eBook or online course and sell it.
There’s a lot of work involved but if you do it right, if you learn more about sales and marketing and set up automated systems, this can bring you money for the rest of your life passively. Which brings us to the next point.
It’s one of the main reasons why I have so much freedom in my business. I actually spend most of my time working on courses and many other things related to the vision of where I’m taking my business next, even though these aren’t the things directly earning me money now.
However, thanks to the passive income streams I’ve built before, I know I’ll make it every next month even if I take a step back. Even if I travel for a weeks without notice, even if I just focus on other areas of life and don’t work on the business much.
There are so many ways to earn passive income. It might not be easy, but as you try and make one work, you can build more of these. There’s no limit to how much you can earn online. And passive income is the proof that more working hours don’t necessarily mean more revenue.
The smart entrepreneurs might work just a few hours a week and earn 6 or 7 figures passively. Although most of the time they are working much more than that because they love it and there’s so much you can be doing at any moment as a business owner and they have so many new ideas they wanna tackle.
I’ve written a lot on the topic of passive income and if you wanna learn more about how it works and see different ways you can earn passively online, here are a few articles:
- 180 Ways to Make Money
- 5 Ideas for Your First Passive Income Stream as a Blogger
- The Newbie Guide to Passive Income Online: What Is It and How to Get Started
- 6 Legit Passive Income Ideas for Extra Cash
Get your finances in order
My next tip for building a lifestyle business that allows you to take a mini retirement without worrying about money is to take care of your finances in advance.
That doesn’t need to mean anything too complicated. Definitely learn about budgeting but it usually all comes down to tracking where your money is coming from and where it’s going, even if you don’t have a business yet.
Savings are crucial. Cut expenses if necessary. Know where the next payments are coming from, which of course is a result of the income streams you’ve built.
Just don’t be afraid of the numbers, you know. They are powerful. And to take control of them, you need to have awareness, to not feel negative about money, to not focus on the lack of it. Developing the right money mindset takes time, like everything else.
This article isn’t about that but it plays a big role. Because taking a mini retirement and running a lifestyle business work best when you are absolutely sure that there’s plenty of money for everyone, that there’s more of it coming your way, that the Internet is full of opportunities to be profitable and to grow your business.
Money is energy and it flows. You also need to be able to spend it freely, to give it to others, and to invest it.
Because if you’re worried about it, if you’re counting every dollar, if you have a problem spending a bit more to travel comfortably, then in my opinion, it’s better to first grow the business to the point where there’s passive income and you’re in control of your finances, and then go travel knowing you’re financially independent.
Another element that’s part of anything I’m trying to do and teach is recession-proofing your business.
Meaning that regardless of the state of the economy, any currency crisis, one of your income streams not working anymore, a social media platform or Google itself having an algorithm update that affects your traffic and income, or anything like that – regardless of it all, your income keeps coming on a monthly basis because you’ve built something that doesn’t rely on these factors.
You’ve also developed amazing skills, traits and a mindset that allow you to re-create anything you’ve built before, to constantly improve your strategy, experiment and be on the grow.
Because you can change niches, business models, you can offer a new service or product whenever you feel like, you can hire people or collaborate with others and each of these moves can make your business even more recession-proof.
No fixed dates
The next lifestyle business element that allows me to travel so freely and spontaneously is the fact that there aren’t any fixed dates for launches or anything in my work.
That’s how I’ve consciously decided to make things. Your situation might be different. And actually mine will be different too as I’m turning my blogging business into an online course business.
That means more products will be created, there will be more beta launches, official launches, webinars, and so much more. Each of these will require me to be available during these periods and super focused and energetic so I can help students as much as I can and share the transformation each of my programs can provide with those who are not sure whether it’s a good fit for them.
But right now and in the last year, I was often in content creation mode after which I could just leave things and go travel.
I didn’t do it as I love my work so much and there were new things I was learning more about and so many courses I’m taking that inspire me to take things to the next level. But because nothing is actually with a fixed date, I have the freedom to step away for as long as I desire, and then come back refreshed.
So if you want the ultimate freedom in your business, automate things, have passive income streams and no fixed dates.
Minimum time and effort invested in my active income streams
The next step to be able to take a mini retirement whenever you want is to think about your active income streams and make sure there’s minimum time and effort invested in them.
My revenue from sponsored content on the blog is an active income stream as it’s me who exchanges emails with brands, negotiates prices, writes the content or publishes the post they send me, and handles payments and other details.
Even though all this is super quick for each collaboration, it still requires me to be online and respond and publish. But it’s not taking more than 30 or 60 minutes of my time per day. And I don’t need to do it every day because me and the client can only proceed when I say.
Back in the days I was dependent on the brands I worked with. I was undercharging, responding to all emails immediately, chasing payments, and waiting for responses from people. Now, I set the rules.
I share the fixed rates and final conditions with them and only proceed if they agree. Then, I review the post they send me and require payment in advance.
Once it’s made, I publish the article and share it with them. That’s it.
Whatever your active income stream looks like, there are ways to adjust things so they can fit the idea of the lifestyle business you dream about.
Here’s the final thing I did to be able to take mini retirements.
Having some content ready
I didn’t want to fully disappear online. I was showing up on Instagram, replying to some emails, publishing some sponsored content, and also some interviews with female entrepreneurs.
I received these and I’m the one deciding when to publish them. One new piece of content weekly is usually the minimum to keep showing up consistently for your audience, and I was just publishing one of these interviews.
They are super valuable pieces of content where an ambitious woman shares how she started her online business. I can also promote that on Instagram over the course of 2 or 3 days, and I can turn it into a few inspiring and valuable stories and posts by sharing some of the answers there.
If you want to prepare more content before your mini retirement, by all means go for it. That could be podcast episodes, course modules, emails you send to your subscribers, a new freebie, videos, a webinar, or else.
Then all you need is to publish one of these weekly or stick to your usual publishing schedule if you have one, so that your people can keep receiving the value they expect on a weekly basis.
So these are the main elements of my lifestyle blogging business now. Keep in mind I have no employees at that point, I don’t earn 6 figures, and I’m still playing small in many ways.
By the way, I’m going to change all of these 3 things this and the next year. I’m curious how a mini retirement will look like once my business is bigger, once there’s a team involved and many more course students that I will deeply care about.
Maybe I wouldn’t want to take a break from my business for weeks. And I definitely wound’t want to do it without any notice.
That’s why it’s worth re-evaluating your vision, desires and options before you decide to get to the next level. A bigger income doesn’t mean more freedom or happiness.
And that’s why a lifestyle business is often smaller. You get to do what you want whenever you want. It’s easier to set the rules and keep things in order when you aren’t earning that much, when there aren’t other people involved, and when you don’t have deadlines or too many legal and financial responsibilities.
And that’s it for today’s. Thank you so much for reading this. I really hope you enjoyed it.
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