Lifestyle Design for Business Experts – The three big questions you need to answer
If you earn money from what you know then one of the great opportunities of our lifetime, is to be able to live and work from anywhere. This might mean working from home, living by the beach or travelling the world.
But how do you do this when there are so many choices to make?
In this post, I’ll share the three questions that made the biggest difference for me, when I completed my lifestyle design. This includes work from home for the past 20 years, being location independent for the past five years and running my business as I travelled around house-sitting.
Plus, I’ll share three simple steps for turning your lifestyle design into reality.
Before we dive into our big idea for today: Lifestyle Design for Business Experts, we need to define two key things.
What is Lifestyle Design?
First, what is ‘lifestyle design’?
In simple terms, it’s sitting down and thinking about how and where you want to live.
It’s a relatively new thing because traditionally, we had to live nearby to where we worked so we could easily travel back and forth to the farm, the factory or the office. This meant we mostly stayed in the one location and only travelled for weekends or on holidays – when we weren’t working.
For business experts, their work happens in their heads or in conversation with others. Now, thanks to laptops, mobile phones and the Internet we can talk with almost anyone on the planet at almost any time.
This means most of us can live and work almost anywhere.
Ultimately, this gives us a lot more choice about how and where we want to live.
And that’s what Lifestyle Design is, sitting down to consider how we want to live and work.
Who is a business expert?
Second, we want to be clear about who is a business expert?
For me, the simplest definition is that you earn money from what you know.
You might be a speaker, trainer, coach, consultant, mentor, author or a subject matter expert inside an organisation.
Now, for the three big questions you need to ask to effectively do lifestyle design for business experts.
1 Who to be with?
The first big question you want to ask is: who do you want to be with?
This could be the crucial decider in where you choose to live. And it will depend a great deal on the stage of life you are at – whether you’re young or old or somewhere in the middle.
There are four key groups of people to consider in your lifestyle design.
First, is your family – perhaps the most important group of all.
Typically, your family is more likely to live under the same roof – especially if they are your young children or older parents so this is a crucial group to consider.
If you want to be near your elderly parents to give them some support, then this might tell you where you need to be. And if you want your kids to go to a good school, this might be a factor. Alternatively, if you’re a young adult spreading your wings you might want to be as far away as possible from your family.
The next group of people to consider are your friends.
The question around your friends is whether you want to live close enough to them that you can easily hang out face-to-face. Alternatively, if you’re satisfied to have contact with them via the phone or online. And this will probably vary from friend to friend.
3 Work colleagues
The third group are your work colleagues. These are the people you either work with or talk with about business and work.
Your work colleagues are an important business network and support group that can help you be successful as an expert in business. They may be the easiest to move away from and continue the relationship via phone or online.
The fourth group is your clients or employer.
This is a critical group because they are likely to have a big say in the financial viability of your lifestyle design.
This one can be tricky because you may feel like you can’t change the relationship with your current clients and that it might impact your income.
There is a simple way to view this. If you believe you can obtain other clients, then this is not an issue. If you don’t believe you can obtain other clients, then you have a business problem that going to limit your lifestyle design choices.
Another way to approach this is to do this slowly.
Let’s say your lifestyle design includes moving from the city to the country. You’re not likely to make that decision today and move on the weekend. It will take time. And this is how you want to manage your clients. Start to work with any new clients under your new lifestyle conditions, for instance, via zoom calls only.
You might like to think of this as two wedges where you transition or merge from one to the other. And this will give you time to manage your relationships with your current clients.
Activity: Who to be with?
To make this part of your lifestyle design, write down the names of specific people in your four groups – family, friends, colleagues and clients.
Then add a comment to each name as to whether you want to have a face-to-face relationship with these people or you’re happy to have a longer-distance relationship via phones or online tools.
Also, note this will change. I spent over two years wandering around Australia house-sitting. But when my Dad went into care, I came home to help my Mum. (Sadly, Dad died while I was creating this post and video. I love you Dad!)
2 How to work?
The second big question for business experts and lifestyle design is: how do you want to work?
More specifically: How do you want to deliver your expertise?
There are three choices here:
- Face to face
Your answer to the question ‘how do you want to work’ will determine where you can live.
If you want to work face to face with your clients then you will need to be close enough to them to be able to do this. That doesn’t mean you have to be in the next suburb. You could live in the country and have all of your face-to-face meetings on one or two days each week and come to the city just for those meetings.
In contrast, if you choose to deliver your business expertise through virtual means such as zoom or phone conversations, or you want to only sell products, then you can work with clients from anywhere on the planet.
For me, my entire business is virtual or through products. The only paid work I’ve done face-to-face in the past five years has been a handful of conference presentations or meeting facilitation. And due to the pandemic, even that can now be done online.
3 Where to live?
The third big question for lifestyle design for business experts is: where do you want to live?
If you could choose anywhere on the planet, where would you choose to live?
While we’re all likely to have different answers, I think the important thing here is not where you choose, but why you choose it.
- Do you want to be in Paris because you love the city?
- Or Noosa because you love the beach?
- Perhaps, you want to be exactly where you are right now because you have friends and family all around you.
Remember, our choice does not need to be based on our work anymore.
Also, it doesn’t need to be one location. You could do a lap of Australia with a caravan, house-sit in various locatins like I did or hop your way around the world.
Work or Play?
One of my good friends Patterson, lives in Christchurch, New Zealand.
While originally from the US, Patterson’s philosophy is that you should choose where you want to play before you choose where you want to work. For him, he loves Christchurch because he loves to surf, ride his mountain bike and fly his paraglider. And he can do all three of these from his New Zealand base.
Given as a business expert, we can now work from anywhere, the big question here is: Where do you want to play?
Your choice of leisure activities can now take priority over the work you do in determining where you live.
Summary: Lifestyle Design for Business Experts
Let’s wrap up what we’ve covered here.
Lifestyle Design for business experts relies on three important questions:
- Who do you want to be with?
- How do you want to work?
- Where do you want to live?
It’s who, how and where.
Make a list of your family, friends, colleagues and clients to determine who you want to live with and the type of relationship you want to have with these people.
How to work has three clear choices: face-to-face, virtual or products. And you can have a mix of all three.
To determine where you want to live, consider the type of play and leisure activities you want to pursue.
Three Steps to Turn Your Lifestyle Design into Reality
What are the three steps you need to turn your lifestyle design into reality?
If you’ve read my previous post on Location Independent Lifestyle Design, then you might remember these three steps.
1 Create a Grand Vision
The first step for turning your lifestyle design into reality is to start by creating a grand vision.
I’d grab a big old-fashion piece of paper and some brightly coloured markers and start scribbling down what you would like your lifestyle to look like.
Remember to include answers from our three questions:
- Who are you going to be with?
- How are you going to work?
- Where are you going to live?
I suggest two steps to this exercise.
- The first step is to have some fun and write down all of your wild and crazy ideas. For instance, living in France, sailing the world on a boat or house-sitting around Australia.
- Next, you want to make your plan more specific. That will help you turn the grand vision into an action plan to make it easier to implement and more likely to happen. You can also add some dates to make it even more real.
2 Talk to the people that matter
Our second step for turning your lifestyle design into reality is to talk to the people that matter. This includes your family, friends, work colleagues and clients – they may make suggestions that you haven’t thought of.
Just be warned when talking to these people – especially with clients. A lot of people don’t like change and they may want to keep things exactly as they are.
Consider their input, but don’t take it as the final word. Remember, it’s your lifestyle, not theirs.
(You might like to share this post with the people that matter to you and discuss the key points with them.)
3 Think big, think small
Our third step for turning your lifestyle design into reality is to think big and think small.
Start with your vision as I’ve already suggested – that’s thinking big.
Then, look for the first step – that’s thinking small.
At the very least, find a way to trial the lifestyle you’re thinking of shifting to. If you want to be working from home start doing it one or two days a week. Or, if you want to work at a beach location, rent a holiday house for a week to try this out.
And the same for how you want to work. If you’ve never delivered a zoom training session, then running a couple of trials now might be useful to see what it’s like before you commit.