How to become an Independent Lifestyle Entrepreneur (who wants to join me?)

Independent Lifestyle Entrepreneur: someone who builds a small, flex­ible (generally 1-person) business as a means of living a dream lifestyle in the present, without focusing on selling the business to become wealthy as the end goal.

Yes, these are terms flying around these days – literally.

To create a world of our own. Many of us are aspiring to do just that but I am not so sure if we really know why or more importantly how to go about it.

I have been at a crossroads these past couple of months. Working my day job but also on other projects consuming a lot of energy and time but feeling like I am not getting anywhere. How many of us have felt like that? No, I realise I am not Robinson Crusoe but I am confident you and I have some connection here.

Just this week I have finished reading two very important books – well one was a manifesto but the light bulb has been switched on in my head. A sense of relief came over me and the books have provided me with the inspiration to get out there and as the Nike ads say ‘just do it’. At present, I am a 9 to 5 employee who actually wants to break away from the grind of conventionalism into entrepreneurialism. I have decided I have had enough of the employee mentality and would like to become the female equivalent of Tim Ferriss, to live the life as a location independent “solopreneur” and work only 4 hours per week.

What is this Entrepreneurial Revolution people are talking about today, where millions of people are going into business for themselves? As Michael Gerber said in his fabulous book The E-myth, it’s nothing more than a flight from the world of chaos “out there” into a world of our own.

It’s a yearning for structure, for form, for control. It’s also for something more personal as well, connected with who we are as human beings. It’s a yearning for relationship with ourselves and the world in a way impossible to experience in a job.

Unfortunately the “dream” is rarely achieved. Most small businesses fail. Why? Because we bring our chaos with us.

We don’t change; we try to change “out there”. We try to change the world by starting a small business BUT we stay the same.

The lesson to learn from this is simple: we can’t change our lives by starting “out there”. All we produce in the process is more chaos.

We can only change our lives and create a world of our own if we first understand how such a world is constructed, how it works and the rules of the game. And that means we have to study the world and how we are in it.

His book is one of the two I mentioned above. For most of this year, I have wanted to start my own business but I have been unsure as to what business model I want to implement. I have been trying to figure that out, waiting for some inspiration or glimmer of hope as to what direction I will proceed. But thank goodness I read this book and I realise now that perhaps it was divine intervention that I hadn’t proceeded with my business, because I can tell you right now, I was heading down the wrong path.

While his book was written for people wanting to start their own business, I believe the principles he talked about can be applied to anyone simply wanting to change or improve their lives. What strikes me though is why some people want to change their lives. What is wrong with the way some people currently live their lives that they are so unhappy that they want to change it? I ask myself this too – why don’t I like being an employee anymore and what I am truly seeking in my life to want to change that?

How come I don’t feel entirely fulfilled or satisfied?

It just seems to be a never ending question. I mean I was asking these questions to myself 10 years ago when I first started travelling. After travelling for half the decade, I am still yearning for more. But for more of what I am really not sure.

I guess the question remains, will we ever be happy no matter what we choose?

What is it that humans are really searching for that will provide us with whatever it is that appears to be missing from our lives?

Is the setting of goals really all it’s cracked up to be or are we only setting ourselves up for more disappointment and failure?

Or are we becoming far too self-indulgent, selfish and greedy?

Actually I do know what I want. It’s all of this:

no bosses

no employees

no investors

no overhead

no fixed location

no office hours

no facetime

no busywork

no set salary

no “2 weeks of vacation” b.s.

no permission required

total freedom

Maybe, just maybe though, most of us are waking up to the fact that we can create a more meaningful existence for ourselves than what we currently lead (only if we believe that to be true) and that we are in fact worthy of pursuing more.

I recently watched Eat Pray Love and it spurred and stirred some of those inner desires that I thought were locked away. Those desires to just start travelling and do it all over again but do it so very differently this time. That little voice inside my head saying “Shae, life’s too short to work and buy a house – go out and explore the world further”. What was I thinking when I went to see it because there is a very good reason why I currently avoid watching any sort of travel program on TV? Now those niggles won’t go away – damn it!

At the end of it, the same questions I was asking myself 10 years ago remain. What am I looking for in my life or what is the purpose of my existence on this planet?

Deep I know but the heading of my blog must indicate to you that this is not the place to come to if you want to read about celebrity gossip or Lindsay Lohan’s drug charges. Admit it – most of you are constantly asking yourself the same or very similar questions. Am I right?

I am going to Bali next week and I hope to indulge in my own Eat, Pray, Love experiences. I will be going with an open mind and to seek some spiritual enlightenment just like Elizabeth Gilbert did.

It’s a big ask considering these are questions I have been asking for over 10 years but hopefully I will come back with some of the answers I have been searching for.

One can only hope!

Let’s have a conversation. What questions are you seeking to answer in your life or things that you hope to discover? Are we becoming too selfish and greedy for our own good?

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~ by Shae on October 21, 2010.

15 Responses to “How to become an Independent Lifestyle Entrepreneur (who wants to join me?)”

  1. As I started reading this Shae, I felt like I had written it myself. I am going through very similar questions and experiences and wondering ‘where’ my life is heading. Some of the answers are not so great when you understand that “you” are where you are in life due to the previous choices made and ‘who’ & ‘what’ you manifested and attracted into your life along the way.
    I also understand that change comes about from the inside and have spent many years going about that personal change, development and growth, only to ‘still’ be asking ‘what is it that I’m here for”?, what am I meant to be doing with my life and HOW do I go about getting the information, the contacts, the skills, passion, desire and courage to do it all????
    It’s all a life long lesson, and one that only each of us can decipher and figure out for ourselves ultimately….hopefully though with some guidance, help, inspiration and support along the way.
    Another great blog Shaebe with a real depth to it. Well done. 🙂

    • Hi Clarissa. Thanks for the comments and I am glad you enjoyed this article. You are correct when you say that “you” are responsible for where you are in your life and who you have attracted into it. We can only accept responsibility for how our lives unfold ourselves, although I am sure some people would have a hard time digesting that. But the good news is that we can change and we can create a new path for our lives to follow. It’s just there are no simple answers and I also think we do judge ourselves too harshly and compare ourselves too much with others. But of course, this is all easy said tnan done!
      Some people seem to figure out the answers easier than others.

  2. Hi Shae
    I love the list of things that you know that you do want, and I’m sure you’re not alone. The trick is finding a way to have enough money to fund the things that we want to do and the lifestyle we wnat. I’m not there yet either but I hope that I’ll be there with you when you make it big, because you definitely will when you’re ready.

    • Mel, with your help that has been invaluable to me this year, I know I am going to make it big. I am looking forward to when we both make it big together!

  3. i identify strongly with what you’ve written Shae. It’s great to hear that some people in the world are brave enough to listen to their hearts, to trust their intuition, and to desire to live adventurously. I myself am in the process of asking similar questions. I ask myself “Who do I want to be?”. I definitely think it takes a lot of self-courage to dance to your own beat in life- more so than people realize. Maybe you’ll like the following quotes from G.B. Shaw:

    “Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.”

    “You see things; and you say, ‘Why?’ But I dream things that never were; and I say, ‘Why not?’”

    • Thanks for your comment Kalinuial. It seems we are on the same path. I really appreciate the quotes you provided too – they are very thought-provoking.

  4. What questions am I asking in my life….hmmmmm? Good question. I guess it depends on the day but ultimately, the biggest question I am asking is… “what step do you want me to take next?” I am fortunate enough to now know why I am here, so now the question is… how do I do it? Mostly, I know but generally, my issues wth self belief keep getting in the way. Doh! I will get there… I am working on it!

    I do think that a large majority of the population have become very reliant on using material possessions to fulfill them and make them happy and just like a drug… we need more and more to feel fulfilled. I do think however that more and more people are now realising that the material possessions actually leave them feeling empty and they want more. That is, they want something real and that comes from the inside.

  5. Another great provocative subject Shae – however, as an unabashed materialist, I would like to post an alternative view from the other contributors. Its probably also fair to come out of the closet as being someone who has invested 32 years into one occupation (a true baby boomer) My research into the term ‘entrepreneur’ indicates that such people either have a marketable skill or commodity to sell – either to the exclusion of others or able to deliver it better than others – to an increasing consumer base. I have been around long enough to know that any viable commodity is the subject of intense competition by others also trying to secure ‘the deal’. That means you have to do it better, cheaper and smarter than everyone else. I’m guessing that to do that, you need to infringe on at least 5 of your career wishlist conditions. I don’t think that even unemployment benefits allows you all 12!!! I actually believe that too many people think that materialism is a poor substitute for happiness – in my view you need need to have attained contentment before ‘putting yourself out on a limb’ – at the end of the day – everyone is trying to get ahead in life. I fully accept that there will always be richer and poorer people than me – I’m actually pretty content with my achievements. I certainly don’t feel the need for constantly increasing my materialism as described by Wendy. Society is full of ‘haves’ and ‘have nots’ If you work hard, have realistic visions of what you want, you can achieve contentment in this life. And contentment – whether you achieve it by immersing half your life into one job, or you develop an incredible marketing ploy and make a fortune, is what we all strive for. My advice to all the entrepreneurs out there is – don’t get too many others into it – they will become your competition!!!! I personally see nothing wrong with the term ’employee’ and I see nothing wrong with working for ’employers’ providing I get (1) job satisfaction (2) appropriate pecuniary reward for my efforts and (3) attainment of my expected level of contentment. I take my hat off to anyone who can do it via an alternative route – but in reading the posts, I got the feeling that most haven’t yet got there……? In short – by all means chase your dreams – but until you attain it – don’t give up your day job! Rock on in Bali – take care of yourself!

    • Hi Steve. I really enjoyed reading your views on Shae’s post. I love witnessing the difference between generations.

      To be honest, I love the way baby boomers have lived their life. I now sit back watching them begin to enjoy their retirement, many with a healthy superannuation. I am certainly striving to achieve the retirement style as many of the boomers have done ie caravaning around Oz.
      My comments regarding increasing desire for material possessions was not really aimed at your generation however still applies to many. My father is a perfect example. He is a man of very simple needs. He worked hard all of his life, saved for a rainy day and owned everything by the time he was 40. Not a bad way to be. However, on the cusp of reaching the age where he could enjoy his new found financial freedom and material assets, a work accident removed the possibility of physical freedom. He now spends his days wishing he had lived more in the moment while he was young, strong and able. My dad certainly worked hard and had realistic visions of what he wanted but where did it get him in the end? I realise this is an unusual case however, like my generation, there are also many baby boomers who, unlike yourself, are only in their marriage because it’s just what they do, never loved their job, never lived with passion and spent all their life living for someone else. Ulitmately, regardless of generation, contentment is a choice. Rather than waiting until we have worked hard and achieved a realistic vision, we all need to take responsibility for our life and just decide to be content, regardless of our situation. From that place, it becomes easier to see how to improve it, if is even so desired.

      I do agree with you about not getting to many into entrepreneurialism. We need employees! LOL. But I do disagree with the competition part. I believe that if we find something that really lights us up and we want it enough, we can all achieve what we desire in our business. That’s not to say there won’t be people trying to get your business, but rather, if you are passionate about what you do and do it 100% and continue learning and growing, you will continue to do business. The reality is however, only a very small percentage of wanna-be entrepreneurs actually do what it takes to become the success they desire. The differences between the ones who succeed and the ones that don’t are action and persistence.

      It’s great to have a dream, but without action and persistence, not a whole lot can happen so yes, until people reach the point of absolute commitment, best to keep your day job!

  6. Mad, I am just finishing my book on exactly this topic haha, great minds 🙂 Well written post Shae! Have fun in Bali and I hope you find what you are looking for! I am looking forward to reading about your adventures.

  7. Hi Shae,

    this is a wonderful post, Shea, very thought provoking and inspiring. It puts me in mind of my favourite ever quote “Not all who wander are lost” by Lord of the Rings author JRR Tolkien. We all have to find our own path but most follow a structure that they think they can’t or shouldn’t break from because they find comfort and security in that ‘norm’. Once you break that though, all bets are off and the freedom we actually have can be quite daunting. Anyways, I loved this post, gonna share it now, and I love your blog in general,

    thanks & take care,

  8. In view of the fact that I’m a lifestyle entrepreneur myself, I wouldn’t say it’s been always easy, especially the beginning. As entrepreneurs we’re trying to prove ourselves in a society that appreciates only the secured jobs no matter how crappy they are. However, freedom is priceless and that’s exactly what motivates lifestyle entrepreneurs to go on.
    Btw, I downloaded a copy of your manifesto, yet I doubt the fact that someone who’s established a six figures business online can’t even afford to move to a self-host blog. Personally I’d take this with a grain of salt. Self-hosting blogs cost merely pennies and they’re quite easy to set up, in addition it makes the blogger look professional and it assures us as readers that he/she is blogging for business rather than a hobby.
    Sorry but this is how I see it.

    • The manifesto you’re referring is not mine. It’s a link to an external site. Did you even read this post? I don’t have one on this blog.

      So this is how I see it!

      And where did I even mention that I’ve established a 6 figure business yet. I haven’t so I suggest you read the post properly and get your facts right.

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